Looking for a USB jump/keychain drive with a USB micro port
February 25, 2017 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Most of the USB jump/keychain drives that I've seen use a male USB connector to plug into a parent device. I'm interested in finding one that has the female side of the connector (so you would plug a cable into the device). Specifically, I'm looking for one that has a USB-micro port.
posted by mikurski to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you explain to us what purpose you would like the female port to accomplish?
posted by WCityMike at 2:12 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


To clarify, you're looking for a drive with an internal female micro USB connector, that you'd then use a micro USB cable to connect to whatever you plan to use it with?

Most travel USB hard drives are like this, but those aren't exactly keychain-sized. One (rather expensive) avenue you could try is to look for a "Portable SSD" (Amazon search, Newegg search) which is definitely closer, though most of these are still a bit on the large size, and they tend to be more expensive to boot. They'll at least be solid-state drives, so you shouldn't be sacrificing durability, if size and price isn't a major concern.

If it were me, I'd probably get this one which is still pretty small and not outlandishly priced, given its capacity. And even though it has that weird micro USB 3 connector, you can still use micro USB 2 cables with it, though it will run at a reduced speed.
posted by Aleyn at 2:17 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is there a reason you couldn't choose one of the many available drives with a male USB A connector, then use it with a USB extension cable of the appropriate length? It would be helpful to know your application (my suggestion would be good if you're trying to control physical access to the USB drive, but not so handy if you just don't like the dongle sticking out of your laptop and want to carry around a drive that you can use with the micro-USB you already carry.)
posted by contraption at 2:22 PM on February 25, 2017


I've been interested for a while in having a portable data store than I can carry unobtrusively on my person; something that would work along the lines of part of a bracelet or necklace and doesn't necessarily scream 'hello I carry digital information'.

One of the issues with conventional USB drives is that the male USB-A connector takes up so much space compared to the storage portion, and bracelets/necklaces that use those types of drives as wearable storage have to handle that increased size.

I was hoping to find a drive with a small form-factor and an unobtrusive port that I could integrate into an accessory - I pretty much have a USB-micro cable on me anyways for charging my phone anyways.

Hope that helps!
posted by mikurski at 5:39 PM on February 25, 2017


Male USB-A connectors come smaller than that. See for example this or this or this. Looks like those may be mostly non-functional plastic so as a DIY project maybe it'd be possible to cut them down to something even smaller.

I could swear I've seen flash drives with that flat style of connector that fit completely inside a USB-A socket, but I'm not finding them right now.

Have you considered Micro SD cards instead?
posted by floppyroofing at 5:18 AM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


One of the issues with conventional USB drives is that the male USB-A connector takes up so much space compared to the storage portion, and bracelets/necklaces that use those types of drives as wearable storage have to handle that increased size.

I really like this neat little micro SD card reader from Elago, and I'm betting you will as well. The male USB-A connector is pretty close the being the whole thing; the micro SD card fits where the plastic spacer usually goes in the bottom half of the connector.

Because it's so tiny, it's also really robust. I've had one attached to my keyring and bashed about in my pocket by my keys and all the other crap I keep in there for the last four years, and it still works just fine.
posted by flabdablet at 6:59 AM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, going to agree that if size is your concern, the drives that are only slightly larger than a male USB-A connector are probably the best you're going to find. The issue you run into at that point is that the actual flash memory chip is literally inside the bottom half of the connector, so you'd likely end up with a larger device if you had to change the connector to an internal female one.
posted by Aleyn at 1:04 PM on February 26, 2017


I imagine the issue with the USB A male is that even if all the innards are packed within the connector, the connector itself must remain exposed and unpainted (or be removable from the finished piece of jewelry) so that it can be plugged into a port. A USB micro female jack could potentially just be a tiny hole in an innocuous bead or pendant that gets covered by a flap or plug when not in use. I see the appeal, but I don't know of anything like this.
posted by contraption at 1:09 PM on February 26, 2017


Here's a teardown of a SanDisk Cruzer Fit to help you get an idea of how these things actually work. The plastic bit at the end is mostly just a handle you can use to pull the device back out.
posted by Aleyn at 1:11 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, these female A to female Micro adaptors are still a touch bulky but would do what you want in combination with one of the teensy A-style drives linked above.
posted by contraption at 1:17 PM on February 26, 2017


Thumb drives with male usb on one end and male micro-usb on the other are pretty common (for plugging into both computers and phones). The sandisk one I have is really small. The cable is then unnecessary.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:02 PM on February 26, 2017


"I imagine the issue with the USB A male is that even if all the innards are packed within the connector, the connector itself must remain exposed and unpainted (or be removable from the finished piece of jewelry) so that it can be plugged into a port."

It has to be exposed to use, but it can fold or retract in some way to stay hidden otherwise. Might be worth looking around at various novelty flash drives for inspiration.
posted by floppyroofing at 6:30 AM on February 27, 2017


These are some awesome suggestions! I definitely like the idea of doing something with a microSD card. Barring that, I might have to look into taking apart a few jump drives and maybe seeing about soldering bits together.

Thank you so much!
posted by mikurski at 12:10 AM on February 28, 2017


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