the PTC fuse to blame for the fault described, on the ROG Ally board, with a wire soldered across the fuse

ROG Ally SD Card Slot Fix Shines Light On PTC Fuse Failure Modes

The Asus ROG Ally is a handheld that, to our pleasant surprise, has attracted a decently sized modding community. Recently, we’ve stumbled upon a Reddit post investigating a somewhat common failure mode of this handheld — the microSD card slot going out of order, where an inserted card fails to be recognized, pretty irritating to encounter. Now, it turns out, this is down to a certain model of PTC fuses being failure-prone.

It makes sense to fuse the SD card slot. The cards are dense pieces of technology that are subject to some wear and tear in daily use. As such, it’s not unheard of that a microSD card can short-circuit internally — heating up to the point of melting plastic and giving people severe burns. Given that such a card is typically connected to a beefy 3.3 V rail, any mass-manufactured device designer could want to put a fuse between the 3.3 V rail and the card. However, on some ROG Ally batches, a certain make of the fuse is used, that appears to be likely to develop faults: the fuse’s resistance increasing dramatically during the card’s normal operation, with the SD card being supplied subpar power as a result.

There’s a fair bit of investigating happening in the comment section, with people posting oscilloscope captures, using breakouts to tap the SD card, and figuring out the fuse part numbers for the affected models. As for Reddit’s solution, it’s short-circuiting the fuse with a piece of thin wire — we would probably source a suitable fuse and solder it on top of the faulty one.

This isn’t the first ROG Ally modification we’ve covered so far, and given the activity we’re seeing, it’s unlikely to be our last.

The ROG Ally with the second screen mod installed

Dual-Screen Mod For The ROG Ally Handheld

In our continuing coverage of the ROG Ally modding community, we would be amiss to not mention a seriously impressive mod — a dual screen project for the x86 gaming handheld by [YesItsKira]! Single screen devices can feel cramped, and this mod is a prime example of a dedicated hacker taking things into her own hands. In particular, the mechanics of this mod are done wonderfully, thanks to a custom-designed 3D printed Ally back cover.

The second screen connects through a USB-C port, held above the main screen by a sturdy printed hinge at whatever angle you want it. As a pleasant surprise, it’s also touch-enabled! The mod is fully open source and well documented — everything you need to print is published on Thingiverse, a detailed assembly guide with pictures is on GitHub, and the BOM is at the bottom of the guide.

Apart from printed parts, you only need a few things off Amazon, it’s that easy to source. Electronics-wise, this mod uses a Raspberry Pi-suited HDMI screen, wiring it up through an integrated USB-C dock; which means you can still charge your handheld while using the dual-screen solution!

Interested in modifications for your ROG Ally, but not quite ready to bolt on a second display? Check out this phenomenally documented battery upgrade from an iFixit staffer that we recently covered.

The mod as installed into the handheld, complete with the custom 3D-printed back, with a screwdriver being used to install one of the screws

A ROG Ally Battery Mod You Ought To Try

Today’s hack is an unexpected but appreciated contribution from members of the iFixit crew, published by [Shahram Mokhtari]. This is an ROG Ally Asus-produced handheld gaming console mod that has you upgrade the battery to an aftermarket battery from an Asus laptop to double your battery life (40 Wh to 88 Wh).

There are two main things you need to do: replace the back cover with a 3D printed version that accommodates the new battery, and move the battery wires into the shell of an old connector. No soldering or crimping needed — just take the wires out of the old connector, one by one, and put them into a new connector. Once that is done and you reassemble your handheld, everything just works; the battery is recognized by the OS, can be charged, runs the handheld wonderfully all the same, and the only downside is that your ROG Ally becomes a bit thicker.

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