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Picture of Secret Dual USB Data Vault

Entering the correct combination on ths drive allows you to depress the button on the rear of the drive to extend the USB 3 plug for insertion into the USB port on a computer and look at the information contained on a 32Gb memory stick...

At least that is what everyone will think.. However entering the correct second 5 digit combination with the connector extended will allow you to access the secret 32Gb hidden drive within where the real information is stored.

That's 3 lines of defence

  1. 5 digit combination lock to extend the USB connector and look at the 32Gb drive contents
  2. ignorance that a second drive exists
  3. different 5 digit combination to access a hidden 32Gb drive

The shell protects the delicate electronics and inner workings from prying eyes. It is sealed with adhesive to prevent opening. The number rings are solid and the combination is hard coded.

Locking the drive is a simple matter of depressing the USB connector back into the housing.

Step 1: Void the Wty on Your USB Drives

I used 2 Kingston 32gb USB 3 type drives for this. I selected these for the local availability, size and price since I knew that I was going to be destroying them to make something great.

I pried the protective shell off to reveal the inner circuits.

These will both have to be modified by removing the VCC power pin from the circuit board. This is pin 2 in the case of the USB 3, 9 pin architecture. checking the datasheet for a connector will show this..

For sizing, one of the drive input connectors has to be removed... Carefully!!! I used a hot air style soldering iron for this and the connector literally fell off the board.

I used wire wrap style wires for this next part.

All of the drive pins connected together between the dummy and secret drives, with the exception of the power pin.

On the circuit board side of both drives there needs to be a wire connected to position 2, this is the VCC power for the drives. do not connect it to the power input from the USB connector it needs to be completely isolated from the power input.

A jumper wire is then soldered to pin2 of the USB connector. This wire will eventually feed the power back to the drives and also power the control circuitry, for now leave the power wires disconnected.

The mess of loose wires here has 6 wires not connected at both ends, 2 black 5V from the USB connector. 2 yellow for ground, and one white for power to each drive.

MisterHighway7 months ago
Super cool! Would love to see a video posted of it in action!
anv3D7 months ago
How does it work?
Random_Canadian (author)  anv3D7 months ago
Give the content a quick read, you extend the drive by keying in the correct code and the can access the hidded drive by keying in a separate code. There are two fully functional drives.
anv3D7 months ago
Would other USB drives work?
Random_Canadian (author)  anv3D7 months ago
I have only checked a couple of different drives and found that there are some differences between manufacturers which would make drop in replacement a hit and miss prospect.
I had a couple of older Kingston drives (8Gb and 16Gb) and the board inside of those has the exact same footprint as the ones that I used.
AllisonR447 months ago
Love this design!

Can the code be changed once assembled?
anv3D AllisonR447 months ago
I don't think so, I think the code is set by the rings you insert.
Maybe you can take it apart to change rings.
Random_Canadian (author)  AllisonR447 months ago

No, it is hard coded, the only way to change it is to crack it open and replace the rings. Also I have included only 10 of 90ish possible ring combinations
Awesome! Thanks for the update! How would I go about making a different combination? Moving that small "bump"? Thoughts?
Random_Canadian (author)  AllisonR447 months ago
Certain configurations are not available like 0-0 , 1-1, etc.

Since the code rings are printed solid, the files have to be modified with a CAD program to adjust the code. The adjustments are as simple as changing an angle in the drawing and rebuilding the file. If you are having trouble with this, send me a message and I can send you the drawing file
This has been so helpful!! Thank you so much! :)
Diy-ist7 months ago
Excellent, actually something I would want to keep safe.
frarugi877 months ago
To reduce the complexity you could have wired only the D+, D-, GND and VCC wires. You would have lost the USB3 speed on the second drive, but... who needs it on a 32GB drive?
Regarding the project, instead of a relay (which is large) you could have used just two MOSFETs
For the rest, good idea and good execution :)

Random_Canadian (author)  frarugi877 months ago
Than you.

As I explained I only used 32Gb due to local availability and the idea here is to use larger drives in the future so I wanted to see if this would work fully. which it does.

Using MOSFETs here was not good idea since I was going for complete electrical isolation, simplicity and I find that hand soldering tiny components in dead bug configuration is problematic to say the least.
Wow, talk about 64GB in a five pound bag!
Nice idea, nice design, beautiful implementation.

and I t’s not really a dummy drive. It works, right?
so you have two selectable drives.

the dummy drive is for your “protected work” stuff.
the hidden drive is for your NSFW etc. or the manuscript on how you have developed cold fusion...

One caution,
your drives are identical.
the probably present the VID (vendor ID) and PID (product ID) to your os.
if they are the same (and you can verify this from hardware manager on one of the pull downs on the drive) I think you risk the os getting confused if you ever switched drives with it plugged in - the system might not notice the change - does it “di-dunk” and then “do-dink”?
if so, it probably noticed the drive change, but your not out if the woods.

you didn’t eject the dummy drive before switching which can be bad.

strongly suggest setting to the desired drive before inserting.
eject when done.

if you want to change drives, eject the one that’s inserted, code in the second and reinstall.

of course eject that one when done.
Thank you. Yes the dummy is a fully functioning drive, I guess i should have called it decoy or something like that.

Your concenr is definitely valid
BillB1797 months ago
I'm 65, on disability, live in an apartment, own enough stuff to hang pictures level, and can cook my head off. To make this? Not a chance. So, how much will you charge me to make one for me? I need this to put some documents in my safety box at the bank, so only the executor of my will can access the real stuff.
Garagebrand7 months ago
RaymondR67 months ago
This is an interesting but complex project. I do recommend using a spelling checker or ask someone to do a proof read before publishing. You missed "coin" for "coil" and "UDB" for "USB". This happens to many of us but a proof read will prevent the errors from being published.
Check "tiny rely" also.
Random_Canadian (author)  RaymondR67 months ago
Thanks. I have made the corrections.
Matlek7 months ago
This is an amazing project!
Random_Canadian (author)  Matlek7 months ago