How difficult is building a dock?

Discussion in 'Switch - Console, Accessories and Hardware' started by Nazosan, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Nazosan
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    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    So I'm not a fan of the dock. I'm not really having any of the problems many people are having like scratching (well, I took steps to ensure it would never happen) but I really hate dealing with that dock. The solution seems fairly obvious: open it up and take out the components. What I'd like to have is something where I just plug a cable into the bottom of the Switch which I can then just lay flat on a table. The tricky part is mostly that USB connector. From the images I've seen it's on a pretty flimsy ribbon cable I think.

    In particular, I'm wondering just what the USB connector needs. I have an old USB type C cable I bought for a 2-in-1 that turned out to be unable to charge from USB type C (yeah, the irony of even having that sort of connector then is palpable. It does mean there's one more USB host port I can use via a type C host connector, but there's zero benefit of it being type C instead of MicroUSB like the other that I can tell.) However, it likely doesn't officially support some of the latest stuff. What I'd really like to do is to minimally modify things here. I originally had an idea of taking the components out and sticking them in a simple project enclosure (this thing seems to be smaller than a Raspberry Pi actually, so that part should be easy) but then I had an even better idea: just having a USB cable running out through a small hole in the original dock.


    Right now I'm just not sure if I'm brave enough to do this yet. I'd hope third party docks will show up eventually, but initial ones are likely to be spotty and unsafe. Buying a first party dock right now is basically impossible. I think I saw one locally, but the price was off the scale ridiculous given that it's mostly just a USB hub and HDMI output. I'm not even seeing them available on Amazon and the like (the closes thing I found was a ridiculously overpriced metal bracket that snaps around the dock to screw it into the wall so you can mount the system up on a wall. There are surely better ways to do this at that price and it's not a dock, just the metal bracket.) So I'll admit modifying mine makes me a bit leery. I'd definitely like to know just how much it would take to actually do it before I even thought of messing with it.
     
  2. Pippin666

    Pippin666 SSF43DE Master

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    Myself, I would remove the dock components and build a replacement with LEGO blocks. If I can buy one for cheap, I would try that.

    Pip'
     
  3. Jiehfeng

    Jiehfeng A not so serious guy tbh... ;D

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  4. osaka35

    osaka35 Instrucional Designer

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    Last edited by osaka35, Apr 6, 2017
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  5. TheCyberQuake

    TheCyberQuake Certified Geek

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    You could just plug in a usb c extension cable from the dock to the switch
     
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  6. Saiyan Lusitano

    Saiyan Lusitano GBAtemp Guru

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    Last edited by Saiyan Lusitano, Apr 6, 2017
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  7. Nazosan
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    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    I don't want to build one from scratch. I'm assuming Nintendo is using proprietary methods here that likely won't just work with simply anything. I want to adapt existing hardware that I know will just simply work.
    I don't want "a new dock from the old." I'm not currently having any troubles with my current dock except that it's a royal hassle to actually use. What I want is something where I can just lay the Switch out flat (with room for air movement obviously) and plug something into the bottom. Basically equivalent to how you might manually charge it with the type-c cable if you didn't use the dock, only instead of just a cable there's a box with a USB wire coming out from said box and I plug that in. I thought about it more and I feel like it's actually a better idea just to keep the dock mostly as-is though and simply have a cable coming out of it with nothing more than a small hole being drilled as far as changing the actual case. This comes to my real question: if I were to just solder in a USB cable to where the dock's own USB connector integrates, what exactly does it need? Does it have more wires than a type-a to type-c cable like this would have for example? Does it depart from official specifications and add an extra pin or two somewhere?

    Now this is really really interesting. I assumed I'd have to solder something in. If an extension cord like this actually works it would solve the problem with no warranty voiding modifications even needed! Though this one is awfully short at a mere 20cm... (Bear in mind a decent amount of length will be lost just going 90 degrees from the connector and then through the rest of the casing of the dock. I'm guessing it works out to roughly 10cm being used just from that.) I'm sure longer extension cables exist though. The real question, then, is would this work for all that it needs to function and what exactly is required from such an extension cable to make it work?

