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Thread: Getting sturdy USB port?

  1. #1

    Getting sturdy USB port?

    I'm thinking to use the Teensy 4.1 in a variety of projects but I'm really not a fan of microUSB ports. They might be fine in phones or devices with firm support but on a board like the Teensy they're easy for ham handed people to snap off. I've done this many times with Arduino Due boards. I got sick of it and started making Due clones with a USB-B port. Haven't looked back ever since, all my designs have USB-B ports and I've never seen anyone snap one off. So, now that I really want to use Teensy 4.1 boards in my designs I have a problem. One thing I wondered is if I can use the USB Host pins to instead be another USB client and attach USB-B to that port? Otherwise, has anyone had trouble with breaking the microUSB port on a Teensy or are they somehow better attached than the port is on a Due?

  2. #2
    Nobody answered me, probably because it is a weird and highly technical question. So, I dove in myself. The answer is, yes, but it will probably be tough to do. The hardware in the processor is perfectly capable of using either USB port as host or client. So, technically it's possible. The problem is that Teensyduino doesn't exactly expect one to use the second port as a client connection to a PC so the software support is lacking. It might be as easy as modifying the TeensyDuino core to use the second port instead of the first. Then something like this would take the 5 pin USB header and turn it into a full sized USB-B socket:

    Finding such an adapter was a little bit tough but obviously possible. The biggest challenge would seem to be to switch the USB Serial output to the second USB port and make it a client instead of a USB host. But, seems possible. I do, however, wonder whether firmware flashing over USB would work over the second port. I could live with doing firmware flashing over the microUSB port and normal serial connections over a custom USB-B full sized port.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    I tried using epoxy to make it stronger but it ended up causing too many problems. Perhaps a small, never unplugged extender cable to provide strain relief?

  4. #4
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Sorry - missed the initial post - but Paul posted recently noting the USB Host connection is just that so far - even for general usage.

    Even if it someday can get configured for USB Device usage - it will not be usable for bootloader programming.

    The connector shown in post #2 is great for USB host usage on T_3.6 or T_4.1 but won't lead to the other USB port that supports programming through the PJRC Teensy bootloader.

    @jonr's suggestion to use plug once extender cable for strain relief is good and easy.

    Also on T_3.2 (?) there was an OSH PCB that allowed using the underside secondary USB Device D+/D- pads with GND and VUSB connects to mount a sturdier USB connector for use - or in the event the main device connector was somehow 'removed'. The T_4.1 pads are in similar locations but sized differently and carry a 480 Mbps signal instead of 12 Mbps of T_3.x's - but the idea may work.

  5. #5
    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Sorry I did not see this thread either, but there have been a few others recently...

    The simplest one is to use a simple USB extension that converts to a something you like.

    Maybe something like:

    Also the T4.1 does have two small round pads on bottom for the USB D+ and D- which I have never tried to see if they work.

    I have not looked at the Due, but know some USB smaller connectors were surface mounted only, where I believe these have part of these have alignment holes that the usb connector sit in, which should strengthen them.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Quote Originally Posted by CollinK View Post
    Otherwise, has anyone had trouble with breaking the microUSB port on a Teensy or are they somehow better attached than the port is on a Due?
    The Due and the Teensy both have through-hole micro USB sockets, meaning the steel body has 4 tabs that are soldered into
    plated through holes in the PCB, which is as good as you'll get (although I can believe too little solder is used if solder
    stencilling has to be calibrated for fine pitch SMT components on the rest of the board - you can add more solder to the holes
    from the back of the PCB by hand perhaps?).

    Don't understand how a connector can get broken myself short of dropping the board or tripping on a cable, but I was learning
    to overhaul and repair mechanical watches when I was 12, so I learnt about delicate things breaking, round pegs not fitting square
    holes, etc!

  7. #7
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    T_3.5 and later went to through hole micro USB - and looking the holes are not solder 'filled'. So connectors 'falling' off from use or abuse was easier on T_3.2 and before.

    Somebody posted of gravity pulling a connector off the other day when the board left the work surface with stuff attached.

  8. #8
    Thanks everyone. I think the adapter cable might be the way to go. That's neat that such a thing exists! Otherwise, yes I saw those two SMD pads on the bottom side. It appears someone has used pogo pins to connect to those to allow different USB connections. That might be an option too. But, certainly a strain relief cable is a lot easier.

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