Introduction: USB Sex Change

USB female connector free!

I decided while making a Xbox USB adapter that I didn't want to waste my money on a USB extension cable that I would eventually cut apart for the USB female port. So I looked up some information on USB and spent many minutes staring into the different ports on my computer, and decided that it theoretically I would be able to make a USB male into a USB female.

WARNING:
I am not responsible for any damage or injuries to you, your stuff, or anything else that might happen from this instructable. This shouldn't be dangerous but if your that dumb, now you can't sue me!

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT
It was brought to my attention that if this was plugged in upside down, it would short stuff out and that's bad! So don't do that!

Thanks for the tip maltfalc!

Step 1: Cut Stuff Up!!

I used the USB cable from my old iPod but I expect it should work fine with any other cable.

Materials
-USB Cable
-Small Flat Head Screw Driver
-Scissors/ Knife
-Ultra thin pen or other small poking instrument

First, cut the cable off for whatever length you need (It will be easier to work with).
On the Apple cable there is a small crack where the two halves of the case are glued together all the way around the connector, jam the screw driver in carefully and pry the halves apart to reveal the metal inner case.

Step 2: Break Into the Metal Case

Then, you need to get the metal casing off of the wires. The case has two little metal arms where it joins to the cable, they are kind of "strangling" the wire. Use the screw driver to bend these out flat away from the wire. Then on either side there is a little flap over the side with a hole in it that holds the top and bottom together. Stick the screwdriver under the flaps and pry them back carefully. Now the top and bottom of the case should separate.

Step 3: Poke Them Out

Now you should be left with the little white wafer thing that is normally inside the metal case, now exposed. On one side there should be four little metal connector strips and on the other, four holes, one under each connector. The connectors are sunk into the wafer thing so that they don't touch anything. What we need is for those connectors to be sticking out of the wafer so they can make a connection. This is very easy because of the holes on the bottom, all you need to do is take the tip of the ultrathin pen and use it to poke the connectors out using the little holes.

Some connectors do not have the holes on the bottom. Some of your options are:
-Layering some solder onto the connectors to make them taller
-Prying them up with a small screwdriver
-Cutting some of the plastic off the top and putting tape or other things on the bottom to keep friction
-Drilling a hole from the back and poking

Be creative!

Step 4: Now You're Done!!! / Wanna Know How It Works?

Hurray!!
Now hopefully as long as you didn't push the connectors out too far it will fit in the USB male as a female would.

***Obvious alert!! When you put it in make sure the connectors are facing each other or it won't work!!***

This works because when they are flipped over all the cables match up. Doesn't make sense? Try this simple demonstration:
Get two small pieces of paper, or your fingers, and draw four circles in a row. Label the far left one Data+ the middle left one Power+ the middle right one Power- and the far right one Data-.(I know this isn't the correct layout so don't tell me!!) Do the same on the other piece of paper / set of fingers. Now you have your two USB cables they are both male. Put them end to end and realize, very angrily that they don't match up and be angry at the guy who told you this would work on the Internet. BUT WAIT!! That's not how they are! Flip one of the sets of connectors over and realize very happily that they match up and should therefore, work.

Woo Hoo! You tricked the man!!!

This has worked very fine in my projects *but* should anything go wrong, it is not my fault. ;-)

Comments

author
trystan929 (author)2014-09-25

will this work with any male usb cable ??

author
maltfalc (author)2008-08-14

first time you accidently plug this in upside down say goodbye to your motherboard or power supply.

author
Rossiroller (author)maltfalc2008-11-30

That doesn't make sense. Unless there is a charge or anything going through the metal case around the connectors, which I'm 99.9% sure is not true, it wouldn't do anything.

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maltfalc (author)Rossiroller2008-11-30

one of the four metal strips on the female connector will be at 5 volts. plug something in upside down and all four metal strips are shorted together through the metal case around the male connector. same thing happens if anything metallic brushes against the female connector. shorting out your power supply is a bad idea.

author
Rossiroller (author)maltfalc2008-12-02

Alright you've got me, I surrender. JK Now I understand, although I won't be using this again, I'll add a warning specifically about that to the instructable. Thanks

author
cornflaker (author)Rossiroller2009-01-16

Is there any metal on the back of the new connector? it's only plastic with the contacts on one side right? If so then hes wrong and you should quickly unsurrender lol

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maltfalc (author)cornflaker2009-01-16

you have four contacts on one side of the new connector. one of those contacts is being fed five volts from your computer's power supply and one of them is grounded. if you attach it to a male usb connector upside down, the metal piece surrounding the male connector comes in contact with all four contacts, shorting them together and burning out your motherboard or power supply. same thing happens if the connector brushes against your house keys, any exposed metal on your computer case, etc.. anyone still having trouble understanding why shorting this thing out is a bad thing should avoid using anything electrical for everyone's safety.

author
deeveeoeedee (author)maltfalc2009-04-09

it wouldnt short out your motherboard or power supply, have you ever put you key in the usb port before? you get an onscreen error saying that the port surge, click reset to re-enable the port

author
skrasher (author)deeveeoeedee2011-04-05

actually it CAN short out your power supply, 100%. I've been in IT for a while, seen faulty cords do it a number of times. Once I had a user with a bad cord, and they killed three power supplies and various computers....so yes, it can for sure happen.

author
cornflaker (author)deeveeoeedee2009-04-10

Yes we all go sticking keys in our USB ports... lol

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snowpenguin (author)maltfalc2009-03-03

Just because someone doesn't understand if you are talking about male or female doesn't make them unfit to use or build electronics.

