Author Topic: Low profile micro USB cable: the product that everybody needs but doesn't exist  (Read 10675 times)

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Offline RFZ

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Hey guys,
lots of projects get powered by micro USB, which is great, but there is one aspect of micro USB I really hate: The size of the connector housing.
I don't know why, but there must be some law of nature that dictates that a micro USB connector housing must be at least three times the size of the actual connector.
If you place your project in a housing, together with the power plug, the housing needs to be at least 2cm wider than without the plug.
Example: I use two cheap Android Tablets mounted in a frame for home automation. The frame has to be 4cm wider, just because of the additional 2cm bezel on each side to fit the micro USB plug in.



Solution: Obviously, there must exist low profile right/left angled micro USB connectors to solve this issue, right? Well, no! I've searched almost every china store for low profile / angled connectors... The smallest connector available I found still sticks out by 12mm!
There even seems to be a market for stupid adapters like this, which costs 15 USD:  |O



So... I don't get it  :-//

The market is full of angled micro USB connectors made for the purpose that the cable is not going straight away from the socket, but they all are bulky fat plugs, sticking out by at least 12mm?! Why? Don't these manufacturers think about what they produce?

However, low profile connectors do exist. Some manufacturers accidentally created them and sicked them on Qi charger receivers:



But for some reason, they stopped there. The connector is not available for sale on its own, nor on any other product I found. I contacted ~10 sellers on aliexpress who sell these Qi charger receivers. They were really nice, but noone could point me out a seller selling only the connector.
Why don't they see the potential of these connectors for power adapters or USB OTG cables? Or is it just me being irrational stupid?
I'd pay ten times the price for an USB-OTG adapter using this low profile connector just because I wouldn't have to worry about breaking it off instantly.

For one of my personal projects I just bought an Qi receiver and cut the connector of. They are cheap enough for this. However, they only break out power... No chance of creating my own USB-OTG connector with one of these.

Long story short: I want to buy these connectors - or better - get a manufacturer to produce power and OTG cables ... The market exists, can't be so hard, right?
Low profile connector + 10cm flatflex + usb socket / solder pads... Simple, cheap, people will love it...

Edit: Inline Thumbs added, thx @tautech
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 01:25:25 pm by RFZ »
 

Offline sleemanj

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A while ago I had pretty much the same thought after breaking the USB socket on my tablet for the millionth time, I also looked for the flex type plugs you see on QI chargers but didn't find any from memory.

In the end I solved my problem by instead of fixing the socket the last time I broke it, I just soldered wires to it and brought them out the case to a USB micro-B on a breakout board, hot glue for reinforcement and strain relief.  Totally bodge, but and least I don't break the thing off all the time (screens are a different matter... so clumsy).

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Offline tautech

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You have to do it in Modify by copying the thumbnail URL and pasting it where you want it followed by highlighting it and clicking on the Insert Image icon.
For multiple images some members open a duplicate tab and copy the image URLs across in one Modify session.

Quote this post to see the syntax.

Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline ar__systems

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The reason nobody makes super slim micro-usb connectors is they are already fragile as hell. The metal part routinely breaks off from the plastic overmold. That's why the metal part have to extend fair distance into the plastic, and plastic have to be of some substantial size.

If it is just one-off jobs, take apart the tablet and solder power wires in place of the microUSB, so they exit on the back side.
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Because it is specified. Check out Figure 6-8
http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/ecn1.pdf
 
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Offline BurtyB

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I've been using the USB3150 on my ClusterHAT boards and find them quite reliable - you could probably make a board to bring it out close to the device (assuming the socket isn't recessed too far) similar to the board I use to go back to back with a Pi Zero.

 

Offline RFZ

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Because it is specified. Check out Figure 6-8
http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/ecn1.pdf
6-8 is a drawing of a "Typical USB “Mini-B” Connector". It's not a specification of min/max dimensions, nor microUSB.

The USB3150 may be a acceptable alternative. I tried to order it last summer but it was not available. As far as I remember it was only available by farnell uk and they wouldn't ship to germany. It is also quite expensive... However, looks like it is now also available from farnell de... (edit: 25 Eur shipping per order  |O )
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 08:45:32 pm by RFZ »
 

Offline anman

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As it caught the eye of a good product in the form of an OTG-Adapter-Converter or cable . It is convenient to use.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 10:34:50 am by anman »
 

Offline thm_w

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Although its not what you want, you can look at some of the magnetic plugs:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Metal-Magnetic-Replacement-Head-for-Micro-USB-2-0-Magnetic-Adapter-Charger-Cable/32765110623.html

Soldering to that would be interesting. Its a bit more expensive than the USB3150 as well.
 

