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Windows 7: 2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod

15 Oct 2014   #1
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod

As promised in my New Case thread, here is a fairly complete blow by blow of the mods I'm making to the Thermaltake ExtremeSpeed 3.0 which is a 2.5" HDD hot swap bay with two USB 3.0 ports connected by pass through cables. The bay was marketed as a way to get two USB 3.0 ports on the front panel back when USB 3.0 was too new for most cases to have front USB 3.0 ports and most MOBOs either didn't have USB 3.0 at all or only had it on the rear I/O panel; the swap bay was an extra bell or whistle to fill in the extra space. The USB 3.0 cables, instead of going to a 19 or 20 pin connector that would plug into a header on the MOBO, ended with type A connectors on the ends of two long cables that could be passed through the back panel of a case and plugged into USB 3.0 ports on a MOBO's rear I/O panel or into a PCI or PCI-e card that added USB 3.0 ports on the rear of the case.

Since I'm not actually going to use this in my new case (unless the built in swap bay dies), I've moved this mod to a new thread. The Thermaltake ExtremeSpeed 3.0 has been unofficially discontinued and is becoming scarce so I glommed onto six while I could.

Here is the little beast in all its glory as it came from the factory:

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0001.jpg

HDD power is via a 4 pin Molex connector on the end of a short cable and the SATA data cable is permanently attached; that is too rinkydink for my tastes so those have to go. The two USB 3.0 ports are unneeded along with their ridiculously long cables so they also need to go buh-bye.

Here is what one sees when the case is opened up.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0002.jpg

The little white zip ties need to be snipped to liberate the cables from their bondage. The SATA data cable is a conventional cable that could be removed by lifting it up above its retaining bracket and simply pulling it out.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0005.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0006.jpg

Here I've started removing the USB ports and cables. They are secured by two screws (one has already been removed).

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0008.jpg

To get enough wiggle room to get the USB ports out, the front panel also has to be removed. It's just held in by three clips.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0009.jpg

The next thing to come out is the board with the SATA power and data connections on it. It's also held in by two screws (one also already removed).

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0010.jpg

The long bundle of wires going to the front panel is for the LED. It's only held with a little glob of hot melt glue and will fall out shortly.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0015.jpg

(continued in next post)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #2
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

The Molex cable has been cut so the tacky (literally) spaghetti (old school term for the sleeve around the wires) can be removed.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0017.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0020.jpg

Being the cheap, old bi...broad I am, I just had to remove the pins from the connector body and save it for possible future use.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0022.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0024.jpg

Now that everything has been removed, the three loops that the zip ties went through and the bracket that retained the SATA data cable need to be removed to make room for the 22 pin SATA data and power connector.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0025.jpg

It looks rough but I had to scrape the surface to make sure it was flat.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0027.jpg

This is a shot of the original opening the cables exited through but it's too narrow for the 22 pin male to male connector, shown in the following photo, to fit in so it has to be opened up a wee bit.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0028.jpg

I had the darnedest time finding this connector. I wound up getting them from China. Based on the amount of time it took for them to get here, they must have literally come by a slow boat from China. There were no mounting holes so I had to drill them.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0037.jpg

Layout lines (and an "oops") were deeply scribed into the plastic because I'm going to cheat and break out the plastic.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0040.jpg

I started the cuts with a pair of dikes and twisted the plastic out with a pair of duckbill piers. It's a little rough but a knife and a file will clean it up nicely in no time at all.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0041.jpg

(continued in next post)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #3
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Here, the opening has been cleaned up. The little black widget in front is a shim I cut to space the connector above the floor of the bay so there will be room for the connectors getting plugged into it.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0042.jpg

This shows where the shim will go. It's laying loose there for now so I can use the connector to lay out the mounting holes in the bay floor.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0046.jpg

The connector is temporarily in place ready for drilling.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0047.jpg

I had originally planned on using a more readily available 22 pin male to female connector by opening up the female side and soldering wires for the power and data directly to the connector. It worked for the power wires but I couldn't get solder to stick to the wires in the SATA data cable. Same for another one I tried. Since I had learned on another forum how to make super short SATA data cables, I changed plans.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0048.jpg

