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Old 03-27-2012, 08:24 AM   #1
PaulLeadbeater
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Kobo Vox Charger - 3rd Party Solutions

Many people have complained about the Kobo Vox charging situation, viz.
  • Short Cable
  • Lack of extra charger for sale
    • Inability of Tablet to recognise 3rd Party chargers (no green light)
I have read various suggestions about how the charger is wired but nobody has actually published any results.
I have now investigated the wiring of the charger (without opening anything up) and I find the following setup for the micro-B connector -
  • Pins 1 and 5 provide 5V power - as they normally do
  • Pins 2 and 3 are shorted together - as they are when a USB outlet is use only for charging (i.e. no data transfer)
  • Pin 4 is shorted to Pin 5!
Pin 4 in normally not connected for a micro-B type connector so I think that Kobo have used this pin to let their tablet recognise only their own charger - and nobody else's!!

I would like to know if anyone has found the same as I have and if anyone has constructed a suitable adaptor to overcome the Kobo restriction. In the meantime, I will continue my own investigations and, hopefully post some more info.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:43 AM   #2
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Very interesting! Almost worth going down to the Source and picking up another microUSB cord to tinker with.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:37 AM   #3
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You got it, PaulLeadbeater! I've long been saying here that Kobo uses all 5 pins, whereas the standard micro-B connector doesn't use pin 4. We still don't know what's in the "lump" in the cable. Some have talked about a resistor. There have been posts here from folks whose dogs have chewed up the charger cable, but nobody has been handy enough to repair it or diagnose the connections and report back. Now someone should try a 2-amp 3rd party charger with pins 4 & 5 shorted and see what it does.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:44 AM   #4
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THANKS YOU... I have been suggesting for quite some time that people needed to look at the connection and measure resistances between different pins
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldyellr View Post
We still don't know what's in the "lump" in the cable. Some have talked about a resistor.
The "lump" is nothing more than a Ferrite. Present on many various electronic cables.
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:43 PM   #6
PaulLeadbeater
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I have now wired-up a micro-B plug with pins 2 & 3 linked, pins 4 & 5 linked and 5V across pins 1 & 5; plus connecting the shield to pin 5 (as the OEM's plug).
Using a 5V 1A (I don't yet have a 2A one) USB charger, I get real charging, indicator light and recognition by the Vox that it is charging.
This now works exactly the same as the supplied charger BUT, the Vox will not respond to the touchscreen while the charger is powered.
I think this is the solution to 3rd Party chargers but is limited to non-operation of the Tablet during charging. Don't know if anyone has suggestions - I suspect noise on the cable may be causing the problem (there is a larger capacitor across the Kobo charger output than across the one I'm using).
I have now tried another power supply (5v 2.5A stabilised) and everything works perfectly!!
So with the right poer supply and my modified cable we have a 3rd Party solution to charging the Kobo Vox
If someone can make the special cable - any offers?

Last edited by PaulLeadbeater; 03-28-2012 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Updated information
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:43 PM   #7
jean42044
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I have tried every charger in all electronics stores but no luck. I contacted kobo and they want me to sent my kobo vox back at my cost. They may fix or replace with a new or reconditon kobo vox I only had the vox for 3 months...kobo sucks
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jean42044 View Post
I have tried every charger in all electronics stores but no luck. I contacted kobo and they want me to sent my kobo vox back at my cost. They may fix or replace with a new or reconditon kobo vox I only had the vox for 3 months...kobo sucks
Post your complaint on getsatisfaction.com/kobo (kobo's online support). Many posters have been able to get a replacement charger through the site.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:20 PM   #9
TonyToews
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulLeadbeater View Post
I have now investigated the wiring of the charger (without opening anything up) and I find the following setup for the micro-B connector -
  • Pins 1 and 5 provide 5V power - as they normally do
  • Pins 2 and 3 are shorted together - as they are when a USB outlet is use only for charging (i.e. no data transfer)
  • Pin 4 is shorted to Pin 5!
Thank you very much for your research. Much appreciated.

What happens if you left pins 2 and 3 untouched, that is not shorted together? I assume it didn't charge.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyToews View Post
What happens if you left pins 2 and 3 untouched, that is not shorted together? I assume it didn't charge.
If the charger is at least 2 amps, I believe it would charge okay from what I've read here before, but the battery indicator would not work. It would only show the correct level after rebooting.
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Old 08-02-2012, 04:11 PM   #11
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Ahhh, now that could make some sense.

I have an external battery box device which can put out 2 amps. When hooked up to the Vox with a standard USB cable it would keep the Vox at the same charge level for 12 or 20 hours. That is if Vox was at 60% the Vox would stay at 60% while this device as feeding it electricity.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:17 PM   #12
voxuser
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Kobo Vox Charger - 3rd Party Solutions

I found that I could use 3rd party chargers with the Kobo Vox by using a combination of 2 readily available cables connected together.

1. A short USB OTG 'On the Go' cable which has a Micro USB plug at one end and a USB Type A socket at the other.

2. A longer cable with Type A USB plugs at both ends.

One of the Type A plugs then connects to any readily available USB type mobile phone charger.

Charging indicator comes on and shows 'Charging AC' in the status in the menu, probably works because USB OTG cables have pin 4 and 5 connected together via a resistor.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:19 PM   #13
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That's fine if you already have a 2 amp 3rd party charger and the cables and adapters. However, you can buy a Vox charger on eBay for $8 plus $3 shipping. (Item 290705388805)
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:36 AM   #14
peterkobovox
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I try this method and it works.
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxuser View Post
I found that I could use 3rd party chargers with the Kobo Vox by using a combination of 2 readily available cables connected together.

1. A short USB OTG 'On the Go' cable which has a Micro USB plug at one end and a USB Type A socket at the other.

2. A longer cable with Type A USB plugs at both ends.

One of the Type A plugs then connects to any readily available USB type mobile phone charger.

Charging indicator comes on and shows 'Charging AC' in the status in the menu, probably works because USB OTG cables have pin 4 and 5 connected together via a resistor.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:57 PM   #15
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Thanks for this - it's solved the other problem which made the Vox unusable.

I accept oldyellr's comment about cheap chargers, but I travel light through countries with UK 3-pin and EU, USA and Australian 2-pin. Carrying an adapter and individual chargers is a pain, particularly since my original Vox charger is a bulky UK one. It's much less bulky to carry a single, small, locale-specific charger with a USB A female slot, and use cables to charge phone, tablet, Kindle, GPS etc.

So finally, 18 months after buying it, I've got a tablet which I could travel with. Except that it's now underpowered and I gave up and bought something else
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