Picture of Hacking your iGo Universal Power Adapter
iGo makes a universal power adapter to power things like laptops, displays, and mobile devices. They offer a large variety of interchangeable tips to plug your specific device in. I found an Apple Studio Display LCD monitor at a local surplus and it didn't have a power supply, not to mention that I didn't have the appropriate tip for my iGo Juice 70.

The Apple Studio Display required 24V and up to 1.87A, which I figured the iGo would handle well since it can be configured to output up to 70W and anywhere from 15 to 24V depending on the tip. The only thing left was how to trick the iGo into thinking it had one of the 24V tips plugged in.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: The iGo Connector

Picture of The iGo Connector
iGo decided to use a 4-pin connector for their tips. After some probing of the connector and of my tip with my multimeter, it was apparent that the first two pins are ground and power, connected directly to the barrel jack contacts. The last two pins are for adjusting the voltage and current limits of the power supply. The tip connects each limit pin to ground through a resistor whose resistance determines how high the limit is. My tip (I only had one to measure) had 13.9kΩ on pin 3 and 162kΩ on pin 4. By hooking up different values of resistors, I was able to watch the output  change.

It appears that Pin 3 is the voltage limit, and Pin 4 is the current limit.

Pin 3 can have a resistance of anywhere from 2.5kΩ to infinity (open). 2.5kΩ sets the voltage to 24.5V and open is 15V. Any resistor in between can be chosen to get the desired voltage in that range. My 13.9kΩ tip tells the adapter to put out 16.6V for a Thinkpad laptop.

Pin 4 is a little harder to measure, since current limits require that you actually draw that much current. The tip had 162kΩ in it, which most likely corresponded to an amp or two. I actually found an article on Neripedia about someone else configuring an iGo adapter and he has the resistances listed that he measured from 9 tips that he has. The only discrepancy is that he lists the current limit resistances as voltage limit resistances and visa versa.