Offline RFZ

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It is convenient to use.

This is a joke, right? I have five of these adapters, just because they are cheap.
They are not convenient in any way... You just have to look at the device you are using them with and they will break or fall off.

Edit: Don't get me wrong, it is a great product and quite handy occasionally. But it is not suitable for daily use - like with Tablet + DVB-T Stick.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 10:44:31 pm by RFZ »
 


Offline dimbmw

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Hey guys,
lots of projects get powered by micro USB, which is great, but there is one aspect of micro USB I really hate: The size of the connector housing.
I don't know why, but there must be some law of nature that dictates that a micro USB connector housing must be at least three times the size of the actual connector.
If you place your project in a housing, together with the power plug, the housing needs to be at least 2cm wider than without the plug.
Example: I use two cheap Android Tablets mounted in a frame for home automation. The frame has to be 4cm wider, just because of the additional 2cm bezel on each side to fit the micro USB plug in.



Solution: Obviously, there must exist low profile right/left angled micro USB connectors to solve this issue, right? Well, no! I've searched almost every china store for low profile / angled connectors... The smallest connector available I found still sticks out by 12mm!
There even seems to be a market for stupid adapters like this, which costs 15 USD:  |O



So... I don't get it  :-//

The market is full of angled micro USB connectors made for the purpose that the cable is not going straight away from the socket, but they all are bulky fat plugs, sticking out by at least 12mm?! Why? Don't these manufacturers think about what they produce?

However, low profile connectors do exist. Some manufacturers accidentally created them and sicked them on Qi charger receivers:



But for some reason, they stopped there. The connector is not available for sale on its own, nor on any other product I found. I contacted ~10 sellers on aliexpress who sell these Qi charger receivers. They were really nice, but noone could point me out a seller selling only the connector.
Why don't they see the potential of these connectors for power adapters or USB OTG cables? Or is it just me being irrational stupid?
I'd pay ten times the price for an USB-OTG adapter using this low profile connector just because I wouldn't have to worry about breaking it off instantly.

For one of my personal projects I just bought an Qi receiver and cut the connector of. They are cheap enough for this. However, they only break out power... No chance of creating my own USB-OTG connector with one of these.

Long story short: I want to buy these connectors - or better - get a manufacturer to produce power and OTG cables ... The market exists, can't be so hard, right?
Low profile connector + 10cm flatflex + usb socket / solder pads... Simple, cheap, people will love it...

Edit: Inline Thumbs added, thx @tautech

I fully agree. I really do not understand why micro usb connectors overmoldings are that huge.
 

Offline RFZ

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Hey guys!
Good news - kind of :)

I found two suppliers on aliexpess who are actually willing to sell just the connector with flatflex. At the moment, I couldn't get them to sell the connectors on their regular shops, but I'm still trying.
If you think selling these connectors is a good idea, or want to ask for an offer, just contact them. The stores are:

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/1045021
This one also designs/manufactures the connectors. He might also do OTG cables if enough quantities are demanded. He has a ready to sale power only connector which is more durable than the plastic one. D+/D- are short together on this connector to allow USB compliant devices to draw more than 500mA. (Image #1)

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/1184416
This one can sell the standard plastic power only connector on request and MAY consider selling it on his regular shop. D+/D- are left floating (on the one I tested), so compliant devices may limit current to <500mA.
(Image #2)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 08:51:39 am by RFZ »
 
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Offline RFZ

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Hey,
just got another connector (and attached Qi receiver) delivered from china.
I've ordered this: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32788021258.html
Despite the pictures showing the connector with the crimped on back (bottom on my pic), it has a glued on back AND D+/D- lines shorted out (top on my pic)! However, the seller sells it only in this one orientation, not the other (which I prefer) :/
 

Offline damichi

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Did you have any luck with that? I thought about just ordering 10 different QI charges to see if some of them also have the data lines.

This is new I guess

https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/2017-newest-desigh-90-Degree-Right_60703576899.html
In combination with an otg adapter this could work.

 I have an tablet which works super nice as hackintosh besides the stupid wifi card. It's pretty packed inside so an external solution would be easier.

