About How HDMI-to-RCA Converters are Powered

I just bought a Playstation 4, but a new TV will come later. Right now our TV is RCA only. The PS4 is HDMI only. So I’ve bought an HDMI-to-RCA converter. I noticed in the specs that the converter is powered by USB. It comes with a “little-USB-to-big-USB” cable. I could use this to plug it into a wall outlet using like a cell-phone charger. I was wondering, though, whether that big-USB end can be plugged straight into the PS4’s USB port for power? Does it work that way?

It can, if it only uses 1A of power (most older/simpler USB devices do). Try it and see; usually no harm would come of it, and you’ll be able to tell if it works.

The standalone chargers usually have special circuitry (and programming for communications for certain devices) that let them ramp up the power if a supported device requests it.

But all standard USB ports should be able to provide at least 1A of power, which should be enough for something like that converter.

USB 3.0, which is what the PS4 uses, is specified for up to 900 mA (0.9 A) by default. Some computers might have “fast-charging” ports which can push 1.5A but disable data communication at the same time, but I don’t know if the PS4 uses that, or if it would if powering a non-data USB device.

I wouldn’t count on more than 900mA, but that’s probably plenty.

Sorry, pretty sure you’re right. I rounded it in my memory, oops!

I know you asked if it *can *be plugged into the PS4, but you should really be asking whether it *should *be plugged into the PS4. IMHO, the answer is NO for the same reason you should avoid using a laptop USB port to power or charge peripherals that otherwise don’t need a data interface to the laptop. And that’s because if you blow something power supply related in your laptop or PS4 it’s an expensive PITA to fix compared to a simply replacing a proper, dedicated, cheap, USB wall-wart/plug/power supply.

Why take the risk? You will kick yourself later if/when it happens.

ETA: You ever felt the kind of heat a Playstation can produce? No need to add to that by increasing the power its outputting.

That’s a little silly. The PS4 is designed to charge things with it’s USB, eg the controllers. So any heat from that will have been factored into it’s design specs. In his case plugging the PS4 into a video converter is perfectly safe because it’s not connected to any other power producing device. The HDMI and RCA connections are not going to get any significant power back down them to fry a USB port.

That’s pretty paranoid. A poorly designed device trying to charge off an actual USB data port (rather than a charging port) may ignore the intial USB capabilities handshake it’s supposed to do with the port and try to draw more than the port can deliver, but it would require a very badly designed USB port to not limit the current output to something safe. I disdain Sony for their marketing and legal ethos, but their actual hardware engineering is just fine, and since those ports are designed to charge things (such as their own wireless game controls), I’m confident the current limiting controls on the port are up to the job.

That thing probably uses 1-2W of power… compared to the 100-150W or so the PS4 uses during gameplay. It’s completely trivial. Your living room light has a greater danger of overheating the PS4 than that converter thingy…