Upgrade a Passive HDMI Switch with 5V Power

I have many things connected to my single computer monitor via HDMI. I use a HDMI switch so I don’t have to unplug and replug cables all the time. But my cheap $6 HDMI switch is an unpowered passive switch, so it has problems working when the video source does not provide enough power to the switch.

For example, when my Mac Mini is plugged in, the 5V pin only supplies about 3 volts. Inside of the switch is a set of diodes and a AMS1117 voltage regulator that is supposed to output 3.3V using 5V, but instead it is only outputting about 2V. This made the LEDs in the switch flicker and blink (which seemed like a symptom of a bad power supply) and switch refused to function (no video output). My solution was to add a USB micro connector so I can add an external 5V power supply.

hdmiswitchpwrupgrade_1
After adding the power supply, the switch is able to function properly with a steady supply of power.

This is the original switch, it cost $6
hdmiswitchpwrupgrade_2

I opened it up to see how it is getting power. HDMI cables all have a 5V signal, that 5V signal goes into a diode (for reverse polarity protection) and then to a single AMS1117 voltage regulator with a 3.3V fixed output.
hdmiswitchpwrupgrade_3

All I did was make a hole in the casing using a file first…
hdmiswitchpwrupgrade_4

Glue a USB connector in place, and solder some wires from the connector to the voltage regulator’s input and ground.
hdmiswitchpwrupgrade_5

11 thoughts on “Upgrade a Passive HDMI Switch with 5V Power

  1. harry

    I have a 75 foot fiber optic rainbowfish hdmi cable but my onkyo receiver does not provide the 5v to the TX end of my cable to initialize the signal conversion process. Basically . Need a hdmi connecter with extra 5v usb port. Cable gets 16gb/s data rate and 32 bit color. Is there a way to accomplish goal while maintaining passthrough transmission? And if u can make the part…. I would pay up to…….100 bucks lets say.
    The original part is no longer available.

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      You should just supply the 5V near the device instead.

      Look for one of those HDMI adapters with a barrel jack, which could help.

      Reply
  2. Neil

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    I had just bought a hdmi switch for a PS3 and a PS4. I noticed It wouldn’t work properly when just the PS4 was on so wonder if it was a problem with the voltage from the PS4 hdmi.

    My switch seemed very similar to yours though the layout of the components was quite different. I found the voltage regulator was the same part number though so decided to give this a shot.

    Works a treat and saved me from buying another more expensive switch and a power supply on top too.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      I did notice my PS4 had a problem with the HDMI switch. Before doing this hack, the PS4 would cause the LED to blink. I think the problem is that the PS4 doesn’t enable HDMI long enough for the switch to activate and pass along information from the display, so the PS4 thinks the HDMI requires a reset, hence why the power blinks.

      I am glad to hear it helps.

      Reply
  3. Pablo PHG

    I have the same problem when connecting my PS4, though my laptop and PS3 work just fine. My switch looks exactly the same as yours, I will give it a try and follow your steps. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Pablo PHG

    Update. Well, I soldered a barrel jack to the HDMI switch and connected a USB cable from it to one of the USB ports on the PS4, so the additional power just works when I am using the PS4 (I usually shut it down completely), which is the only device that didn’t work properly with the switch. It works really well. Again, thanks for the idea.

    Reply
    1. Francisco

      I just found and read this blog, this is a great idea, I have a belkin 4 way swtich and also only the PS4 was having problems… I waited until the HDCP off option came online… but as it turns out, its a problem with the voltage of the PS4’s HDMI.
      Reading the comments I just remembered I had one of those USB – barrel jack cables around the house, the belkin switch had already factory installed a 5V input, it works great, aside the aesthetic of having the USB cable connected on the fron of the PS4.
      However I had to “rotate” the barrel jack in order for it to provide constant voltage, Im assuming it is really cheap, maybe I can fabricate another cable as I have not seen any more of this USB-barreljack cables around… anyway What do you guys think? or just leave it like that… it will hold… hahaha !!
      Thanks for the ideas !!

      Reply
  5. Niclas

    Hi Frank!
    I experienced the same problem as you, low voltage.
    Is it possible to cut the input lines (5V & GND) from the HDMI power lines and fully dedicate USB as power input source instead?

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      I might be wrong but it might still use the 5V lines from each HDMI input as a way of actually detecting the cable, depending on where you cut the input 5V, you might break it. Plus, I would rather keep the modification minimally invasive.

      Reply
  6. Dino

    Hey!

    How are you able to add the USB 5V on top of whatever is already going into the regulator without running into problems? The USB GND and the HDMI GND might be different?

    I have an unpowered VGA HDMI adapter that needs more power, but I am hesitant to just add in 5V to the regulator.

    Dino

    Reply
    1. Admin Post author

      If there are no existing reference connecting the HDMI and USB devices already, then the GND of both can be connected together and become one 0V reference. Assuming that your HDMI stuff and USB stuff are in the same house, this shouldn’t be a problem.

      Reply

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