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Make a USB Host Cable

69877 Views 150 Replies 79 Participants Last post by  bonehenge
Just a few photos to help with the process of converting a standard Eken (or Iphone type) cable to a USB Host cable to allow connecting a USB keyboard, mouse, thumb drive, or with power, a hard drive, etc.First step is separating the shell. I used an Exacto knife to carefully press a little down the parting line at each of the 4 corners of the shell, and also at the fake strain relief (really part of the hard plastic shell) surrounding the cable.This view is the top of the connector. When re-assembling it is very important to remember which way the pieces go, including pins, and the small catches at either side of the connector. Photos like these help.
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View attachment 180 This next photo shows the bottom of the connector with the plastic parts removed. Notice that the bottom of the metal portion has two white slides that the top doesn't (the longer white stripes). Notice also that this connector's pins have been covered with hot glue (ugh). This will make cleaning and soldering to these tiny pins harder than it already is.​
I opted to reposition the pins without unsoldering and re-soldering. This isn't easy, since the glue has to be scraped off, and the pins are very hard to insert while attached to the wires. They are very fragile and the scale is tiny.Notice also that the colors of the wires don't exactly correspond to"normal" USB wire colors. I translated these to pink=red, blue=green, yellow=white, and brown=black, and mine worked.Once you have got the glue separated from the connector, the pins pull out rather easily.NOTE: more recently a cable has turned up that has different color coding from those above, the order of the colors is different. If yours are different, be sure to take a photo and note the colors and exact pin positions of each wire. Please post them in this thread so we can make any needed corrections.
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This third photo shows the pins removed from the connector. Notice that the pins have a top side and a bottom side. You will need to switch their positions after separating them from the hot glue, and then make sure that the top and bottoms are still lined up the same way with the connector.Notice that I have put some red dots with a magic marker on the plastic part of the connector, the metal shield, the wires going to the pins, and the cable so that I can remember which way to reassemble them. Photos again also help for this.Notice the holes in the connector. There are 30 of them, and they are arranged in groups of 3.So, hole number 9 would be the last hole in the 3rd group from the right. Pin 10 would be the first hole in the 4th group from the right, etc.
View attachment 188 Notice the position of the connector in the photo (bottom side up) with the plastic tabs at the top. Also note the orientation of the pins, with the long part of the pin on the bottom. The connector hole locations are numbered from right to left in this position, 1 to 30. The holes are in groups of three. So pin hole 9 is the third group, and the third hole from the right. In this case, the pink wire goes there.​
The pins shown here haven't yet been completely detached from the hot glue that covers them. Carefully cut and scrape it off with an Exacto knife or single edge razor blade. Careful, the pins are easily bent.Please note, perform this mod at your own risk. You can damage your Eken if you miswire it, so be extremely careful to get the pins in the right holes. Suggestion: check your work by taking photos of it, preferably in macro mode, and enlarge them until you can see clearly which holes the pins are in, and that there are no bridges or shorts. Or use a scanner if you have one. A magnifying glass may work, but a photo can usually provide more detail. I check both ends of the connector, since pins can be bent inside when inserting.(Please also note these are preliminary instructions, and there may be errors here -- probably a good idea to double check the above info against other posts on these forums to be sure. I'll remove this note if reader feedback proves these out -- they worked for me on my Eken.)When the pins were properly inserted, I used hot glue to immobilize them again, to insulate them from each other and to provide strain relief. Try not to let it wick into the pin holes. Just a few small dots will do.
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I used the female portion of a USB cable extender for the host side USB connector. This was spliced to the Eken cable according to the above diagram.USB cable extenders are readily available, so I just cut one of these cables in half and spliced the female half to the Eken cable. Splicing the cable also guarantees that my wire color translation was okay, since I used the signal names to connect them properly to the USB cable which has "standard colors."Note: if instead of splicing a cable, you use a USB gender changer plug, the color connections we made above may be incorrect. The wire colors in the Eken cable are not standardized. By splicing both ends, we know more certainly what pins are connected to each other at each end. Altering one end alone carries some risk.Another cable possibility -- if you buy a 4 port hub, it probably already has a host cable and you can splice to that. I didn't connect the ground shield at the EKEN end, though others have connected it to ground (brown). The EKEN cable doesn't have a shield.
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Now, before reassembly of the shell is the time to test the cable. Be extremely careful to put it in place without shorting any pins -- this should be easier if you insulated them with hot glue.After it checked out, I put the Eken connector shell back together using the original photo to make sure I had the small catches and buttons at the edges of the connector in the right positions. I also used the red dots I added earlier to make sure the metal shields were in the right position and the small mark on the connector shell (cast in) was also helpful in reassembling it right. After a trial fit, I applied a little hot glue to a few points at the corners of the connector, being careful not to get any on the moving parts of the buttons, and reassembled it. A slower drying glue would have been better, but I managed to fumble it all in place in time.A final note -- mine didn't work after I reassembeled the shell. But luckily I figured out that it had nothing to do with the wiring. It was the plastic shell itself which interfered with the EKEN case. The connector is square. And the Eken side is beveled. There is an interference at the top of the connector when it is plugged in. This probably accounts for most of the "flaky cable" problems Eken owners have reported in the past. If you file back the plastic a little at the top of the connector, you can then plug it all the way in until the catches snap. This last mod made my cable work perfectly.I've since tested a thumb drive, keyboard, mouse, and a portable hard drive (this last requires powered hub, as the Eken cannot provide the 5 volt USB power needed).Hope your cable works as well as mine does.
