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Old Jul 29, 2010, 05:23 PM   #1
markbog
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no-battery Magic Trackpad USB Power mod

Hi all, thought you might be interested in this... I don't like using batteries in desktop peripherals, they're horrible for the environment compared to wired power, and there's no need for batteries when it's just going to be sitting on a desk all day. So I took out the batteries in the Magic Trackpad, stripped an old USB cord down to the red and black power wires, and attached them to a battery-sized dowel. Works great!

Mark bog
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Old Jul 29, 2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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I'm surprised it works... two AA batteries give out 3 volts, whereas USB gives 5 volts.

I guess there is some power regulating circuitry
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Old Jul 29, 2010, 06:04 PM   #3
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I agree that this device should not have been wireless. I can envision a wireless Apple keyboard with this attached to the side for media purposes, like an all-in-one device. That would be useful. Using this separately and wireless when it sits right next to a keyboard is just a waste of batteries.

Nice mod. I wonder if the extra 2 volts will shorten the lifespan of the device...
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Old Jul 29, 2010, 10:04 PM   #4
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Hey would that dowel thing work in the new wireless keyboard too?
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 11:49 AM   #5
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Most likely some voltage regulator will get a little hotter
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 12:12 PM   #6
vladzaharia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicroma View Post
I agree that this device should not have been wireless. I can envision a wireless Apple keyboard with this attached to the side for media purposes, like an all-in-one device. That would be useful. Using this separately and wireless when it sits right next to a keyboard is just a waste of batteries.

Nice mod. I wonder if the extra 2 volts will shorten the lifespan of the device...
I really can't imagine how this keyboard would work. The trackpad's feet clicking in is the reason why it clicks the way it does. If it was attached to a keyboard, it would be a lot harder to click just the trackpad part, and using feet on both sides of the keyboard to click would be equally bad since I can easily see clicks when your keystroke is harder than normal.

Also, I'm pretty sure the extra circuitry of the Trackpad addon would add 1-2 batteries to it.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 12:26 PM   #7
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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Too bad your work area is all cluttered up by those god-awful wires......







juss kiddin' .... good innovating.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 04:03 PM   #9
bud67
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Question

What exactly is the black wire connected to? How is the circuit completed?
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 05:10 PM   #10
markbog
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Heh, thanks all, weird to see this posted all over the place. To answer your questions, I haven't had any problems with the 5v instead of 3v... I was planning on throwing some resistors in there to step it down, but it looks like the trackpad's circuitry is smart enough to handle it itself. No problems in 3 weeks of use, anyhow. I do wish I'd spent another few minutes making it not fugly before taking pictures though. You can't get the screw-in cover back in without drilling holes for the wires, so I'm just leaving it open for now. And the black wire is taped to the inside of the tube between the tube and the dowel, since the entire inside of the tube works as a contact point. The copper nail on that end thus ended up unused.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 05:16 PM   #11
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Doesn't say much about the magic trackpad if you're already sick of changing batteries in a product that's barely been out for a month...
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 05:24 PM   #12
AppleCode
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Good job, looks interesting. I too wonder if it would shorten the battery life?
Does it still need to be connected through bluetooth for it to work as it should ?
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 05:27 PM   #13
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Apple will patent this and sell it for $39.
All joke aside, I think that if you made this and sold it at the right price, many people would buy it.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 06:13 PM   #14
vladzaharia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appleguy123 View Post
Apple will patent this and sell it for $39.
All joke aside, I think that if you made this and sold it at the right price, many people would buy it.
I'd love to see something like that, actually. Some sort of screw-in attachment that converts their keyboard or trackpad into a wired version. It'd be great for their own stores, too, so they wouldn't need those anti-theft devices randomly stuck on to the devices.

@theangryintern - It's probably 2-3 months of charge per battery set.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 08:37 PM   #15
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Very cool Mark. Very green for the environment.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 10:23 PM   #16
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Do this = a bad Track Pad which already broken.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 10:49 PM   #17
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It's actually trivial to turn a MBP trackpad into a USB trackpad, and then you wouldn't even have to worry about bluetooth
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 12:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appleguy123 View Post
Apple will patent this and sell it for $39.
All joke aside, I think that if you made this and sold it at the right price, many people would buy it.
great joke but... so true !!!!

Mark you should patent your mod before Apple does

they might not use it now, but in 6 months, 1 year, when they'll update the product, they might use your mod under patent

who knows, steve might give you some money (instead of taking some from your wallet )
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 01:08 AM   #19
appleguy123
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You're big time now dude. Engadget.
For real, take our advise, patent and sell this sucker online! If you could make it where the screw cap fits and open an online store, I don't think that $20 is a bad deal for this.
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 04:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by lewis82 View Post
I'm surprised it works... two AA batteries give out 3 volts, whereas USB gives 5 volts.

I guess there is some power regulating circuitry
You can use a voltage regulator to get 3 volts if your worried about damaging it. Maybe add a micro usb input lol

Also, I like that stand for you MBP. Which one is it?
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 09:38 AM   #21
ItsJustafnPhone
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Nice mod !

For those clammering for patent... im not sure there really is a market except for a few tech nerds

Most people ( like myself) that use a lot of wireless products use recycable batteries + multi battery chargers
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 11:19 AM   #22
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You might be interested in dummy batteries:
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 04:35 PM   #23
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Why not shorten the USB wire and plug it right into the keyboard port on the right side. That way it would cut down on the, as you say "fugly", wiring across your desk. Also, do you really need the MBP screen paired with your 30 incher? Clam shell that boy.
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Old Aug 23, 2010, 05:50 AM   #24
veloraptor
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Hi there,

to cut the plus 2Volts you could use three 1N4001 in a row to cut off 2.1Volts in summary.

This would ensure not to stress the power regulators with producing too much heat.

/peter.
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Old Aug 28, 2010, 07:22 PM   #25
nsayer
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3v regulator

I'd add an LD1117V30 regulator to this if I were you.
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