Here are the mounting holes, drilled and countersunk, as seen from the bottom.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0051.jpg

After gluing the shim between the mounting holes, I filed the bottom of the rear opening so it was flush with the shim and it and the shim had a slight slope. The slope was needed to get the connector to set level.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0052.jpg

Now the steel top cover rear opening is too narrow so it needs to widened.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0053.jpg

The layout lines (and some more "oops") are scribed deeply into the metal since I'm going to do a wee bit more cheating.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0054.jpg

Before cutting, I covered the top of the cover with low tack painters' tape to prevent scratching the paint.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0055.jpg

(continued in next post)

My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Oct 2014   #4
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Here is the of choice for cutting the metal. It's a file that has teeth only on the edges and hollow ground smooth on the faces and is used for filing narrow slits. I felt it was easier to use this instead of a cutoff wheel in a Dremel motor, especially for such short cuts.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0056.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0058.jpg

Here is the file in action. It goes surprisingly fast.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0059.jpg

Both cuts are done.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0060.jpg

Here's where I'm going to cheat. I'm using a pair of duck bill pliers to bend and break the metal along the scribed line (sorry for the lousy photo).

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0061.jpg

A little rough but nothing a file won't quickly clean up.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0063.jpg

All cleaned up.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0064.jpg

A Black Sharpie does a good job of hiding the exposed metal.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0065.jpg

(continued in next post)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

This is the punch down connector I'm going to use to connect the four wires that originally went to the 4 pin Molex connector to the SATA power side of the 22 pin connector.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0071.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0072.jpg

Here, the punch down connector has been plugged into the 22 pin connector to help determine the length to cut the wires. The 22 pin connector is crooked because some dolt put it in upside down and bass-akwards; it will get fixed later.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0073.jpg

The yellow lead is 12v and the red lead is 5v. The two blacks are ground. A Molex connector uses the wires in the same order shown. A SATA power connector has a slightly different order and normally has five wires. The fifth one is 3.3v and, when color coded, is normally orange. Fortunately modern HDDs and SSDs don't need the 3.3v so I just won't worry about it. The SATA power terminal closest to the locater lug is the 3.3v connection. The remaining order is ground, 5v, ground, and 12v (black, red, black, and yellow)

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0074.jpg

I'm using my handy dandy little 4" vise grip to hold the connector in place. The yellow lead is in position for punching down into the connector. Normally, all one needs to do is punch down the wire, insulation and all, into the connector and the connector will bite through the insulation to the conductor. However, the wire felt like it was going in too easily and I wasn't confident the connector "teeth" were making contact with the conductor. I was reluctant to strip all the insulation off for fear the teeth wouldn't get a good enough bite on the conductor to keep it from pulling out so I compromised. I stripped off enough insulation to insure a good connection but left enough to ensure the wire wouldn't pull out

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0078.jpg

My 4 pin fan connector pin removal tool is perfectly sized for punching down the wire. Please forgive lousy photos but my hands were busier than a one armed paper hanger.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0079.jpg

All four wires are punched down but something's wrong.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0082.jpg

The connection for the black lead between the red and yellow leads got a wee bit mangled so I'm going to have to pull the wires and try again with another connector.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0083.jpg

That looks much better.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0085.jpg

Popping on the cap finishes the job. Before I found a source for this particular type of connector (it can handle larger wires than most punch down connectors), I had salvaged several from my old Corsair PSU cables. Some of the caps had their prongs damaged when I pried them off. although I have found a source for these connectors (and stocked up on them) that have feed through caps like this one and ones with dead end caps (for a connector at the end of a cable), I opted to use the damaged caps for this project since the connector will be contacting only plastic. Enough of the cap prongs are intact I don't need to worry about it ever coming off so I get to use up the damaged ones. Have I mentioned I'm cheap?

