YouTuber Matt Perks has published a video on converting still-ubiquitous USB Type-A dongles into shiny new USB Type-C variants, making them easier to use with the increasing number of devices offering only USB Type-C ports.
USB Type-C has a number of advantages over its predecessors, including support for the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) standard and the ability to operate regardless of which way up it's inserted. While it's now a common sight on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even desktops, peripheral devices are lagging behind in moving to the standard — particularly dongles for wireless keyboards, mice, and headsets.
Perks' approach isn't to wait for the manufacturers to offer USB Type-C variants, but to instead convert existing USB Type-A dongles himself. "The first thing to do is to get to the PCB that's on the inside, which for a device as small as this needs to be done by opening up the USB plug itself," Perks explains as he demonstrates the process on a Logitech Unifying Receiver dongle.
"You can see that the PCB is very small and has four copper traces on it. These copper traces fit into a USB Type-A port to make electrical contact. We now need a USB C breakout board — this is basically just a USB C connector that's been soldered onto a small PCB allowing us to jack into its internal pins. It's absolutely tiny and inexpensive."
By soldering the original dongle to the breakout board using some salvaged wiring, and adding a resistor to configure the board into device rather than host mode, Perks is able to create his own converted dongle - and then makes a housing from it from Sugru mouldable glue. "It does look a little bit homemade," Perks admits, "but the thing is this is the first USB Type-C receiver ever for this mouse and it does work really well."
Perks' video, which is available on the DIY Perks YouTube channel, goes through additional devices which can be converted, including a FLIR One smartphone-centric thermal camera and a USB 3.0 hub.