Adding 128GB of Flash to the Venue 8 Pro

Discussion in 'Dell' started by V3D, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. V3D

    V3D Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Looks like there are M.2 slot tabs on the Venue 8 Pro board, I wonder if the USB tabs D+ & D- are active or just dead tabs connected to nothing.
    If they are active it would not be hard to take apart a cheap 128GB USB flash drive, GPS, or extra WiFi card & fit it somewhere in the case.

    I have a piece of dust under the window for the rear camera so I might take the back off to get that out and if I do, I might check to see if those USB pins are active. :D

    M.2 Pinout
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    http://www.hwtools.net/PDF/m2mu2_v11_schematic.pdf
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    Edit 2/9/2014 5:17PM - Updating this post with more useful information.

    The M.2 tabs are mostly all disconnected, though where the USB 2.0 data traces are disconnected is right next to the M.2 tabs (CON5401). Thanks fishy8082 for finding that. :thumbsup:
    I found another open USB 2.0 connection up near CON7001 & a 5v tab not controlled by the charging port.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
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  2. scarletvw

    scarletvw Pen Pal - Newbie

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    After seeing this thread I popped the cover off the back of mine and took a look. I also took the battery out just to look at it. Pretty simple to open these things up compared to some Asus tablets I've worked on. The large piece of black foam could be moved and if it was thin enough you could hide it behind the back right there. Or there is a little room above the battery on the top of the unit that seems like it would work.
     
  3. V3D

    V3D Scribbler - Standard Member

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    If you still have it open could you take a macro picture of the board near the M.2 pins.

    Thanks.
     
  4. scarletvw

    scarletvw Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Sorry, i already popped the back onto it.
     
  5. elyl

    elyl Pen Pal - Newbie

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    This is interesting. I suspect that is where the LTE/HSPA card will go if factory fitted. I thought it would be an mPCI card, but the fact it's a different motherboard for the LTE version, the card might be soldered directly on there to save on space. This opens up some possibilities!
     
  6. V3D

    V3D Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Update: I opened mine up to remove the dust under the rear camera window, while I had it open I checked the M.2 tabs... It seems the tabs are not connected to anything, no voltage reading on the 3.3v tabs & nothing when I connected a USB device to the D- & D+, but there is enough room next to the battery that you could fit the internals of a flash drive inside without issue.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Anyways, I got the dust out of the camera window & snapped it back together...
    This tablet is easier to open than my laptop. :D


    BTW: I used a gift card to open the tablet, it did a good job at not making marks on the back cover but the card itself did not fair so well... :p
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
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  7. Mikerman

    Mikerman Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for the info.; interesting!
     
  8. fishy8082

    fishy8082 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I thought I would have a go with this. Fortunately USB requires almost no extra components and is usually directly attached to a component which cannot be omitted for cost savings measures (northbridge, southbridge, SOC or whatever). Based on that feeling I thought I'd probe around looking for the other side of those USB pads on the m.2 slot.

    It turns out those pins are disconnected but where they are disconnected is very close by. Dell omitted a ferrite bead which should have been located in that little white rectangle next to where the m.2 slot would be located. The ferrite bead is for noise reduction and is not required for functional USB. To test this theory I attached D+ and D- of a USB stick to the two lower pads of where the ferrite bead would be and the USB stick was recognized properly.

    One caveat is where to get power. Ordinarily with hacks like this, you just steal 5 volts from a USB port. But wait, the USB port we have doesn't have 5 volts all the time. It only provides 5 volts when an OTG cable is plugged in. It would also have 5 volts on it if the tablet was plugged in. I couldn't find 5 volts when the OTG cable wasn't plugged in. Kind of a problem for some USB devices.

    I'm planning on putting in a microsd card slot in the tablet and luckily they only need 3.3 volts which is readily available all over the board.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. V3D

    V3D Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I was wondering about those tabs near where the D+ & D- should be on the M.2 slot. Thank you for posting that. This is great news! :D
    Also if your on BIOS A03 or older you can go into the BIOS & enable the VBUS of the USB port without a OTG cable being connected.
     
  10. RazzNuts

    RazzNuts Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'm also interested, but I think wifi models do not have simcard slot at all?
     
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