Shove a Hub into That Keyboard

As masters of technology, our desks are often cluttered with odds and ends. We have cables spewing out of every nook, and our computer ports full. The last thing we really want is more stuff getting in the way or buried under piles of technical documentation when adding something like a USB hub. That is where [Michael] comes in, shoving a small USB hub into his Logitech keyboard.

The keyboard is already USB, and the hub has 3 forward facing ports and a fourth single port in the rear. Taking the 2 devices apart he used the already there USB cord from the keyboard replacing the input cord of the hub. Then he removed the rear port and directly wired his keyboard onto the hub.

From there, its just a matter of figuring out where he wanted the hub, and cutting out the plastic. He used a knife, and had fond memories of some minor cuts, which leads us to recommend being (more) careful. A little application of fire to blade goes a long way.

Once the keyboard is back together he has a convenient 3 port hub on the back of his keyboard that looks factory and saves clutter.

Comments

  1. Rob says:

    That’s clever, I think I know what my next project is!

  2. FrankTheCat says:

    I’ve seen similar hacks with IBM Model Ms in the past, but I use an Apple Extended Keyboard II that I’ve had since my childhood. I would never dream of cutting holes in it.

  3. TheCitySpiders says:

    Great Hack!! I’ve done this with a Microsoft comfort keyboard and a similar hub {I believe it was a Targus brand hub}
    It definitely helps reduce dongle clutter.

  4. paul says:

    Reminds me of the guy who put a few GB of storage and a password manager into a usb mouse.

  5. nes says:

    Neat, but does the keyboard still work with the BIOS? I have come across several machines, particularly those with Intel chipsets which don’t enumerate a USB keyboard when there is a GL850 in the path.

    • NewCommentor1283,ihatetorx says:

      same here,
      a couple computers wont do bios anything if there is a hub “in the way”

      but when direct pluged keyboard mouse thumbdrive all work with bios BEFORE any OS starts to start loading

      this can actually be useful so u can leave a bootable usb drive pluggedin to hub and not get the “do you want to boot from usb” message every time u boot! (then to boot from usb, plug direct then reboot)

  6. Tony says:

    Or just buy a Dell keyboard.

    That said, you wind up doing this anyway when you discover they are only USB 1 and upgrade it to a USB 2 hub.

  7. macegr says:

    I keep forgetting that my Das Keyboard has USB ports on the right side. Probably because that’s really inconvenient, next to the mouse and all….

  8. mtkaalund says:

    To Nes, yes is still work with the bios, I can still get into it at least :D

    Tony, that is also an option

  9. TomF says:

    Please HaD don’t tell us to be careful with knives. That makes you sound so much like a kindergarten teacher.

    • Mikey says:

      I found the tip about heating the knives useful.

      At any rate they were probably commenting on the linked story (which I didn’t read — but gives the impression that the builder cut himself up a bunch — which isn’t horribly useful, but interesting…)

  10. vonskippy says:

    HAD Safety Approved…

    http://www.riversidepapercompany.com/images/jansan/plastic_knife_white.jpg

    Now lets be careful out there!

  11. xorpunk says:

    I’ve seen these manufactured before, but by lesser known makers. You’d think more names would make them since it just makes sense..

    I guess it’s a money thing..

    • Tony says:

      Dell is a lesser name?

      Google SK-8135, 2 USB ports and as a bonus you get a volume control that’s actually a twiddly knob.

      Then you get to hack a USB 2 hub into it anyway.

      • xorpunk says:

        Every time I see a post like yours I think of some guy sitting at a machine somewhere surfing the net all day for a chance to correct someone ^^

        You’re correct..it’s even the cool Dell design, I wonder if you can get it in all black? The Dell accessories SKUs aren’t well documented..

      • Tony says:

        Don’t we all: https://www.xkcd.com/386/?

        Black? It’s Dell, you can get any colour you like so long as it’s black, with a few silver accents to cheer up the designers.

        The only advantage you get with the Dell is the port holes are already there. Well, two of them anyway.

  12. zarnochwf1 says:

    I put a slimline hub in my Acer keyboard a few years back after seeing an IBM server keyboard with a 2 port hub and a tracpoint mouse.

    The thing to watch for when doing a hub install, is that the BIOS/UEFI firmware might not enumerate the keyboard through the hub, and you therefore loose the ability to get into any setup menu that either offers.

  13. MrZ says:

    So, if we do this to a wireless keyboard, and plug the wireless dongle into the keyboard itself, do we create perpetual motion?

  14. N0LKK says:

    An idea to ponder, but I’m unsure if stuff sticking out of my keyboard would really be an improvement as I look at all the crap that gathers around it. :(

  15. master says:

    Now all I have to do is figure out how to do this with a wireless keyboard.

  16. nah! says:

    i already did that, but i used some cheap ass 5 Bucks usb hub that lost connection everytime, so i hat to throw it out again

  17. Hardcore says:

    Lol,
    PC user builds Mac keyboard.

  18. 737NG-Info says:

    hello world – my blog http://www.737ng-info.blogspot.com

    Great work your Blog!!! my respect

  19. third says:

    I remember that ‘back in the day’ USB was originally intended to daisy chain. So there would be a few ports on your PC, and then your peripherals like keyboards, printers, external drives would all have an additional USB port built in so you would never ‘lose’ ports. Of course, by the time USB started to get popular all these extra ports were cut to save on manufacturing costs, so the number of USB ports on motherboards and cases started to grow.
    But having a number of ports close by is actually very handy, for quickly plugging in USB keys or various HIDs. I’ve always been a fan of those Dell monitors with built in hubs.

  20. Whatnot says:

    I’m not sure about running multiple high speed USB devices through the flimsy (probably unshielded or poorly shielded) cable keyboards use.
    My impression is that they know it’s low speed and unimportant and they aren’t going out of their way always to get the best for that cable.

  21. xorpunk says:

    Doing it on wireless would require a driver and lot of cell power.. The driver part is the headache because of packet protocols and error correction, you’d also need userland code for most of it..

    Actually if you can find a wireless hub that has mains or another power just make one out of a USB keyboad and a custom power bus with cell..

  22. Christoferjh says:

    I will do this with the keyboard dock for galaxy tab 8.9 :) Been thinking about it for a while

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