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Nanohub - tiny USB 2.0 and 3.0 hubs!

Need an extra USB port but a regular hub doesn't fit? Try my Nanohub!

mux
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This project is an ongoing tale of the expanding family of Open Source, super tiny (like, penny-sized) USB hubs I'm creating for your hacking pleasure. So far, the family has a 2-port USB 2.0, 2-port USB 3.0 and a 4-port USB 2.0 member, but I'm always looking for inspiration and suggestions for improvement.

Where do I put videos? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xRXwV4RHTU

The Nanohubs are fully USB compliant USB hubs, with the only exception that they don't use approved USB connectors. This is because they are physically smaller than any USB connector - except the USB 3.0 variant (which has cut-off USB 3.0 micro-A/B connectors).

The USB 2.0 NanoHubs achieve full 480Mbps throughput and can handle 1.5/4.0A of continuous current feed-through from the upstream port to the downstream ports (combined).

The USB 3.0 NanoHub achieves full 5Gbps (USB 3.0) speeds and can handle 5A of continuous current feed-through (requires pretty beefy cables!) to the downstream ports (combined).

Full specifications:

USB 2.0 2-port NanoHub (rev. 1 and 2)

  • 11.6x12.4mm (0.457x0.488") footprint
  • 1.52mm (0.06") thickness
  • 0.35 grams (0.012oz) mass
  • Uses SMSC/Microchip USB2422 chipset
  • Less than 1mA in suspend and 70mA at full speed current consumption
  • ESD protected
  • 1.5mm pitch eyelets
  • Full mechanical drawings and detailed specifications on muxtronics.nl

USB 2.0 4-port NanoHub (rev. 0)

  • 15.7 x 13.2mm (0.618x0.52") footprint
  • 1.52mm (0.06") thickness
  • 0.41 grams (0.014oz) mass
  • Uses SMSC/Microchip USB2514 chipset
  • Less than 1mA suspend / 140-175mA at full speed, 1-4 ports active and transmitting
  • 1.5mm pitch eyelets on upstream port and staggered eyelets on the output

USB 3.0 2-port NanoHub (rev. 0)

  • 20x20mm (0.78x0.78") footprint, or 27.1x34.2mm (1.07x1.35") including connectors
  • 1.72mm (0.067") thickness, or 4.0mm (0.157") including connectors
  • 0.91g (0.032oz) mass, or 2g (0.07oz) including connectors
  • Uses TI TUSB8020B chipset
  • 9mA (suspend) to 220mA (2 USB 3.0 5Gbps devices attached and transmitting) current consumption
  • 1.2mm pitch eyelets
  • Cut-off Micro-A/B USB 3.0 sections for testing purposes, can simply be snipped off with side-cutters

nanohub-family-sources.zip

All schematics, layout and 3D models for all NanoHub models

x-zip-compressed - 2.08 MB - 03/31/2017 at 07:53

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  • 7-port NanoHub now available!

    mux10/25/2017 at 06:49 0 comments

    By popular (2 people :-P) request, I've made a 7-port tiny USB hub. This one uses a slightly different approach for the eyelet pattern than the previous ones. Take a look at it:

    Instead of in-line eyelets, I have staggered the holes to create a 1.27mm pattern. This in turn means you can use regular old 1.27mm ribbon cable or even connectors to interface the hub. Should make it just a little bit easier to solder the slightly ridiculous amount of ports on this hub. 

    The hub is 19.5x17.5mm and 1.6mm thick - roughly equivalent to the 2-port USB 3.1 hub.

  • USB 3.1 NanoHub for sale (finally!)

    mux09/18/2017 at 13:46 0 comments

    I finally received the hub chip order, and assembled a couple of USB 3.1 NanoHubs. I really like how tiny it has become!

    I decided to start offering both a connectorized and unconnectorized version, dropping the price of the connector-less version. It's always nice when things get cheaper, right?

    Oh, and I got a solder paste mask with this one now. I never really sold enough USB 3.0 rev0 hubs to buy one, but I have one pending order that by itself justifies the expense. That makes assembly a lot faster, so part of the price drop has to do with improved efficiency as well :)

  • USB 3.1 rev1 boards are in!

    mux09/11/2017 at 15:12 0 comments

    Don't you just love micro-paneling?

    Unfortunately I have to wait until the new USB hub chips are in, as it turns out MicrochipDIRECT is not particularly direct. They take their time.

  • And the Microhub is smaller now, too

    mux08/29/2017 at 14:05 0 comments

    Hot off the heels of the last update, I just got my revision 1 Microhubs in. I'm pretty happy how these turned out. I also panelized these with power traces going out to a main board, so I can assemble and bench test 6 hubs at a time. 

