Tutorial for making a USB power adapter for wireless router.

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CaptSmokey6
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:18    Post subject: Tutorial for making a USB power adapter for wireless router. Reply with quote
How to make a portable USB powered wireless router or wireless/WIFI modem by making a USB power adapter.

Pictures are coming when i bring my camera back from the dead (needs batteries).

This really works!

You will find USB powered wireless routers or wireless/WIFI modems, but they will not provide the performance, range, quality, and stability that a standard wireless router/modem has. Converting your wireless router into a portable USB powered wireless router or wireless/WIFI modem will be the best thing to do. It may cost more, but it provides more benefits than the cheaper USB powered routers or modems.


Welcome! This guide will show you how to make a USB power adapter for your wireless router. This USB adapter will be used only to give your wireless router electricity.



This can be used for:


1. Convert your wireless router into portable modem to connect to 2.4Ghz 802.11B or 802.11G wireless networks or WIFI hotspots, providing a better, more stable, better quality, longer range connection than standard wireless/WIFI cards or wireless/WIFI modems that are built into computers. Perfect for people with laptops (portable computers) that don't have a wireless/WIFI card or for a better alternative to wireless/WIFI modems built into laptops (portable computers).

2. To free up that AC outlet, allowing you to use it for something else.

3. To bring your wireless router anywhere and share your internet connection with other computers or with devices like a Sony PSP or a wireless/WIFI enabled PDA.

4. If you have a network, and all or nearly all or some of the computers on your network are laptops (portable computers), and the electricity goes out, you can still operate your network for a while longer until your computer's battery dies.

5. As a way to transfer files from computer to computer, computer to device, device to computer, device to device....etc on the go. Some things are required.

6. Other stuff that you can think of. You may tell us about them if you wish.






The things you will need:


1. A Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 wireless router with DD-WRT Firmware, or some other wireless router that requires 5 volts DC electricity and is DD-WRT compatible. DD-WRT is required for this project. DD-WRT unlocks the hidden features of the wireless router. DD-WRT also allows you to use the wireless router as a wireless/WIFI modem. That features works by joining the network as a standard computer. If the network your connecting to is a captive portal based WIFI hotspot (captive portal hotspots will redirect you to a page where you have to purchase internet access or create a free account before browsing the internet), the wireless router, when functioning as a modem, will keep the connection alive so that you don't have to log into the captive portal wifi hotspot again when you need access. Although, some captive portal based WIFI hotspots may disconnect you or force you to log in again after being idle for a period of time, but most captive portal based WIFI hotspots won't disconnect you or force you to log in again, at least for a long while, as long as the wireless router is still connected to the network.

2. A multi-meter (to check voltage)

3. A USB Cable you are willing to sacrifice

4. A power cord from an AC to DC converter (called AC adapter) that your willing to sacrifice with a plug at the end of the cord that will fit nicely in the wireless router's power socket. You may sacrifice your wireless router's AC adapter if you wish, but i recommend that you sacrifice another AC adapter if you still wanna use your wireless router at home with it's AC adapter, unless you wanna free up that AC outlet. Any AC adapter will do, because you won't use the AC adapter, you will use only the wire that plugs a device into the AC adapter.

5. Something to strip the wires with. Wire strippers recommended, but scissors will do, just be careful when you strip wires with scissors, because you might mess up if you don't know what your doing.

