Introduction: How to Convert a Case Fan to USB

Picture of How to Convert a Case Fan to USB

In this Instructable I will show you how you can convert an old case fan for a pc to usb power.

Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed

For this project, you will need:
A pc case fan
a usb cable (doesn't matter what the end of the cable is as long as one end is a full size male usb jack)
a wire stripper and electrical tape

Step 2: Cut Fan Connector

Picture of Cut Fan Connector

The start of our journey is to use your scissors to cut the connector off of the case fan.

Step 3: Strip Fan Wires

Picture of Strip Fan Wires

Now we need to strip the ends of the black and red wires with your wire stripper. If you want, you can cut the other wires short so they stay out of your way. We will not be needing them.

Step 4: Cut Usb Cable

Picture of Cut Usb Cable

Now cut the end of your usb cable that is not male off.

Step 5: Strip Usb Cable

Picture of Strip Usb Cable

Now you need to strip the usb cable to reveal the shielding. peel back this shielding to reveal the red and black wires. You can cut the other ones, as we don’t need them.

Step 6: Strip Usb Wires

Picture of Strip Usb Wires

Next, you need to strip the red and black wires.

Step 7: Twist Wires

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Now we need to twist the red wires together and the black wires together. Make sure to tightly twist them so you get a stable connection. If you want to take this a step further, you can solder the wires instead of twisting them, but twisting the wires should be enough.

Step 8: Tape It Up

Picture of Tape It Up

Now you should individually tape up the black connections and the red connections. Then you should cover those in a layer of electrical tape as shown. If you want a cleaner look, you can use shrink wrap over the individually wrapped wires instead of tape.

Step 9: Test It

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Step 8 is to simply plug it in to either your computer or a usb charger to test it. (The fan is actually spinning in the picture)

Step 10: Enjoy

Have fun staying cool with your new USB fan!


ZekeL made it! (author)2017-10-28

Worked 10/10. Made this monstrosity.

NRHTX made it! (author)2017-08-14

I followed your instructions and I connected the USB cable to my wireless router. Now I am able to keep my wireless router Linksys WRT1900AC cool. I used an Sunon fan DC12V 1.6W and everything is working good.

Thank you.


Thank you

FabiVoltair made it! (author)2017-07-26

Wow. Very Cool! I just made one myself in just a few minutes from an old Intel Boxed Cooler to cool my Nanopi Air 2. It got pretty hot with my Node Server running even with a heatsink on it. Now i dont have any heat problems :3

Thank you very much!

FabiVoltair (author)FabiVoltair2017-07-26

*although here you see another Nanopi, but i got a few of those tiny ones...lel

EthanM2 (author)2015-03-31

Hi, I have made something like this, but my fan is 12volts, and usb is only 5volts, anyone know if it is safe to use a 12 volt fan with a computer usb socket? well, what I mean is will it fry my computer usb socket trying to draw out more than 5 volts to run the fan? Should I just get a 5 volt fan to be on the safe side or am i fine with what I have?

HT Geek (author)EthanM22017-03-22

Old post but FYI... it won't hurt the fan. It will either work or it won't. If it works, it will run very slow. Whether or not that will work depends on how the fan was designed.

senshiokami (author)2016-07-24

I used this to save a Thermaltake laptop stand. Cheers!

DustySeven7 (author)2014-07-09

great idea. if you add a voltage regulator and stepup you should be able to get full speed from the fans. computer case fans run of a 12 volt rail. usb is 5 volts

TeaLover12414 (author)2014-03-06

This is a great idea! Instead of buying a USB fan, converting an existing fan into a USB is a great idea. Loved this, I agree though, I'd like to see more from you, other conversions maybe?

metalshiflet (author)2014-03-06

I think this would be great to apply to a fan with lights. You could put it in an actual case and it would look great.

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