Making a PS Vita USB C Charger

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October 28, 2023

categories
Mods
tags
charging playstation USB C vita

Content:

The PS Vita is Sony’s second handheld game console. The successor to the popular PSP, the Vita never quite reached the heights of its predecessor, selling an estimated 10-15 million units.

While the second generation Vita (PCH-2000) uses a micro USB charging port, the original PCH-1000 model uses a proprietary port. Cables are still easy to come by, but are only available in USB type A – Vita port configuration. With the shift to USB type C, it would be useful to have a way to use a USB C charger to charge the Vita.

It’s possible to mod the console to replace (or complement) the original port with a type C port, but this is risky and only doable with enough skill and equipment. It certainly gives a cleaner result, but if you don’t want to risk your console, it’s not really an option.

Instead, this guide will show you how to make a USB type C adaptor with no modifications required to the console.

Bare Charging Port

It’s currently possible to purchase the Vita 1000 charging port and housing assembly without the cable attached. Links wont be provided as they change frequently, but Aliexpress is a good place to find them.

What’s interesting about these ports is that the PCB is actually friction-fit – it’s possible to remove it entirely. For this mod, we’ll be using the original PCB, so leave it in place. We’ll be aiming to make use of the original plastic housing as well.

Type C PCB

To complement the original board, an additional PCB is used to provide the type C input.

Board design
Design of the Vita USB type C PCB

This board provides breakout points for the D+, D-, 5V and GND pins, as well as including the required resistor pads to make the board compatible with smart chargers.

The PCB is a tight fit behind the posts inside the housing, and there will be very little space behind the type C port when complete. The board has been designed to be as small as possible, to keep the USB port overhang to a minimum.

You can find the files to create one of these PCB’s yourself over on GitHub.

Trimming the Housing

The type C port will extend past the end of the housing, and will therefore require some modifications to fit. It will sit upside-down in the housing (not that it matters given type C is reversible), so you’ll need to trim a large section from the housing piece featuring the triangle indent.

Trim down to the base of the housing, and check the fit of the USB PCB.

Trimmed housing
Trimmed housing to fit the USB type C PCB

Wiring the PCB

Start by fitting the USB type C port. This board requires the 16-pin variant, using the standard footprint. If you want to enable the use of smart chargers with your Vita, you’ll need to populate the two resistor footprints with 5.1kΩ 0603 resistors.

Attach thin wires to the four breakout pads, which will be used to connect the power and data lines to the Vita socket PCB.

wires attached
USB PCB with attached wires and components

The board can then be secured in the housing. It won’t sit flat due to the solder joints on the USB port, so there will be a small space underneath it. Therefore, using an epoxy or hot glue is recommended. Hot glue is probably best, as it is much easier to remove if necessary to re-solder any wires later on.

Attaching the Vita Socket PCB

The Vita socket PCB has four pads, which are labelled below.

Socket PCB
Vita socket PCB, with labelled pads

Looking at the USB PCB, you’ll notice small markings around the pads to identify them. The power pads are on one edge of the board (matching the position on the Vita socket PCB), with data on the other edge.

Make sure the wires are fairly short. While there will be room inside to house a bit of extra wire, space will be limited, so keep the boards close together when soldering.

Boards attached
Both boards soldered together. Note the positioning of the wires.

Data and power wires should not need to cross one another – if they do, check you are wiring them correctly. The pads on the PCB are positioned on the same side as those on the Vita socket PCB.

Completing the Adaptor

With the wires soldered, the Vita connector can be inserted into the housing. It should be a snug fit.

You could test the adaptor at this point, but do so using a multi-meter. It’s not recommended to plug into the Vita at this stage, as it will be incredibly difficult to remove the connector, and could lead to damage to the wiring (ask us how we know).

The other half of the housing will need to be trimmed, to clear the USB type C port. The cut can be narrower than the cut in the other half, as there is no PCB to clear. You can gauge where the cut needs to be made by holding the piece in position.

Glue will be required to hold the housing together, so apply a small amount of super glue on the inside edge of the housing and push the two halves together. It’s recommended to do a test fit before applying glue to ensure the wiring fits inside.

Complete adaptor
Completed adaptor, showing both the top view and the view of the USB cutout

Now I know what you’re thinking – that looks a mess. And you’d be correct – the USB end of the adaptor isn’t pretty. But the end result should be secure and functional, and the gaps in around the USB port can always be tidied up with filler.

If you have a 3D printer, you may choose to create a new housing to create a more clean result.

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