6. Something to cut wires with (a wire cutting tool is recommended, but scissors will work great as a wire cutter).

7. A battery (any voltage, this is only to get the correct polarity, it will not be used to power up the router)

8. Black Electrical Tape

9. A laptop computer (portable computer) with a USB port (newer laptop models recommended). But if you wanna keep the wireless router at home, but wanna free up the AC outlet for something else, than a standard desktop computer with a USB port will do (newer models recommended)

10. Ethernet cable (to plug the wireless router into your computer)






First of all, if you don't have DD-WRT Firmware on your wireless router, use the instructions found on the wiki page at http://www.dd-wrt.com to flash your wireless router with DD-WRT firmware. If you already have DD-WRT installed, you may skip this step. The latest version of the DD-WRT firmware is "v24 RC5" found on Downloads > release candidates > DD-WRT v24 RC5 > GENERIC BROADCOM > dd-wrt.v24_std_generic.bin at the DD-WRT website. When flashing your wireless router, do not unplug it, turn off the power, press the reset button, disconnect the wireless router from the computer, turn off the computer...etc. Doing so will brick your wireless router (meaning to make your wireless router no longer function). If you brick your wireless router, you should be able to recover your wireless router, instructions on how to unbrick your router can be found on the Wiki page at the DD-WRT website. Not all wireless routers can be recovered, but many of them can.


Let's Get Started.


1. With your wire cutters, cut the USB Cable in 1/2. Keep the 1/2 with the male USB A connector (the connector that plugs into the USB port of your computer).

2. With your wire cutters, cut the wire off the AC adapter that you have chosen to sacrifice (make sure the plug at the other end of the wire fits the power socket of the wireless router first before cutting the wire off)

3. On the USB cable, there will be 1 end with the plug and 1 end with nothing on it, with your wire strippers, strip off a small part (around 1/2 to 1 inch, or a little more if you choose) of the end of the cable with nothing on it. This will expose the inside wires. Usually 4 to 5. The colors will vary depending on the USB cable you use. There should be 2 wires for data and 2 wires for power and some cables will include a 5th wire for ground. If the USB cable has a ground wire, usually exposed, cut that off, you don't need it. Strip all the inside wires, then plug the USB cable into the computer (make sure the computer is turned on and that no wire is touching each other). With your multi-meter set to 20 DCV or VDC, depending on the multi-meter you use, test the wires, and look for a 5 volt current. The multi-meter should read 5 volts, but no more than 5.2 volts and no less than 5 volts. If it reads more than 5.2 volts, you will need to make or get something that will reduce the voltage down to 5 to 5.2 volts. If you see a Black and a Red wire, test them to make sure they read the correct voltage (5 to 5.2 volts), if they do, then cut the rest of the wires off, and use the red and black ones. If your USB cable does not have a black wire, then look for the negative wire, usually white, but the negative wire can be another color. If your USB cable contains wires that are all the same color, then you will have to hunt for the correct wires or get another USB cable if you don't wanna hunt. When your done testing, disconnect the USB cable from the computer, but keep the multi-meter with you, you will need it again later.

4. On the wire that you cut off the AC Adapter, there will be 1 end with a plug and another end with nothing on it. If the wire is a twin, spread the twin wire apart a little at the end with nothing on it, then strip the wire (around 1/2 to 1 inch, or more if you choose). Before continuing, check the polarity requirement of the wireless router. If it requires a positive tip, you will see a symbol that looks somewhat like this:
-- ---C, a dot on the middle of the C, then something like this: o--- + . Pretend that the letter "o" is the small dot in the middle of the letter C.

-- ---Co--- +.

For the ones who don't know,

-- (the minus symbol) = negative.
+ (the plus symbol) = Positive.

Get it hooked up backwards or short circuiting (to make the wires touch each other) will fry the wireless router and may fry the computer.

If it requires a negative tip, then you will see a symbol that looks somewhat like this:

