Making a USB Condom

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Introduction: Making a USB Condom

Modern smart devices are power hungry machines that require frequent charging. This problem is usually solved by bringing along portable power chargers that are expensive and bulky. As a solution to the power problem, many public facilities or events are starting to provide booths with USB ports for free charging. However, charging smart devices on unknown / public USB ports will make your device vulnerable to “juice jacking”, which allows unauthorized users access to data on your phone. Additionally, smart devices can be infected with malware through these unidentified USB ports.

The Solution
A “neutered” USB cable that allows the charging current to pass through but physically disabling all forms of data transmission. This essentially blocks out all forms of communication between the smart device and the source of power, regardless whether it is a computer or an adapter plugged into a wall socket. This can be achieved by physically disconnecting the data transmission wires between the device and the source of power. Doing this on a standard USB cable requires some technical knowledge and makes for an unsightly cable. This is where a USB condom comes in. Putting one on at the end of a standard USB cable will block the data transmission lines between the device and the power source.

How is it Made?
Solder the first and fourth pins of the male drive to the female drive and you have a USB condom that works with most devices. //For the device to work with iPhones, you’ll have to include an additional circuit board to fake a voltage charge.

Note: The current design shown above works for all devices, even iPhones!

Maker Credit: Tan Guo Wei, Creative Technologist at Metalworks by Maxus

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user

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8 Comments

you may consider adding 4 resistors so it will charge in high power mode... see http://blog.workingsi.com/2012/11/modify-usb-auto-charger-to-actually.html?m=1 for informations.

i made such a thing as you did some years ago. mostly because my cheap MP3 player didn't play if it was plugged in the Computer (it switched to storage mode) and therefore couldn't listen to music...
mine was a mess compared to yours! :)
Congrats to the nice project!

Hey Guys,

Thanks for your comments and feedback! We edited the image above to make it more clear. Also added the PCB board design for those who are interested to manufacture.

usb_condom_PCB_board.png

Nice idea, but most modern smart phones require about 2.2ish volts on the data channels in order to charge.

user

Could we not add a couple of smoothing capacitors to the two data lines to minimise the signal but keep the voltage and thus ability to charge smart phones?

I'm interested in making my own but am not well versed in electronics. Could you add more details and possibly photos to make it more clear for an amateur, such as myself?

see the 4 pins from the plug an the socket? just connect the two outer ones and leave the middle pins unconnected. now you have a USB with power but no data.