Add USB-C To Your Laptop (Almost)

It’s a very brave person who takes a Dremel or similar to the case of their svelte new laptop in the quest for a new connector, it sounds as foolhardy as that hoax from a while back in which people tried to drill a 3.5mm jack into their new iPhones. But that’s what [BogdanTheGeek] has done, in adding a USB-C port to his Acer.

Of course, the port in question isn’t a fully functioning USB-C one, it’s a power supply jack, and it replaces the extremely unreliable barrel jack the machine was shipped with. He’s incorporated one of those little “ZYPDS” USB-C power delivery modules we’ve no-doubt all seen in the usual cheap electronic sources, and in a move of breathtaking audacity he’s cut away part of the Acer mainboard  to do so. He’s relying on the laptop’s ability to accept a range of voltages, and presumably trusting his steady hand with a rotary tool. Some Kapton tape and a bit of wire completes the work, and with a carefully reshaped hole in the outer case he’s good to go.

The result is beautifully done, and a casual observer would be hard pressed to know that it hadn’t always been a USB-C port. We’re sure there will come a moment at which someone will plug in a USB-C peripheral and expect it to work, it’s that good.

If you’d like to know a little bit more about USB-C, we’d like to direct you to our in-depth look at the subject.

24 thoughts on “Add USB-C To Your Laptop (Almost)

    1. I don’t know about the sturdyness of USB-C, but I’ve see a lot of failed barrel jacks on laptops already.

      There are good ones like the ones used by IBM/Lenovo, and shitty ones like the one on this Acer here…

    2. Usb C is way more durable, and it’s more closed off, for debris and water resistance. My bros laptop and mine are the same age but he has to clean out debris all the time from the jack.

    3. USB-C connectors seem to wear very quickly – so it’s easy for them to wiggle far enough out not to make contact without it being immediately obvious. This, and the lack of any charging indicator on the plug itself was one of the larger nails in the coffin for my mac book pro.

    4. Since we also repair that kind of thing here, it is not fair for me to say I have seen a lot of notebooks with damaged barrel jacks. But even considering that, the number of phones brought to repair with damaged usb connectores is far greater than the number of notebooks. I have seen notebooks with normal usb connectors damaged, where somebody used too much force when trying to fit the wrong connector ( or in the wrong position ) in there.

      The only good thing about USB-C, and that is even if I am thinking about the right connector, is that it fit both ways. But it is still too flimsy and small for those power transfers it promises.

      1. Power transfer aside, it’s awful mechanically. And the cables tend to be stupidly thick and they don’t bend well, so there’s not a lot of strain relief. You end up sitting with a laptop on your lap and basically a long stick poking out if it, risking pulling the guts of your mobo any moment. Who tf in their right mind could think that it’s a good idea? Nnngggg.. The worst offender is of course apple, who had a perfect tech and ditched it for this cancer.

        I guess the idea of a typical marketing person is that a laptop is something that you charge, then unplug and use it for your email and spreadsheet, or what passes for work with those kind of people. Then you plug it back for charging, etc.. I have no other theory.

      2. The previous jack was 3mm in diameter and made out of what i assume was RC remote antenna tube. I went through 3 plugs and the jack started failing. This was the largest connector i could fit in my Laptop.

    5. I have changed the 3mm barrell plug on my charger 3 times and the jack started to wear out. If i could have fit a larger jack, i would have. Instead i went with more width.

      1. Oh, I understand that. Some Asus models also have an ultra-thin plug, and that also is very non-resistant. Have replaced a couple in the laptops at $JOB.
        I agree with your solution, since you had no space to work . It is just that usb-c is not the “solve-it-all” that people seem to think. These microscopic usb jacks break more than other kinds, and mostly with those people that “didn´t do nothing … just stopped working” .

        I will need to experiment a little with one of those Lenovo square plugs someday… maybe it provides some more strain relief. Or think about maybe a 3d-printed addition to the notebook case to better fix the charger connector..

  1. For us older folks with older laptops, does anyone make a PCMCIA card that has a USB-C port on it?
    A quick search didn’t turn up what I’m looking for (it kept showing PCMCIA adapters that plug into a USB-C port.

    1. PCMCIA wouldn’t support the data rate (or likely the power delivery) that usb-c requires for even below average function. Your best bet to adding any usb c support to an old laptop is what the man above did

    2. For older 16-bit PCMCIA, there’s not much. Easiest would be to go with a PCMCIA ethernet card and communicate with say a NanoPi M4 (which supports USB-C) and stuff it all into the case. Even a Raspberry Pi Zero will be considerably more powerful CPU and memory -wise than a vintage laptop supporting PCMCIA.

