I have a very specific question.

I want to create a very thin storage device solution.

A picture is worth a thousands words so here you can see the hardware I have:

enter image description here

This is the image of a USB pen drive without the outer casing. Now, I am very happy with the circuit board, NAND chip etc. in terms of performance and thickness.

However the USB connector is 12mmx11mmx4mm much too thick. Pretty much a deal-breaker.

When I peer into the USB connector hole, I see 4 golden strips.

Can I remove the outer casing for the USB connector and simply keep the four golden strips and still connect functionally to USB ports, or does the outer casing of the connector(with two holes on top and two on the bottom) contain some crucial components for I/O?

Finally, can I find a very thin port for this USB flash device so that the whole structure will be less than 0.5-1mm thick?

Structure: USB circuit board -- USB connector -- USB port -- cable

As you see, both the first part and the last part are thin enough,I am trying to reduce thickness on the intermediate parts.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Some USB drives come without the USB shield, although I have no idea if it complies with the standard. Alternatively, you can use USB-C. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wesley Lee
    Aug 6 '20 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ See how the Crucial Gizmo Jr (8GB flash drive) did it. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '20 at 14:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyLee I am very sure it does not comply. Just a gut feeling, though, but it's not like the USB IG to make mechanical features optional. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '20 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ here is an existing device i1.wp.com/www.davidgouveia.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/… \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Aug 6 '20 at 15:42

This has already been done. This is the basically the smallest you will get a USB Type A dongle,

enter image description here

You can get smaller Security dongles (Not storage ones) without the shielding like these, enter image description here

We may start to see smaller Type C USB dongles in the next few years, but I struggle to see why anyone would want this?

EDIT - Okay so these actually exist for authentication, enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ "I struggle to see why anyone would want this?" -- I have a work laptop that takes USB C, and a physical second factor is required by our security policy. The type-C key you show here is convenient because it can remain attached for a long time, and there is a smaller risk of causing security key or USB port damage if the laptop is moved and snags something with it. It's surprisingly convenient. \$\endgroup\$
    – nanofarad
    Aug 6 '20 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Makes sense, I guess I'm lucky I don't need one of these my work laptop only has 1 Type-C port & no ethernet no idea what out IT team was thinking! I basically have to permanently have an ethernet adapter connected to it (When I'm not at my desk that has a docking station). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6 '20 at 14:53

This sort of thing? https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/paper-thin-usb-drive-clip-book_967408883.html

The metal outside is grounded, but it's not actually critical for I/O, no. A solution that makes contact with all 4 power/data pins ought to work. I've also seen people use 1.6mm PCBs that plug directly into an A socket.


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