Author Topic: Razer Blackwidow Chroma v2 Disassembly and USB-C Mod  (Read 1977 times)

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Offline Torch

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Location: Germany
Razer Blackwidow Chroma v2 Disassembly and USB-C Mod
« on: Tue, 07 July 2020, 10:28:36 »
Hi Geekhack Community,
I want to share my first Keyboard Mod Project with you.
I thought I'll do a tutorial on how to do it, maybe It can help someone.



First Question you'll probably ask:
Why did you Mod your Razer Keyboard these are *insert opinion on Razer here*?
Quite easy, I'm new to the Custom Keyboard world and I quite like the BW for gaming, but I hate to have many cables on my desk.
So I thought: My custom Keyboard will have USB-C, why not add the same on the Blackwidow for KBD hotswapping.

Important:
I'm not an electrical engineer, I just do some electrical engineering as a Hobby, so If some of you would do something different, post it here.
At the end of the post will be a list of things I would do differently the next time.
Warning: The mod was only tested with an USB-A to USB-C cable. It should work with USB-C to USB-C connections because of the installed 5.1 kOhm resistors, but I haven't tested it!
The USB pass-though and AUX pass-through won't work with this mod

Now lets start:

First step the Disassembly:

1. Remove the rubber feet (red) and the plastic caps (green).
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2. remove screws:
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3. Remove plastic clips. Start with the Front(red) after that the Sites (green).
There is no need to unclip the Back, it will slide off.
Just be a little careful on the USB + AUX side and the Logo LED on the front.
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Opened:
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4. Remove the diffuser on top of the Logo LED. You just have to bend one pin (red) to one site and slide the diffuser off.
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5. Remove the PCB from the case. Unscrew all screws (red) and carefully lift the PCB on the site without the ports.
    Look at the green plastic location if the PCB is all the way off until lifting it out of the case.
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6. Disconnect the connector, these things sit tight. Pull on the sites of the jack until it comes off.
    Desolder the shield cable (green).
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You've successfully disconnected the cable! Nice!



Modding the BW v2:

Now we can build our new USB cable which connects the PCB with the new USB-C Board.
Hardware required:

An adventure to the wondrous world of USB-C specs:
[1] Because the USB-C specs are huge and USB-C can be used with many configurations (qc with 20V, Source / Sink config) you should add 5.1+-20% kOhm resistors to the CC1 and CC2 Ports (Important: On both!)
The resistors will make our keyboard a sink and a UFP (Upstream Facing Port). The board from Pololu has these already.

[2] Because the BW v2 was designed for USB 2.0 it'll use max 500mA@5V (USB High power Mode) so you're safe with every USB-A to USB-C cable.
Your fancy new Smartphone on the other hand could fry your legacy USB Port, if the cable doesn't advertise itself as legacy.
Why? Because some manufacturers aren't using the right resistors. Your smartphone could think: "Nice a USB QC compatible port, I'll charge with 3A@5V", your USB port wont really like this.
This problem is still not solved so look which cable you buy. Buy only high quality ones which are USB certified or test them yourself before you use them.

Specs can be found here: https://www.usb.org/sites/default/files/USB%20Type-C%20Spec%20R2.0%20-%20August%202019.pdf
A list of tips and tricks: https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/chromium-os/cable-and-adapter-tips-and-tricks

[3] I would get a cable which is already crimped, these things are small and very hard to crimp without the right tools (which are expensive af) Example cables: https://www.molex.com/molex/search/partSearch?pQuery=&sType=a&query=214920
A picture of the crimp terminals and the housing:
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Now lets begin with our modding:
Pinout:

First the Pinout for the Molex Connector:
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1. red: USB Pass-through Port (Side) VCC (+)
2. white: USB Pass-through Port (Side) Data -
3. green: USB Pass-through Port (Side)  Data +
4. black: USB Pass-through Port (Side) GND (-)
5. brown: AUX "3"
6. orange: AUX "1"
7. yellow: AUX "2"
8. blue: AUX "4"
9. purple: USB VCC (+)
10. pink: USB Data -
11. Lime: USB Data +
12. grey: USB GND (-)
13. Solderd black: USB shared shield


Building the cable:

1. Strip the wire from the coat and strip the wires.
    We want to add the shield later on, so don't cut the shield.
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2. Attach the Molex cables with the USB wires or crimp the terminals and solder them.
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3. Isolate the wires with shrinking tube and electrical tape
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4. wrap the shield back around the wire
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5. Plug the terminals in the housing. You want to use the "USB" Ports.
Cable Black (ground) plugs into housing 12
Cable Green (Data +) plugs into housing 11
Cable White (Data -) plugs into housing 10
Cable Red (VCC) plugs into housing 9

6. Add electrical tape to the cable, we don't want metal on the outside.

7. Solder the USB-C board - Important, switch D+ and D-
Cable Black (ground) goes to GND
Cable Green (Data +) goes to Data -
Cable White (Data -)  goes to Data +
Cable Red (VCC) goes to VCC
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8. Plug the housing into the PCB and check for shorts and connection

9. If there are no problems you should test if your Computer can communicate with the keyboard.
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10. We are nearly finished! You just need to remove the plastic where the cable was connected and install the USB-C board.
      Check if you can still close the Keyboard and verify that the USB cable plugs all the way in.

11. Glue the Board to the case. USB-C requires force to unplug so make sure its fixed.
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12. Route the cables in the case
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13. Add the PCB on top and plug the housing in the PCB.
     Measure every connection again, we don't want any shorts.
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14. Test everything again, if your computer can communicate with the Blackwidow you can assemble the Keyboard.

You are finished! Enjoy your USB-C BW!

Finished Keyboard:
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Things I would do different:
  • Use an USB-Cable which has a shield mesh which I could solder the PCB


« Last Edit: Tue, 07 July 2020, 10:50:14 by Torch »

Offline suicidal_orange

  • * Global Moderator
  • Posts: 3856
  • Location: England
Re: Razer Blackwidow Chroma v2 Disassembly and USB-C Mod
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 07 July 2020, 12:15:52 »
Nice write up, this question has come up a few times lately for random keyboards so I'll be linking people here as an example :thumb:
120/100g linear Zealio R1  
GMK Hyperfuse
'Split everything' perfection  
MX Clear
SA Hack'd by Geeks     
EasyAVR mod
MX Brown 30g, HHKBish
Vortex OEM PBT
for See how the other half lives challenge!

Offline Torch

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Location: Germany
Re: Razer Blackwidow Chroma v2 Disassembly and USB-C Mod
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 07 July 2020, 14:34:21 »
Thank you!
I wanted to make a tutorial because I couldn't find Information on this specific case, so it would be great If it can help someone.