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0086.jpg

(continued in next post)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

The connector on the shortened SATA cable felt looser than I liked so I put four layers of Scotch tape on top of the connector here to tighten it up. I did the same on the SATA data connector on the 22 pin connector.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0088.jpg

The ends of this board fits in little slots but was a little looser than I like so put some Scotch tape on the ends to shim it a bit. Some slack is needed to ensure alignment with an inserted drive so, with the tape, it feels better now.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0090.jpg

The little board has been reinstalled and the SATA power connector has been plugged in.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0091.jpg

Here is the might midget SATA data cable I described in my New Case thread. Cute little bugger, isn't it?

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0093.jpg

The mighty midget installed. The S curve gave me some leeway on the length of the cable; otherwise, getting exactly the correct length would have been a nightmare and headache all in one itty bitty little cable.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0094.jpg

Here, the front cover has been reattached. Even though it clips in, it's easily dislodged, so I superglued it in. As predicted, the LED also came loose so I superglued it back in. I also taped down the leads going to the LED so I wouldn't have to play dodgem with them. The screws holding the little board also have been installed.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0096.jpg

I slipped a HDD in just to make sure everything cleared correctly. It did. Yay!

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0097.jpg

(continued in next post)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #7
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Here's the front and rear after the cover has been reinstalled.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0100.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0101.jpg

This is the 3.5" to 5.25" bay adapter the swap bay will be mounted in. I found these used on FleaBay. The front cover pops off, making painting them easier.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0102.jpg

This is the face plate that will cover the holes left by the removed USB 3.0 ports. I didn't notice until after I had taken the picture I had painted the wrong side! Yeesh! Fortunately, I got the other five right so I just need to repaint this one.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0103.jpg

This is an inside shot of the faceplate on the adapter. It has a recess around the inside opening; the new faceplate fits in that recess.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0104.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0106.jpg

It's hard to see in this shot but I put double sided Scotch tape on the back of the new faceplate. When placed in the recess in the adapter's faceplate, it will align perfectly with the swap bay (more or less) and help keep it in place.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0108.jpg

Here is the swap bay installed in the adapter.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0110.jpg

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0111.jpg

Just for excrement and merriment, I slipped a HDD in it.

2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod-img_0112.jpg

I now have four of these finished and two more to go. I tested the prototype by pulling the 3.5" hot swap bay from my computer so I could use its connections but I'm too lazy to do that again so I ordered a USB 3.0 to 22 pin SATA cable so I can just plug one end of the cable into the back of the 2.5" swap bay and the other end to a USB 3.0 port to test the others. I should get it Thursday.

And now for the part you all have been eagerly awaiting (well, both of you, anyway):

The End.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #8

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]

A lot of work done for that 2.5" bay...It had ended up to be well made and you took care of painting of the parts too!! I was first afraid after you posted the picture of the Power & Data connector Sata totally burnt by the iron solder...but you've made it with another one.

Well done, Lady!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #9
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by NoN View Post
A lot of work done for that 2.5" bay...It had ended up to be well made and you took care of painting of the parts too!! I was first afraid after you posted the picture of the Power & Data connector Sata totally burnt by the iron solder...but you've made it with another one.

Well done, Lady!
Thanks, NoN! Yeah that first connector was...ah...a bit of a disappointment. Even though a bit ugly (ok, butt ugly), it would have actually worked if I could have gotten solder to stick to SATA cable wires. At least Plan B worked and I didn't have to come up with a Plan C or worse(I've had some projects where the alphabet ran out letters for my Plans). And I didn't have to resort to Plan 9 (we know how that flopped).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2014   #10

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]

Ha Ha...i would like to see a resort of a kind of Plan 9!

Story Line:
"A Lady resurrecting a couple of dead Sata connectors to fight against 2.5" bay bomb "Thermaltakobytes" that might blew off her drives with the original modding plan she'd planed"

By LadyFitzgerald!!

And I didn't have to resort to Plan 9 (we know how that flopped).
Beside humor it was an informative thread to me. Looks you have other ones to mod too...keep us in touch!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 2.5" Hot Swap Bay Mod

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