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Rossiroller (author)snowpenguin2009-03-09

No you definitely shouldn't. If you didn't know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun I wouldn't want you touching guns let alone modifying them.

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snowpenguin (author)Rossiroller2009-03-10

We aren't talking about guns, now are we?

author
cornflaker (author)snowpenguin2009-03-10

Its been a while since I've read this so I forgot what I was talking about and whether I thought Rossiroller was right or wrong, but I believe that the gun analogy is very good

author
snowpenguin (author)cornflaker2009-03-10

No, I don't think so. We are talking about a simple misunderstanding of female and male connectors. That is not the Rossiroller's fault, but maltfalc's for not making a clearer argument. Also, we are simply talking about 5 volts, not a bullet from a gun. That analogy is really just taking it a bit too far. There is no imminent danger to anybody if this shorts unless they are touching the actual power supply or something critical like that. Also maltfalc is being a little bit unrealistic... maltfalc says: "anyone still having trouble understanding why shorting this thing out is a bad thing should avoid using anything electrical for everyone's safety." They should avoid using anything electrical? That's just bad. Many people who use electronics have no idea at all what is going on inside them. They may not even know what a volt is, or if it is bad to touch positive and negative together. Just because somebody can't tell what somebody else is getting at, be it either of their faults, doesn't mean they are unfit to USE electronics. Maybe they have only explored simple stuff, like a battery and an LED, but haven't got into more complicated things such as USB. You have to think about how people will interpret your words before you say them, or at least correct your mistake afterwards.

author
maltfalc (author)snowpenguin2009-03-11

i've explained the problem as clearly and simply as possible in 3 seperate replies so far. if you short out a computer's power supply, especially an older, lint filled one, not only are you risking killing your computer, you're risking starting an electrical fire. short circuits=bad. anybody who can't grasp a concept as simple as that should not be messing around with anything electrical until they have some idea of what they're doing.

author
snowpenguin (author)maltfalc2009-03-11

Are you actually reading the comments, or just replying to them? I wrote that you weren't making clear enough sense at first for people to understand what you were talking about. I have no problem understanding why shorts are bad; I don't need you to tell me repeatedly, thanks. All I'm saying is you are treating the people who don't understand like idiots just because you yourself aren't making clear enough sense. The fact that you need to post 3 comments saying the same thing is an indicator that you need to make more sense.

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cornflaker (author)snowpenguin2009-03-15

That was meant for maltfalc right?

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snowpenguin (author)cornflaker2009-03-15

Yeah.

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cornflaker (author)snowpenguin2009-03-17

Ok, cause I think you accidentally replied to me lol

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snowpenguin (author)cornflaker2009-03-17

I think I replied to myself who replied to maltfalc.

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cornflaker (author)snowpenguin2009-03-21

haha lol maybe instructabes was just "having a moment"

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snowpenguin (author)maltfalc2009-03-15

You haven't explained it clearly at all. People are just mixing up which is male and which is female, and what goes into what. If you want people to understand and want to be able to make remarks like you did before: "anyone still having trouble understanding why shorting this thing out is a bad thing should avoid using anything electrical for everyone's safety." and still back it up, you need to explain things better.

author
cornflaker (author)maltfalc2009-03-12

I just read the whole thing again and now I understand that I indeed was wrong before and that if you put this in upside down then it WILL short out, so yeah be careful

author
cornflaker (author)snowpenguin2009-03-12

Well I don't agree entirely with the first comment about touching anything electrical at all, but there is a pretty good chance that someone who doesn't know what their doing could destroy at least part of their computer by attempting this. And while this isn't going to kill someone most analogies are greatly exaggerated to make a point more obvious.

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Rossiroller (author)snowpenguin2009-03-15

And a serious electric shock can't kill you as effectively as as gun?