Greetings Michael
 

Offline Kean

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Did you have any luck with that? I thought about just ordering 10 different QI charges to see if some of them also have the data lines.
I did that and didn't have any luck.

Quote
This is new I guess
https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/2017-newest-desigh-90-Degree-Right_60703576899.html
One of the pictures in that listing shows 4 and 5 pin versions.  Fantastic!
Once I know the configuration I need for a new design (and the client confirms he has funding), I'll be contacting them.


 

Offline Kean

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Of course with the rapid change of mobile devices to USB-C, I will probably need one of those instead of microUSB.
 

Offline AdrianoA3

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Hi guys.
Just like those NFC charging adapters attached under the case, I want to create an ultrathin microSD reader to my phone.
I don't know why anybody never created it yet... It's a f****** solution for phones w/o microSD slot (in my case, Le Max 2).
I wish to buy, but I don't know where...
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 02:33:00 pm by AdrianoA3 »
 

Offline ThumpieBunnyEve

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Id like to see a usb-mini ( or is it usb micro?? )end that is just, and only, the end, no PCB.
the housing would have a hole drilled in for a pull-string nylon,
the pull strings as often seen on key-chain toys these days.
(black nylon around fishing line. usually has a 3 mm loop and cylinder on one end)

this would allow for pull-removal of the device from the port.

attached to this glorified slot-cover, should be a multi pin amber colored ribbon cable.
the type where you can see the copper traces through the transparent amber film.

This film in and of itself is flexible an could with a bit of solder tipping, be domed enough to contact the female jacks inner contacts with spring pressure from the amber ribbon.  the ribbon should be about 3 to 6 inches, and exit the male jack at a right angle so it will stick out above, or below, the phone it is attached to.

the other end of the ribbon, would have all the trace point ends for each of the contacts inside. So users can solder on thier own USB female, or USB Male ends, or pcb's of their own choosing.

these ribbons though delicate, are often seen on LCD backlit displays these days and often used internally. They will stand up to a number of uses, but will break away safely (though destroying the ribbon) if tugged on.  This would protect your phone from a mount point failure, at the cost of a new ribbon cable of course.

further more devices such as clamps for cars or gaming controllers like the i-pega that try to squeeze your unit, can do so without damaging your phones port.  Many older phones cant use modern blue-tooth controllers without attachment of a modern version bluetooth dongle.  and squeezing the dongle in the controller is not only risky for falling out but nearly assures a broken port with just 1 shake.

EDIT: Im aware this is a necro post. but the topic is valid to me today. and the descussion is still relevant, and the only thing google seemed to come pu with for me when searching for "low profile otg" and "flat otg" and so on.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 06:03:05 am by ThumpieBunnyEve »
 

Offline Nixie

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De-zombieifing a thread! at least for a little while.

So, I've been working in very low profile extension cables to connect my internal bluetooth to the outside. (here, V1, I don't have photos of V2 yet, but you'll get the point)





That goes from here:



To here:



It's a mix and match of different pre-versions with and without fiberoptic to monitor the status led from the outside.

In any case, has anyone totally dismantled one of those wireless flat connectors to see if they can actually be desoldered and repurposed in a custom flexy pcb? I have ordered some, but they'll take still a long time to arrive, so I'd like to know what I'm going to find beforehand. ^^




« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 11:46:52 pm by Nixie »
 
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Offline Kean

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In any case, has anyone totally dismantled one of those wireless flat connectors to see if they can actually be desoldered and repurposed in a custom flexy pcb? I have ordered some, but they'll take still a long time to arrive, so I'd like to know what I'm going to find beforehand. ^^

When I'm back in Australia later this week I will see about dismantling one of the XAJA brand ones.  I've bought a few samples of them (mostly the 5 pin OTG version), and have started using them in a new design.  I have at least one that has been damaged at the non-connector end due to a phone escaping the enclosure and ripping the flex away from the main PCB.
 

Offline Nixie

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Nice! Thanks a lot ^^
 

Offline Kean

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Sorry for the delay.  I had a short stint in hospital on my return from Indonesia.  You don't want to hear the details!  :palm:

Anyway... attached are some photos of the XAJA brand flex USB which they call "5 pin, micro usb down, 96mm" which I just tore apart.
The construction is pretty good - better than others I've looked at.  Let me know if you have any questions.
Supplier website is www.szxaja.com
 


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