Increasing USB voltage? (newb here)

Hey all, I've recently got into learning to solder and learn about electronics. Well, I've been trying to make a few USB toys, but have come to find out that the USB ports don't put out enough power to get most of my stuff going. (an led light strip requiring 12 volts for instance). I was wondering if there was something simple I could put together to get some more power.

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kelseymh8 years ago
What do you mean by "power"? USB is 5V 500 mA max. That means 2.5 watts of power, period. You can increase the voltage at the expense of lower current, or reduce the voltage for higher current. But conservation of energy means that the "power" (in the formal definition of watts) is fixed. In any event, the USB specification is 5V, so if you change that, it's not really USB any more.
Soniku (author)  kelseymh8 years ago
Perhaps "power" is a little too vague or wrong, I'm not schooled in all the proper terminology just yet. What I do know (and all I know) is the little led light strip I'm playing with needs 12 volts to light up, and the USB port doesn't seem to put that out. Considering that there are usb microwaves and refrigerators now, I figure there had to be something to be made to get that kind of juice out of it. I really don't know what to look or ask for, so I seek help from the masters here.
PKM Soniku8 years ago
USB microwaves? Are you sure? Most household microwaves use around 300 times as much power as a USB port will put out, so I'm not sure a microwave powered solely by USB would be very helpful. Where did you see these?
Soniku (author)  PKM8 years ago
PKM Soniku8 years ago
They claim to be able to heat up food in under a minute. On the back of my proverbial envelope, running at full rated power, a USB 2 port can put out 150 joules in a minute, which is enough to heat up 200g of water (so, presumably 200g of beanz beans found in a Snap Pot) by 0.18oC. I wouldn't describe a change of one fifth of one degree as "hot food", so I suspect you leave the device plugged in all the time charging its internal batteries which are then used in short sharp bursts.
lemonie PKM8 years ago
At a glance I'd say viral marketing, or interesting spoof. Not real as you observe. L
PKM lemonie8 years ago
Perhaps it's something like the i.Saw, a fake USB-powered chainsaw used to spread a message about not wasting paper in the office. Still, it's been reported on the news in a couple of places, and I don't know enough about microwaves to tell if it's at all technically feasible given a sensible power supply. I stand by my possible explanation of USB-charging internal batteries, or (more likely) it's a hoax.
lemonie PKM8 years ago
I'm with you. But a lot of "news" these days is just harvested from the internet & agencies. Paying people to do real research isn't as common as it used to be (esp. with publications such as The Daily Mail (from the link)) L
kelseymh Soniku8 years ago
The USB puts out 5V. You should definitely have enough current to drive LEDs, but you'll need a step-up voltage converter to get 12V for your LED strip. Try doing a Goolge search for that.
Soniku (author)  kelseymh8 years ago
Thanks, I think you put me on the right path.
I found this
http://www.circuit-projects.com/converter-circuits/usb-5v-to-12v-dc-dc-step-up-converter-by-lt1618.html
Seems like what I would need.
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