Programmers' Pain
21Jul/120

Offtopic #2: Sharkoon SATA QuickPort XT USB3.0 and its on/off switch

Sharkoon SATA Quickport USB3.0 XT before/after moving the on/off switch from the back to the top part of the docking station

Sharkoon SATA Quickport USB3.0 XT before/after moving the on/off switch from the back to the top part of the docking station

While searching for an USB3.0 docking station for 3.5″ SATA hard drives the SATA Quickport XT USB3.0 offered by Sharkoon got my attention at one point. It’s simple, not that pricey and doesn’t take up too much space. One of the things I was looking for was that it should provide an on/off switch so that you don’t have to rely on the operating system to suspend the disks which usually depends on how well the SATA<->USB bridge inside the docking station is supported. What I don’t understand is why Sharkoon places this switch on the back of the docking station so that it can’t be reached easily if a disk is inserted into it – this kind of sucks if suspending the disk via the operating system doesn’t work reliable. But luckily the top part of the docking station isn’t used by an eject button, activity-LEDs or anything else except the imprinted Sharkoon logo – guess where I’ve moved the on/off switch to 🙂

Internals of the docking station incl. the cable connection of the on/off switch

Internals of the docking station incl. the cable connection of the on/off switch

It’s not really a tricky modification to shift the on/off switch from the back of the docking station to the top part since luckily the cable that connects the switch to the main board is long enough. Also it can be disconnected easily from the main board since it’s using a 2-pin connector. Therefore it’s all about mechanical work without any soldering involved. First your have to remove the four screws on the bottom of the docking station which are hidden behind the housing foots. Lift them carefully with a slot screwdriver so that you can reattach them afterwards.

After all four screws have been removed you should be able to lift the top cover from the bottom part of the docking station. Be careful with the front panels activity LEDs since this transparent plastic piece sits pretty tight on top of the small LED board. If you didn’t mess up at that point you should be able to see the internals of the docking station as shown in the picture on the right side.

After disconnecting the on/off switch from the main board I again used a slot screwdriver to push down those clamps on the two sides of the switch which keeps it in position. Again be careful to not break the clamps since you’ll need them to keep the switch in its new position in the top part of docking station. After you’ve removed the switch from its original location pick your favourite handheld power tool like Proxxon, Dremel, etc to cut a hole in the top part of the docking station with the same dimensions as the original hole on the back.

The new hole for the on/off switch in the top part of the docking station

The new hole for the on/off switch in the top part of the docking station

If you’ll pick the same location for the switch as I did as shown on the picture above you won’t have any problem with the length of the cable connecting the switch to the main board. It will be a bit more tricky to reassemble the docking station since you have to be careful to not tuck the cable between the top and bottom part of the docking station. But after all it should fit quite nicely without being forced to extend the cable or anything like that. Put in the four screws on the bottom, reattach the housing foots and you’re done and can enjoy an easy reachable on/off switch mounted on the top part of the docking station.

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