Adding a USB Port to a WRT54G v2

Recently I bought a Netgear Router WNR3500L as an upgrade to my WRT54G because it had a USB port that I could use as a samba share. Well, shortly after I had everything configured on my new router, I found thisIMPULSE DRIVE on my wrt54gs v1 (usb mod) forum post that indicated one could add a USB port to the WRT54G. With the pressure off, because I had the new router already working, I decided to give it a go and do the mod as well as document the install.
YOU NEED:
2 x 15K ohm resistors
1 x good soldering stick & solder
1 x USB connector & some wires
1 x Power supply for clean 5V & hopefully also 12 V (to completely replace the original pwr supply)

STEP 1:
Open up your WRT54G. Just google a howto (there a plenty out there)

STEP 2:
Locate the the necessary connection points:

  • RH19 usb1 Data +
  • RH20 usb1 Data -
  • A good ground (I used the shield of one of the antennas were it ties into board)

NOW LET’S SOLDER!
Remove the two resistors from RH19 & RH20 and replace them with the 15K ohm resistors. If you don’t have 15K ohm resistors handy your can just hook several in series to get the required resistance. This was a spontaneous hack job, so I was just able to use what I had handy. Then connect the usb1 Data + (green wire) to the resistor leg that is closest to the Broadcom chip (RH19). Then connect the usb1 Data – (white wire) to the resistor leg that is closest to the Broadcom chip (RH20). Finally connect the ***ground/shield wire from your USB connector where the coax cable of one of the antennas is attached to the board*** <– the lack of this prevented my setup from working. IF YOU HAVE MADE CLEAN SOLDER CONNECTIONS YOU ARE OVER 50% THERE! If not, your are going to be aggravated that the usb port is not working. Just replacing the existing resistors will show you in dmesg that you have a USB hub now!

STEP 3:
USB power source:

  • The two other connection points that you need are +5V and the – connector.
  • Attach the – wire to the side of the power jack (if you did soldered the connectors this will be be breeze)
  • Attach the – power supply lead of your 5V power source there as well.
  • Attach the + power supply lead to your 5V power source

REMEMBER: YOU NEED A CLEAN POWER SOURCE. NOT a regular wall wart that says 5V on it. I used a external power supply that came with an IDE-to-USB adapter for the HDD. The benefit was that it has 12V also that I used to power the WRT54G, so I only needed one power supply. In the final picture you can see the power supply and the standard IDE HDD PWR connector in the protruding from the back of the WRT54G (it’s white)

STEP 4:

Put everything back together and enjoy your new USB port! Please make sure that you use the dd-wrt firmware with usb functionality!

Now enjoy your modded WRT54G by adding a usb stick, so you can have another file backup location!

Good Luck!

10 Comments

  1. An excellent article and a fantastic website. Many thanks Friend !!!

  2. derek says:

    hi, your hack is great, but i make a “little mistake” when i try to do it, do you have a diagram or zoom photo? that show me the conections R19 and R20, my tools was too much hot, and well, you can understand my little mistake :D thanks a lot

  3. Severin says:

    Did anyone with a usb-modded wrt54gl try to use it as a umts-wlan-router with a huaweii usb modem?

    Would be great to hear about that!

    Regards
    Severin

  4. new mexico says:

    Great article,

    I was wondering if you could possibly give me some more detailed info on how to hook up the external power supply. It was a little confusing where (red) VCC from USB is attached to power supply.

    which one is “Attach the – wire to the side of the power jack”?

  5. new mexico says:

    Found the solution!
    Again, great article.

  6. Jon says:

    Would this work with TomatoUSB? I’m thinking of a Samba or FTP server right on my router. Any thoughts?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Rob says:

      it *should* work. I’ve used it with open wrt and ddwrt as a print server and as a usb stick attached storage. however, my Seagate HDD usb drive only worked intermittent. not sure why. Maybe the router is underpowered for that?

      • Huldu says:

        With USB1 you are limited to a lower speed than with USB2.
        If your USB drive is a 3.5″ (desktop) , you need available at least
        12V 1A and 5V 1A.
        If your USB drive is a 2.5″ (laptop), you only need the 5V, but
        make sure you have at least 1A available.
        The WRT54G* can run fine on 5V , so unless your USB-drive needs
        12V, no need to hassle with the 12V.
        A 5V 3A would run the WRT54G* and a 2.5″ USB-drive just fine.

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