Powering Alcatel OneTouch Ride-Fi with USB Is Often A One Way Street – Sprint Product Ambassadors
As I mentioned in a previous blog, your Alcatel One Touch Ride-Fi is designed to run on your car’s 12VDC power outlet. It can also be powered via USB but, you’ll need to buy a separate Dual Type A Male Ended USB cable…
That got me thinking the other day. Rather than buying another cable, what about all these extra (Type A Male to Type B Male USB) charging cables I have lying around. Can I run power off another device? Well, leave it to me to test things so you don’t need to Here’s my results.
First of all, to summarize things quickly. Those mini USB cables just won’t work (but if you need a little more explanation, read on):
The first thing I was curious about was if I could power the Alcatel One Touch Ride-Fi with a phone. I mean a phone has a battery, it can power my micro USB Thumb drive easy enough. It should work right? Well, I plugged in a standard charging cable, tried to Power on the Ride-Fi and no lights. The second test I tried is connecting to my tablet. Now my tablet is Dell Windows 10 and built more like a laptop. The attached micro USB port is shown to be a bit more multi purposed than my phone but again no lights and no power. Finally I wanted to try a wildcard. So I pulled out my Technocel Portable Charger (Battery Boost). This has both USB Male A and USB Male B outlets built right into the unit. Generally you would plug the Type A end into a charger (PC or other power source) and then (when needed), you could power on and plug the Type B into your phone to give you some extra emergency juice. Does it work in reverse? Nope.
Now, I’m a little put off at this point and questioning the pin out of my cable so I did a little investigation:
On a Standard USB A Male to USB A Male Cable you have 5VDC Power is on Pin 1 and Ground is Pin 4 (this is identical on both sides). On a Standard USB A Male to USB B Male Cable it’s a little different. First of all the USB B side has 5 pins to the USB A’s 4 pins. On both sides the 5VDC Power is on Pin 1. USB B has ground on Pin 5 which is also shorted to Pin 4. Now this is where things get really technical: As a standard charging cable is an OTG (On-The-Go) USB cable. To quickly define and OTG cable is designed to have a inherit host and peripheral relationship. The cable and device attached govern the direction of power. Cell Phones and Tablets are considered OTG-B devices. OTG-B devices are considered to be “Power Consumers” and hence no power will be passed back.
See the image below of my cell phone below. Measured right off the USB port with a stripped out USB B Male plug you get only 4/1000 of a volt, which will clearly not power anything.
Doing my part and saving you time. Want USB power? Buy your Dual Type A Male Ended USB cable at your favorite online retailer and plug into any changer, laptop or standard USB device. No OTG in that application.
Sprint Product Ambassador
Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee.