no-battery Magic Trackpad USB Power mod

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by markbog, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2010
    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

    Attached Files:

  2. macrumors 68000


    Aug 26, 2009
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    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 :)
  3. macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2009
    Midwest, USA
    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...
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    FL, USA
    Hey would that dowel thing work in the new wireless keyboard too?
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    Most likely some voltage regulator will get a little hotter :p
  6. macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    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.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Aug 26, 2009
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
  8. macrumors 6502


    Jul 19, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Too bad your work area is all cluttered up by those god-awful wires......

    juss kiddin' ;) .... good innovating.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2010

    What exactly is the black wire connected to? How is the circuit completed?
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2010
    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.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2010
    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...
  12. macrumors regular


    Jul 28, 2010
    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 ?
  13. macrumors 603


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    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.
  14. macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    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.
  15. macrumors 68020


    Aug 28, 2008
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    Very cool Mark. Very green for the environment.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Do this = a bad Track Pad which already broken. :D
  17. macrumors 68020


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    It's actually trivial to turn a MBP trackpad into a USB trackpad, and then you wouldn't even have to worry about bluetooth :D
  18. macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009
    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 ;) )
  19. macrumors 603


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    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.
  20. macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2009
    The Moon, CA
    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?
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2010
    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
  22. macrumors 68040


  23. macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    Sweden & California
    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.;)
  24. macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2010
    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.

  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2003
    3v regulator

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

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