I’ve put my modded IO Dock on eBay!

It’s the first ever IO Dock outside Alesis’ labs to feature a USB hub, it’s the most successful project in this blog, and I am selling it. 20140523-105055-39055060.jpg

It was a simple hack on a crazy notion, and I’m really happy how it all turned out, getting noted by Discchord and Synthopia and others. More importantly, it’s a simple solution for a real problem, and it just works.

I’m also a lot more confident that it’s a good hack: The modified IO Dock has been in use at home and in the band for over a year, and the hack has been successfully replicated by some very smart hackers – over at Churchnerd’s blog you’ll not only find a description how to do it that is way better than mine, he also found a simple and elegant way to make the modded dock work with the iPad Air.

So why am I selling? I’ve got a good reason: Money. :) Apart from that, I am using an iPad Air now and switched over to another interface – a third-hand Novation X-Station keyboard/synth/fx combi with class-compliant USB Midi and Audio in/out. Best solution in the practice room for the time being, and if I’m getting a good price on my IO Dock, I might go out and get a Focusrite iTrack Dock to use at home.

However, I encourage you to try the hack for yourself, and I am confident that it will work with the new, lightning connector enabled, IO Dock 2. (Update: unfortunately, it doesn’t.)

A couple of things I have learned:

  • Some people are really scared by the bullshit warnings that advise you not to open the housing.
  • Anybody who can solder a cable can do it.
  • The hub matters. I was lucky to pick an active hub that works in my setup, a Belkin F5U404. If the hack does not work, and you have excluded switched in/out ports and messed-up USB connections as the cause, you may try another powered hub.
  • Use connectors, don’t solder it into the IO Dock – although you need 2mm pinstripe plugs/sockets like these that may be a bit hard to find, it is worth the effort: you’ll be able to test and reverse the hack.
  • Lab-test first. Dremel later. Before soldering or dremeling anything in the Dock, start with a simple workbench test – open the Dock, unplug the connector for the iPad, connect it to the hub with the modified cables you’ve made.
  • If you overload the IO Dock by drawing too much USB current, it just shuts down. So far, no harm has been done, still I think it’s a good idea to be careful and never connect more than one 500mA device.
  • When you are hacking the IO Dock anyway, you might think about adding a power-on LED connected to the hub’s 5V supply – I always regretted not having done this.

One thing left to do: Many, many thanks for all the feedback, the ideas and the improvement. It made it all worth while. Whatever the turnout of my auction is.