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[quote name='jacobius;16468]is it possible to use a ipod - usb male cable with a use female to female adaptor?[/QUOTE]Yes' date=' but not without switching the pins in the Ipod cable connector as shown above.[I']Host mode[/I] is more than just a change to a female cable end. If you want to attach other devices like keyboards, etc. you need USB host mode.The EKEN cable (or an Ipod cable) is connected internally to the tablet as USB slave mode, out of the box. This means the Eken is seen as a peripheral storage device by another computer you attach to the cable. Changing the connector to female won't change this internal connection in the Eken. Only changing the pins in the big 30 pin connector will give you host mode. A female to female converter is handy however, since you could avoid splicing in another female USB cable (as I did above). You would just have to do the pin changing part of the instructiuons above. Then add your gender adapter to the male end.
[quote name='androiduser;16517]if i moddifed the cable' date=' can i use it like usb slave mode to... have the computer detect my eken m001?:confused:[/QUOTE']You can buy another Ipod/Iphone/etc cable for that function. They are as low as $2 on I've also toyed with the idea of making a double ended cable (Y-shaped) that has one pigtail for host and the other for slave. You would need more pins to insert in the 30 pin connector than Eken provides, though. Perhaps one of the aftermarket cables will have more. Or if you get some $2 cables, you can rob one to add to the other.In this case you would not change the existing pins and cable, just add the additional host mode cable and pins. You would also need to enlarge the "strain relief" hole in the plastic connector body to fit two cables. A little hot glue here to secure them would be a good idea.
nice work, exilaus!Is that USB connector a double with both M and F types? Hard to tell in the photo -- can you show a front view? Neat package.Thanks!(@jacobius sorry, no I don't use a messenger, but you can PM me if you want to)
You're welcome. The real thanks go to the guys who worked this out in the first place. I just took photos of what I did while following their lead. Thanks slatehacks!
[quote name='razvanesq80;20248]Hello! I opened the connector but apparently the order of the wires don't match. in your case is BLUE' date='YELLOW,RED,BROWN, and in my case is YELLOW,BROWN,BLUE,RED!!! what should i do? go on with the instructions exactly as you described them or it is not a good idea?[/QUOTE']Very odd. But I suppose it is possible with poor QC or a model or cable manufacturer engineering change. Or even an Eken clone/knockoff.I would urge caution. Do not connect anything unless you are personally confident that pin connections are correct at both ends. 1.) I assume you have an Eken M001 like mine and it is the OEM cable. If not where is the cable from?2.) A more important question than the colors is, where were those pins in the connector -- do you have the original pin positions written down? 3.) If the cable manufacturer simply changed wire colors but connected the same pins in the Apple type connector to the same pins in the USB connector in the original cable, then the colors are just different. Did you test it as a slave mode cable first, before taking it apart? Did it work, or was it a bad cable?4.) On the other hand, if there was some actual wiring change in the tablet and cable, then the method I used should not be used until you figure out what each color means, and make any necessary adjustments. If you do not have the pin numbers written down, then I would not try to re-wire the cable for host mode unless I completely understood the reason for the change.If it was me, I mght buy another cable (any iPhone/Ipod to USB type) and try it as a replacement slave cable. It should work normally. If it does, I'd be fairly confident that the pin numbers used are okay, and the colors are just different.If the colors are the only difference, AND you intend to splice a female USB cable to the other end, as I did, then you should be able to follow the method I used using the same colors I did in the Apple type connector. This is because you are essentially wiring both ends of the cable. The pin connections at both ends will be the same as what I have. You will simply be re-color coding your cable to match mine. So it should be okay.However, I would not suggest re-pinning the Apple connector end and using a USB gender changer plug at the other end. That would not guarantee that the connections are correct, because you would have effectively re-wired only one end.In fact, I have never tested this cable mod with a USB gender changer, only by splicing the female cable end on as shown. The gender changer method is undetermined at this point, using the color coding I used. It could cause problems. Wiring both ends is the safest method, particularly since cables seem to vary in color coding -- as seen above.
You're welcome ravanesq80, glad it worked out.Just so we have more certain knowledge to improve the instructions in this thread, would you mind answering all of the questions I had above? That will tell us more about what the cable difference was. Thanks!
Great, razvanesq80, thanks for the follow-up. Mine, is an unbranded M001 as well by the way, purchased from Dealextreme. It has blue charging LEDs and I'm running Ecotox 1.1.1.It would be great if someone finds the same color wiring as yours if they would give us the original positions in the Apple connector end before removing the pins. And Ideally in the male USB end as well -- then we could absolutely confirm that the change is simply a color change, rather than a real wiring change.Nice idea about the thumb drive case for the female USB end. Good luck with peripherals, and keep us posted on anything new you find that works!
Orichimaru;22425 said:
Tried one of those usb mini camera's but probably need the proper drivers to get it working properly.
The 5V out may be a problem -- I don't think the Eken can supply it, or if so, not much. You might try a powered hub. I was able to get a portable hard disk drive to work with a powered hub. The drive won't budge without the extra 5V supply to USB.
I'll try to upload them again ... give me a few minutes....Okay, done. Ignore the attachment number link at the top of the posts. For some reason , I can't delete those (or even see them in the editor). The photos are now all in the bottom of the posts. Unfortunately the forum software is no longer providing thumbnails, so you have to click to see the photos.Best I can do. Good luck!
bigralf;24219 said:
i just make my usb cable like you say Thanks for your great tutI connect my microsoft wireless Mouse and i works my QuestionDoes anyone have a Webcam Driver that i can use with my logitech webcam and does anyone have a Bluetoothdongle driver ?Thanks
Great, glad it works!ps. I'd like to keep this thread devoted to modding the cable itself -- the other queries will probably get you better results in their own thread. Thanks for your help, bigralf, and good luck!
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