Outlets of the Future aka in-wall USB Charger


Step 5: Connect the power and attach to the wall

DO NOT work with live wires, and do this at your own risk.

There is too much liability to explain how to wire an outlet, do this project without disconnecting the outlet from the wires,   keep track of how it's wired when you take the wires off, or have someone who knows how to do it, do this part for you.

once the power is connected, use the screws that came with the face plate to attach the charger to the electrical box in the wall.

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Buy the parts yourself and get an electrician friend to help you! Then buy him/her a drink afterward.
This is a nice idea but it's just not worth accidentally frying yourself, your loved ones or burning down your house through faulty wiring.

I am an electrician. Get yourself a non-contact voltage detector. Check it on a live receptacle to make sure it works, then use it to make sure the receptacle you are working on is dead (open the breaker you think powers the receptacle you are working on, check the receptacle dead with the detector). Receptacles are fairly easy to wire up. Ground (green wire or bare copper wire for Romex wire) goes to the green screw on the receptacle. Black is almost always the hot wire. This wire goes on the brass screw. White is the neutral and it goes on the silver screw. If you have non standard wire colors then yes, get an electrician. Don't turn the breaker back on unless the receptacle is mounted and the cover is on.
jgeekw3 years ago
Why not design an iPhone cable with proper regulators/resistors to connect back to an existing telephone line? They put out 40-70 volts of electricity.
CasCom983 years ago
Totally irrelevant, but I have the same wall phone. And your right, the thing has taken years of abuse.
rrostie3 years ago
What I would think would work better and be more functional is to wire it to a proper USB hub, with a third USB "output" maybe a square USB port, that you can connect to a computer so you can use it for something other than just power.
Schmal4 years ago
Kind of random but you have the same iPhone case as me! This is an awesome tutorial, can't wait to get started.
hamstrerfan4 years ago
Yuor wall color is nice!
mario84 years ago
 I love your wall color!!!!!
Hextor (author)  mario84 years ago
Thanks,  I thought I'd get tons of replies about loving or hating the wall color.  and I've only had one.  you just never know.

my wife chose it, I didn't like it at first but it has grown on me.
mario8 Hextor4 years ago
 me too with are wall color :-)
AmyLuthien4 years ago
If this is unsafe, I'd love to see an alternative written by you guys that are saying this is the wrong way to do it!  :D
here is just one source for the correct way to do it, I'm sure there are others.

The point I was trying to make was there are a rather lot of people ragging on the author, who took the time and effort to try and teach us something.  If they think he did such a bad job, then perhaps they should make an ible and show us how it's done.  Personally, I just plug these devices into one of the front USB ports I built into my computer, but that's just my solution.  ;)
yes, but but my point was not to rag on the author. It was mean to warn him of some potentially very serious consequences of his idea, as well as to address the question/comment made by one other site viewer, and also forwarn anyone else who might be considering doing the same. I have no desire to do instructable on how to do what I suggested step by step, since I like you, see no reason for having it in the first place. Since you need a cord in your hand anyways in order to plug it into the "outlet", why not just leave the tiny charging unit right on the end of the cord like it was intended, that way you can in fact plug it into any outlet, anywhere!
I never said you were.  :)
lampare20004 years ago
besides the code issues with cutting the mounting tabs off of the receptical and shoving it further back into the box.. there is the serious issue of heat build-up as well. The plug in usb chargers are designed and ul rated for unconfined use. They are also always on when plugged in.  So, in this application you are taking two of they which will be on all the time, placing them right next to each other, and then sealing them into a confined space.
Besides being in violation of several code issues here... its just dangerious.
Which code, mechanical code? probably not even thought of in the electrical code, i don't rember seeing that there. So dont cut thee tabs, and just fold them back. Create yiour own tab from some sheet metal. The several wall warts ive used generate a little heat when in use. But you can still hold it in your hand.
the electric code covers wayyyyyyy more than you think.. cutting those tabs off is altering the device, making it no longer as it was tested for its ul listing. the device is to be mounted securely, by those tabs, not shoved into the box. They go so far as to spell out how many wires can be in a work box depending on the cubic in size of the box.( which allows for the outlet itself)  therefore you are violating article 300 under box fill. You are also violating article 4oo under corded devices by using a corded device ( the plug in transformers are considered corded devices meant to be plugged in ) by making them part of perminent premise wiring. You are likely violating code as far as outlet spacing since you in effect removed an outlet.You are violating article 100 which defines materials being used only for their intended usage. You are violating the UL white book codes by nonallowed usage. these also violate terms ( in fine print but they are there) of your home owners insurance.. meaning once you burn your house down, they won't even have to pay you for it.  Need I say more.. don't believe me.. call your local electrical inspector and ask him.. call you home owners insurance co and ask them. Don't take my word for it.. but to anyone else considering this instructable, I'd think again, and since you need the cord anyways to hook up the phone to charge it.. wouldn't be a lot handier to just leave the transformer on the end of the cord so you can plug it in anywhere you want..and still plug anything you want into the outlet on your counter as well.
Codes and safety....MEH!....If ya ain't doin' it dangerous ya ain't doin' right! The heat these little gadgets put out wouldn't be enough to ignite . I would be more worried over an extention cord that was used to reach a table/ reading lamp or even a fish tank filter , some pull alot heat at the plug without the use of an extention cord.
  As for the "green" thing, humans are responable for only 3% of the worlds "green house gasses".Its true, look it up.Trees come in first place. Should we stop them from rotting or just cut 'em all down? As for for energy consuption (except for just saving money)...MEH..., the US will always be dependant on foriegn oil because it makes far too much money for the congressmen , senators, presidents and other corrupt rich people of this country.
 That being said, I think it's a nifty idea man, I'm gonna make one!
civicturbo4 years ago
Ok well I agree with some of the cautions here Get off the guys back, he was nice enough to take the time to share this with everyone.  I simple word of caution is ENOUGH! You don't need to be D!cks about it.  Its not green??!! I would love to come over to your house and show you what a Hypocrite you are MATTNOKS In your house do you have Switched outlets on ALL wallwarts, NO incondecent bulbs anywhere, Programmable thermostat set to enegy star or better, Extra insulation added to all exterior walls, Vehicles that all get min. 30/39 milage Do you have all that? I doubt it, I seriously doubt it.
Sorry for the rant, I can't stand it when people are over the top conservatives!
Good job to the author very inventive! could be modifyed for the safty freaks but good job, I like it.
icerabbit4 years ago
Same thoughts regarding code & safety. 

It is a neat idea ... but that's not a safe way to do it. 
mattnoks4 years ago
I second what others have said above, this is not the way to achieve a usb outlet.  Its ungreen and dangerous.

The mini usb chargers are only slightly bigger than a plug anyways and you can use them at any outlet so I don't really see the advantage here. If there was a how-to on how to add an extra usb port to an existing standard outlet, I would be interested.
geoboy4 years ago
this is really cool, although i would like to see a picture without the plate on but installed in the wall. I only ask cause this may be a code violation. Am i correct in assuming that the duplex receptacle is recessed in the wall somehow? The picture in step 4 shows the receptacle spaced away from the plate about a 1/2"-3/4".

The front of the device box whether its a single gang box or a 4x4 with a single gang-ring should be atleast even or atleast less than a 1/4 inch recessed from the front of the drywall. The receptacle cannot be recessed inside the junction box. but should be mounted on the surface of the drywall.

Granted this is very cool but being an electrician this raises some red flags for me, especially if people who know nothing of electrical are making this modification. I dont mean to come down on anyone, im just looking out for the well being of others.