2010-03-09T08_16_38

Charging Your Motorola Razr K1M with a USB Cable for Free

I was on the road for a few days this week and reached my destination to find that my phone, a Verizon Motorola Razr K1M, was running low on power. This rarely happens, the Razr K1M has a great battery, and is very efficiently designed. So, unfortunately, I had developed the habit of not carrying the charger in order to save space in my overnight bag.

However, by the time I reached the hotel on this trip the phone was almost out of power - and I absolutely needed the phone on this trip. 'I know - I have a USB mini cable for my MP3 player', 'I will charge up the phone from the USB port of my laptop'. No such luck! I snapped the connectors into place and the phone languidly noted that an 'Unauthorized Charger' had been connected - and continued to flash its low battery symbol.

I did a little googling on the topic. Soon I discovered that there was only a 'partially standard' (!) USB connector on the phone. Apparently, to enable charging you had to attack and modify the USB cable - not something I wanted to do in a hotel room.

A little more googling indicated that there was some hope, though. From a 'Techography Page' dedicated to installing ring tones, without having to pay for ring tones. (Personally - I have no idea why people want to customize the ringing of cell phone - and whether or not the same people want to pay for the resulting jangling - but, what do I know?). However, the page suggested that if you follow the steps, the phone is happily put into a mode where it does indeed charge properly from the USB port. (And if you really want to, you can install some ring tones for free).

I believe that the keys to this transformation are the Motorola developer USB drivers, and the Motorola Software Updater (both of which are free). My guess would be that the former enables communication to occur through the USB port of your computer to the phone and the latter switches the phone into a receptive mode, which actually allows it to take charge from the USB cable.

Whatever the underlying reason, the overall result was a happily charging cell phone, no sliced up USB cable, and a feeling that I can forget the Motorola charger when appropriate.

Likely a Motorola engineer (or two) can explain why the driver and updater recipe succeeds where a physical cable alone fails. (And please feel free to let me know if you understand and can explain these behaviors). I am happy with having eliminated another charger from my desk and overnight bag!

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