USB1 & WD Passport Wireless startup max draw


  I plan to buy a WD Passport Wireless WIFI device in order to use it in my car (!). 

  Basically, I would like to use it as a “wifi relay” and multimedia file sharing (for my phones, tablets, …) 


  I plan to plug it to a USB1 port which should deliver around 500mA. 

  Question: Is it fine for the Passport Wireless WIFI device to run properly? 

  I mean I didn’t find any detailed specs about its consumption, and especially about the startup max draw? 

  I’m not looking for AC/DC consumption considerations. I just need to the max draw on a USB1 port for this device.


Hello and welcome to the Community.

As of now that’s not supported by WD.

I personally tried to use an old model 500GB on a car radio and the unit was not detected at all due to a power issue.

Perhaps, some of the users can provide you different information about this.

Thanks for the quick reply. 

Maybe a future device with SSD could draw less power. 

You cannot do what you want to do the way you describe it,  Nevertheless, there are some things you can do to use it and even power it for long trips.

For short trips you can run it on its battery like anywhere else, and use it to send music to your phone, and then you tap off the phone’s headphone jack and plug it into your car’s audio input if you have it.

For power, you cannot use the USB port and plug it into 600ma – that would not even power it.  You need to use the 2A power supply that comes with it and its own USB/power cable.  Of course, you would need a power converter to plug into the car’s lighter socket (of 12V DC) to convert 12v DC into 115v AC, just like the wall outlets in your home supply. 

You seem to have a minimal understanding of basic electricity, so I don’t even advise trying unless you completely understand what I told you about powering the MPW from its power supply.

The best idea is just to turn on the radio in the car!

Thanks Mike for the reply. 

I’m not an expert on electricity but I do understand the core stuff. 

The original goal wasn’t about sound/radio but about “local video” streaming on (Apple) tablets (for my kids). 

I didn’t want to manage DVDs or SD cards for the rear displays.

I planned to setup the tablets on the back on the seat using a streaming device with low power consumption. 

Relying only on the battery only may work (depending on the average travel duration).

Need to double check the product reviews on the web about the actual battery autonomy with Wifi enabled and 2 HD video streams.

realwopr wrote:

Thanks Mike for the reply. 


I’m not an expert on electricity but I do understand the core stuff. 


G’Day Realwopr (cheeky name!).

You seem to understand electricity fine.

Yes, you can do what you want to do, and more. But not with a 500mA auto power supply. You will need a 5Volt 2Amp USB Cigar Lighter / Auto Adapter instead. There are many 2A adapters available these days. This is a quick search on eBay:  HERE  As you can see, there are tiny two port 2A or 2.1A versions, and even one 3A that I saw with a quick scan of the list.

You will find these Auto Adapters in stores as well. Just make sure that at least one USB port provides at least 2Amps output. Often these adapters will provide 1A on one port, and 2.1A on the other port. Or the adapter will provide 2A or more in total, on one or two ports. Here is another list from Newegg: HERE

WD do say that you should always use their power supply. Rubbish. A reliable 5V 2A supply providing good DC power will work fine. I was going to say use the WD USB cable that came with the MPW though, but thinking about that it is just a Data and Power USB 3.0 cable, so if you need more length, find a quality cable of the same type and you will be fine.

Then yes, you can set the MPW up as a hotspot to serve media to tablets and phones for the kids or others to enjoy. You could even get the MPW to connect to a mobile phone acting as a hotspot and give the kids internet access during a road trip . . . at the risk of using lots of data.

The MPW is a versatile device. All it needs is a little imagination to make the best of it. :smileyvery-happy:

The use you described about the kids and videos is a very typical use of wireless drives, incl. a MPW drive.  Assuming all devices are fully charged as you take off for each day, the battery in the MPW will typically last as long as the batteries in the tablets.  Anyway, if they get run down, the kids can then read a book!  I don’t think you want to get some aux power source for the MPW and not for the tablets, too.  Just try it without that and see how it goes.

The important thing is to start charging the tablets, phones and MPW each end of day.  My wife and I travel with our own 5-port ANKER chargers, and recently we each bought their newest model for our home computer stations.  The diff is that the older model puts out various amps from each port and are assigned to specific devices.  The new model does not assign ports and puts out 2,1A or less to each depending upon what gets plugged in – it senses the device and adjusts the amps accordingly.  The charger is for any device requiring 5v DC from a USB port.  So, it will not charge the MPW< but its own charger will.

Here is a link to the newest Anker charger at Newegg, and also is sold by Amazon.

The tablets can be powered as well, if required.

There are few issues with using an 5v Auto Adapter plugged in to a cigarette lighter, as long as it is a good quality unit. There is the issue of over-volting a 5V device, as a car’s 12V system can actually get up to 14.6V, possibly more for short periods under certain circumstances. But most 5V devices can actually take 6.5V quite happily, so there would be no problem. (14.6V from the socket equates to 6V from the adapter, even if there is no protection circuitry in the adapter. i.e. It is a dumb DC to DC converter.)

There is also a chance of under-volting a 5V device, particularly when starting the car where the voltage may drop quite a bit. But again, normally a modern device such as an iPad or the MPW is buffered from an under-voltage via the inclusion of a battery and associated charging circuitry. An iPad and the MPW would just take 5V from the battery if the charging source drops below 5V.

A cigar/cigarette lighter in a car will supply nominally 12V and 10 or 15Amps, depending on the vehicle. An auxilliary outlet, such as found in centre consoles, the rear of cars, etc. may only supply 5Amp. But even at 5Amp and 12V, 60 Watts is being provided, which means at 5V 12Amps is available. iPads and the MPW only require 2Amp each, so one auxilliary outlet could easily provide power for two iPads and the MPW.

So if you go on long road trips realwopr, or want to arrive at your destination with fully charged devices, get the adapters needed to charge all of them in the car. If you only have one outlet, get a splitter, or a unit that provides both USB outlets and additional cigarette sockets, such as this one: Here  Or go fancy with a voltage reading, two USB ports, and three outlets, in red! HERE  (Note that one USB port on this unit is only 1Amp, so it won’t charge the iPads or power the MPW.) You would then still need an extra 5V adapter with two 2A USB ports to plug into one of the extra outlets supplied.


Yes Mike, the Anker products are good. I have some and like them. I thought they were at least designed in America, and hence expected high quailty, even if they weren’t made in America. But I recently bought some products that are now discontinued by Anker, but are still available from the original manufacturer. I have pretty much concluded that they are also the original designer, and Anker is just a marketing and sales company. Maybe they have some say in the design, as their products have a consistent look and feel. But the internal design is probably done in China. A good company, no dount, with high standards, but not an original designer or manufactuer. The charging only hubs are very handy for charging lots of devices at once, I agree.

Vantec also make some very good products of a similar nature.

Take a look at the Boway site and specifically this page, you will see some very similar products, altough some are previous generation units.

Oh, and Anker have a six port, 60W charging station now. Nice.

Hi Guys, 


   Thanks for the above details!

   For sure, the MPW sounds to be a good product and should fit most of my needs. 

   Again thanks for the hints and the help your provided. You shed some light for me :wink: