Monday, June 22, 2009

How-to: USB charger hack for Novatel MiFi

UPDATED with software hack.

Click to see the video

Now it's better... next hack is...

UPDATE: MiFi™ 2200 EV-DO version can be hacked with software:

1. go to your mifi config page, then settings, config

2. download a backup of your config

3. edit it with a text editor. change the line that says
< routeroverusb >0< /routeroverusb > to
< routeroverusb >1< /routeroverusb >

4. save it, and reupload it to your mifi

Thanks, Anon

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Anonymous said...

great tip jkk thank you ! i'll test mine further before, but soon i think i'll cut that damned usb cable ;)
waiting for the next hack for this great (so far) device ;) perhaps an extended battery replacement ?

Joao Oliveira said...

Let the hacking start!! :)

I've done it too, and it works perfect. Just trimmed the cutted wires and putted some isolation tape over the cable, in the end to give a better look. ;)



Anonymous said...

Created a "similar" cable to charge the Cradlepoint CTR350 over USB. I think all of these devices should recognize we want to charge them this way now.

I used Radio Shack versaplug connector on the cable, so I can swap tips in the future for other devices. Quite simple.

Anonymous said...

Question: Does the MiFi use too much of the battery of the netbook (does MiFi charge fully from USB, then shutdown USB charging, and only then when fully charged use USB power direct from the bigger and stronger netbook battery system)?

Also - instead of using electric tape to fix your cut wire, try using liquid plastic (sold in tubes to be used to fix a wire like this) as it looks much better when done and it does not fall off with use.

Anonymous said...

Liquid Electric Tape (comes in tube or can) - various colors to choose from:

jpmatrix said...

i'm about to try another tip : apply your hack to a little usb male-usb femelle cable that i don't use, -so that i will be able to plug this power-only cable to the actual mifi one without cutting it.... what do you think?

JKK said...

jpmatrix, that will work fine.

jpmatrix said...

well, it works !

thank you jkk ;)

chs said...


i just taped the two contacs with famous "Tesafilm" and that´s it :o)


Branded USB Sticks said...

Thanks for the Trick ;)

Chargeback said...

Ain´t there any charge-only usb-cabels available ?

Anonymous said...

an unnecessary hack

here's a better one:

1. go to your mifi config page, then settings, config
2. download a backup of your config
3. edit it with a text editor. change the line that says
< routeroverusb >0< /routeroverusb >
< routeroverusb >1< /routeroverusb >
4. save it, and reupload it to your mifi

voila, enjoy your mifi that works on BOTH wifi and usb at the same time

that took me a whole 5 minutes to figure out, posting it here because i don't have a blog of my own :)

JKK said...

Anonymous, on which model you did that software hack? ...doesn't work on mine.

Any others got it working?

Anonymous said...

i did it on a mifi2200 from verizon that we recently purchased

the config file says pn= 9002xxxx and version 0.6P

JKK said...


That's the EV-DO version... Mine is MiFi™ 2352 GSM ( HSPA )

.. So this hack seems to work only on EV-DO version.

Anonymous said...

or only on a recent firmware, what does your config file say? there might be an update available from your provider

JKK said...

pn 0101xxxx
version 1.1P

Model MiFi2352
Modem Firmware Version

Remember, 2200 and 2352 are totally different devices.

Anonymous said...

I have a charge only cable that came with a cell phone car adpter kit. It's a retractable. Will it work with the EVDO Mifi?

Anonymous said...

Do you think that the nokia BP-4L 1500mAh battery (for internet tablet N810, and some others) would be directly compatible with the novatel battery? Do you have an image or specs from the battery? Do you know where to get new batteries for the MiFi in Finland? I think MobilX sells now novatel batteries now, but I think Nokia batteries have better availability. And usually Nokia keeps the batteries in production for a long time ;)

Anonymous said...

I just used a micro usb cable for the motorola V9/v8 it seems to work, the wifi is on and the setup page with the battery indicator is moving as it is charging, but you do get a red light on the mifi unit.

for ppl who has cut the cable, you can always use those clip on magnet for the cable to look nice


Anonymous said...


I know it states the battery last for around 4hours, is it normal for it to last abour 3 with continue use downloading from P2P.

Anonymous said...

JKK, thanks for the review. Does the device still work without the battery, but connected to the laptop via (i) power only USB cable as a Wifi device and (ii) normal USB cable as a USB modem?

I have some reservations in the event the battery dies on me and there is no way to power up the device and no battery replacement readily available for purchase.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how to enable SSH on the MiFi 2352???

