Introduction: Really, REALLY Easy USB Motor!

Picture of Really, REALLY Easy USB Motor!

At long last, my 2nd instructable!!!

This is fan for you or your computer that runs off any avalable USB port. I reccomend it for beginners into electronics, right up to the pro's.

It is easy and fun, you can make in literally five minites!!!

Step 1: Parts and Stuff

Picture of Parts and Stuff

First you'll need to find the parts and stuff.Basicly, you'l need:

1 3-9v motor with blades (out of mini fan) (pictured below (without blades)

1 USB cable (can be ANY of the three types shown below, as long as it has the same wire layout

Some (tiny amount) solder

Switch (optional)

Nescessary tools (wire stripper/cutter, soldering iron, tape)

Step 2: The Building

Picture of The Building

The buildig part is really simple.

First, cut the cable at the non-male end( its usually square or smll). Then strip the USB cable and solder thee RED and BLACK wires to their respective contacts on the motor (experiment to see which way makes the prop will push the air FORWARD)

If you're adding a switch, you might need to solder some extra wire depending on where you want it to go, but I didnt 'cause its more practical to use the plug as a switch).

Then Isolate the ramaining wires, tape it up and you're ready to go!

Step 3: You're Done!!! YAY!!!

Now Enjoy you're fan on hot summer's day!. You could also use it for cooling componants in a seriously overclocked computer.

I did'nt bother isolating the other wires. bad choice. Now if you sxueeze the tape around the contacts herd enough, you have a speed setting cause its shorting out!! YAY!!!

This design is highly customisable. You can add s rigid bar along the wire to give it a flexible stand, or add other componants to it as welll if you wand to get really technical.

Since I used a 3-Volt motor, and the Computer's Output is 9 Volts, My motor goes spaz. If you did the same, I wouldnt reccomend leaving it on for too long for risk of blowing the motor/ power supply. Alternativley, add a resistor to suit you're needs.

As PKM said, you could add a variable resistor off a radio or something, and for all you safety freaks out there you could even soulder up a PCB with resistor, fuse and protection diode!


Look, i really dont care about my computer anywas, its a piece of 3-year-old custom sh1t. It has a single core CPU, 1GB of ram and absolutley no physics processing capabilities. I mean, I cant get Phun (physics sandbox) to run past 1 FPS. Im serious!!! My halo games dont run too bad on it though.


janmeshm (author)2015-05-08


TECHTRAKER (author)2014-02-17


ac1D (author)2008-06-20

put 3 motor, no need of resister:)

smeezekitty (author)ac1D2010-05-08

2 Motors (USB voltage 4.5-5.8).

Musicman41 (author)2010-04-22

you are complaining about your 3 year old computer???  Mine is 5 years old and still works just fine!  Many people in other countries would be glad to have you computer.  You should be thankful for what you have!  You dont need a new computer every year!

chrisg1711 (author)2009-10-04

I am not an electrical engineer,yet this will work. What I am not sure of is the effect on the internal circuitry without voltages being a constant.So in essence, it works, but prolonged usage may have consequences,( unless there is an engineer that can reiterate on this). My modem was overheating, so I placed a USB fan next to it and it works great! Your homemade version is the same thing, except I know that my fan was engineered for this purpose. See attached photo:

RedGuff (author)2008-06-21

The computer output is 5V, not 9V.

neardood (author)RedGuff2008-06-27

Sry, my multimetre is screwed up from the cattle prod tazer expirement i did.

childB (author)neardood2008-09-07

ha, same. i tried to measure the voltage on a piezo electric sparker... didn't end so well for my $10 multimeter.

neardood (author)childB2009-02-08

lol XD i'l tell you its about a million volts at an extremely low current

Kryptonite (author)neardood2009-10-01

I should put a couple billion in parallel and see if my step brother likes it then...

looking4ideas (author)childB2008-12-06

what is the voltage on those things?

childB (author)looking4ideas2008-12-06

umm, if i remember correctly, it's several thousand, and an almost immeasurably low amperage.

awang8 (author)RedGuff2008-12-19

Yeah, but 5v is in the 3-9 range isn't it? I'm sure it goes like 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 not just 9.

Sandisk1duo (author)RedGuff2008-06-21

What he said...

lolcat360 (author)2008-08-23

i have a 1.5 volt motor and i used a 9 volt battery and it works fine it just goes faster

neardood (author)lolcat3602008-08-27

trust me, if you leave it on it'l eventually get really hot and die

ReCreate (author)neardood2009-06-20


dagenius (author)ReCreate2009-08-31

try it.

ReCreate (author)dagenius2009-08-31

Ok, Just tried 60V on a 5V motor, Still works fine.

lolcat360 (author)ReCreate2009-08-31

60 volts!!!!!

ReCreate (author)lolcat3602009-08-31

Yep, 60 Volts Worth of half-dead 9V Batteries.(tested with a multimeter) It spun superfast, and smelled kind of bad, but it still worked :)

Banduan 9 (author)neardood2009-08-07

anyway it will not die if you put some resistor or make a case to put a 2 AA battery with a motor in it and a fan~~! :)

DrCoolSanta (author)lolcat3602008-08-25

I have a 1.5 volt motor and 9 volt battery, it used to work, but now it only works with a 1.5 volt battery. And it sometimes needs to be rotated to start the movements.

