Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ipod USB/Firewire power hack (lame)

I've had an Ipod for 6 months or so now. I wasn't cool enough to immediately jump on the cool train and get the first generation Ipod or even the second. I got the mini since it just made sense at the time.

Mine came with the USB adapter that serves to purposes -- to transfer music and charge. The problem is that when you plug your Ipod into a USB 2.0 host, you can't use the Ipod since it goes into that silly "Do not disconnect" mode.

Imagine me, at work after 5pm the day before Thanksgiving yearning for some tunes. And there is my Ipod, dead as a doornail because I had used it at the the gym this morning and for hours at the data center today.

Feeling a bit daring, I figured that if the Ipod gets both power and data from the USB cable and that there are plenty of devices out there that just steal power from USB, there should be a way to hack the Ipod USB cable to do what I want.

The solution? Slip a little piece of paper into the USB type A connector and cover the middle two pins. These pins supply the data. This is considerably easier if you've got one of those USB extender cables coming out of your machine for easier access on your desktop. Bingo. Charing the Ipod while listening to it.

I figure the same is possible with the Firewire adapter as well, but I'm not even sure if the Firewire adapter has the same problems. If it does, block all but pins 1 and 2 as shown here.

Not really new or especially creative as others have done similar things like this before (the Altoids Ipod charger), but I found it useful. Maybe someone else will too.