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OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

General chit-chat on the Linx 8

OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby trogggy » February 12th, 2015, 9:13 pm

A quick howto for anyone who wants data and fast charging and wants it tonight.

I did this 3 days ago, and my linx has been behaving perfectly since then. It charges (fast, not trickle) whilst using usb accessories - keyboard, mouse, hard drive, flash drives.
My method involves soldering a cable - but you could do the same thing by sticking cables together, just a question of finding the right cables / adapters.

The minimum needed:
1 micro-usb charging cable;
1 usb cable with a male end;
1 usb cable with a female end;
1 usb hub - ideally a powered one if you want to connect hard drives.

The theory:
The linx performs a check when powering on. If a usb cable is connected it checks whether the data (green / white) cables are shorted. If they are it will charge. If this short is later removed the linx doesn't check again (unless you unplug the usb), and usb will transmit data.

The practice:
1. Preparing the power cable
Take a micro usb cable (the type that comes in the box to charge your tablet).
Strip the plastic and mesh sheathing from a section of cable from the micro end (I stripped about 5cm, 20cm from the micro end, and pushed the mesh aside to keep the cable's structural integrity - not to close to the micro end, so there isn't a big weight hanging off the side of your linx).
Gently pull the 4 wires inside apart.
Cut the green and white wire at the charger end of your stripped section.
Bare a section of the red and black wires (you'll be soldering a wire to these bare sections, I bared about 5mm on each).

2. Preparing the female usb
Cut a length of cable, strip the sheathing at the end to expose the 4 coloured wires.
The length doesn't matter here (since the tablet won't be powered through it) - it needs to be enough to sit each coloured wire against the equivalent wire on the first cable, and secure the cables together to ensure the joints aren't stressed).
Cut each coloured wire so that it will sit next to its equivalent on cable 1, and bare the ends.

3. Join the 2 cables, red to red, black to black etc. If you're confident the joints are good insulate them and secure the cables together. If not just make sure nothings touching, so you can test your cable.

You now have a cable that will work, after a fashion. It will slow charge, so your battery will stay about the same if the tab's on but idle, run down slowly under use and recharge when asleep. Which is pants, really. So...

4. Make a usb stub.
Take anything from your drawer of useful bits* that has a usb male end. Cut the cable, strip the sheathing, cut the red and black wires right back. Now strip the green and white wires and splice them together. I haven't even soldered these, just twisted together so far, as I intend to do something prettier. Tape up the end (or not).

5. Use it.
Plug your new power cable into the linx. The red light will come on. It should say 'plugged in, charging.' Stick a flash drive in the usb socket and it should be recognised. Attach a hub and you can use a keyboard, mouse, HDD (if a powered hub). But the charge will still be slowly going down.
To enable fast charging, stick the usb stub you made earlier in the socket before connecting the cable to the tablet. Leave it in until the charging message pops up. Take it out. Attach your hub. Done.

The tablet should now work with whatever peripherals you want / need while keeping a full charge. It will carry on doing that until you unplug the cable from the tablet or switch the tablet fully off. After either of those events you need to stick the stub back in.

* If you don't have such a drawer this probably isn't for you.

Background reading:
Idea came from this thread:
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There are prettier solutions along the same lines in the thread, as well as suggested cables for people who don't want to solder. This one took about 30 minutes in total, my next attempt will (hopefully) be a lot prettier and (definitely) take a lot longer.

As far as I can make out the only thing you can buy that definitely gives you fast charging and USB data is the one tested and recommended by nememo:
http://s.click.aliexpress.com/klk/EmYFU37uf
I've ordered one, but I think it'll be the one I chuck in a bag when I take the tablet with me. What I like about this solution is that power's not going through another device to reach the tablet, so there's nothing to break.
Next step (as you'll find if you read the lonnnng thread linked above) is to try using a resistor across the data lines, which hopefully will mean the stub isn't needed. I suspect that's how the Chinese one works.

I have no idea whether this will work for the 7 or 10. It does work reliably for me on my linx 8.

