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Stiletto Stiletto...it's not just for shoes. Come here to talk about the new SL2, the SL100, or the SL10. Share tips, tricks and pointers, all available via WiFi...just like your music!

 
 
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:13 PM   #1
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Default USB Charging and Amperage Draw

Let me preface that I started on this journey because I am a road warrior. I finally got tired of carrying around bundles of cables that became a tangled mess no matter how hard I tried to stay organized.

I made a new rule: no wall warts in my bag, and no cables that cannot retract. If it can't be powered by my MFUEL 120 WorldPak, it doesn't go with me. The only exception to the retractable cable rule is I can have cables less than 4", hopefully which attach to one of my retractable pods.

This may sound insane, but I am happy and my briefcase is extremely well organized.

Anyway, this has led to problems with my Stiletto. I've tried powering it with the supplied USB cable. Listening time was no better than when powered by batteries. I had read on these forums that the USB input charged slower than the wall wart, but I didn't realize that "slower" meant "unusable".

My quest was to create new cables to charge the Stiletto. What if I pulled from USB power, but put that 5v into the charge port rather then the muilti-pin connector? I created such a cable. After creating the cable I took several amperage draw ratings to see how the Stilleto used power from various sources. The USB spec says that USB ports should throw 500mA. My MFUEL can throw up to 1.8A. The Stiletto wall wart is rated at 2.5A.

Here is the cabling system I created. The power source can be the wall wart or a usb port. The jack end can be plugged into either source, then plugged into the Stiletto.


Everything worked great. Stiletto can now be powered by my MFUEL, my laptop, or my wall wart. Wall wart stays at home though...

What about amerage draw?

Stiletto turned off, powered by wall wart draws steady 140mA


Stiletto turned on, powered by wall wart hovers around 650mA, seems to peak ocasionally at 750-800mA.


Powered by MFUEL via my hacked USB cables, I saw similar amperage readings.

Powered by my Laptop's USB port, I seemed to be able to get a max of 650mA. Computer USB ports are supposed to support 500mA, so I suppose my Dell D610 can give a tad more juice.

So, this means that I can now reliably charge the Stiletto directly via USB port! YEAH!! One less crappy cable or wall wart in my bag!


After this success, I had to ask myself, why such poor performance when powered through the multi-pin connector and supplied USB cable? Let's take a peek inside!

Stiletto, turned off, Powered via supplied USB cable into multi-pin connector. 88mA. Yuck! Almost half the power drawn via wall power.


Lets turn this puppy on and see our amperage draw now.

Stiletto, turned on, 89mA. Nearly 1/10th the draw of wall power! No wonder supplied USB charging performance is so crappy!


Clearly, since the USB spec allows for 500mA there is no reason that we cannot get reliable charging and greatly extended listening time via USB power. However, when powered by the multi-pin connector the circuitry of the Stiletto must have some sort of limiting logic or circuitry to keep it to around 90mA.

I will leave it to the reader to decide why Sirius / Directed decided to hobble this device in this manner. For now, I can charge via USB all I please. And so can you if you are willing to spend 5 minutes with a wire crimper and void your warranty!

For my next trick, if someone at Sirius would let me sign an NDA and give me the firmware source I could come up with some much more fun and magical hacks than simple power input games....

Last edited by fiver; 12-17-2006 at 12:19 AM..
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:38 PM   #2
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Great Idea,
You should make a few of these and put them on ebay.....see what happens.

My battery was dying while I was listening to CNN and I figured I would plug it to the USB of my laptop, but sure enough the battery died. It did work however on internet mode, but that meant no CNN

How much for you to make me one of those? Seriously.
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:08 PM   #3
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fiver!

I'm just wondering if you found out a way to open up the Stiletto itself? Maybe splice wires a little further?
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:43 PM   #4
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Very interesting.. you electronic gurus amaze me!
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Old 12-18-2006, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirius_Smurf
Great Idea,
You should make a few of these and put them on ebay.....see what happens.

My battery was dying while I was listening to CNN and I figured I would plug it to the USB of my laptop, but sure enough the battery died. It did work however on internet mode, but that meant no CNN

How much for you to make me one of those? Seriously.
I have some concerns about doing this. First, you instantly void your warranty by doing so. Not that Sirius would need to find out, but they are aware of these forums after all. Obviously by posting on a public forum I am willing to admit I have done so, but I'm not sure I want to get on Sirius's bad side by making money helping others to void *their* warranty. I have lots of other ideas besides this simple hack and may want to work there some day

From a technical standpoint, there are lots of minor issues. One is that the USB spec is only supposed to allow for 500mA. The Stiletto draws more than this. I'm not worried about my Dell D610, or my MFUEL World Pak. But there is a possibility that if you plug this into el-cheapo hub or brand X computer that you could fry the 5V rail, cooking your USB bus and possibly worse. This is a very, very slight possibility, but it is there. The risk is even worse when some idiot tries to power thier home or car dock with this setup (please do *not* try this).

With my luck I would be the guy who sold someone a cable for $25 that fried thier laptop and then they come looking for me.

In either case, I'll post detailed instructions of what I did so they are archived here. Also I think there is a PM button somewhere around here.
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Old 12-18-2006, 11:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realwx
fiver!

I'm just wondering if you found out a way to open up the Stiletto itself? Maybe splice wires a little further?
There are two tiny screws visible in the battery compartment. I am assuming there are a few more, probably hidden under the label so that they know when you've opened it

Even though I have "self-voided" my warranty I am going to wait the 12 months for the warranty to expire before I crack this sucker open. Unless I get impatient and bored It should be trivial to open if you have the gumption.

Anyone who wants can send me a Stiletto or $350 and I will be more than happy to take it apart. I will even take pictures. My wife makes excellent cookies, I will include these in the box when I send it back. So at least if you get a busted up Stiletto in the mail you will have something good to eat.
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Old 12-19-2006, 04:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiver
There are two tiny screws visible in the battery compartment. I am assuming there are a few more, probably hidden under the label so that they know when you've opened it
I remember with the s50, it took dirt getting under the screen case that caused many to crack open their S50. It was SidViscous who first cracked that open.

Sid never made any offers to open others units, but I really like the cookie idea. Anyway just to get the cookies? I'll take chocolate chip!
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