Unknown said...

From BoboftheDeep...

Thanks....I did both the cable and config file hack on my
Sprint mifi...both worked perfectly! I must admin I prefer the config file hack MUCH better...

Any clue on the rest of the params on there, like power, etc?


Anonymous said...

Just cut a tiny piece of sellotape and cover the middle two contacts on the USB cable as they are the ones that carry the data.
That way you don't need to ruin a cable.


Anonymous said...

Is there a way to use the MIFI 2200 verizon with a home network which includes an HD DVR?

Anonymous said...

Regarding changing the config file...

Is this done within the Verizon software
or somewhere within my Windows XP system?


Anonymous said...

which section of the xml file is the routeroverusb element? I have a Sprint branded 2200 mifi, but the routeroverusb entry does not appear in my config file.

can someone post the contents of their verizon config file (minus the passwords)?


anonymousRVer said...

On the Sprint branded mifi, the XML element for routeroverusb doesn't exist until you add it. Seems to work if added just under the second line "General" element.

Anonymous said...

mifi 2353 - sellotape over the 2 middle contacts did the trick for me, no cutting cables.

diddle said...

very nicely thought out of you, jkk, thankyou.

am thinking of getting mifi type thingy for family if i can afford. this tip will really help when needs charging while many are using. i get power only cable with dual aa battery charger from local £1 shop, but i will try putting dpdt switch in those two wires wrapped in a small pill box on a data cable, incase i need to access it directly or turn wifi off quickly.

Anonymous said...

Does not work for me - Mifi 2372.

Followed the directions very easily as suggested here and from a friend using the Verizon Mifi 2200. I recently purchased the Mifi 2372 to use with ATT.

I still have to use the Mobilink app when I plug the USB in...

Anonymous said...

Gary, I cit a tiny piece of tape and inserted it on the mini USB end of the 'charge only' cable and it works. It was cut small enough as to cover only the two middle contact points. I'm currently posting this from my ipod touch as my Virgin mifi 2200 is plugged into the wall charging.

Anonymous said...

key note on config hack: be sure to NOT update mifi2200 firmware to latest available. the most recent build disables the option for config hack. I can attest to this personally ... and have no obvious way to roll-back firmware.

firmware to avoid: v159
[determine from VZAccess Mngr // Options // Diagnostics ]]

latest software: VZAccess Mgr v7.3.xx

PJJ said...

December 2010 - Confirming what others have said: The firmware in my MiFi 2200 does NOT have the "routeroverusb" option at all. Adding the line to the "correct place" in the xml file does no good - if you upload and then download the config file again, you will find your entry removed. Best bet is to get a charge-only USB cable or hack a "normal" one yourself.

Anonymous said...

Does this method work on the Novatel 4620L as well?

In some implementations of the new "non-standard, standard" USB micro so-called single type conductor roll-out, at least in the case of a Garmin GPS device the mfg places a coding resistor between unused pin 4 and ground (pin 5) of the power supply male plug that is sensed by the female jack in the unit needing a charge. This assumes a Garmin USB power adapter and starts a full charge on the battery with simultaneous navigation capability. In the case of the Garmin, it is only an intermediate charge that will result from only cutting data cables alone and the device which will then not both navigate and charge at the same time (the Nuvi units will navigate while running down the internal battery even though a very slow charge is taking place). With the Garmin, the lack of the data green/white wires and with a resistance path between pin 4 of the micro USB and pin 5 ground will instruct the Garmin to utilize all the power that a power adapter is capable of (up to 2000ma or so. This also means in theory dummying this up on a USB cable destined for a theoretical 500ma capable computer USB port could cause a computer mother board to burn out or power supply failure.

Question is, does any of this parallel the Novatel devices? Has anyone tested the cut-cable "hack" over long periods of heavy operation or with the battery missing on the 4620L? WIth this continue to power the device over long periods?

Maybe the Novatels are designed simply use the entire sink of up to their capability of 1200ma or so and will do this regardless as long as there is no source of data on the line. In this case it would seem that any USB adapter rated at 5V at 1200ma or more would suffice. Has anyone checked on this?

If cutting data cables alone will not allow the 4620L to run and charge at full capacity, I would suspect a similar setup for it. Has anyone measured the resistance between pin 4 and 5 of the micro USB to see if it is open, shorted or a resistor exists?

While writing this and doing more research, it appears that devices of the cell phone category may be quite a bit more complicated than a GPS which may or may not follow the new IEEE suggestions. A full blown description of the layout of modern USB and charging specs can be read here:

... Don A

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