  • USB 3.0 NanoHub getting revised!

    mux08/28/2017 at 12:04 1 comment

    Designing the new and improved revision 1 of the USB 3 nanohub now. I'm upgrading from TUSB8020 to USB5742, which means:

    • power consumption is lowered by 10-20%
    • support for the USB 3.1 protocol now (still 5GBps though)
    • board size reduced from 20x20 to 20x15mm

    The USB 3.0 hub has been out of stock for a while, and it will stay out of stock until these boards are in - probably around 15 Sept. But it's going to be worth the wait!

  • NanoHubs are on Hackaday.io now

    mux03/31/2017 at 08:23 0 comments

    By popular request - sorry that it took so long! - I finally added my NanoHub project to Hackaday. I've been blogging about and selling these little hubs for almost half a year now, but something was missing - you!

    See, I don't really derive much pleasure from selling electronics. I made this open source and keep supporting the project because I viscerally enjoy supporting hacking projects. Unfortunately, I really don't get much feedback via my store - really, all the messages I get are either "When will my nanohub get delivered?" or "when are the nanohubs back in stock?". Not saying that buyers aren't totally in their right to ask me that, but I would like some more... you know, pictures of projects incorporating the nanohub, feedback on stuff that could be more convenient, etc. I want my projects to be alive!

    So thanks to all the people who already liked this project even though it's less than 12 hours old and happy hacking!

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jongscx wrote 08/28/2017 at 13:39 point

Suggestion/idea: Have the upstream pins line up to the downstream pins in such a way that you can daisy-chain boards by stacking and turning 180 degrees or something. the effect being somewhat like arduino shields.

Have a 5v bus pin that can supply higher current to the devices through a dedicated external regulator, or so that we can have power even if not connected to a usb host (I'm thinking hybrid Battery-bank/usb hub build).

Or, have a set of downstream pins line up to the upstream pins so that you can solder them together in a line to make a really long usb hub with 3x+1 ports using x chips...

Alternate/additional pads for FFC/FPC ribbon cable connector?

  Are you sure? yes | no

mux wrote 08/28/2017 at 13:57 point

If we're talking about the USB 3.0 hub:

I've tried, I honestly did, but 5Gbps routing on this design is really hard, I just couldn't get a daisy-chainable design to work unless I increased the dimension on one side to at least double (30x20mm at least). It would kind of defeat the purpose of this design to make it so large; you can actually buy connectorized USB 3 hubs that are about 40x30x10mm.

The USB 2.0 2-port hub is daisy-chainable with a tiny 2mm ribbon cable. It is also inlineable.

All designs do straight power passthrough, so your application will be powered even if the hub logic is off. The USB 3.1 rev. 1 design even supports battery charging standards and battery charging passthrough. I currently can't get compatible chips to do this on USB 2.0 (sufficiently cheaply).

USB does not allow for tie-ing multiple devices together. It's not possible to do the idea you proposed. I do really like the idea of a ridiculous USB hub though. I don't have a particular purpose for it, but I might try building one for fun. Make it extendable, too.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Petersen wrote 07/30/2017 at 21:33 point

Hmm... I can't quite tell from the picture, but is that three micrrousb ports?

  Are you sure? yes | no

mux wrote 08/18/2017 at 20:16 point

Wow, sorry for the late reply - notifications seem to be disabled? 

The USB 3.0 nanohub has an upstream and two downstream micro-B ports on cutoffs. So it's a two-port hub.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Petersen wrote 08/18/2017 at 20:43 point

I notice the larger boards on them have traces connecting the nanohubs. Are they connected into a larger hub? I'm considering a hack to convert a low end phone into a high end-comparable one by offloading almost all the functions via usb to different devices and I'm seeing a lot of potential here.

  Are you sure? yes | no

mux wrote 08/19/2017 at 06:11 point

The 4-port nanohub indeed has traces going off to the larger panel, but that's strictly for testing purposes. I designed it so I can test hubs one by one in the panel, which makes QA and rework easier than if I'd have to test them one by one. 

Unfortunately this doesn't mean you can make an even larger hub that way. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Arsenijs wrote 05/17/2017 at 23:05 point

Nice to see your here on Hackaday! I was always interested in small USB hubs - ever since I tried to hack some devices inside my EEE PC =) I'm hoping to either get some hubs from you, or build a small FE1.1s-based board I could just throw on panels I order from DirtyPCBs from time to time =) Cheers and thank you for the awesome creations!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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