About two months ago, I bought myself an android tablet. It had to be a cheap tablet but I did not want to sacrifice battery life or build quality. I ended up buying an HTC Flyer for about 250 euro.
While exploring the product, I discovered USB OTG information in the Settings application (see picture). Intrigued as I was, I opened a tab and searched the Internet for more information. Is it really supported? Does HTC offer the necessary accessories? I could not find the answers to my questions and this explains why I am writing about this.
I wanted to get to the bottom of this, so I started a quest to figure this out. At that time I did not have a USB Host OTG cable. For a while, I thought of soldering a converter using regular USB connectors, but the 4th, or ID pin in a USB micro-B connector (which is needed for OTG) is not used in regular USB data cables (Male USB-A/male USB micro-B). The large male A connector has got only four contacts. I searched the web and found two converters for about $2 (including shipping!). I ordered them right away. What is two dollars?!
When they arrived, I tried it. It did not work. No lights, nothing. Kind of disappointed, I put them away. A while later, I stumbled upon a forum post mentioning that the USB port in the Flyer does not produce enough current to power the USB device. I could not believe that I did not think of that.
Using a pen drive, a USB Y-cable (it has two USB-A male connectors and one female) that shipped with some external portable hard drive and a USB charger (probably any adapter with a female USB A connector will do), I tried it again. Great success! The light on the pen drive started blinking and on the tablet a message appeared: “Preparing tablet storage…”. In the settings app, the information of the pen drive became available.
I used Inka File Manager on my tablet to browse the contents of the pen drive. The contents are located in /sdcard/usb (see picture). Even though the setup is rather clumsy, it works like a charm.
But I don’t want to use the OTG functionality to read pen drives. I want to use it to transfer my photos to my tablet during holidays. I bought a Sharkoon Media Reader S (it’s small, light, cheap and it works with most flash storage) and hooked that up in the same way as I did with the pen drive. Again, great success!
It works, but it requires a rather clumsy setup using the following materials:
- The HTC Flyer, duh
- a USB OTG converter
- A USB Y-cable
- A USB charger
- Your preferred USB device: for instance a pen drive or a USB card reader
Note: If it does not work right away, don’t panic. Try it again after rebooting your device or try changing the connections. Also, check that the device you are using is formatted properly. The Flyer can only read FAT32 formatted devices. NTFS formatted hard drives don’t work. I tried, without success…
Disclaimer: Normally, none of the above instructions will damage your device. If however, for some reason, your device gets damaged I cannot be held responsible for it. Use these instructions at your own risk!
USB On-The-Go (OTG)
USB On-The-Go, often abbreviated USB OTG, is a specification that allows USB devices such as digital audio players or mobile phones to act as a host allowing a USB flash drive, mouse, or keyboard to be attached and also connecting USB peripherals directly for communication purposes among them. (source: Wikipedia)