Upgrade an Older Swiss Army Knife Memory Stick to 2GB

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Introduction: Upgrade an Older Swiss Army Knife Memory Stick to 2GB

In this instructable I will show the steps needed to remove the existing USB Flash Memory PCB from a Victorinox Securelock "Swiss Army Knife" Memory Stick and replace it with a larger capacity USB memory stick PCB (Here I use a Lexar 2GB Firefly that runs about $25)

Background:
I never carried a pocket knife in my entire life until I got the "geek's version" as a Christmas present 3 years ago from a friend. It is a 512MB Victorinox Securelock USB Memory Stick Pocketknife. Since I received it, it is in my pocket everyday and has become indispensable. As time has passed, I have outgrown the 512MB and now I also carry a 2GB stick. To lighten my pocket load I have been thinking about upgrading the Samsung Flash chip on the PCB, but alas the OTi2168 controller chip can only support chips up to 4 gigbits (512MB). I tabled the idea for a while until I was recently given a Lexar 2GB Firefly. Curiosity got the best of me and I popped open the case. The rest, as they say, is an instructable. (or something like that)

Step 1: Tools Needed

Tools you will need

Step 2: Remove the PCB From the Swiss Army Knife Module

Pop the memory stick out of the knife. The PCB (printed circuit board) is held into the case with two tabs that seat into holes on the USB connector. Using two Xacto knives, pry open the center of the case where the small tab is set into the USB connector. Carefully slide out the PCB by holding the top and bottom of the connector.

Step 3: Open the Firefly

The Lexar Firefly case is a snap together plastic case. Using an Xacto knife, pry open the case near the connector until it pops open. Carefully work your way around the rest of the case to pop it open. Remove the LED lens that is clipped to the end of the PCB.

Step 4: Note the Size Difference of the Memory PCBs

Placing the PCBs end to end, you can see the slight size difference. You'll need to reduce the width of the Firefly PCB so that it fits into the knife case. Also, the length will need to be reduced because the USB connector on the Firefly is slightly longer.

Step 5: Filing the PCB to Size

Using a flat file, file the edges of the PCB so that is the same width as the USB connector. You will probably file into the solder connections of the USB connector housing, but that's ok. Check the fit with the knife case, as you want it narrow enough to fit in, but be somewhat tight.
File the end of the module so that it is almost to the via (plated hole) in the center, but leave some of the copper plane running side to side.
Notch the two end corners so that there is room for the posts that are inside the knife case.

Step 6: Check Your Work and the Memory Stick

Doublecheck the edges and plug the stick into a PC to make sure it still functions. If you filed the end too short and removed the copper plane, it may not function anymore.

Step 7: Remove Tabs From Knife Case

Remove the two tabs on the knife case. They will not be used to hold in the Firefly PCB.

Step 8: Insert Firefly PCB

Slide the Firefly PCB into the knife case. It should fit very snug, so that when it is all the way in, it won't come out when you try to pull it out of a USB port. Doublecheck the PCB with a PC once inserted.

Step 9: Modifying the USB Connector to Clear the Knife Post

Since the Firefly USB PCB is longer due to the USB connector, it won't rotate into the knife properly. Instead, it hits the corner post. Filing the corner of the USB connector resolves this and doesn't hurt the integrity of the connector, AS LONG AS you file the corner SMOOTH. Rough or sharp edges could cause damage to the USB port connectors you plug it into. Try to maintain the shape of the plastic piece inside as it tends to "tailfin" from the filing. In other words, it softens and bends up rather than filing off smooth. Running an Xacto along the edge of the plastic piece trims this tailfin off nicely.

Step 10: Finished!

Snap the knife case back onto the knife and you're done. For the old 512MB PCB, I covered it with two layers of 3/4" heatshrink so it is usable and still durable. I flattened the end with a large piece of metal while it was still hot so that it created the "tab". I will probably punch a hole in it to attach it to ???

Step 11: Optional: Updating the Marking

I added a label of the 512MB. I used the instructable hand logo, the size "2GB", and my logo I use for all of my designs "dRu". In case you are wondering, the label was printed on a Brady 600 dpi thermal transfer printer.

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29 Discussions

Nice instructible ...wish I had one of these although with british security laws I think they would throw hissy fits if I tried to use it anywhere.

The "tail fin" is known as swarf where I'm from.

