Injecting Power Into A WiFi Dongle For The Raspberry Pi

So the Raspberry Pi sometimes doesn’t have the juice needed to run power-hungry USB dongles. The most common issue is with WiFi adapters. The solution has long been to use a powered USB hub, but [Mike Worth] didn’t want to take up that much extra space. The solution he worked out injects power directly into the dongle itself.

The red and white wires coming out of the side provide the 5V source. This is coming from the same USB mains power adapter that supplies the RPi board itself. To connect the wires to the dongle he made an adapter out of some strip board and the shielding from the dongle. The end of the strip board pokes out of the shielding far enough for him to solder on some wire, which is then soldered to the traces on the dongle’s PCB.

You can just plug this in and get down to business. But while he was at it [Mike] added an improvised antenna for better reception. It’s the same type of hack we saw him use for a Bluetooth dongle in this links post.


20 thoughts on “Injecting Power Into A WiFi Dongle For The Raspberry Pi

  1. What is this Raspberry Pi thing? I am beginning to think it is rather like Bigfoot. You hear anecdotal tales of its existence. A few grainy pictures exist and that is all… Well that and double priced ones on Amazon and E-Bay.

      1. Eventually I am going to break down and buy one as soon as I can think of a cool (inexpensive) project for it, and find a screen. Definitely not going to buy from Amazon or E-Bay.

  2. Why not use a 1.5 – 2 amp power supply on the Pi itself? The USB ports 5V comes straight from the 5v in, through a 1A polyfuse. If your device needs more than 500mA what’s it doing being called a USB device?

    1. There is a 140mA polyfuse on each of the downstream USB ports. As said above I simply shorted mine. Others have placed another fuse inline (or a resistor) to increase the cut-off point.

  3. im powering my pi with a 3 amp ubec i got for a couple bucks on ebay. i just moved the supply pin down a place in the connector housing and plugged it into the gpio header. works great.

    i still havent decided how i want to go about bypassing the usb fuses though. i dont really want to mod the board or my wifi dongle (and its an older one which blocks the other usb port) so i may just make an adapter that also breaks out the 5v line. i can probibly just use the ground plane on the pi since it all goes to the same place anyway (and no fuses!).

  4. I thought i’d share this… the Netgear N150 works out of the box with openELEC. It’s listed as iffy in the wikki, but it works great! I built a makeshift box (tried slanted design… never should’ve done that) for mine It has the guts of a powered USB hub, a RasPi and a 2,5” external HDD. All ports are open and i designed it so all the cables would be hidden (minus the jack and video out, but i don’t use them). The box itself is smaller than a wii and looks like crap… but it works :)

  5. damn PTCs .. i ripped mine out and on the pi it self put a separate KA7805 regulator and some filtration in front of the spot there with all that empty space … the PS/2 dongle i use alone with the mouse and keybord tripped the fuse! … the 500mw wifi dongle im using had no chance!

    the next pi i get for playing around with im shorting it out and getting a miniature SMPS on it to replace its wittle lenier regulator

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