Instructables

Adding an external power supply to a cheap USB hub

Picture of Adding an external power supply to a cheap USB hub

One day I found myself in the need for a USB hub with an eternal power supply but when I went to a shop I verified they can be quite more expensive than the ones that don’t ha\ve external power supply. No big deal, “I’ll just by a cheap one and add the external power supply”, I thought. And that’s what I did! After all I just had to add a wire on VCC, another on GND and cut the VDD wire of the USB cable that connects to the computer.. So, I went to a shop and bought the cheaper USB2.0 USB hub that I found and took it home for some small hacking.
This instructables has only 7 steps:

  1. Inspect the USB hub for signs of upgrades
  2. Open the enclosure
  3. Locate the GND and VCC traces and solder a wire to each one of them.
  4. Solder a connector to the wires.
  5. Cut the VCC (red) wire of the USB cable that connects the hub to the computer.
  6. If necessary, modify the enclosure to make the connector for the power supply accessible.
  7. Close the enclosure

For this instructable you will need the following tools:

You will also need the following skills:

  • Basic circuit analysis skills (continuity testing, voltage measuring)

For better quality pictures check out http://www.thebitbangtheory.com/2012/06/adding-an-external-power-supply-to-a-cheap-usb-hub/

 
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Could I get your opinion on whether or not the hub I have would be possible to do this with? Here's some pictures. http://imgur.com/a/IXUXH I think I might have to just solder the power wires in directly to the existing power wires. Hopefully this won't be a problem. if it does work, which wires (the power adaptor has white and black wires) should I solder in and to what?

can we use the default power vcc and for external one, another usb port? will it work? i mean working it with two usb ports connected.

msaleiro (author)  Arijit_Acharya3 months ago

I'm not sure if I understood your question but I'll try to reply anyway. If you want you can apply a different power supply to each USB port of your hub. In order to do that you would have to isolate the VCC from each USB port from the rest of the hub and connect bot VCC and GND to an external power supply. If I didn't reply to your question then please explain it better or include some diagram showing what you pretend to do.

R1671 year ago
Thank you. I knew the basics, just wanted a confirmation of what someone else has done. I need to hack a usb multiplexer for my pi which just can't supply enough power for a wireless keyboard/mouse combo and wifi adapter. Now I just need to find a 5v regulator and a barrel plug and I will finally be able to use the pi without sacrificing internet or keyboard.
Is there any chance of interference from the power cables or are those cables just for power?
msaleiro (author)  portablesounds1 year ago
The power cables are only used for power. Noise may come from power cables if you use a very noisy power supply. That's why I recommend using a 5V regulated power supply
hi..can i use a 5v battery ?
msaleiro (author)  Khochora ALEX1 year ago
You can only use a battery if you add a 5V voltage regulator at the output of the battery. Otherwise it will not work since the battery voltage will change along time.
My computer can not read my usb sticks. It's because it can not give enough power to the usb sticks. Will this work ?
msaleiro (author)  Khochora ALEX1 year ago
Hi! I find it very strange that the computer cannot provide enough power for a USB stick. Try connecting some other device to see if it works ok. It seems to me that you have some problem in the USB controller of your computer. You should try connecting other devices to your USB ports and try your USB sticks on other computers. If it's really a power issue (but I seriously doubt it is), yes, this will fix it.
Flosbert1 year ago
Amazing idea. So why couldn't I just tap power into a normal usb extension cable? For example to power a device on the Raspberry pi where you might need a powered hub but not necessarily more ports.
msaleiro (author)  Flosbert1 year ago
Yes, it would work as long as ou have a good quality 5V regulated power supply :) I've seen somewhere that some guy, after some circuit inspection and research, made a direct connection from the power input of the RasPi to the USB ports in order to directly power them. If you search for it on google I'm sure you'll be able to find it :)
m1s73r1 year ago
Hello, I tried your instructable, the LED of my USB hub is glowing, but when I insert my USB stick and have the Hub connected to my PC nothing happens... The LED of the USB just keeps blinking... I tried different USB Sticks but still nothing. Is there something I did wrong? I even double checked I cut the red wire...

I'm using 4.5 Volt, but do 0.5 Volt really make a difference?
msaleiro (author)  m1s73r1 year ago
Hi! Yes, 0,5V can make big difference in USB. you should really get a 5V regulated power supply
m1s73r1 year ago
Hello, I tried your instructable, the LED of my USB hub is glowing, but when I insert my USB stick and have the Hub connected to my PC nothing happens... The LED of the USB just keeps blinking... I tried different USB Sticks but still nothing. Is there something I did wrong? I even double checked I cut the red wire...

I'm using 4.5 Volt, but do 0.5 Volt really make a difference?