Step 9: Raise the traces for better connections

After some experimentation, I found I needed to make the traces a little elevated above the circuit board. The easiest way to do that was to lower the circuit board material by grinding it away with a cutting wheel on a Dremel. This also allowed me to narrow the traces for a better match with the traces in the male end. In the photo you can see the beige colored board material that appears when the green surface coating is ground away. You can also see the proper polarity for the male USB connector. The red (+) wire goes to the left side as shown and the black (-) wire goes to the right side. 

And, I drilled two holes in the circuit board material to make a strain relief for the cable. The cable goes down through one of the holes and up through the other. Then the bare ends are soldered to the traces.
Phil, while going thru my box of spare computer gadgets, I found several of these female USB connectors. They are used to connect to a five pin something-or-other, but I have never needed them. I plan to find which two of the five pins go to the + and - connections on the USB side and solder them to the 5v cell phone charger wires.
Bill, <br><br>One of my steps shows the correct connections and polarity. The power terminals are the outermost strips. Imagine your connector without the shroud, the brass strips facing you, and the front end pointing upward, the + or red will be on the left and the - or black will be on the right. You can also find polarity diagrams for various USB connectors on the Internet. A 5 volt power supply for general use can be very handy.
Thanks Phil, I needed that info.<br><br>Have already used my only old 5v cell phone charger, will make a trip to the local Goodwill to find another.
Thanks Phil, I had the need to make a similar connection, see my Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-great-little-book-light-from-recycled-elect/ <br> <br>My Instructable mainly explained, as you did, that the voltage supplied from many cell phone chargers and the voltage from USB is the same, 5 volt DC, so you can interconnect devices. But what I lacked was a good way to connect them. You provided that!
Thanks, Bill. I like your book light. I wish I could say my USB connector from part of a circuit board worked perfectly in all applications. For a long time it has seemed there ought be something that could utilize old circuit boards.<br> <br> I was in the nearest Fred Meyer store a couple of days ago and just outside the electronics department I saw a USB port with one male end and four female ends. It looks a little cheap, but functional. The price is under $7 and the female ends have short wire leads on them that beg to be cut and soldered to something else.<br> <br> Did you see my Instructable on the <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Ramps-for-a-Low-Car/" rel="nofollow">homemade car ramps for a low car</a>? I included a pressure switch operated by the front left tire. The switch turns on a 5 volt flashlight bulb resting on my lap or the shift console. It is powered by a phone's car charger.
Nice improvisation! That reminds me the way I used to improvise a serial cable for my Garmin GPS device from a plastic credit card and a serial cable ended with DB9 connector.
Thanks. I have usually thought of old circuit boards as waste. Something like this can give parts of them a new life. Your Garmin cable sounds interesting.
A good job, Phil. I love your creative solutions. Another good source for female USB connectors is old system boards.
I stopped at a computer repair shop and asked if any old boards with a female USB connector were available, but, they said they had none. I did find a short USB extension cable for under $5, which is not too bad. Thanks for looking and for commenting.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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