The Sandisk InsecureMate

Click to enlarge
What I started with
Ugly, isn't it? Better view of the front
So I had this Sandisk Securemate SD-card reader. Odd-looking bulby thing, isn't it? Works a treat, though, even under Linux®. The only thing that irked me about it was
  • It's size
  • It's shape
  • It's really long cord

I wanted to use it like a thumbnail drive, but it was big, ugly, and unweidly. So my latest obsession was born... I would hack apart a Sandisk Securemate, and put it's innards in a smaller case.

So I set to. It's a tough sucker to get inside; no screws, just 100% molded hermetrically sealed plastic. Interestingly enough, once you hack through the nigh-impenetrable outer shell you find ANOTHER plastic shell, covered in copper foil, covering the circuit board. Apparently it needs shielding.

Inside this second shell is the circuit board itself; an oddly triangular-shaped all-in-one thing with a SD connector on one end and five wires soldered to well-labeled points the board from the cable. I regret not taking a photograph of it at the time, but c'est la vie.

Then I had to take apart the cable itself - and realized that breaking into the Sandisk Securemate had been EASY. The molded cable assembly, after several days of hacking and prodding, finally gave way and revealed it's innermost assemblies to me. Now came the fun part.

First off, I soldered the USB connector directly to the board instead of through a cable. It had to go upside down, the pins wouldn't match up otherwise. Then I cobbled together a case for the thing.

I'd originally planned to use something like a DB-25 shell to encase it, but the board is such an odd shape that didn't work. Instead I took 2 pieces of perfboard and cut them to match the board, sandwiched the SecureMate's board between them, wrapped the whole thing in copper foil for shielding, and soldered the thing solid.

I'd intended for the thing to look smooth and metallic; perhaps if I'd still had those BIG pieces of copper foil, it would, but I was forced to use a host of thinner pieces. I didn't expect the sheer lumpiness of how it ended up; it's how one might imagine a Vogon ship to look like, a chunky, lumpy triangular slab, vaguely yellow in some places. It's ugly, allright. But it works perfectly, so nyah.