1. robertogag's Avatar
    I have always have problems charging my Torch and now the Playbook with aftermarket chargers.


    * Torch (no big deal since I found solution.... but for reference):
    When I got my torch a few months ago, I spent some time and "FIVE" different USB car chargers. I tried many brands and current(Amp) values... From 500mA to 1A (of course 5V all of them) and finally one worked and it is 500mA... Why USB instead of the original? (that I own as well). Because three cars and several devices.... iphone for wife, BB Torch for me, BB pearl for son, book reader, etc, etc, etc. it is better to have one USB per car.


    * Playbook (here is where I need help now):
    Funny, I try the original charger (1.8A) and works great, I tried the torch one (700mA) and charges slower as expected, I tried few ones I have from 150mA to 500mA and some of them charge but slower (belong to Bluetooth, reader, etc).... But.... I tried a Garmin (1A) and does NOT charge.....
    What is even more funny is that I ordered two charges for the ipad/iphone with two USB's, One at 2A, and one at 1A (at the same time) and neither USB port charges the playbook (BTW: they charge the torch)

    Again: Why USB? Because I need one charger at bedroom, one at the home office, one at work and one on my travel bag, and different devices.....


    Now: WHY??
    all the chargers are 5V, all of them provide current (less will charge slower, more will supply what is needed) but all should work. But they don't.
    Are the four pins on different arrangement? Are the data pins somehow providing a "charge signal"? Are the data pins shorted or opened contrary to the "rest" of the chargers?

    I am an electrical engineer and this does not make sense. What am I missing?
    05-09-11 10:45 AM
  2. BergerKing's Avatar
    I cannot speak for the PlayBook issue, but not having your Torch charge on particular chargers I'd odd, to say the least. MicroUSB is supposed to be a standard across the board. My devices have charged off of everything mini/microUSB I've tried. And that is a wide variety. You are correct that it fails to make sense. BlackBerrys usually aren't that finicky about where they draw power.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    05-09-11 10:59 AM
  3. robertogag's Avatar
    I cannot speak for the PlayBook issue, but not having your Torch charge on particular chargers I'd odd, to say the least. MicroUSB is supposed to be a standard across the board. My devices have charged off of everything mini/microUSB I've tried. And that is a wide variety. You are correct that it fails to make sense. BlackBerrys usually aren't that finicky about where they draw power.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com

    The playbook is more susceptible to "brand" or "type" even on wall chargers.

    The torch charges on pretty much every "wall usb" or computer I have tried but the main problem was/is with cigarette lighter plug with usb. First I tried with my wife's AT&T Iphone charger that has a little USB port on the top (that I used for long time with my 9000 miniUSB cable) and I start buying and returning several ones on Fry's, Best Buy and Micro center until I found one that worked.
    05-09-11 11:42 AM
  4. FF22's Avatar
    I have not tried charging the pb in the car yet - another adventure in the making. I know that my 9650/bold will occasionally throw up a message - not enough power or something similar. I don't know if it the "cigarette" lighter in the car or the charger unit. I imagine the pb will be even more finicky.
    05-09-11 12:22 PM
  5. robertogag's Avatar
    I have not tried charging the pb in the car yet - another adventure in the making. I know that my 9650/bold will occasionally throw up a message - not enough power or something similar. I don't know if it the "cigarette" lighter in the car or the charger unit. I imagine the pb will be even more finicky.
    Correct. But what I don't understand is "why" it can not charge using the 2Amp USB charger from the ipad (after market nor the original)

    I really need to know for two reasons:
    1.- When I travel with the family is: ipad, ipod, iphone, bb phone, sony reader, DS, playbook, etc... (It is hard to get on the plane with 2 kids) so I want a charger that works for all and just carry 2 -3 sets of cables.

    2.- I am an electrical engineer and this does not make sense (I am thinking the green/white wires have something to do on this... Red/black should be no problem.... 5V and ground. period)
    05-09-11 12:47 PM
  6. HaTaX's Avatar
    The reason it won't charge using just any cable is that the PB is kind of picky on its charging source. It can draw almost 2 amps from a charger when in fast charging mode.

    Here's the part you'll want to know from an EE perspective. The PB knows whether it is able to draw more then the standard .5A from a USB cable by the data lines in the USB cable. When the data lines are shorted out on the PB side, it knows it can draw more then .5A (This is a standard USB specification for charging cables, data lines shorted on the device side)

    Basically you can take any USB cable and solder the data lines together on the device facing connector. I've got some mini to micro adapter cables that I have around that I've modified just for this kind of use:
    Amazon.com: Motorola Mini-USB to Micro-USB Charger Adapter: Cell Phones & Accessories

    I've got about 6 of those cables and 2 or 3 have been "converted." I slit the cable open with a razor blade, soldered the data pins on the device side, and then just put some heat shrink tubing over the cut section. Instant charging cable for any USB micro device! I actually originally made these for my Verizion MiFi as that's the only way it would charge off a PC with no drivers installed.