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cornflaker (author)Rossiroller2009-03-17

Yeah snow penguin is right there the 5v coming out wont do alot - you wont even feel it...

author
snowpenguin (author)Rossiroller2009-03-15

There isn't that much voltage in a PC, for one. Two, no one is stupid enough to point a gun at themselves, and three, what does it matter if its one gun or another? If you are a beginner you are going to have to learn the difference, but you don't necessarily need to know the difference. When you first start out, your instructor-guy will hand you a gun and eventually have you shoot it. You don't need to know what type of gun it is to know how to shoot it and the dangers involved. We were also never talking about modifying guns, as that would be completely irrational and highly more dangerous than peeling a metal case from a USB connector. So, in your opinion, somebody can't touch a USB connector if they don't know how it works? Does that mean people won't be able to use their iPods anymore either? I'm glad you're not President, because a country run by you would limit the use of electronics to people who understand what is going on inside.

author
cornflaker (author)maltfalc2009-01-18

Wait is the new connector connected to the computer or the perhipial? Because if only the contacts on the perhipial are being shorted then it its ok, but yeah if the contacts connected to the computer are shorted then... *Zzaaaapp!!... Bye bye!* Oh but it wont destroy your powersupply, just your motherboard or maybe even only the USB controller on it.

author
maltfalc (author)cornflaker2009-01-18

it's a female connector, so you'd be plugging peripherals into it. i've had a frayed usb cable kill a power supply before when it shorted out, but everything between this connector and the computer's power cord is at risk of burning out. whatever overheats fastest from the extra current dies first.

author
cornflaker (author)maltfalc2009-03-12

Really it went all the way to the powersupply? How old was the computer? You would think that there would be some kind of protection to stop it damaging anything else...

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Kirbsome! (author)2010-08-08

This is a great 'ible! Made my iPod charger possible!

author
jamnoopers (author)2008-05-19

Yay! Its a USB transvestite!

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PSPerson (author)jamnoopers2010-06-22

you sir, have made my day.

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vomov (author)2010-03-15

I've tried the screwdriver, but it wouldn't get under the connectors. So I tried to work with a bit of solder, but it became 'too thick' to fit in the other usb plugs. So I did something else: I removed the top edges of the plastic element where the connectors were on top of, and used a small bit of tape to thicken the bottom. Now it fits with enough friction to stay put, and the connectors make contact! :D

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Rossiroller (author)vomov2010-03-15

 Awesome! mind if i add that on to the instructable?

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vomov (author)Rossiroller2010-03-15

If it works for other people, that would be awesome! Add away!

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vomov (author)2010-03-13

I've tried this with a solar powered usb charger (which only offered male usb connectors), but it does not have the holes underneath, so I can't push the connectors out... Ideas?

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Rossiroller (author)vomov2010-03-14

 i guess you could try to drill through from the bottom with a small dremel like tool.... or, i would try using a very small flat head screwdriver to try to wedge under them and pull them up. or you could try to melt a little solder on them to raise them.  the main point is to get them higher than the surrounding plastic so they can make a connection

author
Wesley666 (author)2009-05-24

Aren't USB plugs the same? They both have the metal square and the four pin connector inside, one is plugged in upside down into the other. Wouldn't this make them Gay or asexual so you can't give it a sex change.

author
Rossiroller (author)Wesley6662009-05-27

If you look at a USB plug on your computer, you will notice that instead of pointing out, its more like a hole. The plug that goes into the hole sticks out. The popular terms used for all connectors are male and female. A male plug sticks into a female plug much like a human function that they are very similar to. It is true, that essentially the insides are the same, thus why this works. But the casing is different, therefore male and female. The purpose of this instructable is to change a male plug into a female plug, thus the slightly humorous title of "Sex Change".

author
Wesley666 (author)Rossiroller2009-05-27

Ya, your right the plugs are slightly different. I never really looked that close at it.

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jamnoopers (author)2008-12-23

Dude, you can't plug this thing in upside down. Its impossible, the metal contacts are only present on 1 side of the plug. The metal casing around the "plug" is merely for structural support, not for electricity, therefore if you plug the thing in upside down, nothing will happen.. -jamnoopers

author
Rossiroller (author)jamnoopers2008-12-23

Excuse me, did you just miss that whole explanation? The case is metal, so when all four pins touch the same metal surface they short and you get messed up. "one of the four metal strips on the female connector will be at 5 volts. plug something in upside down and all four metal strips are shorted together through the metal case around the male connector. same thing happens if anything metallic brushes against the female connector. shorting out your power supply is a bad idea." -maltfalc

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jamnoopers (author)Rossiroller2008-12-26

Thanks, but never mind...

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munchman (author)2008-09-10
Cool!
Alternate Title: USB Sex Change
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santy22 (author)munchman2008-10-04

great

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jamnoopers (author)2008-09-26

Works great! I just did it with an old Foxconn cord. The procedure was a little bit more messy though than yours since all the wires were coated in some sort of rubber or silicon.

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milamber (author)2008-08-30

sweet man saved me 20 bucks thanks

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newbeatle (author)2008-08-21

hi, good and simple instructable, i had just a question : i want to make an extension cord for a USB concentrator (that litle think that makes 4 ports when you have 1) , but my problem is HOW to connect the wires to avoid make a short and say goodbye to my thinks. in your diagram the cables must go blue, red, black and green...but in the opposite side goes exactly backwards, is this correct ? can anybodie help me (with some photos if can be possible) and tellme how to connect this things correctly ? i will use 2 male connectors on each end of the cable . any help will be so well received. thanks in advance to any that lend me a hand