Nintendo Switch Dock mod/recasing

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Rolfin, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. Rolfin

    Rolfin Member

    Hey all, new to the forum!

    Anyone know much about this kind of thing? I have an idea that I want to either make myself or commission someone online to, so any resources for that kind of thing would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, I want your opinions on this:

    My goal is to take the internals of a Switch dock and convert it into what can essentially be described as the bottom half of a laptop. Ideally, the dock would have the outer casing and a hinge. The Switch would slot into it and could close up, clamshell style, to go into TV mode, but this device would also double as a "tabletop station" as I call it, expanding the off-TV functionality to inlcude:

    - extra battery(this will also add weight to help stabilize the whole unit)
    - USB ports for charging AND peripheral use(wired controllers, for example)
    - HDMI output(obviously)
    - Ethernet port for LAN functionality
    - and MAYBE a built in keyboard. This isn't necessary, but the Switch does support keyboards, and you never know when a game that uses one might come out!

    The actual parts used for a dock mod are quite compact(and versatile as a result), so I'm actually a bit surprised I have only seen people make dock mods who's only function is to be smaller. But I'm not sure where to go from the 'idea' phase to actually making one. I have practically no experience with electronic hardware, so your help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
    The amazing skeleton and ttsgeb like this.
  2. Blargaman91

    Blargaman91 Well-Known Member

    I like this idea. I think you could use the laptop casing from a small laptop the same width as the Switch, although that would probably be a lot thicker than you need. The only issue I see with this is that you can't prevent the Switch from going into TV mode when the charger is plugged in. So you can't charge it while using it in "laptop" mode unless you somehow modify the dock to allow that.
  3. Rolfin

    Rolfin Member

    That is a concern that has entered into my mind(I did some testing with the actual dock and the "switch" from off-TV play to on-TV play happens internally whenever power is supplied to the dock and the Switch is inserted). That said, there are some possible solutions:

    I haven't tested it myself, but I've heard that the USB C port on the Switch can be used for data as well as charging (using a wired controller in tabletop mode, for example), presuming you have a USB C to A adaptor. What that means is the port itself is universal and it's something in the dock that causes the switch... My assumption is that it's when the HDMI port receives power.

    With the right technical know-how, it could be possible to make a manual switch on this laptop dock that could single out and toggle the power specifically to the HDMI port, allowing you to be able to charge while still using tabletop mode.

    Another thing worth noting is that Nyko is coming out with a new version of it's own portable dock. Unlike the old one, it has all the USB ports and is also selling itself as a tabletop charging stand in addition to a portable Switch dock. IF those USB ports can also be used for data when in tabletop mode, then this could be a better option to buy for use in this dock mod I want to do... It also has the benefit of letting me keep my regular dock at home, unmolested lol

    There's a lot of 'ifs' in this equation, but I think I might be able to figure a way around this issue with some simple tinkering
  4. Blargaman91

    Blargaman91 Well-Known Member

    You're right that the USB C port can be used for data even without the dock if you have an adapter. What causes the switching is not just a simple transfer of power; the Switch goes into TV mode when it is able to communicate with the hardware in the dock, which will happen whenever the dock is powered by an external power source. You could potentially cut the power to the IC responsible for communication with the Switch, but I feel like that would interrupt charging or at least making it impossible to charge using USB PD.

    The Nyko dock is built to be able to keep the Switch in portable mode while charging it. They must have some switching mechanism in that dock, maybe by detecting power on the HDMI port like you suggested, so I would suggest using that instead. The USB ports in that dock should absolutely work at all times, there's no reason they wouldn't.
  5. Rolfin

    Rolfin Member

    Ah, ok thank you for the clarification.

    And the reason I was questioning the USB ports in the Nyko dock was because they only advertised them for charging purposes when used in tabletop mode(no mention of accessories or data). And since it's not out yet, there's no way to test it. Maybe I should contact them to find out

    But now that you mention it, I do remember that there's a small "stand" piece that they include for TT mode(it fits over the USB C piece you would dock the Switch on). It is storable on the bottom of the dock when not in use, but apparently is needed for when you use the stand for charging in TT mode. I obviously don't know how it works exactly, but that sounds like the reason they're able to manage to overcome the HDMI switching issue.

    Another company that apparently has overcome it is some Kickstarter thing called the Pelda Pro Switch case. It's a battery case with a built in HDMI port. I would like to fiddle with that too, but it'll be far more expensive than the Nyko dock.
  6. Blargaman91

    Blargaman91 Well-Known Member

    The ad for the Pelda Pro Switch case shows video being displayed on the portable screen and the TV simultaneously. I'm almost certain that's impossible, so I wouldn't trust it unless there is more proof that it can function that way.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  7. Rolfin

    Rolfin Member

    I was looking at the comments on their Kickstarter page and they confirmed themselves that it does not actually mirror an image, but that it functions in the same way that the regular dock does. I suppose that image was just a way of saying "yes, this case has HDMI" in an obvious way.

    Also, I did send an email to Nyko and am awaiting a reply. Hopefully I can clear up some of the confusion
  8. Blargaman91

    Blargaman91 Well-Known Member

    There are some other 3rd party options, like the SH350 portable dock made by Coov. It's on Amazon. It only has one USB port, but you can probably attach a USB hub. It has the added benefit that it can be powered by any power source, even a regular 5V phone charger. I don't know if the Nyko dock is able to be powered by generic adapters.
  9. Rolfin

    Rolfin Member

    Yeah, there's quite a few coming out in general... It's hard to keep track of them sometimes lol

    Anyway, Nyko did reply to me and they said data is supported for "portable docking", which I presume to mean tabletop mode. We'll just have to wait and see how that works when it comes out.

    Even if I can't figure out a workaround to the HDMI problem, I still will probably try to make one that doesn't have TV out capabilities (basically just a super tabletop mode "dock" with the battery and built in ports. I'll still have to tote around the dock for TV play, but I like the idea of clamshell protection and longer playtime on a charge

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