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I have an old external battery for Apple devices (has 30 pin Apple Dock Connector), and I want to repurpose it to be an external battery for all my USB devices.

Anyway, I don't have much experience with this kind of thing, so if someone could give me some good advice on how to accomplish this, it'd be great! I only really need to convert it to any kind of USB cable, since I can just get converters from there.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What voltage is it? Old iPods charged from Firewire power, but that's deprecated and they all use the USB pins (+5 V) now. \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Oct 15 '10 at 22:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have it with me, but it's not old enough to have a firewire layout. It's got to be USB. \$\endgroup\$ – Jonah H. Oct 15 '10 at 23:58
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If your external battery was designed to plug into a iPod or iPhone, then you need a female 30-pin connector to mate with it, like this one from SparkFun. Be warned however, that this is designed to mount as a SMD to a PCB board, and the pins are tiny.

Like others have said, it's probably not worth the effort.

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  1. Buy a cheap USB cable, cut it in half.
  2. Determine which of the wires in the USB cable are power (aka +5V) and ground
  3. Determine which of the pins in the battery are power and ground
  4. Connect the respective USB wires to the pins on the battery

It's a fairly simple hack, only requires you to connect two wires.

WARNING: Do not plug this into your computer! It will now have a USB connection, but plugging it into your computer will be putting power on lines that the PC does not expect! Things might explode.

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You can google around a bit but its likely that your not just dealing with a battery wired to the dock, but rather theres probably some logic and control in the battery pack that doesn't deliver power until activated properly or limits current to 100ma until requested, per USB spec.

Apple is a real pain in this regard. Heres an example of what it takes to get a generic charger to provide power to the iphone.

Of course your talking about doing basically the opposite, but i wouldn't be at all surprised to see similar handicapping of the device.

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You'd be better off trying something like the MintyBoost which you can make for a few bucks, compared to the time/effort put into repurposing the dock battery thingy.

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