Instructables
In honor of the USB contest, and my own passion for making my own wherever I can, I have created what I believe is a totally unique (gasp) Instructable.  I could be wrong, of course, but a quick Google search turned up nothing for this, so I'm claiming glory lol.  All told, with picture taking, this project cost me around 30 min, and $0 because I had everything lying around that I needed.  Let's begin, and remember to vote!!!

Step 1: Items you will need

Picture of Items you will need
Straight forward, these are the items you will need to make a custom length USB cable:

A piece of Cat-5 cable, length you desire
Extra USB connectors that come with a 6-in-1 type cable (if you ever had to purchase one like me, you probably have at least a couple you have absolutely no use for)
Razor knife (careful!)
Soldering iron and solder
Shrink tubing
Wire Strippers (optional)
Basic electrical meter (not pictured)

I decided to make my own cable to 2 reasons:  1, I always make my own cables when I can (the one I bought that came with the connectors was about $15, yikes!), and 2: Cables never seem to come in the length I need.  I always want a longer or shorter than you can buy (most USB cables are 6ft long, this one I made is 10ft long).

Step 2: Harvesting the male and female ends

I picked 2 of the connectors that I had absolutely no use for, couldn't even tell you what they might fit.  I carefully (to preserve the usb end) used the razor knife to remove the plastic around the connector part I didn't need.  I then use the knife tip and small pliers to peel away the metal housing for the unused connector, exposing 4 wires.  I cleaned these up as best I could, and proceeded to step 3.
 
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flattery1 year ago
What about EMI and USB standard requiring shielded cable to protect from EMI?

How does this achieve that? I don't believe cat5 cable is shielded...
ludionis (author)  flattery1 year ago
From a quick Google search, I do believe that technically speaking USB requires shielding. To be honest though, it didn't concern me for my purpose was exclusively to extend the charger cable for my PS3 controller so I could sit on the comfort of my couch when my controller ran low lol. I technically only needed the +5v and ground cables connected for my purpose, but decided to hook them all up for my instructable. You are correct, cat5 is not shielded in the least. Maybe you could cover the entire cable in aluminum foil or metal duct tape? J/K lol
aewers1 year ago
I totally agree. Electric meters measure watt hours Volt/Ohm/Multi-meters measure different aspects of the flow of electrical energy. Awesome article though, it confirmed that Cat5 is an acceptable replacement for USB cable. I wonder how difficult it woud be to make converter/adapter ends for a cable so that it could be used as both?
dnx2 years ago
still have disadvantage use this..but still good..
Couple of points here.
1) While solid copper is easier to solder than stranded, stranded has much better durability for cables which are moved around, such as this cable.
2) The data conductors should consist of a *twisted* pair. This greatly improves noise rejection. The data pins on the USB connector are the center 2. You'll probably need to use the ohmmeter technique described at the end of this instructable to ID the leads. The twisted pairs on the Cat cable are ID's by the colors: the solid blue with the white/blue, solid/orange with the white/orange. The power conductors do not need to be twisted pairs.
Otherwise, nice instructable.
35Timmy4 years ago
i like it
Whiternoise4 years ago
Nice instructable :) Just a small caveat that if you're considering making USB cables for the purpose of extending existing ones, there is a maximum usable distance before the cable doesn't work. It's not an issue about attenuation or any physical problems as far as I'm aware - it's actually built into the USB specification with regards to signal delay. For a high speed device (USB2.0?) the limit is 5m. For a low speed device the limit is 3m. This isn't an issue for most people, but I've had problems when trying to tether a camera to a computer and the cables not being long enough so it can happen.
Hi Had the same problem with a printer when i purchased a cable that was a 6 meter usb 2 cable, i got it because it was on special for like $2 Wouldn't recodnise the printer was plugged in so i just shortened the cable to 4m the " reverse of this instructable :) " and it works perfectly and now have a spare 2m cable ready for some ends The total distance including what ever your using or extending shouldn't be more then 5m in total length all up for usb 2 or it won't work or won't work well
ton23034 years ago
I'm afraid you'll have to review your Googling capabilities, since the original was right at your doorstep http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Extend-yout-USB-using-UTP/ Please return your self acclaimed glory-tol to the guy who originally posted this.
ludionis (author)  ton23034 years ago
I thank you for sharing that link. However, my googling skills work just fine, as I was unable to locate instructions for creating a usb cable, and was not searching for extending an existing cable. It may be splitting hairs, but I consider what I did as taking components and changing them into something else, where he took an existing component and modified it without changing it's function. I have similar to that instructable soldered spare cat-5 wire onto the antenna ports of a baby monitor to increase it's range, or replaced the factory speaker in an alarm clock to make it louder. I think I will keep my self acclaimed glory for the moment though. :)
keithisit4 years ago
Thanks for this little instructable, I work in an electronics store and get constant requests for allsorts of USB to (insert pretty much anything here) cables/adapters which as far as I know don't exist, which isn't to say they don't but if my store doesn't sell it then tough cookies. Sooo from now on when I get that incredulous look which screams 'you don't know what you're tallking about geek' I can direct them to this instructable with a smile and the suggestion they have a go at it themselves.
Fingers01104 years ago
For future reference it is called a Multimeter, MultiTester, or Volt/Ohm Meter(VOM) so you and everyone else knows what instrument you were using to measure the volts and Ohms for your project. Great Instructable by the way, I'll be using it to teach my after-school electronics/IT class at the local high school. Thanks for all the work!