Introduction: Barrel Jack Hack

Ever been in the situation where you need to power a device that uses a barrel jack but you don't have the jack available to power it? If you have I can show you how to power the device with a bit of wire and some electrical tape!

I recently fell in this situation and found myself hacking a solution. I had an Axis 206 camera which required a 5v supply. I had a supply that would work but did not have the barrel jack for it (it was cut off to be put on a robot. With a few minutes and a stroke of hackgenuity I was able to have the camera powered and running.

NOTICE: If you end up damaging your device either by using a power supply with the wrong rating or by providing reverse polarity then I am not responsible. HACK AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Step 1: Parts and Materials

Parts:
Device to be powered
Piece of wire about the size of the jack
Power supply with proper rating

Consumables:
Electrical tape

Tools:
Pliers
Wire Stripper (or if in a bind a knife)

Optional:
Alligator leads

Non-Tangible:
Polarity knowledge of the device to be powered

Step 2: Strip the Wire

Strip only one end of the wire about 3/8 - 1/2 inch.

Once stripped flare the outer strands and leave the middle 4-8 together.

Step 3: Remove the Middle Strands

With a firm grip on the wire with your non-dominate hand pull the middle 4-8 wires out with the pliers. Be careful not to pull all of the outer wires out as well.

I did this in 2 steps. First I pulled out 4 then I pulled out another 2. Your mileage may vary.

Step 4: Press the Wire In

Grasp the un-stripped end of the wire between your thumb and index finger. Press it into the barrel jack.

I found doing a rolling motion going from the tips to the flats of my fingers helped give me leverage. If it doesn't go in you will probably need to remove a couple more strands.

Step 5: Make the Outer Connection

Take the strands of wire you pulled out and give them a twist about 1/2 inch away from the end. Press the ends as flat as possible then trim them evenly.

Once flat and even press the twisted end into the jack on the OUTSIDE of the wire.

You may need to slightly move the wire over to squeeze it in. Use the pressing technique on the last step if you need to.

Step 6: Testing Time

If you have a multimeter this would be a good time to do a sanity check, test the resistance across both pieces of wire.

0 ohms = short - the outer wire is probably touching the inner wire.

Open Connection = one or the other wires is not making a connection


WARNING: Providing the wrong polarity could damage/destroy the device or even cause a fire. Make sure you have the polarity correct. If you do not know the polarity do not attempt! I am not responsible for damages!

Now with the proper polarity in mind (most devices I have encountered had the center positive) connect the wires to your power supply. I used a couple alligator leads to easily connect the two.

If the device comes on then congrats! You have hacked the barrel jack!

Step 7: Some Cleanup

At this point you may start using your device or cleanup your connections.

I chose to use some electrical tape to wrap the bare wire as well as hold everything together.

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Bio: its not "look what I can do" its "look what I can teach you"
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