Making a USB, power only with no data, cable

How to convert a USB cable, or extension cable, to a power only (no data) cable. Yes, you could buy one but most folks have plenty of extra USB cables around you can convert or go to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill or thrift store as they often have plenty of cable cheap.

Why would you want to do this?

  • Data detected on a car’s USB jack may switch the built-in receiver to music mode from the device instead of just charging the device.
  • Some devices will only charge at low power unless these data lines are disabled.
  • Some hotspots will not allow WiFi connections if a computer is connected via USB (it forces you to use it via hard tether).

The USB cable usually has 4 wires in them:

  • Red – Power +5v
  • Black – Ground
  • Green – Data (positive)
  • White – Data (negative)

Steps for the conversion
1. Use a razor blade to cut a slit into the outside plastic insulator lengthwise. Don’t cut too deep as you don’t want to nick the wires inside, just cut the cover.
2. Pull out the Green and White data wires, leave the Red and Black wires as is inside.
3. Cut the Green and White wires. These wires on the power source side will remain unconnected, make sure they won’t short.
4. Twist and solder together the Green and White data lines on the device side. Tape up or shrink wrap to prevent shorting.
5. Shove all wires back into exterior plastic insulator and tape-up. Mark with Red or other colored tape so you know this is a power only, no data cable.

By cutting that slit you will end up with a much neat and nicer cable in the end that still provides some strain relief since the outside insulator is mostly intact.