usb ports are useless - Page 3 - 2004 to 2016 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums
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post #21 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
car0800
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izacus View Post
The problem is, that there's no >500mA charging spec over USB 2.0 (the ones installed in your Mazda). All the fast-charging specs before USB 3.0 are proprietary and differ between manufacturers (e.g. one for Apple iPhones, one for Samsungs, etc. etc.) and most of them don't allow you to charge and send data over the cables at once (Apple's spec and some of the bleeding edge Qualcomm specs being special). That's probably the reason why only 500mA ports are installed and that probably won't change until USB-C ports are in there
You are right, the official USB 2.0 spec is 500mA max but current upto a hair over 2 Amps on the Type A connector is common as evidenced by plenty of cigarette lighter adapters that supply it. As I said Honda does it in their Civic, 1.5 Amps, apparently it wasn't an issue for Honda.

And USB 3.0 devices became available in 2009 and it's currently 2017. Mazda is going to upgrade the technology when? 10 years now? Let's not make excuses for the oversight.

My Nexus 6P uses a Type C connector, i'm currently using a Type A to Type C cable which has a built in facility to limit current so it will not burn out the port by allowing the 6P to draw the 3 Amps. I am not sure what the cable is limiting the current to but the measurement I was getting was lower than 500mA.
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post #22 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 12:41 AM
mil
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As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so hopefully with the three pictures I have here I'll convince the non-believers that it is possible to draw more than 500 mA from the USB ports in our Mazdas. Please see the attachments (as a new member I'm unfortunately not allowed to include images in the message body yet).

The first picture shows the situation that everybody complains about: a phone connected directly using a regular USB data cable. The current is limited to 500 mA and that's pretty much what the app shows here (it shows 420 mA, but you need to add the regular discharge rate to it, which is slightly over 100 mA on this phone).

The second picture shows nearly the same situation, but here the regular USB data cable was swapped for a "charging only" cable: one where the data wires are not connected on the USB-A side and are shorted on the micro USB side. Lo and behold, the phone now charges at 900 mA! Since in the second case the data wires are not connected, the car infotainment system cannot access the phone so you can't play music stored on it, you can't use Android Auto, etc.

Do not despair though! The third picture shows a more complicated setup, with a powered USB hub. It's not clearly visible in the picture (sorry!) but both car USB ports are connected to the hub: one as the data input, the other as the power source. The infotainment system now sees the phone, yet it still charges at the high rate!

There are two points that I would like to stress:

1. Not all USB hubs are created equal. The hub not only needs to be powered, but it needs to support the USB BC 1.2 specification for fast charging. The particular hub shown (sorry, I can't post links, but just search Amazon for, e.g., "unitek bc 1.2 hub") does, but when I tried the same trick with an Amazon Basics hub, which has an external power supply and ports marked as "Fast charge", it didn't work -- the phone still charged at just 500 mA. This Unitek hub also has the advantage of not using a proprietary charger but a standard micro USB port so it can be powered directly from the second car port without any additional adapters.

2. Not all USB cables are created equal, either. Many cheaper cables use thin power wires (28 AWG) that are unable to handle 900 mA. This is especially the case if, like me, you only have the USB ports under the armrest so are forced to use longer cables, extension cables, etc. I went to the trouble of taking apart the center console to run a USB extension to under the CD drive in the front, only to later find out that I cheaped out and the cable had such losses that I was seeing barely over 500 mA by the time it reached the phone. I then bought extension cables with 21-22 AWG wires and the problem disappeared, but I had to take the center console apart again.
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post #23 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 05:59 AM
dim
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I have Garmin navigation and needed to power it from somewhere. With the previous car I used the standard 12V power plug. But with the 3, this is located in the central console. I tried plugging the Garmin directly into one of the USB ports, but it thinks it is connected to a PC and switches in USB connection mode - you can not exit from that unless you unplug it.
Needed something quick, so what I did is, I took a short USB cable (with USB male and female connectors), cut it in half, and then reconnected (soldered) only the power wires. Now the Garmin is happy, charging from the USB port.

'17 Mazda 3 Touring 2.5
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post #24 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 10:59 AM
mil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dim View Post
I took a short USB cable (with USB male and female connectors), cut it in half, and then reconnected (soldered) only the power wires. Now the Garmin is happy, charging from the USB port.
Good idea. There's an adapter that does this for you called PortaPow but it seems overpriced for what it is and I'm not sure if it wouldn't stick out preventing the armrest lid from closing.
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post #25 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-23-2017, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dim View Post
I have Garmin navigation and needed to power it from somewhere. With the previous car I used the standard 12V power plug. But with the 3, this is located in the central console. I tried plugging the Garmin directly into one of the USB ports, but it thinks it is connected to a PC and switches in USB connection mode - you can not exit from that unless you unplug it.
Needed something quick, so what I did is, I took a short USB cable (with USB male and female connectors), cut it in half, and then reconnected (soldered) only the power wires. Now the Garmin is happy, charging from the USB port.
Yeah, did same thing in order to connect my Garmin. Found a webpage that showed me step by step how to do it. Only took 5 minutes, was a very simple operation.
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