Charging a Motorola RAZR over USB

The Motorola RAZR has a mini USB plug on it for charging and hooking to a computer which is great as I have lots of those cables lying around. Unfortunately it won’t charge over USB from a Mac out of the box. Luckily, I know some tricks and someone told me the magic to get it to charge. I whipped up a little program that tells the RAZR (or any other Motorola cell phone) to charge over USB. My app is free to download. If you like it, please take a look at my ReceiptWallet program and consider purchasing it. The app is pretty simple; place it in your applications folder, launch it and set it as a login item. Whenever you plug in your phone, it should start charging. If your machine goes to sleep, it will stop charging. (For those curious, all the program does is open and close the USB interface on the phone.)

If you can’t get the program to work, unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it other that to suggest to Motorola to fix their phone so that it charges automatically when plugged in via USB.

Update, there are “sync only” USB cables that allow you to charge Motorola phones without MotoCharger; I have one and it works quite well. I’ve also decided to post the source code. You can grab it here. There are no restrictions on the source, just please don’t claim it for your own. If you like it or use it, please use my Amazon link to buy something.

15 Replies to “Charging a Motorola RAZR over USB”

  1. I love it. This is a fabulous app. Every Mac RAZR owner needs it.

    Even if all you want to do is use it as marketing for ReceiptManager (I downloaded it to test) you should do some lightweight marketing. Put it on versiontracker, IUseIT, post on the RAZR newsgroups, etc.

    I’d have paid for it. I fear to say how much, but at least $10.

  2. Isn’t there some way to hack the software on the phone itself? I’d like to be able to charge it with my 5v belkin charger that has a usb output.

  3. Doug, we’d all love to defeat the firmware that prevents charging this phone from a standard usb power supply. I consider this the dumbest phone I’ve ever used!

    In the meantime, thank you Scott Gruby!

  4. What a delight to find this! I simply could not accept that I couldn\’t charge my KRZR with one of the three (?!) mini-USB cables I have laying around (where did those cables come from, in the first place? I think they come from spores)… and while researching the web for an explanation why it wouldn\’t work, I found – never mind the explanation – the SOLUTION! Yay!

  5. Hey man, thanks for the program. Unfortunately it doesn\’t seem to work on my MacBook. Activity monitor says it\’s running, but it never shows up in the dock. And the phone doesn\’t respond at all…. Any ideas?

  6. Hmm…I installed the application on my 12 inch Powerbook running 10.4.x. It’s running in the Activity Monitor, but when I plug in my phone, the phone doesn’t show as charging. It just sit’s on ‘Low Battery’ and the power indicator doesn’t flash to show it’s charging. This is one step better than before the application was installed, when the phone woudl display ‘Unable to charge.’

    Any hints?

  7. It’s possible that some machines don’t have enough power to charge over USB. The program simply opens up the USB port which triggers the device to charge; if it doesn’t charge it could be your laptop or your phone.

  8. I suspect it isn’t the laptop – I can charge other devices that draw just as much or more than the phone. I’ll try another cable. And maybe on another laptop.


  9. Dunno what the problem is. It’s a V3c. I tried on three different Macs with two different cables. Same result with all.

    I’ve got it charging on a PC right now after installing the Motorola drivers.

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