When I use my tablet on my balcony I would like to have it connected to the charger, but using a long (3m) USB cable seems to drop the voltage so that it doesn't charge.

I am wondering whether I can modify a wall-wart to give (say) 5.5V, thus compensating the voltage drop. I reckon I can open a wall-wart with a hacksaw (and a great deal of care), and later glue/tyrap it shut, but is there any chance of adjusting the voltage when I am inside?

I have an electronics background, can (de)solder regular components (but not SMD), and can use a multimeter. I am also aware that playing silly-buggers with mains voltages carries the death penalty; ie I shan't do anything dangerously stupid. Is it worth my while to spend half an hour opening a wall-wart (obviously a 2A unit so that the available current is sufficient) in the hope of finding a twiddle-pot or a location where I can add a 0.7V diode, or is there an alternative?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Buy a USB plug matching each end of the cable, and wire up your own USB cable with 3m of 4mm^2 for the power pins and regular wire for the data lines. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Sep 6 '15 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Eh, consider using a PSU with kelvin taps and a short USB adapter instead. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 6 '15 at 21:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Buy a 3m 120/240v ext lead and shorten your usb lead. ie move the charger closer to your tablet. \$\endgroup\$ – BenG Sep 6 '15 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ignacio what is a kelvin tap? Google didn't help me much. \$\endgroup\$ – NL_Derek Sep 6 '15 at 21:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Instead of having the voltage sense connection at the near end of the wire/cable, you put it at the far end. This compensates for the voltage drop over the wires. Four-terminal sensing \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 6 '15 at 21:52

Honestly, I would not bother trying to open up the wallwart. Why?

  • it's likely to be in a snap-fit or ultrasonically welded plastic case, which will take some opening and not want to go back together
  • the circuitry inside will be cost optimised - not optimised for easy modification or repair

Your quickest bet is to either create a custom USB extension by splicing in some heavy gauge wire to lessen the voltage drops or to extend the mains voltage (into a weatherproof enclosure / socket if you're looking to make a permanent solution).

Failing that, you could look at finding a variable output power supply module and then splicing on a USB connector at the end, but you might as well just go the "bigger cable splice" route if you're going to bother cutting and splicing anything.

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Buy a 3m 120/240v extion lead and shorten your usb lead. ie move the charger closer to your tablet.

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