DIY Hub Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Lehsyrus, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Lehsyrus macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2013
    Hello everyone.

    I am not sure if this is the correct section to post this in, but I have a DIY question. I make music (mainly for myself but if others enjoy it, cool) and am also a very tech-oriented person. I used to be a PC-only guy, but my school gave me a Macbook Pro (2012) and I have come to love it for my needs with music. However, I have come to the conclusion that me, being a tech person, needs more than just one small 22" Monitor, and have fixed up a 50" flat screen, and a 27" Asus computer monitor to add to my studio.

    I can solder and fix components on a PCB, however I am utter crap when it comes to figuring out what to do with wiring. I want to design and build a custom Thunderbolt hub that has USB, HDMI, DVI, and VGA capabilities so I can plug my Thunderbolt connector into the hub and I have x5 of each available. I will only use 3 monitors (1 HDMI, 2 DVI) as I know that the MacBook Pro shouldn't be over taxed with the graphics (especially considering I'm mainly going to be using it for music and tend to run a lot of plugins).

    If anyone could point me to a positive direction, possibly to someone else's work or a schematic/anything would be great! I am just at a loss right now and could really use this information!

    Thanks plenty,
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    just buy one, you won't be able to do it yourself.
  3. Lehsyrus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2013
    I've made basic USB Hubs, as well as multiple audio hubs (XLR, RCA, TRS, TS, 1/8" TRS, etc) splitters. If I can just get the information as to what data travels down what line I can build a basic splitter and branch off from there.

    EDIT: And I don't have the money to buy a custom hub that will suit my needs. If I were to just buy standard hubs, I would be looking at around four separate hubs, and they aren't cheap. Not to mention Daisy Chaining hubs together increases latency.
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    thunderbolt is not USB or audio splitting.

    You can't wire thunderbolt directly to any of the connectors you want. You need electronics to decode the thunderbolt signal, and then more electronics to convert the signal to the different outputs you want.
    it would require acquiring chips (that aren't available to the public), building a custom PCB, and probably a degree in electrical engineering to put it all together.

    it's like trying to build your own cable modem.

    The best Thunderbolt docks...
    the caldigit one could work for you, If you want to add a second monitor, you'll need a mini-display-port to HDMI, and possibly an HDMI adapter to what you need
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    You don't mention if this is a Retina MBP. If it is simply plug one monitor into the HDMI and the other two into each ThunderBolt port. If this is a classic MBP you are looking for something like the DualHead2Go:

    Please note that the MBP by default supports one ThunderBolt out and unless you use a dock that is as good as it gets.
  6. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    Bit of shame here pointing to my competitor but you can start looking at TI data sheets

    (I feel as a non-company you might get further with TI than Intel)

    And after reading up on that you can try contacting an applications engineer at TI to see if they can scrape up some app notes for a simple thunderbolt hub using their controllers.

    But I have a feeling just the pcb proto board you design will cost $100
  7. Lehsyrus thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2013
    Hmm, I'm still surprised no tech-head has at least attempted it and put the findings somewhere (then again I've been looking for a few weeks and have come up with nada). I'll definitely take a look at the caldigit hub, maybe I could even tweak an existing one for everything I need involved.

    I have the MacBook Pro 15" non-Retina (the one right before they came out with the Retina display) with 8Gbs RAM, 750 HDD, Intel i5. I'll definitely take a look at the DualHead2Go though, at the very least I want to be able to power a 42" monitor for my sequencer in my DAW, and another 42" monitor in portrait for my VST's and Sample libraries. I'm still pushing for that triple monitor display though! If only I could afford a Tower, might have to build a Hackintosh for what I need.

    Thanks for the idea, even if the proto were to cost $100, I could make the money back by selling a few of the after products to friends of mine who are also interested in this. And sorry for you having to post your competitor! :cool:

    Thanks for the responses guys, I'll post back with what I decide to do.

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