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Oculus Rift USB Power Hack

Wed. April 3, 2013
Categories: Display Tech, Game Consoles, Hardware

Using a “Kill-A-Watt” we found that the switching power supply included with the Rift DK, though rated at 5VDC, 1.5A, only consumes 3W of power off of the wall. This signifies that a maximum of 600mA of current is flowing from the AC-DC adapter, assuming 100% conversion efficiency. The USB standard specifies that 500mA is available at the USB A jack for devices to use. Often a computer will provide a little more than 500mA, as the standard mostly exists to warn device developers to not expect more than 500mA from the port. As a result, we hypothesized that the Oculus Rift Development Kit would have no trouble running from a USB port’s 5 Volts. Either the port would provide more power than it is rated to, or the Rift would be limited to 500mA yet operate without issues at 2.5 Watts.

To confirm this hypothesis, we soldered a 30 gauge stranded wire from the 5V power pin on the Rift’s Mini USB B port to the 5V in on the DC-In barrel jack. We also took the liberty of replacing the obnoxiously bright blue-filtered-to-white-then-back-to-blue LED with a mild green LED. It remains visible, but is not intrusive and doesn’t shine through the HDMI port.




 

The Rift runs perfectly fine off of this USB power. We do not expect fluctuations in draw as shifts based on screen content will be negligible, and the sensors should not draw more/less depending on how much one is moving.

These modifications allow the Rift to be plugged in using only a single cable and single USB Cable, eliminating the need for a wall adapter, a free wall plug, and extra tote space. This makes the Rift a much more portable device.

18 Responses to “Oculus Rift USB Power Hack”

  1. Powering the Oculus Rift with USB Says:

    [...] Oculus Rift dev kits are starting to make their way onto the workbenches of makers around the globe. Some are even going so far as to tear open the hardware and see how they can improve it. [Mike] didn’t like the fact the Oculus Rift needed a wall wart power supply, so he modded it so it can be powered over a USB port. [...]

  2. rndm(mod) » Powering the Oculus Rift with USB Says:

    [...] Oculus Rift dev kits are starting to make their way onto the workbenches of makers around the globe. Some are even going so far as to tear open the hardware and see how they can improve it. [Mike] didn’t like the fact the Oculus Rift needed a wall wart power supply, so he modded it so it can be powered over a USB port. [...]

  3. Powering the Oculus Rift with USB - RaspberryPiBoards Says:

    [...] Oculus Rift dev kits are starting to make their way onto the workbenches of makers around the globe. Some are even going so far as to tear open the hardware and see how they can improve it. [Mike] didn’t like the fact the Oculus Rift needed a wall wart power supply, so he modded it so it can be powered over a USB port. [...]

  4. Powering the Oculus Rift with USB | Daily IT News on IT BlogIT Blog Says:

    [...] Oculus Rift dev kits are starting to make their way onto the workbenches of makers around the globe. Some are even going so far as to tear open the hardware and see how they can improve it. [Mike] didn’t like the fact the Oculus Rift needed a wall wart power supply, so he modded it so it can be powered over a USB port. [...]

  5. Powering the Oculus Rift with USB | Make, Electronics projects, electronic Circuits, DIY projects, Microcontroller Projects - makeelectronic.com Says:

    [...] Oculus Split dev outfits are starting to originate their via onto the workbenches of authors through the orb. Quantity are just going so remote as to rupture public the hardware plus behold how they can rectify it. [Mike] didn’t comparable the circumstance the Oculus Gap needed a cliff excrescence muscle fund, so he modded it so it can be powered above a USB haven. [...]

  6. WormSlayer Says:

    Palmer said this may be possible, nice work though :D

  7. jayoh Says:

    wow. freaking awesome. this makes a backtop setup much more feasible! i’d like to hear about long term results with this hack… still working a few days later?

  8. Weedster Says:

    Great video. Great hack. Keep it up!
    Are you using an USB3 port?

  9. Andrew Says:

    What happens if you’ve got this mod done and you plug in USB and the DC wall adapter?

  10. Oculus Rift Mod: USB Power Hack Eliminates Need for Wall Adapter Says:

    [...] detailed in a blog post by Michael J. Moffit, the Rift draws a maximum current of 600 mA – which is slightly above the [...]

  11. Usb Power Mod per Oculus Rift » Visori 3D - Oculus Rift Italia Says:

    [...] descritto in questo post sul blog di Michael J. Moffit, Oculus Rift viene alimentato da una corrente massima di 600 mA – che [...]

  12. Harley Says:

    -in-1 Y-type USB-cable sounds like a good idea for this hack and the current first-generation Oculus Rift Dev Kit, as those types of ]2-in-1 Y-type USB-cables are what they use for some external 2.5″ USB harddisk-chassis to accommodate the few harddrives that require more than 500ma power.

    While regular USB-cables won’t supply enough power, the second head on these Y-shaped USB-cables provides additional power. You need to connect both USB connectors to two different USB ports as shown in the following picture.

    http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/space143/2011-06-07_004505_cable2.jpg

    ou can get a 2-in-1 Y-type USB-cable from Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bytecc-USB2-HD201-cable-mini-USB-Hi-Speed/dp/B002GWMLE8
    http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-28107-Mini-B-Y-Cable/dp/B0013LQD7Y

  13. Wollan Says:

    That’s great. Hopefully Oculus Rift devkit 2.0 will purely be USB powered though apparently they are planning the addition of stereo cameras as well which might hamper this.

  14. Mark Gray Says:

    Thanks for the tip, this let me do a demo when I had left my power cord behind.
    In my system, this did not actually save me an outlet because my USB hub can’t provide enough power for the Rift unless I plug in the hub’s power cord.
    It is a challenge soldering a wire to the tiny pin on the mini USB port.

  15. Marton Says:

    Thanks for the post mate, I’ve just done this today and the unit works just fine!

  16. Eduardosg Says:

    Hi!
    YOu had it working for how long for testing purposes?
    Someone reported that after 5 minutes his notebooks goes blue screen.
    Of course there are MANY variables in between… but just saying.

    Other guy said something about that ASUS app that makes Ipad chargeble
    on notebooks… so it would be interesting to have more power coming to usb outlet.

    Tahnk you!

  17. mikejmoffitt Says:

    Over 2 hours on multiple laptops as well as my desktop.

  18. mikejmoffitt Says:

    I wouldn’t do that, the laptop would probably not like that.

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