+ ---Co--- --

To get the required tip polarity, you will need your multi-meter and a battery (any voltage). With your multi-meter set to 20 DCV or VDC, depending on the multi-meter you use, stick the red probe into the hollow middle of the plug and hold the black probe on the side of the plug. On the battery, find the + side of it, so you will tell the polarity. Connect + and -- wires to the battery or hold them on the battery with your other hand. If you see a -- (minus) symbol the digital display of the multi-meter, you got negative polarity, if your wireless router requires the positive polarity, turn the battery around, then grab the part of the wire where the + symbol of the battery is facing, and grab the red or + wire of the USB cable, and twist tie the wires together tightly, but not too tight, or you might break the wire off. Then take the other wire, and twist tie the other wire to the black or -- wire of the USB cable tightly, but like i said, not too tight. Then plug the USB cable into the computer, and with your multi-meter, stick the red probe into the hollow middle of the plug (at the other end of the wire), and hold the black probe on the side of the plug. If there is a 5 to 5.2 volt reading with no minus symbol (--), then you have done the job correctly. Disconnect the USB cable from the computer, then grab your Black Electrical Tape, and tape each wire connection (the part that you twist tied together). After you tape the connections, tape the 2 taped connections together and also a big area around the connections, make sure you tape a few layers, not one layer. Having multiple layers of tape will prevent the tape from completely coming off, and protects the exposed connections better. When taping, also tape a big area of the wire too from the tapped connections on down about 2 to 3 inches passed the connections. When your done, plug in the USB cable into the computer and test it with your multi-meter one last time to make sure it works, if everything works, and the multi-meter reads 5 to 5.2 volts without the -- (minus) symbol (or with the -- (minus) symbol if your wireless router requires negative polarity), then you may plug it into your wireless router.

5. (DD-WRT Required for step 5) To use your DD-WRT flashed wireless router as a wireless/WIFI modem or an alternative to the USB wireless/WIFI card or your computer's built in wireless/WIFI modem, Plug one end of the Ethernet cable to Ethernet port #1 of the wireless router and plug the other end into the Ethernet port of your computer. Set the wireless router's local IP address to 192.168.211.1 (or if the wireless network or WIFI hotspot your using gives you the 192.168.211.xxx IP address, then set your router's local IP address to something like 192.168.xxx.1 (replace xxx with any number you wish up to 254, but not 211) Most networks or WIFI Hotspots will give you a 192.168.0.xxx, 192.168.1.xxx, 192.168.11.xxx address, but some might give you 192.168.xxx.xxx address. Having your wireless router's local ip address set in the same range as the other wireless network your trying to connect to will cause conflicts in the connection, making it impossible to browse the internet, so this is why you wanna change the wireless router's local ip address to something different than the ip address range the network has given you. Having the local ip address set to 192.168.211.1 should allow you to connect to any wireless network or WIFI hotspot without having to constantly change the wireless router's local ip address, unless the network gives you a 192.168.211.xxx address. You may share the connection to 3 other people by getting 3 more Ethernet cables, and plugging them into the router's # 2, 3, and 4 Ethernet ports. The number of people can be extended with a Network Hub. The internet port, usually labeled as "WAN" can be ignored. Next, on the DD-WRT web config interface, go to the Status tab, then click on the Wireless tab, scroll all the way down, then click on "Site Survey". A pop-up will appear with a list of wireless networks. To scan for more networks, click the "refresh" button. When you find the network you wanna connect to (make sure the network is listed as "yes" under "open" unless you know the password to the network your connecting to), then click on the "join" button on the right side of the name of the network you wanna join.



To use your wireless router to share your computer's internet connection, enable Internet Connection Sharing on your computer (Windows XP or Windows Vista, and other operating systems that support Internet Connection Sharing), then plug one end of the Ethernet Cable into the internet port of the wireless router, usually labeled as "WAN", then connect the other end of the Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port of the computer. Set your wireless router's local IP address to 192.168.xxx.1 (replace xxx with any number you wish from 1 to 254) You may share your connection to 4 people with an Ethernet connection, but the number of people on the Ethernet connection can be extended with a Network Hub. Depending on the settings of the wireless router, the connection can be shared with up to a absolute maximum total of 253 people wirelessly or on Ethernet, this is possible by setting the start IP address to 192.168.xxx.2 but that will slow down the performance by a lot, so it is recommended that you keep the default setting of 50 people unless you want more or less people connected. You may share any kind of connection, including dial-up. Updated instructions for how to enable Internet Connection Sharing are coming soon.


