Introduction: No-frills USB to MicroUSB Heavy-duty Cat-5e 5+ft 1'5+m Charging/data Cable

Picture of No-frills USB to MicroUSB Heavy-duty Cat-5e 5+ft 1'5+m Charging/data Cable

Hello!

Well, thanks to its wide hose, my latest DIY 5V DCP supply showed me how my puny 4-feet 28AWG USB data cable was effectively limiting the current supplied to my smartphone. Since I had some spare supplies, I decided to build me a proper USB to microUSB power/data cable.

«Heavy-duty» performance explanation: since Cat-5e cable houses in 4 twisted wire pairs, and one must be reserved for data duties, 3 pairs can be used for power delivery, which means around 0'615mm² of wire section is available for this purpose. With just under 57'71mΩ per meter of total wire resistance, total voltage drop for this barely above 1'5 meters long cable is expected to be less than 87mV per amp of current flow. For a 2'4A current flow, that's still less than 207'75mV of drop. Now go find me a commercial USB data cable which can hold up to this kind of performance.

3xAWG24 gauge = AWG19'26

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Picture of Bill of Materials
  • 1'5+m of used standard Cat-5e cable in good condition; 4 twisted pairs of AWG24 gauge wires inside.
  • An USB type A male plug ripped from an “El cheapo” USB to miniUSB cable which came with an MP4 player. A cutting disk equipped multitool was used to achieve this.
  • An USB aerial female plug shell I had lying around. Equipped with a cutting bit, me and my multitool enlarged the shell's cable hole as for it to properly grab hold of the Cat-5e cable.
  • A B-type microUSB aerial male plug with shell.
  • Miscellaneous: hot glue + gun, eutectic solder wire + iron, various tools, skill, patience, etc.

Step 2: A-male Assembly

Picture of A-male Assembly

Cable pin arrangement:

  1. Vcc is soldered to orange, green and brown wires.
  2. -D is soldered to white/blue wire.
  3. +D is soldered to blue wire.
  4. GND is soldered to white/orange, white/green and white/brown wires.

The only requirement here is a somewhat decent skill with hot glue, just that. Since the innards of the female shell are somewhat bigger than what the male plug requires to fit in, after wire soldering on the plug, a carefully measured layer of hot glue must be spread out inside of it and, quickly afterwards, the plug is carefully landed over, taking an eye on keeping the plug at the proper heights. As I had left a slight scar on the side of the male plug (at the back innards of the plug, near the cable tabs), somewhat purportedly at about middle height, this helped me in order to make sure the plug would be perfectly centered between both shell sides. All this positioning duty was mainly achieved with my finger over the cable end at the plug entry. Once this harder part is achieved, a good layer of hot glue on the other side of the shell and... close up!

After this, I used a sharp knife to remove the leftovers of hot glue over the plug. Done!

Step 3: Micro-B Male And... Work Completed!

Picture of Micro-B Male And... Work Completed!

Cable pin arrangement for this plug:

  1. Vcc is soldered to orange, green and brown wires.
  2. -D is soldered to white/blue wire.
  3. +D is soldered to blue wire.
  4. Not connected.
  5. GND is soldered to white/orange, white/green and white/brown wires.

Notice my pliers covered with a tad of insulating tape. It must be noted that, since this kind of cable seems to be primarily designed as crimping tool fodder, I noticed that merely holding the wires tightly with the pliers in order to strip them off was enough for the cable sheathing to become damaged. Sheathing material heat resistance is also pretty poor. I had to redo the micro-B male because of short circuit issue. Bear in mind that soldering these wires must be done quickly and skillfully in order to prevent any excess heat melting that solder-wise puny sheathing. If unsatisfied with your just done solder dot, be patient and wait a good deal of seconds before redoing it; either this or face-off a melted sheathing.

Hope you like it!

Step 4: Ouch! Slippy Cable Jacket!

Picture of Ouch! Slippy Cable Jacket!

Just a not so important update. As time went by, somehow the cable jacket slipped out of the micro-USB shell (Damn! It was hot glued from the inside!). Of course I could have rebuilt the whole thing but instead, I've opted for some hot-glued creativity in order to prevent any chance of wire strangling. Oiled sticky tape was used to give some sort of elegant shape to the thing. (-:

Cheers

Step 5: Final Update: Slippy Cable Jacket Botch Eliminated; Elegance Restored. (-:

Picture of Final Update: Slippy Cable Jacket Botch Eliminated; Elegance Restored. (-:

Well, well, well!

More time went by dears and my previous hot-glue inspired slipped sheathing fix-up broke off.

I decided to redo the whole micro-USB male with an improved design to avoid the network cable sheathing to slip out of the connector.

Please bear in mind this has to do with this particular type of cables because of the intrinsically slippery nature of its sheathing. My solution was to use some sort of means to properly tie the sheathing to the pack of internal wires: twisted tie.

After finishing the soldering job, I slided the sheathing back in, close to the male connector, and made sure to firmly coil some twisted tie to the cable; applied then some hot glue and closed the thing. After a minute or two, I used a sharp knife to do away with any outside glue remainings.

I've been using the upgraded cable for a while, and feels solid. :-)

Hope you enjoy it!