    I'm sure being an EE, this will give you a few things to try. I would just buy some cheap cables from MonoPrice and modify them so you've got more cheap charging options.

    If you like, here's some pinout info, and additional info on the "charging cable" with the data pins shorted:
    USB pinout and wiring @ pinouts.ru
    paulmcneil and jerryburst like this.
    05-09-11 01:17 PM
  7. robertogag's Avatar
    The reason it won't charge using just any cable is that the PB is kind of picky on its charging source. It can draw almost 2 amps from a charger when in fast charging mode.

    Here's the part you'll want to know from an EE perspective. The PB knows whether it is able to draw more then the standard .5A from a USB cable by the data lines in the USB cable. When the data lines are shorted out on the PB side, it knows it can draw more then .5A (This is a standard USB [/url]
    THANKS!

    I knew data wires had something to do with this. I will short the green/white together and try when I get home.

    That leaves me with the last question:
    If they are not shorted, the device thinks it can draw only 500mA, so why the Playbook does not pull at least the 500mA from my 2A ipad charger or the 1A Belkin?


    mmhhhhhh, but it charges from my cheap 500mA charger I use at the office very slowly but it does. Because it is 500mA or less?
    05-09-11 01:41 PM
  8. robertogag's Avatar
    THANKS!

    I knew data wires had something to do with this. I will short the green/white together and try when I get home.

    That leaves me with the last question:
    If they are not shorted, the device thinks it can draw only 500mA, so why the Playbook does not pull at least the 500mA from my 2A ipad charger or the 1A Belkin?


    mmhhhhhh, but it charges from my cheap 500mA charger I use at the office very slowly but it does. Because it is 500mA or less?

    Wait: I just remember that playbook charges with my "torch original" 700mA charger with BTW gets pretty HOT. Probably because data wires are shorted and it pulls all it can.

    But again, why not pulling 500mA from the "not shorted" probably we are missing a piece from the PC usb and <500mA chargers: some resistance?
    05-09-11 01:55 PM
  9. FF22's Avatar
    So, let me ask - is the USB cable (not the charger) that came with the PB DIFFERENT? If this is used with one of those chargers that contains just the charger unit and a usb cable can be plugged into to it (not a one piece charger with integrated usb-wire), will that "react" differently than using, say another micro-usb cable, say the one that came with my Kindle3?

    (aside: I do recall that my creative zen mp3 player needed certain signals and would not charge from just any cable - what I'd call some kind of "feedback" that the mp3 player looked for rather than just power)
    05-09-11 04:04 PM
  10. Stinsonddog's Avatar
    For those of us that aren't cable handypeople, can you buy charging specific USB cables with the shorting already done?
    05-09-11 05:29 PM
  11. HaTaX's Avatar
    Okay, so the PB probably isn't charging from the iPad or belkin charger because it sees an odd resistance across the pins. Apple devices use resistors across the data lines as a cheap voltage divider to show they can draw at the higher mAh rates.

    I'm not sure if the charger that comes with the PB has the data lines shorted, but I would assume it does. Anyone can test this with a multitester in Ohm mode, if it's not completely closed (0 Ohms), then you've got some resistors in the circuit or it is hooked to a computer USB port and the data lines are live.

    If you want to get yourself a USB charging cable, look around for ones that say they CANNOT be used for data synching. Here's an example of one:
    seidioonline.com

    I know deal-extreme carries charging only USB cables, just be aware that they make take a week or 2 to show up...
    05-09-11 07:03 PM
  12. robsteve's Avatar
    I just made one as Hatax suggested using an extra Micro USB I had. I then just plugged this into my USB Hub that has a 2amp external power adapter plugged into the wall. The Playbook is now charging pretty quickly. In the time it took to write this the charge level went from 51-53% .

    I also did a quick search on Ebay and found this listing for a charging cable for a BlackBerry Phone. It looks to be a AT&T accessory, with a list of $9.99. You could probably find them at an AT&T phone store.

    New! AT&T Micro-USB Charging Cable for Blackberry Bold | eBay
    05-09-11 07:35 PM
  13. HaTaX's Avatar
    There ya go! It's not too bad to cut open a cable and twist two wires together. And if you're scared, pick up a few $2 cables to learn with.

    Glad to hear it worked for you.
    05-09-11 10:41 PM
  14. Slickgj's Avatar
    I know this is an old thread but I found something else that might be of help. I had modified a cable to short the data lines and still was unable to charge my Playbook.

    I did some testing of my home charger and found that the metal around the micro usb connector on the home charger is connected to GND (as expected really). What I found with a number of the micro usb cables I have is that this metal around the connector is NOT actually connected to GND. I modified my cable (soldered a small wire to the metal housing of the connector and connected that wire to GND in the cable and now it charges fine.

    So, when you look for USB cables it would appear that some don't connect the outer housing of the micro connector to GND and this is also a problem.
    09-19-12 08:22 AM
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