Last month I shared a step-by-step teardown guide for the Surface Pro 3 docking station. This time I’ll dive a little deeper into the 40-pin “surflink” aka SurfaceConnect connector. I only did this to see what was inside and ended up destroying the connector so I don’t recommend repeating the process. Unlike the 12-pin connector on the factory power supply, there are no magnets or solid ferrous metal bits here. So the connector may need a little help staying seated in the SP3 tablet when not embedded in a docking station. I didn’t have my regular camera with me – just my Nokia 635 Windows Phone. I think the pictures turned out pretty well for a $50 no-contract phone though.
- Dremel or similar rotary tool
- putty knife or razor blade
- Clamp to hold connector while working the Dremel (optional)
- Use the Dremel tool to slice along the injection moulding seam. Slice carefully and only cut through the black plastic. As you cut, you’ll see the copper foil shield underneath. Don’t cut into the shield yet:
- With pliers and end-cutters, remove the black plastic:
- With a putty knife or a razor blade, peel away the copper foil shield:
- Keep going, this will take a while since what is underneath is quite sticky:
- Finish by cutting the copper foil away from the braided shield on the USB, DisplayPort, and power cables:
- Cut and peel away the clear stuff. I don’t know what it is made out of, but I think it is there to secure all the wires and provide strain relief during assembly. It is squishy, sticky and very difficult to get off. If you try to pull it all off, you’ll probably break a few of the solder connectors on the tiny wires like I did:
- After peeling away all the sticky stuff you can see all the components on the tiny PCB:
- PCB appears to be 4-layer and has lots of vias
- The proprietary 40-pin “surflink” connector mounts over the edge of the PCB and is reflowed on both sides – similar to how some mini-DisplayPort connectors are attached
- 3 discrete transistors
- 4 resistors
- 1 diode
- 4 8-pin integrated circuits marked “4CH”. It appears that each IC has 8 pins – 4 in 4 out and a ground connection under the chip with a solder blob. I suspected these were some sort of ESD protection device for the various data channels, but it turned out there are driver chips for the highspeed differential pair lines (DP_ML and USB_SS)
- The charging indicator LED (grey wires) appear to be connected to the discrete transistors/resistors through the “HPD2” pins from the 40-pin connector.
- With a multi-meter I determined the pinout of 3-pin connector coming off the miniDisplayPort:
- Pin 1 – CONFIG1/CONFIG2 pins on DisplayPort and to ground through a 1Mohm resistor
- Pin 2 – ground/DP_PWR_Return
- Pin 3 – +3.3v @500mA DP_PWR
- More reverse-engineering info the 40-pin connector pinout is in the comments below thanks to other contributors!
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