Adding firewire ports to a Shuttle XS35V2

Cyberport, Reichelt, and others sell these inexpensive machines. The photo to the right shows the newly added firewire ports in the DVD-bay cover.

I’d like to use them for a dvswitch setup capturing live DV-video streams via firewire (ieee1394). The Shuttle XS35V2 is a good candidate, although it has no firewire ports. It is

  • inexpensive (ca. 150 EUR including CPU, excluding RAM)
  • small and lightweighted (1 Liter, 2kg)
  • fanless (which is important for some smaller conferences)
  • diskless, can boot from USB or SD-Card, if needed also from SSD.

The important modification is to add firewire support.
The machine has a miniPCI Express port allowing such additions. But the machine has no free slots in the chassis, as the port is meant for internal expansions like e.g.  WIFI, which is actually included. The new Firewire connectors will reside in the opening originally reserved for a DVD-Drive. We bought two things:

We also need:

  • 2 small washers: 1x 1.5mm (far from mPCIe)/ 1x 2mm (near mPCIe) M3 (for lowering the mainboard)
  • 2 plastic screws M3x20
  • 2 plastic nuts M3
  • 2 plastic spacers 13mm long, 6mm outer, 3.2mm inner diameter. (to mount the DawiControl card)
  • 1 flat 3mm plastic piece, 33mm x 21mm, for fixing the miniPCIe card.
  • 1 flat 1mm plastic piece 45mm x 57mm, for insulting the DawiControl card.
  • Optional:
    • 2  small plastic wedges 2m vs 1.5mm slanted M3 (for stablilizing the spacers)
    • Tool for pulling out one M2-insert
    • Small amount of heat-conductive paste for remounting the heat sink.


  1. Open the chassis, remove top and bottom cover.
    Unscrew the SD-Card board.
  2. Gently pull off the yellow bios battery from its sticker,
  3. … fit it under the sdcard board, so that it is out of the way,
  4. secure the sdcard-board with two screws.
  5. unscrew the wifi-card, slide it out  of the miniPCIe port.
  6. gently peel off the patch antenna (unscrew the usb connector for better access).
  7. lower the mainboard near the miniPCIe port, so that the ribbon cable connector of the riser card has enough space. This is tricky as some screws are inaccessible due to the heatsink:
    1. Remove the heatsink. 5 screws. There is conductive paste between heatsink and CPU. Do not touch. You may want to reuse the conductive paste by spreading it towards the center with a clean tool. Or simply apply some new paste. The photo shows the heatsink half-transparent.
    2. Losen the mainboard, move it a few milimeters towards the baseplate mount. This gives access to two screws that fix the metal carrier in the plastics frame. Marked in red in the photo. Unscrew, slide washers 1.5mm and 2mm between metal and plastics. Fix the screws again.
    3. Fix mainboard.
    4. Remount heatsink with fresh (or carefully reused) heat-transfer paste.
  8. Drill two holes for mounting the DawiControl card, see cut marks in the red circles.
  9. Level the area around the mounting holes with an 8mm milling cuter (or optionally use small wedges.)
  10. Cut a rectangular opening in the inner plastic support to allow the cable of the riser card to pass to the other side. See cut marks around the red rectangle.
  11. Cut away or shorten the plastic part where the mini-wifi-card was secured with a screw. (Pull out the M2-insert first, to make that plastic cutting easier, if you have the tool)
  12. Attach a 3mm adapter piece to the riser-card, so that two nearby mounting holes can be used to secure the riser card. Push the other end of the ribbon cable through the rectangular hole.
  13. Turn the Shuttle around. Test the place for the FireWire card.
  14. Glue the 1mm protective platic piece to the metal mesh of the cover.
  15. Plug the ribbon cable into the small PCI express connecter board. Plug in the Firewire card to that port. Mount the FireWire card using two distance rolls.
  16. Close covers. Done!

Pin out of USB RS232 cables

RS232 is not really the right term here. None of these cables produce the inverted 12V signals for proper R232. They do 5V TTL levels (or 3.3V with 5V compartibility) just as an FTDI chip would do. This works great for direct connection with the UART of an Atmel Microcontroller.

Nokia CA-42 / DKU-5

This cable has 7 wires, but only 4 are connected. The Photo below shows where I did cut open the soft plastics (between sticker and tail) to reach the place of the PCB, where the unused pins are. I’ve connected some of the unused wires to give me a cable with handshake signals.

I keep forgetting the pin out all the time. Here is the color codes stored for eternity:

Black:    (7) GND

Blue:      (3) RxD to USB Host

White:    (2) TxD from USB Host

Orange: (10) +5V

Green:    (9) [DTR/RTS] from USB Host

Red:       (8) DCD to USB Host

Brown:    (5) ???

The question marks are some Handshake signals. The numbers in parenthesis are the pin numbers on one of the PCBs I have disassembled.
Retail price May 2013: ca. 3.33 EUR

MQ Power USB Datenkabel für Siemens DCA-510 S55 / SL55

This is a newer cable for a Siemens S55 Phone. The cable has only for wires, although the PCB has a 5th pin for a handshake signal.

Yellow: Ground

Red:     +5V

Green: RXD

Blue:    TXD

— :      DTR

This cable sends continuous garbage to the USB-Host, if the green wire is left floating. You can prevent this, by dropping e.g. a 430K Ohm SMD resistor (not shown above) between the soldering pads of RxD and GND.

As of May 2013, this cable can be bought for as low as 1.49 EUR; google for the german title above.