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I thought it might be fun to make a USB cable tester. Turns out this was a surprisingly difficult project!

For the first version I used these USB sockets.

USB Sockets With All Pins

These break out all the pins - but unfortunately half the pins are hidden under the socket so you can’t see if you have solder bridges or bad connections. That coupled with a couple of design errors made the first version of the board a bit of a failure.

Version 1

So for version 2 I opted to use these sockets:

New USB Sockets

These are a lot easier to inspect. Half the pins a through hole and the other half are visible at the back of the socket.

It is still pretty hard to solder up and not get any bridges, but at least now we can see them easily.

Ooops - A Solder Bridge

Version 2 works pretty well, we can test various cables - for example here’s a good quality cable that should be able to for 40Gbps.

Fantastic Cable

And here’s a cable that is ok for normal USB - but it’s not going to set the world on fire when it comes to speed.

An OK Cable

I’ve got a new version under construction. With the previous two versions it’s been really hard to tell if the sockets are soldered on properly. So I’ve now broken out all the connections and can easily build a test jig to check for shorts.

USB Break Out

So, keep an eye out for Version 3.0!


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HELP SUPPORT MY WORK: If you're feeling flush then please stop by Patreon Or you can make a one off donation via ko-fi
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Chris Greening


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A collection of slightly mad projects, instructive/educational videos, and generally interesting stuff. Building projects around the Arduino and ESP32 platforms - we'll be exploring AI, Computer Vision, Audio, 3D Printing - it may get a bit eclectic...

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