Introduction: Extend USB Cables Using Phone Jack Cable
Those dinky little USB cables that come with every device now-a-days are often to short to even reach the USB port from a reasonable distance. Well, I was tired of these cables, and I decided to find a way to make them longer. Paying for (also) very short USB extension cables was out of the question, so I knew I had to put my soldering skills to the test. What I did have was a ton of old phone cables lying around (the four pin kind). If you don't have any (they give you extras every time you buy a new phone), then they are cheaply available at places like Sears, RadioShack, or any other place that sells telephones. You could also try eBay for used or even bulk cable. NOTE: soldering skills are required for this Instructable.
Step 1: Materials
What you will need:
Heat shrink tubing (optional)
Wire strippers and/or cutting pliers (scissors as alternative)
The USB cable you want to extend
Regular telephone cable
Note: Make sure the telephone cable you are using has four pins in it!
Step 2: Preparation
First, start by cutting the USB cable directly in half. This way, if any mistakes are made, you can chop that part off and you'll still have some cable left to work with.
Next, getting as close to the connector as possible, cut off the connectors of the phone cable.
Now the cables are ready to stripped. Take off about an of the outer jacket only to expose the inner wires using the cutting pliers. If you happen to cut into one of the wires, just chop the rest off and try again on the next section of cable.
Optional: If using the heat shrink tubing, slip one over either end of the telephone cable and push it down it away from the working area. It is used at the end.
Gently strip a centimeter or less from each of the wires. (Yeah, 16 wires is kind of irritating). You are now ready to begin soldering.
Step 3: Soldering
I need to first address something that similar Instructables did not. The coloring of the wires does not matter. Just make sure that the colors you matched up between the USB cable and the phone cable are the same on both sides. For example, if you have the black wire in the USB cable going to a blue wire in the phone cable, the other side must have the black USB wire going to the blue phone wire. Although phone cables normally use a similar color scheme as USB (black, red, green, white), sometimes the colors are a little different. This doesn't matter.
One end at a time, solder each wire of the USB cable to one wire of the phone cable until all four have been soldered. Take note of the colors you matched up. Now solder one wire at a time on the other side, paying attention to your previous color match-ups.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Once everything is soldered, wrap a small piece of electrical tape around each solder connection, making sure no bare wire is exposed. If you are using the heat shrink tubing, slide it up over the connections now and shrink it. If not, use electrical tape to wrap all showing wire so all that is visible is the jackets of the cables.
You're done! Now let's test it...
Step 5: Testing
Plug the USB cable in like you normally would for the device. Confirm that it transfers data, and if it charges, make sure it is doing so. If everything appears normal, your done!
If for some reason your cable doesn't work, take off all electrical tape/heat shrink tubing and check all the connections. Are they soldered properly? Do all the colors line up? If everything looks fine, and you're still having trouble, send me a PM and I will respond as quickly as possible.