Replacing Non-standard USB Charging Ports


While many mobile phone manufacturers are moving towards the micro-USB interface as a standard, others such as Apple and HTC are still bucking the trend. Part of [arto’s] job includes repairing mobile phones, and last month he found himself faced with a pair of broken HTC handsets that needed their charging ports replaced.

Replacements for HTC’s proprietary connectors are apparently quite hard to find, and [arto] says he had to source them from an HTC repair center. With the proper parts in hand, he could finally get down to work.

The HTC Hermes handset he repaired was a breeze, as it had plenty of space available around the charging port. He said that this allowed him to replace the jack pretty easily, but the HTC Touch Dual was a mess in comparison. He started by removing the old adapter, which was done by cutting it out bit by bit. He says that he did it this way rather than desoldering, due to its proximity to other heat-sensitive components. After some careful soldering under a microscope, everything was back in working order.

While his repairs are not necessarily the things that hacks are made of, the information is still quite helpful. Broken charging ports are extremely common among smart phones, and with plenty of these older models still floating around, his pointers just might help someone save a few bucks on a replacement phone.

20 thoughts on “Replacing Non-standard USB Charging Ports

  1. Andrew, it appears you are right. I knew the phones were not brand new models, but did not realize the age until now. It’s still decent info for anyone looking to salvage old equipment from the trash heap.

    To be honest, I haven’t taken a close look at an HTC handset any time recently – thanks for the heads up.

  2. @raidscsi: The Mini-USB used by HTC in the past was something called “ExtUSB”, a miniUSB connector with 4 extra pins what were used for the headset/headphone connection.

    HTC no longer use this, though, as mentioned above.

    1. My HTC Incredible has a similar modified usb-micro connector with audio and composite video… I wouldn’t consider it non standard unless a normal micro cable didn’t work.

      I didn’t read too much back detail and assumed he replaced the connectors because he couldn’t find a usb-mini cable.

  3. @raidscsi:

    Older HTC phones had a port called ExtUSB which was an 11-pin mini-USB compatible connector. Video and audio could be brought out of the phone with a special adapter that fit the extra pins.

    Also cutting and bending some sheet metal isn’t a notable hack.

  4. I really hate the fact that USB connectors are now used for charging. I liked the circular connectors on nokias, if i were to just pick a call and leave while the phone was charging the connector would just snap out easily. It happened lots of times with zero connector breakage.
    The USB variety is more sensible, easier to break and i’ve seen devices where a little more force on the connector would make it just detach from the board completely.

  5. On the other hand, now all you need is a standard USB cable and you can change any phone that isn’t made by Apple. At the computer recycling center I work at we get truckloads of cell phone power adapters that get scrapped. Much prefer a standard USB port for charging.

    HTC’s ExtUSB was clever. My g1 has one of those connectors. A normal USB mini cable plugs into it for charging and syncing, but you can also use the above mentioned odd A/V dongles with it.

  6. Surely leaving the ExtUSB in and using it for something non standard would be more of a hack than replacing it with a connection with less features. If thats the case im going to replace the screen on my LCD tv with cardboard and call it a hack because its more energy efficient.

  7. Ah the HTC Hermes, my first smart phone. I still have it and it still works great, just not as a phone since I upgraded to an iPhone. This makes me wonder if it’s possible to add a headphone jack in there, since HTC wanted you to buy those clunky miniUSB->audio adapters.

  8. Having paid the £50 for a replacement motherboard on my Touch Dual, I feel your pain :-)

    I did toy with the idea of doing an inductive charging mod on the beast using the coil and pcb from one of those Wii Orb wireless chargers but it turned out that there was nowhere near enough space to put the board.

    What I do have however in ye olde box o’junk is an HTC with a rotating monster screen dating from about 2003 which would be ideal as a “smart” phone if it wasnt for the destroyed charging port and board damage.
    USB doesen’t work but at least the charging pins do thanks to modwire, so this would be an ideal candidate.

    Sadly most of my broken ‘phones are not in such good condition, usually they have broken screens or water damage.
    Now if someone did a “put a pair of cheap nokia knockoff screens in your samsung” hack… :-) :-)

  9. @Jax184

    The chargers that Apple ships have USB connectors on them and would work with any phone that has a USB cable.

    Also, you can charge any Apple phone via USB if you have the included cable.

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