Cheers ^:-)

Comments

discostu956 (author)2016-01-06

If this is for a phone, I'm wondering how you got it to accept such a high current. Best I can get mine to take is about 1200ma, acc this is from a really cheap car charger. Nothing fancy would do it, and even doing my own voltage dividers on data lines achieved not much

Barkuti (author)discostu9562016-01-07

I perfectly understand what you say. And, well, although for the time being it'll mostly be used to feed my phone, what I wanted and achieved to create was a cable to meet and exceed the most stringent current flow ability standards. I'm pretty sure it would excel at feeding whatever funky oversized tablet you'd throw at it.

My XT1032 takes in about 1200mAh, too. Certain phones can pull much higher currents even at stock.

http://apcmag.com/android-usb-charging-secrets.htm...

Interesting, doesn't it?

Summershine (author)Barkuti2016-06-12

do u know anything about power over Ethernet I have sum cameras that are powered that way but did not come with the power

Lavoz24 (author)Summershine2016-06-14

I take it you mean security cameras? The reason why they don't come with a power switch is because they draw the power from the wire itself. It's good to have in security cameras because they are placed in sections which aren't readily accessible to a power outlet so they get their power from the cable itself as well pass data and pics/video. I work In the IT and IT security field and 95% of the firewalls,cameras,VPN boxes and routers I install are P.O.E.(power over Ethernet). It's actually better this way because you use one wire as opposed to having a separate power jack and having to find a power outlet somewhere, which would result in having to use an extension cord, running said cord through the floor,wall or ceiling and then having to plug it in and worry about someone disconnecting it by mistake and taking down your system.

mrandle (author)2016-01-07

If you are ONLY using it for charging there is no need for +/- D. USUALLY well in my experience at least the vcc and gnd are the only cables needed for charging. This will simplify your wiring drastically. I've seen a few usb cables out there for charging that didn't work for data because they were missing those 2 connections.

Barkuti (author)mrandle2016-01-07

That would have been a poor man's decision. If you do that, you lose data transmission ability, thence obliterating power negotiation, a requirement for the newer “Quick Charge” standards. Also, I wouldn't feel at ease having a, let's say, DCP coded cable (D- and D+ shorted) which could potentially be a source of dangerous/nasty behaviours when illiterate connected to computer or USB hub ports. All of that for little or no practical improvement with regards to power delivery at stock +5V. No, thanks.

Cheers

mrandle (author)Barkuti2016-01-10

There's pros and cons on both ways. I've heard of public charging stations uploading viruses to phones, no data,no virus. I'm assuming using 3 wires vs. 2 for vcc and gnd would allow better power transmission as well. Data cables don't need to be long anyways, normally you are plugging into a laptop or pc that's only a foot away max. Is there any effect on data transmission for longer lengths of cable?

Barkuti (author)mrandle2016-01-11

My cable uses 3 pairs for +Vcc/GND.
“… public charging stations uploading viruses…” ?
Are you serious? Well, not that I'm saying it's impossible, of course…
In such a case, one-track minded DCP coded data lines plug is the way to go (D- and D+ shorted). Additional wires for power could serve for a longer charging cable in this way, even 3+m would be possible at 1,6Ah with the same ≈0,2ish Vdrop I mention in my instructable (low Vdrop allows better chances of power flow with dodgy Vout level supplies).

Longer (data) cables may be subject to higher interference. USB spec is “up to 5m”, thence I doubt there is any chance of transmission problems with a beefy AWG24 twisted pair at these lenghts.

Cheers

rafununu (author)2016-01-08

The cable I use has a global shield plus one drain per pair, these can be used as ground voltage and the 3 remaining pairs as V+. This way the voltage drop will be even less than yours !

Barkuti (author)rafununu2016-01-08

“The cable I use has a global shield plus one drain per pair, these can be used as ground voltage and…”

What? You mean a F/FTP or similar cable?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twisted_pair

I can understand it, stored I have some 200MHz F/UTP cable I once used for analog video transmission. For my purpose what I used is pretty fine, foldable and lightweight. Shielded/foiled cables are more cumbersome.

Cheers

rafununu (author)Barkuti2016-01-09

Yes, it's a cat 6 cable in fact, not a cat 5 as yours. It remains foldable but not as cat 5 could be. It has a 6mm diameter.

Azafran. (author)2016-01-07

simply and efficien, so práctica. thnks 4 inspiración.regards

exodous (author)2016-01-07

wow, just wow. I have gone through so many freaking cables, I'm going to start doing this. I've Googled this a few times but could never find the parts. Thanx!

discostu956 (author)2016-01-07

cheers. I'm honestly surprised that sick cables handle what they do with such small wire sizes. Completely understand t trying to improve on those. Nice job too

What is funny about my phone pulling about 1200ma (samsung galaxy s4) is that it will only do it on the after market cheap car charger. On the stock wall charger it will only do about 800ma, even plugging into tablet charger it's the same. I made a high current car charger and loaded the data lines with what was supposed to give the highest current (can't remember what now), and it wouldn't go over about 600ma. Very confusing area of black arts it seems!

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More by Barkuti:Dremel type multitool neat speed controller mod v1.grossNo-frills USB to microUSB heavy-duty Cat-5e 5+ft 1'5+m charging/data cableSalvaged/reused parts 5V/USB chargers. Multi-ID and multi-connector units.
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