USB Sex Change

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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. ;-)

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    61 Discussions

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    maltfalc

    10 years ago on Introduction

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

    18 replies
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    Rossirollermaltfalc

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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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    maltfalcRossiroller

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    Rossirollermaltfalc

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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

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    cornflakerRossiroller

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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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    maltfalccornflaker

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    deeveeoeedeemaltfalc

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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

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    skrasherdeeveeoeedee

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    snowpenguinmaltfalc

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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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    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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    cornflakersnowpenguin

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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

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    snowpenguincornflaker

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    maltfalcsnowpenguin

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    snowpenguinmaltfalc

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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.