Perfect universal charging system…even charges Creative Zen V

Why do most portable device manufacturers feel the need to use proprietary connectors on the opposite end of their USB cable? I HATE THAT!!! What’s worse is that some devices like my Creative Zen V Plus and Sony Ericsson W810i will only charge via USB if they are connected to a PC. You can’t just plug their USB cables into one of those AC adapters with a USB charging port.

Anyway, I stumbled onto the charging system and decided to try. I was skeptical that their Creative Zen V “tip” which has a normal mini-USB connector, would actually work. They would have to do some extra wiring to fool the device into charging without the PC data connection. Well…the damn thing works! The Sony Ericsson tip also works like a charm! I also got a Palm TX tip, although I’ve never had a charging issue with its standard cable.

The Gomadic system is based around a 1/8th inch 4-conductor plug (similar to mini-stereo headphone plug) and they support a pretty wide range of devices. They have a version that has two connectors for simultaneously charging two devices and that’s the one I got. I also got the USB retractable connection cable. I already had a AC/Car-to-usb adapter and found that the Gomadic USB cable works fine with it. In other words, you don’t have to plug their USB cable into a PC for it to work. That means all of the circuitry is in the tips, not the cable–that was what I was hoping for. The USB cable+tip even works as a regular data cable for the Zen V and W810i, so it does more than just charge.

If you want to be absolute minimalistic, just get the appropriate tip and their USB cable. With the Creative Zen V, for example, the benefit over a standard USB cable is that you will be able to charge your device by plugging into any USB outlet, not just a PC. So USB AC adapter, USB car adapter, USB battery adapter, etc.�

I feel like I’ve finally found the do-all universal charging system with Gomadic.�

Note that I have tried the iGo, but eBay’d it and got the Kensington due to its
slim formfactor. These are great for laptops, but overkill for smaller
USB-charging devices.

Comments 2

  • Nice article Doug, thank you.
    FWIW, the Zen expects the pin between pin D+ an ground to be pulled up to +5V. Without it being pulled high, it will not charge. So much for USB “standards”

    There are instructions on how to pull that pin up to +5V on a standard cable so that it charges the Zen V Plus.

    For poeple with more skills and time than money :).

  • ahh crap really. that blows. I have zvm but never had that problem because it CAME with a charger at the time of its release unlike a few months later to save dollars and make the price of one a little more competitive.

    I just bought a zen v plus refurbished one not long ago to use at the gym. I was going to go for the sansa clip but they are hard to find. I did find a 1gb version but 1gb is just too small and the ones i did find at 2gb just didnt justify the price.

    Anyways, I wish you were wrong because i have a usb charger here and I was hoping to take advantage of that. now i feel bit newbie :P ermm I did check those gomadic tips not to long ago for a vado HD. love it but again charging via computer isn’t the most convenient way of doing things.

    sorry for the overdue comment :P

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