    If that method could work though it would solve this problem so beautifully and cleanly it's not even funny... I really like the idea of this though. Has anyone really looked into just what that dock connector to the switch involves? All those things like the link above mostly just take the existing hardware exactly as-is and simply recase it.
     
  8. TheCyberQuake

    TheCyberQuake Certified Geek

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    Did you miss my post above giving that exact idea? And it's been proven to work by multiple people.
     
  9. Saiyan Lusitano

    Saiyan Lusitano GBAtemp Guru

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    I've checked on Aliexpress and they're also selling for only 20cm long. I don't get it, why aren't there longer ones for sale? :mellow:

    [​IMG]

    Really, it's extremely short!

    A user on Reddit got ahold of a bigger one:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Nazosan
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    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    I suppose that person never linked to it?

    I missed the part where you said it has worked for people (EDIT: still don't see you mentioning specifically it actually being known to work) and just quoted the most convenient post for the idea itself. This leaves the question of: are there specific requirements of exactly what this cable must provide?


    Really I'd like to get one on Amazon (US.) I have Prime so it would be orders of magnitude faster than shipping from China/etc for starters, but also if it goes horribly wrong at the very minimum I can actually ship it back and get another or something. Before I start searching I'd rather be sure it doesn't have to meet certain specifications or something though.

    EDIT: Did do a quick search. There are definitely Prime eligible options that are quite long. For instance: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M3OHPD7/
     
    Last edited by Nazosan, Apr 6, 2017
  11. Saiyan Lusitano

    Saiyan Lusitano GBAtemp Guru

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  12. Nazosan
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    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    Interesting. I half expected them to say it would require whatever is needed for that Apple multimedia adapter or whatever it was called that so many say do not work. I wish they had a working link, but I see they posted the wrong link so it had to be removed (too bad they didn't fix it.) At least we do have a brand name to work with here. I half expected it to have to require something such as I think USB type C now offers a 15Gbps connection possible. (Price-wise, I guess it's about standard for type C cables and the like though.) I may have to give it a try anyway, but I am still not overflowing with cash, so I'll at least wait to see if anyone might have any more ideas on any requirements it may have first. Still, this seems very promising indeed as a nice clean solution to the whole problem. EDIT: Oh, further down someone posted the exact title of it and he confirmed it was the right one. Hmm. I guess I'll take a chance and try this then. Wish me lots of luck!
     
    Last edited by Nazosan, Apr 6, 2017
  13. Saiyan Lusitano

    Saiyan Lusitano GBAtemp Guru

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    I don't mind putting my Switch in the dock as it has a sturdy screen protector but the silicone case that I finally got around to tweak it is just a bummer to remove and then re-apply again. Meh.. guess for the time being I'll just play in portable mode, and one advantage of always being in portable mode, you can take it anywhere around the house and it works!

    ... Unlike the Wii U. :P
     
  14. Nazosan
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    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    I added an edit. Further down the thread someone posted the exact title of the product on Amazon then he confirmed it was the right one and it does indeed seem to match. I'm going to bite the bullet and try this. Wish me lots of luck. At half of a meter it should be the perfect balance between good length to work with without adding any significant resistance to the lines.

    I end up having to use console mode for games like Zelda. It just doesn't feel as comfortable to me in portable mode. However, games like Voez have to be played in portable mode. I think long term I may go more portable than console, but I definitely want to minimize the effort of going back and forth and with this I can just plug in a cable on my charging table.
     
    Last edited by Nazosan, Apr 6, 2017
  15. Baoulettes

    Baoulettes The lonely man

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  16. Saiyan Lusitano

    Saiyan Lusitano GBAtemp Guru

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    The Amazon CreationCable has a review that mentions it works 100% and with a photo of it too.

    Review:
    We can see he's very pleased with it, for sure.
     
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  17. YourHero

    YourHero GBAtemp Maniac

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    I was considering either gutting this dock to add an intake fan on the back, or exhaust on the front. I could totally do an exhaust on the front to pull more heat away.
     
  18. Nazosan
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    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    As far as modifications like that go, wouldn't you want to just simply remove the front? But you know that the Switch already has active cooling don't you?
     
  19. TheCyberQuake

    TheCyberQuake Certified Geek

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    I wouldn't have suggested it unless I knew it worked.