      If you have 32-bit CardBus, you can get USB 2.0 cards : https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAE8G64S3480

      If it’s power you’re after, the ZYPDS module described here will get that done. But you wont be able to adapt it to a PCMCIA card as input as PCMCIA doesn’t support the voltage and current needed to power the laptop itself. Most of the machine will be 5v, but the LCD will need higher voltage (usually around 19v give or take).

    3. PCMCIA is the ancient laptop expansion slot. It’s a modified version of the 16 bit ISA slot. CardBus is a modified version of the 32 bit PCI slot. CardBus is just fast enough to handle a dual port USB 2.0 card.

      There are dual USB-C port cards for PCIe x1 slots in desktops. ExpressCard has PCIe x1 plus USB 2.0

      Why are there no USB-C ExpressCard adapters? There’s no technical reason why not, especially if it also taps the USB 2.0 power lines.

      Seems to be a lot like why nobody bothered to make 3rd party USB 2.0 drivers for Mac OS 9. “We just don’t want to, even though we could!” There was a good 3~4 year period where someone could’ve made some coin selling an OS9 USB 2.0 driver, like whomever did the USB Overdrive software to support many USB 1.x devices. Orange PC (the company that made single board PC cards for NuBus and PCI Macintoshes) in their later years sold USB 2.0 cards for Macs, with OS X and OS 9 support, but of course limited to 1.x for OS 9. I asked why they hadn’t made 2.0 drivers for OS 9. Their response was somewhere between apathy and “We don’t give a $h!t.”

      The time to strike while the iron is hot for a USB-C ExpressCard is NOW. There are millions of laptops out there with ExpressCard slots. Many have USB 2.0 ports, there are USB 3.x ExpressCards that work with them.

      I have a laptop that has some USB 3.x ports and an ExpressCard slot. I’ve found that some USB-C peripherals either don’t work at all or only partially work with a C to 3 adapter. Booooo! Hissss!

      I want a USB-C ExpressCard, no cheaping out by simply replacing Type A ports with Type-C ports on a USB 3.x card, it needs to be a real USB-C controller. With the electronics resources available to DIYers now, it would be possible to design a prototype and get 1,000’s of these rolling out of a Chinese factory right quick.

  2. I’ve been considering doing this for my thinkpad, but I have more QC chargers than PD chargers. Does anyone know if there exists a chip that will negotiate both Power Delivery and Quick Charge? If I can find that, I would be a very happy camper.

    There is even a good spot for it in my X230. I’ll have to check what the input voltage tolerance is though. I ran that test on my EEE901, and it would take from 11.7 to 12.5V, with increasingly angry sounds as I went farther from 12V…

  3. I wanted to learn more about this module, so did a search for ZYPDS and found this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Super-Mini-ZYPDS-DC-mini-20V-trigger-support-millet-65W-PD-power-supply-/132714794782

    The text on the page sets a new head-scratching standard for me:

    Description:

    ZYPDS ultra-mini single function manual:
    Type-C female input is super compatible and fully supports traditional female or direct wired PD adapters.
    The volume is 10mm*18mm*4mm. Does not include 1 hair coin in the picture.
    TC maternal life seconds a few streets, TC shrapnel in the male, loose loose contact is a male pot.
    The original IP magic version of the pure hardware trigger PD, stable and reliable program-free, very small size, plagiarism copying the cottage to die the whole family.
    The maximum power is supported to 100W, the compatibility is good, the self-consumption is small, and the deception speed is fast.
    Very suitable for PD to DC line output charging notebooks and other things. After the output line is welded, the heat shrinkable tube can be retracted.
    You can set the maximum trigger 15V or 20V logic, use a drop of solder to connect the yellow circle and the halves of the pad to set 20V, not 15V.
    Trigger Logic: Trigger the voltage supported by the PD Adapter that is less than or equal to the set value.
    For example, if 15v is set and the adapter supports 5 9 20V, it will trigger 9V.
    A 7mm heat-shrinkable tube with glue is given. After welding the wire sleeve, it is heated by a wind gun or the like to prevent moisture and short-circuit and breakage.
    Support millet 65W and other cost-effective high-line PD power supply!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.