Author Topic: Silly but I suppose that is what hobbyist do  (Read 916 times)

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Offline Rick Law

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Silly but I suppose that is what hobbyist do
« on: March 30, 2017, 07:13:51 am »
Silly to repair something that is practically worthless, I suppose that is something hobbyist do.

I have this box of broken USB cables.  Some were perfectly good but for retired equipment (such as the Treo).  I was tired of looking at a box of junk but just didn't want to throw them out.

USB cables are getting so cheap it is not worth the time, but, the silly bug hit.  So, I cut the USB cables to see what I can do with them: find the bad end and install a new plug of my choice.  You know, the color-coding scheme seem to be different from cable to cable!  One has yellow D+ and another has red for ground!!??  Sorting them out was easy as long as the normal USB side was at least making intermittent contact.

Such a time waste but now I have "new" cables
2x USB -> microUSB-only charge cable for use in the cars
4x USB -> microUSB charge+data cable, now I can leave some down & up stairs.
2x USB -> miniUSB (for Nano) charge and data cable
1x USB -> miniUSB charge only cable (for an old phone occasionally serving as a back-up/power-outage alarm clock)

I can make 4 more...  But I have to wait for more parts to do anything with them.  I have to decide what the metamorphosis should turn them into.  I think some may become USB extension cables.

For the micro/mini USB plugs, it really was not worth spending $2+ for a molded connector.  So, initial couple of cable was just heat shrink tubing covered over the soldered side of the new bare plug.  The last few, I applied hot-glue to the newly replaced plug before cover it with heat shrink tubing so the outer cable-jacket is glued to the plug.  Not pretty but works.

Time included, the new cable is not worth the $.  But, "not-pretty" is still darn better looking than a box of worthless junk...

When silly bug hits, one has no recourse but to surrender.
 
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Offline evb149

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Re: Silly but I suppose that is what hobbyist do
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2017, 07:29:26 am »
It is good to be "silly" like that.  One takes a hit in time spent (but, hey, it is a hobby) but it is rewarding to work on a project and pays off in one's usability of what one creates as well as being "green" to reduce the waste of things that are easily reusable somehow.

One thing I have done sometimes is to leave one "cut off" as a break out so I can inject power from a bench supply into the VBUS / GND lines if I want to do that for testing some USB bus powered HW.  Another useful option along those lines is to be able to attach a volt meter or ammeter to the line so one can see what a load is drawing or what a hub / PC is putting out.

If you don't have a hub with switches on the ports then attaching a switch to the VBUS can be handy to allow for selectively powering a USB device or selectively "power cycling" it.  Useful when you're developing HW that is USB powered.

 

Offline Messtechniker

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Re: Silly but I suppose that is what hobbyist do
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 07:36:43 am »
Well, you are not alone. I frequently chop up USB cables to the length I need in each case.
This very much reduces the "snakeiness" around the computer. :)

I even built a simple tester with LEDs to make absolutely sure that the power lines
are not polarity reversed or have been confused with the data lines.

This is important as otherwise you may damage USB ports.



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