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Add a REAL HD Light to your Mini9
Published by UnaClocker
12-20-2008
Default Add a REAL HD Light to your Mini9

Editted for the RunCore drive, removed information about the defunct Generic SSD this article was originally about.

And a video, on YouTube.
How I figured this out.. The STEC SSD uses a controller that is BGA, meaning all of it's pins are underneath it. But the RunCore SSD has a controller with all of it's pins accessible. So that's what started my gears moving. I started with getting the tech sheet for the controller on the RunCore SSD. It is a JMicron JM20330. That got me the pinout of that controller. I knew that if you tapped a certain wire on a standard PATA ide cable, you could use that wire to drive an activity LED. I did some googling and determined that it was pin 39 out of 40. Some more googling and I found that the name for that wire is "DASP". Looking at the pinout for the controller on the RunCore SSD, it was pin # 42 on the controller. That pin is the 2nd pin in from one of the corners. I wasn't looking forward to soldering to that leg, that far in. Luckily, I noticed a trace leading directly away from that leg. I followed it to a resistor. I used a Meter to confirm that's where it lead, since there was some silkscreened writing on top of the trace obscuring it. Once I confirmed that it was going to that resistor, I simply soldered to that side of the resistor. MUCH easier to solder to. I tried my best to take a picture of which resistor you are soldering to, I think it's pretty clear from the picture. It's normally under a sticker that you'll have to peal back. Please do not do this if you don't think you are a soldering wizard. And be aware, this WILL void your warranty. Say goodbye to that warranty.


Next, I needed some power. Being an LED, 3.3v is plenty. So I googled up the pinout for the MiniPCI-e slots, and saw that 3.3v was available at pin52, among other places. So I ran a wire from the unpopulated MiniPCI-e slot's pin 52.

Next, I quickly put the machine back together to do a quick trial on my desk to see if my research had been correct and this really would get me an HDD light.


Bingo! It works. Just for the record, I used a 3mm LED, 1k resistor (far more than I needed, but very safe, and you have to go a lot farther overboard on resistance before the LED starts getting dimmer)
Now I went and downloaded the disassembly guide from Dell and took the machine all the way apart. I found that I could tuck the LED right up next to spot where the lights come out the front of the unit. Unfortunately, I didn't snap any pictures of the LED installed. I used some superglue to hold the LED in place. If you go to do this after me, this step should make itself pretty well obvious. I used heatshrink tubing to protect the bare leads at the LED.
So that's about all there is to it. The hard part really was the research. Check out the video I linked at the beginning to see the light in action.
And before anyone asks.. I know someone is bound to.. No, this will not even SLIGHTLY affect your battery life. The LED draws 20ma at most, and is on a very small portion of the time the machine itself is on.
And one other note.. I did not disable the low battery LED. It'll still blink orange when the battery gets below 10% like it always has. When the low battery light is flashing while the hard drive is accessing, you get a kind of pinkish color.
Final note, again, this article was edited from the original post regarding the now discontinued "Generic MLC SSD's".. I kept most of the wording the same and just changed the names and some of the facts. I liked the way I had written it last time.
If you don't want to void your warranty, there are some software solutions.
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  #1  
Old 05-15-2009, 02:06 PM
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*sigh* I wish I had the soldering skills to do this mod. I so desparately want to do it.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:52 PM
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Read back through this thread. Pin 52 doesn't work for this on RunCore SSDs.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:50 AM
khammo01 khammo01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holmes4 View Post
Read back through this thread. Pin 52 doesn't work for this on RunCore SSDs.
That's what I understand, but someone tell that to my Dell Mini, because it's working with a Runcore 64.

Pin 52 on the Runcore Mini PCI connector (on the mainboard): to negative terminal of LED

Pin 52 on the WWAN Mini PCI connector: to positive terminal of LED

It flashes dim for a read and bright for a write. Looks perfect to me...
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:17 AM
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I apologize. I had meant to edit my own post. Not sure how that happened. As I am a moderator, I can edit anyone's post.

According to the first post in this thread, Pin 52 is a 3.3V source, not a signal of any kind.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:00 AM
xokeman xokeman is offline
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do we know if pin 52 will work on super talent drives????
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2009, 09:40 PM
TipsyTC TipsyTC is offline
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Why risk damaging your DM9 just to add a HD LED when MenuMeters Raging Menace - MenuMeters will put a hard drive drive activity light on your menu bar.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:14 PM
PGH PGH is offline
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Default Using Pins 52 & 52

Got mine wired for pins 52 (WWAN) & 52 (SSD) and works fine with Runcore 64 or Runcore 16. When I get a 32G I will try that also. Using LED from All Electronics | Electronic and Electro-Mechanical Parts and Supplies at Discount Prices, CAT# LED-139B, Forward voltage, 3.2V typical - 3.5V max. 20mA, no resistor, 50cent each.

Why do it...Hmmmm... works even before menu system is loaded...menu not shown in full screen video...I like the pink light when using non Dell battery.

Last edited by PGH; 06-12-2009 at 09:15 PM.. Reason: typo
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  #8  
Old 06-14-2009, 02:27 AM
Rotzog Rotzog is offline
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On the stock 16 Gig STEC SSD, you can get +3.3 volts on pins 47, 49, and 51. L2 makes a good soldering point. These are all connected together on the other side of the board from pin 52 (-DASP).

I hot-melt glued a header socket to the pin 52 side of the board, and connected the LED to this. This way the SSD can be removed without disassembling the entire computer.
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  #9  
Old 06-30-2009, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnaClocker View Post
If you don't want to void your warranty, there are some software solutions.
This page is a dead link. Got an updated one?

Anyone know WHY Dell thought it a good idea to NOT put a real HD LED?? Seems completely asinine to me that they would purposely omit such a useful indicator.
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