Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Robotics engineering student Ken Pillonel impressed the Internet last month with a wild hack that managed to plug a working USB-C port inside an iPhone X into a fully functional USB-C iPhone. And now Pillonel has released a far more detailed video showing how he managed to remove the hack, along with a Github repository with technical details, CNC instructions, and custom PCB information that he designed for anyone who was brave enough to try and put together a similar hack.

The 13-minute video shows the beauty of Pillonel’s courage, which is simple in theory: combining a Lightning to USB-C connection together in a daisy chain to mimic a proper USB-C port.

The video shows pretty much the entire development process. It’s something of a journey that goes from proof of concept prototypes, reverse construction of the Lightning connector (and ultimately reverse engineering of a fake Lightning connector), ordering a custom flexible circuit board, and machining the iPhone case , to fit the physically larger USB-C connector.

The video also shows how difficult it was to mount the extra circuit where the card is bent around on both sides of Apple’s Taptic Engine hardware to squeeze all the necessary components in.

Pillonel is also auctioning off its original prototype on eBay, where bidding has already reached $ 3,400 at the time of publication of this piece, for anyone with deep pockets interested in their own USB-C iPhone. Pillonel notes that whoever buys the phone should not restore, update, or delete it, open it, or “use it as your daily phone.”

Finally, Pillonel has made the entire project open source, allowing others to build on his existing work, whether it’s making more custom USB-C iPhone X models or porting the design to other iPhones down the line (though the full PCB) design will not be posted until after the end of the auction). He also notes that he plans to continue to build on the design with the goal of improving fast charging, waterproofing and even enabling USB-C accessories.

By Victor

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