ReCreate (author)DrCoolSanta2009-06-20

it seems to be a cheap motor...

neardood (author)DrCoolSanta2008-08-27


joinaqd (author)2008-12-25

pretty good i must say..but what if you accidentally stop the fan with your hands?the motherboard will get burned and you cant use ur pc anymore...happened to my laptop when i plugged in my flash drive with twisted laptop usb drive works nomore.

dagenius (author)joinaqd2009-08-31

No, the motherboard will not fry, the usb section has a current limiter, and all of that safety stuff, so that if you were dumb enough to put your hand in the way of the fan in the first place, then it wouldn't cost you a comp.

neardood (author)joinaqd2009-02-08

the fan blades I used were flexible plastic ones that were held out by the centrifuge of the rotating motor shaft.

PKM (author)2008-06-20

"Since I used a 3-Volt motor, and the Computer's Output is 9 Volts" I believe the power rail in USB is at 5 volts, not 9, so your 3V fan can probably deal with it for a while at least. If you want it to run slower you might want to put a resistor (a variable resistor would be better) in series with it to limit the voltage.

neardood (author)PKM2008-06-29

good idea. insted of controling the speed with teh computer, u could use a variabble resistor from a radio or something with inbuilt switch 2 vary speed!

santy22 (author)neardood2008-09-05

controllling the speed with computer?? you nevar said that and theres no vire or chip that doest that, BAD INSTRUCTABLE

dagenius (author)santy222009-08-31

Hey, be nice. if you want to critisize, then make it constructive. How do you think that he could improve the instructable with the words: "BAD INSTRUCTABLE?"

neardood (author)santy222008-09-07

its not a bad instructable. it won a prize.

awang8 (author)PKM2008-12-19

Don't resistor's limit the current?

PKM (author)awang82008-12-20

Erm.. yes and no. People seem to be most familiar with current limiting resistors used with LEDs, but in a circuit with a resistive load like a motor or a lightbulb, they are actually controlling voltage. The current then decreases because of the lower voltage. Your nearest physics or electronics textbook can probably explain it better than I can.

awang8 (author)PKM2008-12-22

Hmm.. I'm 10. I wonder where I can... Umm... Borrow... A physics book.

ReCreate (author)awang82009-01-06

im sure anyone will be more than glad to let you borrow one

awang8 (author)ReCreate2009-01-08

Well, I don't know anyone that has one!

ReCreate (author)awang82009-01-08

some teacher at school

toogers (author)ReCreate2009-06-20

i'm 11. i have one.

ReCreate (author)toogers2009-06-20

...lucky you?

jehan60188 (author)awang82008-12-23


knoxarama (author)PKM2009-02-12

motors can't take in any more power than they can at max speed. it won't die from having to high a voltage. it just won't conduct the rest. of coarse, that doesn't mean motors can't die but...

PKM (author)knoxarama2009-02-12

... what? If you increase the voltage above the rated voltage, the current will also rise (and therefore the power) until the motor windings overheat and fail or there is a mechanical failure. I don't know where you got "it just won't conduct the rest" from, especially as you were talking about voltage- where is it meant to go? I have personally burned out a motor by overvolting it (along with a lot of other components :$), I know it's possible.

knoxarama (author)PKM2009-02-13

and i've never burnt out a motor, even going at 3x the voltage. the motor went no faster either way. really, it didn't even heat up. so there.

fuzvulf (author)knoxarama2009-02-14

Funny, I don't remember that from theory and priciple of electric motors or application of theory and priciple of electric motors. SOME motors will generate enough CEMF*(counter electromotive force) to self limit, but the extra Voltage across the resitance of the windings generates heat. If there were not science behind it then the motor manufacturers could use the same tiny little wire which is used in the little hobby motors in the electric portion of a Prius and save a ton of money. When I was working for Strasburgh engineering labs we were testing different motors. On one, as a final test we fed a 12 Volt DC blower motor 120 Volts DC to test it's overheat/overvoltage capabilities. It sounded like a jet engine for 2 minutes and 7 seconds before the field windings melted and it seized like an epileptic at a rave.*(I have epilepsy so don't even start with the flames) AC motors behave differently than DC motors. Synchronous AC motors are speed controlled by the frequency of the supply voltage. Greater voltages only increase torque, to a certain point, then you let the smoke out and it don't work no more. There are young hobbyists who come to this board for advice. If you are going to make statements, do some research. Just because you happened to experience something a little different, check what you're saying, google it, wiki it, go to school for it, something...

neardood (author)PKM2009-02-08

i know

tanmanknex (author)2009-08-31

Isn't a computer USB 5 volts, not 9?

Patented (author)2009-08-19

This instructables prove that you dont need to put a lot of efforts to win contest...

About This Instructable




Bio: I like electronics, blowing stuff up, fun and reading. If you have anything cool, please email me!
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