About: I am an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I intend to study Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I am a tinkerer by nature: above all, I love to learn by building, wiri…

Ever find yourself with a memory card or flash drive with nowhere to stick it?  Yup, I've been in that situation too and I hate searching for a reader or an open USB port.  Inspired by my dead computer, I found a solution.  I removed the card reader/USB port combo drive and augmented it to fit my own needs, which is in the Instructables spirit.

Step 1: [SUPPLIES]

You will need the following:
Soldering Iron
Card Reader from Dead Computer
Unused USB Cable
Wire Strippers/Cutters
Screwdriver and Drill


I removed the drive from my dead computer, as shown below.  The port it is attached to internally seems strange, but we'll deal with that later.  Be careful with removing the drive, so that it is not damaged in the process.

Step 3: [WIRING]

The cable coming from the drive will have either 4 or 8 wires.  If it includes a USB port, it will have 8, so that it can power the port separately.  Strip the sheath using a pair or wire strippers, because scissors might nick the wires.  When you strip the wire, you will probably see a wire mesh and a foil shield; cut both of them off, so that the wires are exposed.  Strip the wires carefully.  I used wire cutters, because strippers cannot handle wire of such an extreme gauge.  Group the wires as shown below into two categories.  The green, red, black, and white wires are the normal USB colors.  The other four colors vary by brands and are not set standards, as far as I know.  The augmented colors can be matched to the standard colors by looking at the drive connector.  The opposing wires have the same electrical value and should be treated as the same color.  For example, for my specific case, I will treat orange wires just as I treat red one; the same is true for black and brown.  The reason these colors are used is so that the card reader connections are not confused with the USB connections.  Solder each color to its corresponding color on a stripped USB cable.  Insulate the connection with electrical tape, which will be hid under the desk.

Step 4: [MOUNT]

Remove the top cover of the drive and place it in its future location.  Trace the holes and pre-drill them.  Screw in the top cover, while being mindful of your desk material.  Snap in the actual drive and screw it into place.  Finally, pop on the front cover.

Step 5: [ENJOY]

Plug the drive into your USB ports and enjoy!

I am competing the "Dead Computer Contest".  Please take a moment to vote; it will mean a lot to me!

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    12 years ago on Step 3

    This instructable looks cool and what I needed. But I'm having trouble with the pic showing the two sets of wires taped to what doesn't appear to be a USB end. Maybe I misunderstood this as an external connection for the reader via the USB port? As in, you could plug in the card reader like you would a keyboard or mouse.

    Perhaps a pic of the finalized item in it's entirety, svp?