Tip # 1: (DD-WRT flashed wireless router only) If your connected to a far away WIFI hotspot or wireless network with the wireless router, and if your having trouble staying connected, having troubles uploading...etc, but still receiving the signal, then you can adjust the transmit power to above the default up to a safe limit of 70mw, but you may go up to 251mw if you wish, but the wireless router will need a heat sink if you wanna set the transmitter power to above 70mw for a long period of time. It is reported that having the transmitter set above 84mw causes the signal to be distorted, but if you really need to increase your range, then you may have it set to above 84mw for a while, but it is recommended that you limit your time if you have the power set to above 70mw unless you have a heat sink. There are also reports that having the transmitter power set above 100mw is illegal in some countries, including the USA, but most people ignore the law or don't know about the law, and set the transmitter power to above 100mw anyway, there are no reports of people getting caught yet, but don't let your guard down. To have an even better range, use the instructions above, and connect an external antenna. If you put the external antenna outside, and a thunderstorm is coming, move the antenna back inside, lightning can strike the antenna, and completely fry both the wireless router and the computer(s) connected to it.

Tip # 2: More tips coming soon, if i think of any. If you would like to submit a tip, you may go ahead and do so.



I hope this guide will be useful for you. If you want something modified in this guide, feel free to tell me what it is, and I'll review it and make the modification if it does any good. If you have a tip you wanna share, feel free to tell us about it.


If you wanna distribute this guide on your website or over the internet, on a CD....etc, feel free to do so, but please let me know before you do it. Please do not remove my name from this guide and take credit for it, because I have worked very hard in making this guide and it took me more than 2 hours to make it. I take pride in my work. I don't go too fast making guides, going too fast will make you do a lot of mistakes. I take time in writing guides, and I check them many times to make sure there are no mistakes before I share them with anyone. All credits go to me.


This guide has been created by:

Kenneth Chase. (If you read names backwards, then it would be Chase Kenneth.)


© Copyright 2007 Kenneth Chase, All rights reserved.

DD-WRT is a Copyright of NewMedia-NET GmbH.

Buffalo and WHR-HP-G54 are copyrights or trademarks of Buffalo Technology Inc.

All rights reserved.



Thanks to:

DD-WRT (NewMedia-NET GmbH)

Buffalo (Buffalo Technology Inc.)

And also the places that allow me to host or post this guide.


Last edited by CaptSmokey6 on Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:08; edited 1 time in total
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MichelG
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:21    Post subject: Already done. Reply with quote
Hi,

I already did it in the past and it works fine. But it does use energy from the laptop and it is annoying. I found a reloadable battery for IPod, that is 2200mah lithium-ion, and which has the capacity to deliver the 5v.

It can also be reloade using the USB of you laptop.

Here is the link : http://www.ansmann.us/pages/29/index.htm

I used it about 2h and it still was powering the WHR-HP-G54.

Enjoy it.
Micel

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CaptSmokey6
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:04    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the information. I did a hard test on my laptop with 3 high energy draining devices, the router, a fan set to high, and a cellphone (mobile phone). I placed a test call on the cellphone. The laptop reports 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours of battery life remaining, when i disconnect the phone and fan from the laptop, the laptop reports 2 to 3 hours battery life remaining. Some laptops can handle the high energy devices, and some can't. However, if you keep your AC adapter connected to your laptop, you should be fine.