Pictures:
Sorry, too lazy. It just looks like a hub plugged into a y cable. When I do a pretty version I'll post some up.

Finally if anybody's thinking 'What's the point?' then this definitely isn't for you. I don't want to hear it, and will definitely respond with sarcasm. :P
trogggy
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby adamk357 » February 14th, 2015, 8:37 pm

Wow! good job :P , but I found something strange with mine, I made the cable like instructed and plugged it in, did what you said and it worked, but it appears that it works every time now WITHOUT plugging in the usb stub :o , im using a Linx 8 as well, maybe something to do with my equipment, huh :?: , anyway, thanks!
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby trogggy » February 14th, 2015, 9:05 pm

Great stuff!

Does it definitely still work if you unplug the cable from the linx end?
On mine this is what happens:
Unplug cable from wall, plug back in > it still works
Unplug cable from linx and plug back in (or turn linx off and back on) > OTG still works but it will trickle charge only
Unplug again, put back in with stub, swap stub for hub > working (fast charge) again.

Are you sure it's fast charging without using the stub? The only way to tell is to either use a usb ammeter or give the tablet some work to do - if the charge gradually goes down it's trickle charging, if it bounces around between 95 and 100% it's working properly. Would be nice if you could confirm - but great that it's working for you.
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby adamk357 » February 14th, 2015, 11:57 pm

Well I've been using it on Photoshop all day, it seems you are right and I got a bit over excited as it was the first time I was able to use otg as well as charging, The power eventually got to 5% so yeah not fast charging :( , but it did last about 4-5 hours heavy use from about 30% which I started with, I'll try tomorrow starting with 100% but I doubt it will make a difference, but then again I wasn't using a powered hub, just a cheap 2 port one on a wireless mouse and keyboard, so I'll defiantly try and pick up a powered one this week and see if that makes a difference.
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby trogggy » February 15th, 2015, 1:29 pm

I'm using a 99p unpowered hub from ebay, with a couple of dongles and a flash drive plugged in. I don't think a powered hub will help with the charging (I've tried one), it's all about the tablet being in the right state.
Just wondering... have you used an otg cable at any point?
Try this:
1. Switch your tablet off completely with the power button - hold it for about 10 seconds, ignore the screen prompts to swipe.
2. Restart with the stub in, wait until everything's up and running, check red light is on and it says charging.
3. Take out the stub and put your hub back in. Now see if you have fast charging (use it, it shouldn't drop below about 95%).
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby adamk357 » February 15th, 2015, 2:58 pm

Hey, its confirmed,
I forced shut down and connected as said and it seems to of worked, started with 99% and after a couple of hours of Photoshop and illustrator heavy use its still at 99%, ill try doing it without the stub later starting at 100% and see if it drops.
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby trogggy » February 15th, 2015, 3:08 pm

Good news.
Your tab seems to be doing exactly the same as mine.
What you should see now:
If you unplug the tablet, switch off (fully) or re-start you'll need the stub - anything else you won't.
You shouldn't need to do that full power-off thing again, it's a last resort to re-set things.
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby adamk357 » February 18th, 2015, 12:40 am

Hey, just to update, I was able to get hold of a 3amp power brick which I've hooked up and seems to be doing a good job at charging while providing my power hungry hard drive which enough juice to spin properly, and all without shorting out the data cables with that stub.
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby ramtec » February 18th, 2015, 12:44 pm

Hi adamk357/trogggy, I was interested in doing this mod but was put off by the stub as it would be used by my wife. Are you now saying that the stub isn't needed at all? Would a docking station work in the same way with a powered usb (as long as the power brick was suitably powerful)?
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Re: OTG and charging the linx 8 - make it work with any hub

Postby adamk357 » February 18th, 2015, 12:54 pm

Hey, I guess so, but that would depend on how the docking stations wired up inside, thats why its best to throw your own cable together, of course the best way to find out is to hook it up and see, what sort of docking station is it?
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