HardwareMods



 

Serial interface level converter (to connect to a PC)

 

Since the serial interface header J7 on the MG35 uses 0/3.3V logic, you'll need a level converter to connect to a PC. DON NOT CONNECT J9 SIGNALS DIRECTLY TO THE SERIAL INTERFACE OF YOUR PC!!! YOU'LL PROBABLY DESTROY THE MG35!

 

You can build your own converter if you're handy with the soldering tools. But it's easier to buy one, for example this one (we have no relation with th company, it's just an example). It costs from about $10.00 USD (bare board) to about $25.00 USD (assembled and tested). The one offered comes with a max232 chip that needs a 5V supply, and since the MB connector provides 3.3V, you will want to populate the board with a MAX3232E IC since it operates at both 5V and 3.3V.

 

It is also possible to use a mobile phone serial or USB-to-serial data cable as a level converter. You can use the nice list of cell phone cable pinouts or dig for more pinouts . There is even a small tutorial for using a Nokia data cable to connect to WRT54G router, which has a serial interface similar to MG35. Another good resource for level converters is the NSLU2 serial port page.

 

The following picture shows the connection of a $10 converter purchased from e-bay. Note that pin 1 on the MG-35 header is an Output and the cable shows the blue wire as RxD (meaning the converter input).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chances are that if you're interested in your MG35's serial interface, you'll also want to read the debricking page :-).

 

External IR receiver

 

There is a IR Remote Control Extender available from www.divxtech.com that works perfectly with the MG-35...Comes with a sixteen foot cord and costs $15.00 with free shipping to the U.S. Also, Ewaggle (the retail arm of Anywhereus) are now selling the "official" IR receivers for the MG-35. This one is on eBay, but will probably expire sometime in the future. A bit expensive, at 29USD + shipping ...

 

But before you rush out and buy one, I have just made my own for about £1.80 (3.50 USD). You need an IR receiver photodiode (Sharp GP1UX511QS, Farnell order code 1243868) and a 3.5mm stereo jack and lead (I cannibalized a 5m 3.5mm to phono lead, Farnell order code AV02584).

 

The IR receiver is about 6mm square with 3 wires; orientate this with the bulge to the front and the wires pointing down. Left is “signal”, middle “ground” and right is “5v supply”. Solder the leads from the plug so that the front contact of the plug is wired to the signal, the middle contact to the 5v supply and the rear contact to the ground. Tape up any exposed contacts to avoid shorts and you are done. The manufacture’s technical notes suggest you need a capacitor placed across 5v supply and ground to stabilize the supply. As yet mine works without this.

 

 

Plugging-in the remote IR does not disable the onboard receiver, and they appear to work fine in tandem. The finished device lacks the IR housing of the commercial device but it is light and tiny so it can be taped anywhere convenient as long as you have line of sight to the remote. I think this will be risk free even if you get the wiring wrong, but no guarantees.

 

As for remote, AmazonUK are currently offering a OneForAll Kameleon 6 way universal remote for £28.99 including shipping. OneForAll technical support say there is a setup code for the “Freecom mediaplayer”. You can probably use other types of universal learning remotes.

 


 

No-case mod

Mark Hotchkiss removed the case and placed the MG35 on the back of his TV. Here are his notes:

 

"Currently I have the two bare MG35 boards velcro-ed to the back of a TV. The component connectors protrude the most. I use a home-made IR extender. I have found that the main MG35 board will power-up without the front panel board. However, the IR doesn't work without the front panel, as it is decoded by the front panel's microcontroller.

 

My goal is to have a diskless MG35 board that can be mounted behind or inside a flat panel tv and is controlled through the Ethernet. Then I won't need the front panel, and everything can be controller remotely."


 

Adding a HDD fan

If your hard drive is heating and you are concerned about its life, you can add an internal cooler. Instructions are on this forum.


 

Adding Bluetooth (KB, mouse, etc)

This looks promising. Waiting for a quote.

 


 

Using a SATA drive in MG35

MG35 has a PATA interface for HDD. However, there are lots of IDE-to-SATA converters available on eBay. Thekrell tried many of them and found that they are not all created equal. The only one confirmed to work with MG35 (tested with a Western Digital 1 TB SATA drive) was the one sold by eBay user byourlcd. Auction description is "Newest 2.5/3.5 Drive SATA to ATA IDE Converter Adapter" and it's currently (May 20, 2009) listed as BuyItNow for $5.33 with free shipping.