Great Instructable!!!

I just upgraded my 64MB memory stick by replacing it with the following.

Kingston’s DataTraveler® SE9 USB Flash drive.   ~ $12.99 at FRYS.COM

Kingston SE9 16GB USB
  Mfr: Kingston    Model: DTSE9H/16GBZ 
  FRYS.com #7280443    UPC: 740617198270 

This memory can be pushed into the old housing as is without having to do anything with it.

I followed this instructable to remove the old memory, carefully removed the two locking tabs with a razor, and then pushed this memory stick into the old housing.  This Kingston memory stick's dimensions are the
same dimensions of a USB connector and fits very snuggly into the old memory housing.  Carefully push in, but not all the way in, leaving enough of the memory stick sticking out to plug into USB receptacles.
(use the connector of another USB flash drive to measure how much connector should be sticking out.)

Note:  Memory stick should be pushed in to housing just enough so that it folds closed completely into knife.

Note:  If you push memory stick in too far, use pliers with electrical tape wrapped around the jaws for protection, to carefully grip the memory stick on the thin edges and gentle wriggle out the memory stick and try again.

THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME!
I SAW ONE OF THOSE KNIVES ON ANOTHER SITE AND I WAS THINKING HOW LITTLE SPACE WAS ON IT THIS FIXES THAT PROBLEM

Anyone tried another brand? Lexar 2GB Firefly is not available here in Holland and the supplier banded one I opened is too big.

 this is great! I thought about doing this a while ago, but couldn't find a cheap drive small enough. you have done all the hard work for me! thanks!

If i may add somthing to this great instructable, after you do the fileing work with the PCB and the fileing of the connector clean the PCB and connector from any dust resulting from work to avoid a shortcircuit and burn the drive or if you are REALLY unlucky you can burn the usb port of the comp. too ....

Great instructable. Well written with clear instructions. I upgraded to a 4 Gb Lexar/Firefly. Although the components on the USB drive are a bit different than the picture of the 2 Gb in the instructable, the size/instructions are the same. If you con't have an Exacto knife to pry the cases open/apart, you may CAREFULLY use two, inexpensive, single edge razor blades. There is risk of injury. The risk of cutting yourself if the blade slips, or the risk of blade fracturing and a piece flying off is increased if you use these razor blades. WEAR PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR. I bear no responsibility for this advice.

I made the sticker with a Brady thermal transfer printer. The knives can be bought at various places. You can find them a lot on eBay but if you want a factory new one, just go to Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.
Swiss Army SwissFlash

you should punch that hole in the old once and connect it to the swiss army knife ;)

1 reply

i hate how you never get exactly the right ammount of space. like that one was 2gb but actually was 1.86?? and like a 160gb hdd is actually 149gb... :-(... ya random, but just wanted to say lol

4 replies

The cause of that is formatting and in the hard drive's case it also has the OS pre-installed so that is what takes up the rest of the space not used in formatting.

Actually it's because HD and flash makers count 1 Megabyte as 1000 kilobytes and 1 gigabyte as 1000 megabytes. when in fact a gigabyte is 1024 megabytes. I don't know why they do that but thats why (a long with the filesystem & formatting) you loose that last bit of space.

Excellent presentation. I didnt know these came in a knife. I used to fly a lot and quit carrying a pocket knife after 9/11. I may start carrying one again and this is great to know, both that the knife is out there and that It is upgradeable via instructables! : ) - Thanks.

Nicely done. Good pictures too. You should make a cool case for the old USB drive now! I really like the LEGO USB drives some people have been making.

+1 just for the amazing macro pictures! Another +1 for a cool idea! Another +1 for great documentation! Another +1 for that cool label! Oh, wait, I can only give you one +1. CURSE YOU, INSTRUCTABLES ADMINISTRATORS!!!

Now to actually get a USB swiss army knife...They're a bit pricey, since a $120 1GB knife is simply a $25 drive in a $5-$10 knife. Maybe I'll make my own, and make an Instructable, and win a Leatherman to replace it...

1 reply

Damn right! We need real karma! I don't want to flag comments, I want to praise them... doesn't the little box says exactly that? "Be nice policy" So yeah Instructables, please please please allow us to be even nicer ! And yes, excellent macros! (which seems rare here ;o) great doc, good little hack. Big Up :)