Picture of Make a Zune AC Adapter
Here's a quick and simple way to make a Zune AC Adapter without buying the actual one from Microsoft. Basically, you manipulate an existing 5 Volt AC Adapter to support a USB plug. It's important to find the right AC Adapter and to wire it to the right pinouts in a USB plug. I'll cover all of that.

What's great about this is that it's actually a universal USB charger since it's equivalent to existing USB ports. If your MP3 player requires a USB cable to charge the battery, then this will certainly work with it.

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Step 1: Note: Not compatible with 2nd Gen Zunes

Picture of Note: Not compatible with 2nd Gen Zunes
I recently found out that this only works with the First Generation Zunes, like the Fat 30gb and Fat 80gb Zunes.

Do not attempt to try this with the 2nd Gen slim model Zunes (4gb, 8gb, 30gb, 80gb 120 gb slim zunes).

I found out that Microsoft designed the 2nd Gen Zunes to be incompatible with the third-party AC Adapters. Even the Official AC Adapters that were designed for the 1st Gen Zunes are incompatible with the 2nd Gen Zunes.

Step 2: Tools

Picture of Tools
You need some really basic tools for this project but nothing real fancy or expensive.

Soldering Iron
Wire Cutter
Wire Stripper

You can easily find all this stuff at Radioshack.

The materials you need for modifying are:
One 5 Volt AC Adapter
One USB input plug (a.k.a female USB)

You can acquire the USB plug from an old USB extension cable you don't use. I pulled mine off of a dead MP3 player. Find the Pinouts and make sure you know what each of the four pins actions are. I included a Pinout diagram with this Instructable. Your USB cable should have pins sticking out the back where you will solder it to the AC Adapter plug.

Really this is a USB changer. You still need the original Zune docking/charging cable.

Gelfling62 years ago
I just recently resurrected my old 30GB .. it had been drained for close to 5 months.. Not taking chances, I put the sync/charge cable into one of the USB ports of my laptop.. By morning, fully charged!
Gelfling62 years ago
Agreed! Though, I've had the device work with as high as a 7V 2-Amp USB charger designed for a Kodak camera. (came with a Easyshare M341 camera).

Most USB chargers are supposed to be regulated to 5V, and I've run into a few that are down as low as 3.4V (so much for 3.3V). Those will barely light power anything short of a 2x AAA powered camera (if your lucky).. As the 1st page of this instructable shows, Measure from the red & black wires, (the two outer contacts of a USB-A...
The tip about current is not correct. A current rating on an adapter refers to the maximum current that can be drawn. The device determines how much current is actually drawn.
livebriand4 years ago
I don't think 2nd gen Zunes can't use 3rd party adapters. I have a USB power adapter which I use with iPods AND a 2nd gen Zune all the time. It works perfectly fine. Of course I'm not going to buy an overpriced adapter from Microsoft or Apple. I bought a generic adapter, but this would be much cheaper, if only I'd discovered it sooner! I likely even have the parts lying around.
mikchil4 years ago
I htink that the key to the battery destruction problem is voltage regulation ... if a charging device is rated at 5v @ 10 A, the voltage may be higher at a significantly lower load ... may require something approaching that rated current load to be @ 5v. I suspect that as long as your power supply is rated at the same current as the charger for the device you're charging, you should be OK. Might be good to measure voltage at the expected load before hooking up a valued device.
the usb is 5vdc 500 ma so 5v dc wood work for the zune
bwpatton16 years ago
I wish i would have seen this 2 yrs ago before i payed 30 bucks for an official adapter but it suist my needs ive got a first gen fat 30 for only $100 of course that was before the 2nd gen came out
dz00044556 years ago
I did this for my sansa, and it FRIED THE BATTERY..... My sansa could no longer hold a charge for more than a day, which isnt that bad, but if i charged it before i went to bed, I wouldn't have any charge in the morning, and before someone complains to me about something here are the specs of the charger charger for an LG VX series phone. 5v 1000 amps DC I dont know why this happened, any ideas, I havent read all the posts yet either.
aDimWit (author)  dz00044556 years ago
1000 Amps?! Are you sure? That is way too high. Unless it was 1000 milliAmps which is equal to 1 Amp. Check on the sansa for some kind of Amp rating. If it charges on a USB it should be around 500 milliAmps (0.5 Amps) unless the Sansa says something different. Sorry about your battery.
o sorry, it is 100milliAmps, and the charger is different but, in theory it should work. Amps are pulled out by the circut and volts are pushed. clearly my theory is wrong though.
aDimWit (author)  dz00044556 years ago
I know that if the Amps is too high you can fry some components. Is the battery the only thing that's broken? And what kind of Sansa is it? Try to check the amp/volt rating for your sansa. If it's lower than 1 Amp then that's why your battery fried.
Amps are drawn, Volts are forced. You can have more amps, but NEVER more volts. You can have a 5V@20A power supply charging your device and it won't blow up.
I would think the amperage the sansa takes has to be lower lower, because it charges on usb, but I didn't know how the batteries worked, until i researched it when I broke my sansa, and now I see why. My last comment didn't make any sense either, sorry. I was trying to say that the amperage was different then usb, but that doesn't matter because amperage is pulled out by the circut, and it won't pull more than it needs, but that isn't true in the case of batteries... I am in contact with Sandisk trying to get it replaced...
JellyWoo6 years ago
computer416 years ago
FYI It's 10 dollars at radioshack. But awesome job, I should try this, sometimes it's good when you don't have a computer handy.
aDimWit (author)  computer416 years ago
After I made this, I found out you could find similar AC adapters for the Zune for maybe $2 on the internet.
3366carlos6 years ago
good idea. high current is not a problem, voltage is very important. the device will only pull the current it needs, so 5v 1A should also work.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
ugh, so many people will burn their players with this......
aDimWit (author)  LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Not if they use a Zune and follow the instructions. I think the greater danger is if they don't cover any exposed wiring.
The problem is they are all using different transformers. They might be slightly different and end up burning it. Its not a risk i'm willing to take, besides, I got a belkin car and home charger set for $5 for my zen
my zune uses an input of 5 volts dc and 1.4 amps from a wall transformer. if you look on the transformer, it will say output 5vdc 1.4 amps. that is the transfromer that you want to use, and it will not burn out the zune. the amps and volts are the same as the battery and device, so it doesn't exceed the maximum limit. if you use a 10 volt and 2.0 amp charger, yes it will burn out, but as long as people read the output of the charger, it will be fine.
You can just charge your Zen with a Motorola Bluetooth charger. That's what my brother does.
Just use the Motorola bluetooth charger.