MacBook Air USB SuperDrive hacked for any computer

Jun 24, 2008
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MacBook Air USB SuperDrive hacked for any computer

Apple's MacBook Air is undoubtedly a thing of beauty, and its slender little companion DVD burner is not far behind.  Unfortunately, until now only Air owners could enjoy it; despite the best efforts of many, only when plugged into the skinny Apple notebook would the SuperDrive play ball.  Initial suspicions were that the Air's solitary USB port was supercharged power-wise; turns out, it's actually down to some custom firmware in the IDE to USB bridge.  tnkgrl set out testing the drive and finally hacking it with a replacement bridge; she now has a slick external burner that will work with any computer.

Video demonstrating the hacked SuperDrive after the cut

MacBook Air SuperDrive hack

The tricky part was seemingly finding a replacement board that would squeeze inside the SuperDrive's casing.  In the end, a mere $9-worth of hardware did the job.  It doesn't sound like an entirely straightforward swap, though, before you get the credit-card out:

"The part is small enough to fit within the MBA SuperDrive, but requires removal of the daughter-board (containing a power connector, a USB connector, and several capacitors), as well as the relocation of the 12 MHz crystal" tnkgrl

Apparently the pictures are enough to "figure it out", so this may be one of those times where, if you're still confused and there aren't any images left to look at, it's likely best to leave well alone!


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