Introduction: How to Make Laptop USB Light Mini

Picture of How to Make Laptop USB Light Mini

I have an old damaged flash drive that I don't want to throw away, what can I do with it?
Thinking about the nights my girlfriend was bothered when I had to work at bed with lights on, I decided to bring it to life as a Laptop light. Then here is what I did,

How to make a laptop USB Light from reused materials.


- With LED socket (For easy replacement for any LED)
- Small, very portable
- Custom angle adjustment
- Very cheap, since most materials are reused (it won't cost more than $2)


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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials


- Rotary tool
- Hot glue gun
- Soldering iron
- Solder
- Cutting pliers
- Wire strippers
- Torch
- Multimeter (for testing voltage and circuit continuity)


- Old Memory USB
- Rigid copper wire (12 AWG)
- Heat shrink wrap
- Ethernet wire sheathing
- Wire
- 2-pin connector
- resistor (220 Ohm)
- Plastic cylinder (optional, you can find it on any old plug)

Step 2: Preparing USB Memory

Picture of Preparing USB Memory

- Cut leaving a centimeter of the board (Photo1)
- Remove board components (Photo 2)
- Round the edges (Photo 3)

Step 3: Socket Building

Picture of Socket Building

- Make a slot at the edge of the board, the same diameter of the copper wire.

Step 4: Checking Connections to Prevent Short Circuit

Picture of Checking Connections to Prevent Short Circuit

WARNING : This is the most important step, because this will prevent damages to the laptop.

Confirm that all pins are free and are not connected between them. Please see the diagram and photo below which shows the five pins to test.

Use the multimeter and if test fails, go back to step two.

Step 5: Building the LED Socket

Picture of Building the LED Socket

- Insert the LED connector into the ethernet wire sheathing
- Insert the rigid copper wire into the ethernet wire sheathing
- Peel the rigid copper wire at its base

See photos for details

Step 6: Soldering to USB Base

Picture of Soldering to USB Base

- Fold copper wire as shown on the photos
- Solder copper wire to the USB base as show on photos

Warning: :Confirm that all pins are free and are not connected between them.

Step 7: Connecting LED and Resistor

Picture of Connecting LED and Resistor

- Connect LED black wire to resistor (see photos)
- Connect resistor to GND (See diagram in step x)
- Connect LED red wire to VCC (See diagram in step x)

Step 8: Hot Glue Gun

Picture of Hot Glue Gun

- Cover the base with the hot glue gun
- Cover the resistor  with the hot glue gun
- Insert platic cylinder recovering the LED socket

Step 9: Heat Shrink Wrap

Picture of Heat Shrink Wrap

- Insert the heat shrink wrap over ethernet wire sheathing
- Use torch to heat the shrink wrap
- Insert the heat shrink wrap over USB base
- Heat again.

Step 10: Finished

Picture of Finished


Raigmoul (author)2010-11-19

I have the same problem, I often take my laptop to bed to do a bit of work beofre going to sleep, my wife keeps complaining .... you know the story ;-)

I came up with a similar solution, mind you, the cable I used was way longer. your solution is much, much better !!

Elegant, compact and very practical. Well done sir

SamA115 (author)2016-07-14

the lights on a long wire just fall down ,i have one that shines on keys except when i type with both hands my hands block the light .if i put the light above screen i look right into it.i;d like to light up the keys.

techvirenn (author)2016-05-14

i think you could use a usb charger cord too

bellaE (author)2015-03-31

tusky2001 made it! (author)2015-01-22

Yeah.. done :)

Used a long USB cable. and CDs.

Thank you for this instructable.

kal walid (author)2014-06-24

its cute!

Prophes0r (author)2012-11-15

Fantastic, I'm making a few of these this weekend. I've needed them for a while but have been too lazy to find a cheap place to buy them.

One thing I have on my prototype right now is a light guard to prevent the LED from shining light into the user's eyes. Right now, plugging it in lights up the keyboard well, but the LED is blinding. I suppose I could just coat one side of the LED in something opaque, or even reflective.

If the LED socket was longer, you could just cut the underside away to expose the LED while the top side would block extra light.

OtterTraxx (author)2012-11-10

Very cool...
However, my MBP has a backlit keyboard.
But seriously... very cool.

mshysha (author)2012-09-24

for better keeping of LED-light form you can solder paper-clip to USB-connector and put it alongside of wires, then put on the heat-shrink tube and to heat it by cigarette-lighter

Dhiraj1502 (author)2011-12-19

this is very good. . i will try to make it at home. Great.

nesaeya (author)2011-12-09

good man

Matrix-technician (author)2011-06-20

Sorry if someone has already told you this but, it's called a rotary tool. Great project. my laptop has stacked ports on both sides so i made two so that each side of the keyboard is illuminated.

Thanks a lot! I'll change it now, english its not my mother language :)

kjfrances (author)2011-01-23

clear instructions,well done! Dude

plugable (author)2010-11-20

So pretty light for a netbook! I may do one.

3lc0nd3 (author)2010-11-18

very small,... With the right tool

3lc0nd3 (author)2010-11-18

Good Idea,.. congratulations

jman 31 (author)2010-11-17

Simple and well executed! Nice job!

Kiteman (author)2010-11-16

Nice job.

hpsaturn (author)Kiteman2010-11-16

Thanks!!, it's my first instructable

CrLz (author)2010-11-16


Adam Manick (author)2010-11-16

Did you use an rgb led?

hpsaturn (author)Adam Manick2010-11-16

No, in the photos I show 3 different LEDs because I made it in a way that they can be interchangeable. Anyway, you could use a 2-pin or 3-pin RGB LED, but those would be differents projects.

About This Instructable




Bio: Mobile applications specialist, open culture enthusiast, software freedom activist
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