Argh! Google’s Neat Ethernet Adapter For Chromecast is Proprietary

You may recall a month ago when I stumbled across Google’s way-cool power supply + Ethernet adapter for  Chromecast. At just $15 I thought it novel and a great way to give Chromecast the reliability of a wired network connection. That it is.

I also thought, hoped even, that it was a relatively standard use of Androids USB-On-The-Go capability. Meaning that I had hoped it would serve an Android tablet just the same as it handled Chromecast, providing power + Ethernet. That’s where I was wrong.

The power supply does make my first-generation Chromecast dead reliable. It’s connected to our old HDTV back here in my office, quite a distance from our Wi-Fi access point, but very near my primary network switch. Chromecast adds the smarts that will extend the service life of the old Sharp Aquos another year or so. Ethernet brings the reliability.

Sadly, any other device connected to the power supply gets only power. They fail to see the network interface. I’ve tried my old Nexus 7 and newer nVidia Shield K1. No joy in either case. That’s a pity.

And Another Thing!

We haven’t really used Chromecast all that much since Tivo added similar functionality. Our Tivo Roamio and the Tivo Minis can both be targets for “casting.”

Recently, I have been making use of the Chromecast in an oddball little project. This project is an obscure use case that has the Chromecast connected to a H.264 IP encoder. It’s basically a form of digital signage.

When left on 24/7 the wee Chromecast gets plenty warm. If you leave it powered but disconnected, or connected to an HDMI extender cable you may find that the Chromecast can overheat and misbehave.

What’s not apparent is that it’s designed to use the HDMI connection to the monitor or HDTV as a heat sink. That connection wicks away the heat that the gadget creates.

For those with a DIY inclination, there’s a nice hack over at Instructables where someone added a better heat sink and an external Wi-Fi antenna.