I checked the battery out, and it's on sale for about 1/2 the price, and i do not trust items that are on sale. I got ripped off many times buying items that are on sale. Items that are on sale usually fail within a short amount of time. However, that battery idea is still good, i might try and create my own version of it, which will feature a higher capacity battery, and if all goes well, i might just create a guide on how to make the battery and maybe even sell the makeshift battery kit itself. Again, thanks for the info.
JN
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:28    Post subject: Reply with quote
Would there be a way to do something like this for a 3.3V router such as the Buffalo WHR-G54S? I would like to see a commercial product based on this idea, so that powering a router on USB would be as easy as buying a cable.
SignalSeeker
DD-WRT User


Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:33    Post subject: Reply with quote
JN wrote:
Would there be a way to do something like this for a 3.3V router such as the Buffalo WHR-G54S? I would like to see a commercial product based on this idea, so that powering a router on USB would be as easy as buying a cable.


I did this with my new WHR-G125. After about 20 minutes it was warmer than I thought it should be. I have not had time to plug it into the correct AC wallwart for 20 minutes to see how warm it gets.

At this point I would refrain from giving it 5v off the USB.

For a ready made cable, some of the laptop cooling bases have just the right plugs. I think the 2 cables I have are from Targus. I also saw what seemed to be the correct cable on HPs website for like $4.99.
Eko
DD-WRT Developer/Maintainer


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 5772

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:43    Post subject: Reply with quote
To help you with data, I measured voltage and current for original power supply.


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JN
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02    Post subject: Reply with quote
SignalSeeker wrote:
For a ready made cable, some of the laptop cooling bases have just the right plugs. I think the 2 cables I have are from Targus. I also saw what seemed to be the correct cable on HPs website for like $4.99.
Would these be for the WHR-G54-HP (which I also have)? Can you be more specific - brands/models of bases, part number or original purpose of HP cable? Thanks
SignalSeeker
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Joined: 18 Jun 2006
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:10    Post subject: Reply with quote
JN wrote:
SignalSeeker wrote:
For a ready made cable, some of the laptop cooling bases have just the right plugs. I think the 2 cables I have are from Targus. I also saw what seemed to be the correct cable on HPs website for like $4.99.
Would these be for the WHR-G54-HP (which I also have)? Can you be more specific - brands/models of bases, part number or original purpose of HP cable? Thanks


Yes I used it on my WHR-G54-HP. Let me look for some part numbers.

The Targus is PA248 Notebook Chill Mat.
This should be it;
http://www.targus.com/us/product_details.asp?sku=511-0050-001A

The HP appears to be a replacement cord for the Targus.
JN
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Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:38    Post subject: Reply with quote
What would it take to convert the USB voltage down to 3.3 for a WHR-G54S?
CaptSmokey6
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:02    Post subject: Reply with quote
Attention JN: I'm pretty sure you can find or build something that will reduce the USB voltage down to 3.3v
JN
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 13:25    Post subject: Reply with quote
CaptSmokey6 wrote:
Attention JN: I'm pretty sure you can find or build something that will reduce the USB voltage down to 3.3v
I was hoping someone would suggest some specifics, whether a product or a homebrew solution. I already figured it could be done.
Eko
DD-WRT Developer/Maintainer


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 5772

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 13:28    Post subject: Reply with quote
Cheap solution would be to put diodes in series. Each diode reduce voltage by 0.7 V.
olmari
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Joined: 24 Oct 2006
Posts: 1447
Location: Vaasa, Finland

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 13:31    Post subject: Reply with quote
Also remember that any one USB-port is rated for 500mA, thats 0.5 amperes... Anything over that and you are violating specifications and having an current overload possibility...
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Site 1:
P3 1GHz Coppermine with DD-WRT v24 as main router
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Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 with DD-WRT v24 as AP
JN
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Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 1:15    Post subject: Reply with quote
The easiest answer to run a router on battery is to buy a portable inverter with built in 4000 mah lithium ion battery, such as Energizer Energi to Go Portable Outlet or Xantrex Power Source Mobile 100. These devices feature a standard AC outlet and USB ports so you can use them to get extra run time for a laptop or charge your cell phone on the go, as well as run a router. A buffalo WHR-G54S should run 5+ hours on one of these.
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