Introduction: How to Make Darn Near Anything Run on USB!

Picture of How to Make Darn Near Anything Run on USB!

As long as you have an extra USB wire with male USB end, and the thing you want to power runs on three AA or AAA or C or D batteries, you can hack it to run on USB power!

Step 1: Step1 Clean/dismantle

Picture of Step1 Clean/dismantle

dismantle and clean the thing you want to hack.
usually its very simple to take something apart,
the Darth Vader bank im hacking is held together with just 4 screws, which allows me access to the back of the battery tray

you dont want old battery acid all over your power leads so make sure its clean!!

Step 2: Step2 Strip USB

Picture of Step2 Strip USB

nip off the end of the usb wire that you dont need (the not-male usb-end)

carefully unsheathe the wires, there will be 4 of them. the black and red wires are the power. and the other two are for information. we only need the power wires.

Step 3:

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there are two main power wires that supply the device with power from the batteries.

connect the black USB power wire to the Black power wire from the device. wrap with electrical tape.

and likewise with the red

Step 4: This Is Another Thing I Made Run on USB

Picture of This Is Another Thing I Made Run on USB

i took thees LED battery operated  chain lights stripped off the 3-AA battery pack and attached usb

i use it on my moniter that has a USB power port that comes on with the moniter which i use to power my lights

its easy try it!

Step 5:

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test YOUR device, if it doesnt work, swap the usb power wires.

if it does, reassemble and your done!

i youtubed a video of my test

hope this helps!

keep on hacking!

any questions feel free to comment and give high rating!


EMagnolo (author)2012-10-14

if you put an (CORRECT VOLTAGE) inline resistor to the positive side of the system, would that help prevent any form of burning out?

pocdragon (author)EMagnolo2012-10-15

im sure it would

CorruptedData (author)2012-02-20

One way to mitigate the risk of "burning out" is to use a phone charger with a USB port. That way, if the worst happens, you're out a $10 adapter, instead of a $1000 computer:)

manumanu764 (author)2010-06-18

I do reccomend to recheck the connections before plugging the USB cable(positive to positive, negative to negative). Otherwise, can happen two things: *Your device won't work or *you can burn out both your device or your port, even worse, your PC can be burn out. SERIOUSLY, If you think you don´t know certain things about electricity, simply be away from this project.

anuk07 (author)manumanu7642011-06-16

can you please explain "PC burning" due to this project.....?

C.D33 (author)2011-01-09

Stay away from this project unless you're absolutely sure that the power is the same. Chances are, it's not, and you'll burn out whatever you're trying to power. The USB port outputs 5 volts, give or take .25 volts. If what you're trying to power takes significantly more or less, there's a -very- good chance that it will burn out the device. If you want to check, it should say somewhere on the bottom or on labels on the device that you're trying to power.

microchip55 (author)2010-10-07

its not called hacking LOL but still good tut

cambodiajack (author)2010-07-08

this instructable helped me a lot Thanks

pocdragon (author)cambodiajack2010-07-09

your welcome =] keep on hacking!

scraptopower (author)2010-06-21

You should connect the sheath to ground, I think.

junits15 (author)2010-06-17

be careful, you can fry your board if you draw more then 500ma

Jayceetoo (author)2010-06-14

How could you enter the same thing as me into this competition ?

pocdragon (author)Jayceetoo2010-06-16

if you would be so kind to check out the time stamp, my instructable was posted three months before yours was. How could you enter the same thing as ME into this competition ?

Jayceetoo (author)pocdragon2010-06-16

No but i entered it into the comp before you

pocdragon (author)Jayceetoo2010-06-16

you werent even a member when i posted this haha

Lance Mt. (author)Jayceetoo2010-06-16

Well you start by pressing the orange "Submit New Instructable" button up the top right cornner and... Out of parody, I'd make one but i actually respect you and your 'ible. Well done and good luck in the comp.

pocdragon (author)2010-06-13


tubanator-2.0 (author)2010-05-07

hmm do you think i could run a bameboy sp using usb..also will definetley try to make some lights especially christmas ones whats the most you would recomend on a string?

and tubanator, what about an emulator? its legal to have a digital copy of your games. so its legal to have all the games you own on your computer. if you had one you wouldn't need to usb-ify it.

pocdragon (author)Houdinipeter2010-06-13

this is for power purposes only, i do not use the data leads that are in the usb plug if you were to use a controller or an emulator, there would need to be feed back, and that is out of my hands, for i do not know how that works

yea i have a n64 emulator but the games that i just have to have on it either don't work or have very weird controls i can't change plus having it on usb would be more of a just to say i have one project.

so it sounds like you should usb-ify a game controller. but whatever floats your boat.

pocdragon (author)tubanator-2.02010-05-23

well tubanator:

check out the thing you plug into the wall that charges your gameboy

there should  be a tiny spec sheet
the sheet should say
"input voltage" (which is the voltage from the wall 120V AC)
output voltage (the power going to the gameboy)

if the power going to the gameboy is about 5V DC and 2amps or less it should be okay

also christmas lights:

there are battery pack operated sets, the LED ones will never burn out, and u can light up more LED  then normal bulbs because they use alot less power

i wouldent reccomend putting more then 10 lights in a string
my set came as a set of six, and works fine

just becautious of your limits, electricity is a fickle thing!

Rhamkota (author)2010-05-15

 So than if the colors are different than what?
like it says
orange =d 
so is
orange =red
??? I'm confused 

Rhamkota (author)Rhamkota2010-05-15

white is 5+v
and blue is ground

lemonie (author)2010-04-10

You'll not get 5V out of this, any thought on more batteries and a voltage-regulator?


pocdragon (author)lemonie2010-04-13

i made this so not to use batteries

lemonie (author)pocdragon2010-04-13

Oh sorry, you're doing it that way around. (I've got to run my back-up monitor rather dark and I can't see what's going on too well in there...)


jman 31 (author)2010-04-10

Keep in mind that USB only provides about 1/2 an amp, so anything that requires more current than that may cause problems.

pocdragon (author)jman 312010-04-13

thats very true!

i do reccomend only modding things that use small batterypacks

some larger things can have too much draw and not function properly

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