Male to Female Extension Cable
For the model I am building I am planning to alternate between Battery power and USB power, but the expansion board will not be easily accessible. One way to make that easier would be an extension cable (Male to Female) to provide the slack to shift it around as needed. This cable could also be used to provide a more precise input plug for the USB power connection vs straight into the expansion board.
Hi Keith, that's a good idea, but unfortunately because the plugs we use are so small, they are not designed to be extended that way. You can't connect a plug directly to wire-- you need to mount it onto a board. One board we're considering making is an adapter that takes two power inputs-- one battery (internal) and one USB (external). The power would automatically switch over from the internal to the external when connected, then switch back to the internal when the external was disconnected.
Would something like that work for you?
Yes that was going to be a follow up question - How can we have two power sources?
When I envision how I would like to leverage a External USB Connection, I picture a plug that is mountable to the outside. To enable connecting / disconnecting that USB cable when the model is to be picked up etc, without opening the model etc.
I am not sure how much it will help the extension cable idea, but perhaps you can make a thin board like the 1:4 mini expansion board but shorter. Have two standard sized connections back to back making it as short as possible and as thin as possible. I figure that would fit in a 1x2 stud space probably less. Not sure how well this would help as I was looking to leverage the thin wire by the connector to have just the connector visable externally. But this could be smaller and therefore easier to hide.
Keith Huggins Something else you might want consider for the external power connection would be our magnetic connectors:
We have used these in beta testing mounted inside the old LEGO train couplers with good results:
Not sure how these could be adapted for your model, but if so that could be an elegant solution with an auto-switching power supply.