Make a USB Cable 'power Only'


Introduction: Make a USB Cable 'power Only'

If you work in a place where your computer is heavily locked-down, you may well get errors and warnings whenever you connect your mobile device to the USB port. The annoying thing is that you're not wanting to transfer files; you just want the power from the USB port to charge your device. This instructable shows you how to covert a standard cable into a 'power only' cable in just a couple of minutes.

Step 1: Identify the Data Transfer Pins

Look into the large USB plug -- the end that goes into the computer. You'll see 4 gold contacts. The outer two carry the power, while the centre two carry the data. We are going to shield the data connections so only the power can get through.

Step 2: Cut the Tape to the Right Width

This step is a bit fiddly. You need to cut a narrow strip of sticky tape that is large enough to completely cover those two inner contacts, but small enough avoid reaching the outer two contacts. Trial and error is sufficient here -- cut it too wide and then trim until the size is just right. (Don't worry about the length at this stage.)

Step 3: Apply the Sticky Tape Over the Data Contacts

Carefully insert your strip of sticky tape, being sure to cover the data contacts (the inner two) and not the power contacts (the outer two). Make sure the tape goes right down into the plug -- the data contacts need to be completely covered.

Step 4: Ensure Good Adhesion

Insert a small flat item into the plug to make sure the tape is properly stuck down.

Step 5: Trim Excess Tape

Finally, trim off any excess tape. Do not just fold it over, because the plug is built to a precise size and by having tape on the outside of the plug, it could get tricky to put into its socket.

Step 6: Done!

That's it, done! Now, when you connect your mobile device to the computer, your device will receive power to charge it, but the computer will not register that the device is connected.



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    13 Discussions

    Amazing!!!! Though I hate it why my wireless headphone cannot charge on charge sync cable... But this small tweak in the cable did the business for me :D

    Thanks for this awesome page...

    Also very handy for when you plug two items into the same power adaptor like a GPS and an iPod in your car. They each register that a computer is attached and go into managed mode. Each thinks that the other is a computer.

    Ok so this how to was for USB-2. Please clarify does this work with a USB-3, USB-C cable and device. I suspect this will disable fast charging forUSB-3, USB-C and default to standard charging on applicable devices.

    Worked like a charm on my iPhone 6. thanks for this great idea!

    I tried to do this trick to my iPhone changing cable but it did not work. I first tried to shield the inner two connections and when connecting this to my laptop it had no response. It did not charge my phone nor did it give me the usual security message that pops up. I then tried to shield the outer two connections, this also did not work. I am using an iPhone 6 +. Does this trick not apply to iPhone cables?


    1 reply

    I have read in another instructable, that iPhones require a small charge on the data connectors before they will charge.

    I am no expert, but you probably need a resistor to dial down the charge and rewire the cable so the low charge can get to the data connectors.

    I want to make a cable that will run power from a USB charger to a tablet (Nook HD+) that will be about 6 feet long. My friend spends a lot of time in bed, and since the Nook's USB cable is only 2 feet long, that makes things awkward. I found this solution that people suggested to make a "USB charger only" cable, and I wanted to see if you guys think it will work. The idea would be to cut a small USB extension cable in half, and put about six feet of two conductor cable (18 gauge) between them, much less voltage drop than the 24-26 gauge power cord in the cables. Are the 10K pull-up resistors the right value to let the Nook know this is a charger-only cable? Let me know what you think.

    USB Power Only Cord.jpg
    1 reply

    @ThomasR107 - If your only goal is to have a longer cable, you don't need to go through all the effort to wire together a power only cable. You did mention you were just plugging into the wall, any cable would work for that. Just look on Amazon for the size cable you want, there's tons of aftermarket options:

    Thanks for solution

    This is so much simpler than those other gadgets being sold as "USB condoms"! I tried it and it works fine with my phone. Thanks.

    Will this provide power at a 2A rating or just the lower 1A? I have a Galaxy Note 2, and using it for a GPS, plugged into my dash, it still drains. I need to get the higher amp rating. The things I have read are contradictory on how to achieve it.