Friday, December 23, 2011

Smartieparts USB Plug Mod

easy access

I covered the installation of the smartieparts board here.  The board has a USB jack that inserts into a slot in the battery compartment.  To program your radio, you open the battery compartment and plug in your USB cable.  This isn't so bad but I thought I could make it a little more convenient to access the USB jack.

charging jack

The radio comes with a charging jack on the side.  Ironically, the radio does not come with a rechargeable battery...or a charger...nor have I ever even seen one available as an option.  So while it seems like a nice feature, it is useless.  Since the charging jack just slides into a slot in the case I figured it would be easy to remove it and put the smartieparts USB jack in its place.

charging jack removed

I pulled the jack out of the case and cut the wires where they were soldered to the circuit board.  The USB jack almost fit right into the hole in the case.  I used a file to open up the hole just a little.  If you go slow, you can get a nice tight snap fit for the USB jack.  I mounted the front of the jack flush with the side of the case.

USB jack fitted to case

The jack needs to stay in place under pressure as the USB cable is plugged in and out.  So I used some epoxy on the bottom of the jack to glue it in place and fill the hole in the case.  I covered the front of the hole with tape to keep the epoxy from running out.  Gave it a few hours to set, added a black marker paint job, and she's done.  Now I can plug my radio into my computer easily without having to open up the battery compartment.  It also opened up some space in the battery compartment which will come in handy when I swap the NiMH battery pack for a rechargeable LiPo.

finished USB jack

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