I have a crummy laptop with only one USB 3.0 port and not enough power on that port to charge anything any fast. There are a lot of cheap USB 3.0 hubs on the market that support external power.

What I want is to make some additions to laptop's power cable an install some USB charger to provide power for the hub on the go (only one cable from the socket and two cables from the laptop's charger). It seems that the most universal and non-destructive way would be to add some sort of "splitter" between the AC cable and the charger ("mickey mouse"/C5 to "minnie mouse"/C5 plus usb or something in between) or use some customized AC cable because that connector is universal and I can use the same device for any laptop in future.

The question is: are there any ready to use devices on the market or any comprehensive DIY instructions? It seems like a problem many people have yet so far I couldn't find any solutions at all.

The theoretical device can either output USB-like DC to micro-USB (micro-USB 3.0?) or something more special to the hub (some hubs have a round socket for power connection), anything will do.

I saw some universal laptop chargers with extra USB ports but I don't really want to replace my charger with it, I want to go further and have a special power cord/power cord extension that fits any charger.

Extension is probably better than a cable because I travel a lot and use different cords in different countries instead of a flimsy adapter. So right now I have three different cables (might need even more in the future) and I don't wanna have to modify them all — "mickey mouse" (IEC 60320 C5/C6) is more universal than AC plugs and sockets.

  • Doesn't really matter for the question, I avoided mentioning it on purpose and I might wanna use something like this with any of 4+ laptops I have around. – Ivan Anishchuk Sep 6 '15 at 18:43
  • 1
    But if you're just curious, the one I type this on is Acer Aspire E11 E3-112. – Ivan Anishchuk Sep 6 '15 at 18:44

This is really a question for an electronics side, but you could do this on the DC side of the charger by bastardizing a car charger - most car charges have cheap but efficient circuitry that will take anything from 9-24 volts on the input and provide 5 volts DC on the output - and finding ones that output 2 amps is common. (and they are fairly small, so they can be wired inline, and don't deal with dangerous voltages)

One thing to be acutely aware of is that in either the scenario I posit or the scenario using the AC side is that ground may be different on the charger output and on the computer - so using a Y USB cable could do damage to your laptop port. [ I suspect I managed to blow up a port doing something analagous with a faulty hard drive charger ]

| improve this answer | |

One way to do it is to

  • buy C5 to C6 cable, a universal USB charger (or whatever, preferably one connected to the AC power through the cable),
  • cut the cable in half somewhere near the C5 side (or just strip the wires),
  • cut the USB charger's AC cable and strip the wires there as well,
  • connect the stripped wires (soldering is preferred),
  • use a lot of insulating tape and/or other kinds of insulation everywhere,
  • tape the USB charger to the laptop's charger.

But I would really prefer to have something more reliable, compact and, ideally, factory-made. Because power supply for your external drives and other devices is kinda important.

If I go this way, I'll update with pictures later.

| improve this answer | |
  • Where are the pictures – Suici Doga Jul 12 '16 at 2:15
  • Sorry, never got around to implement it. The thing is I changed the laptop and the new one's charger doesn't have a C6 connector but plugs directly to the AC socket instead. It's actually very inconvenient (cable is short and it doesn't stay reliably in wall sockets, the charger itself is bulky) so I might end up modifying it to support standard C5/C6 but that's even more complicated then the instruction above. – Ivan Anishchuk Jul 13 '16 at 13:06
  • The second thing is I might be interested in adding a particular USB hub with external power and a Qualcomm Fast Charge charger into the whole construction and with neither charger having a cable connection bulkiness of the thing and chances of getting electrocuted increase. Hence I'm still in the research phase. Thank you for your interest and please share any ideas you might have. You also might consider following my blog, I rarely post there but on occasions there were/will be some hardware reviews and repair/maintenance/modification reports. – Ivan Anishchuk Jul 13 '16 at 13:21
  • Is it possible to upgrade a laptop to USB type C.Mine has a board for both the USB and power so maybe if it could be modded we could have type C ;D – Suici Doga Jul 13 '16 at 14:30
  • Depends on particulars. It might be outright theoretically impossible (e.g. incompatible voltage), even if possible it will definitely be hard (i.e. designing and soldering a new board). won't be pretty even you can modify laptop's external case, and simply might not be worth the effort. But check the answers on the site or ask a new question if you think it's not answered yet, consult with a specialist in case of any doubt. – Ivan Anishchuk Jul 13 '16 at 23:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.