When my USB car charger died for the 3rd time in a year (Luckily previous were all replaced under warranty, Jimmy at the Telephone Booth is awesome!) I knew it was beyond replacement time now and I really wanted something more.
With the plethora of USB-powered/charged devices, I wanted something that could do more than one device and be more reliable that the retail ones in the store.
I had an idea, just needed a few parts/suggestions and I'd be all set.4-port USB Hub
Step 1: 4-port USB Mod
Ok, so this step isn't totally necessary but I figure I was exploring and wanted to see what it looked like inside any ways.
Ideally I wanted to polish the plastic scratch from the clear surface and re-paint the body to match the car. I can still do that later if I really want to. Also, since we have a lazer at Thinkhaus (http://www.thinkhaus.org) I had dreams of getting all fancy with etching the logo into the plastic and lighting it up with either the existing LED or add more. I settled for a printout of the logo set behind the clear cover. Best not to completely over do this :)
Step 2: Fixing cheap crap
This is the underside of the 12V Power Accessory USB charger. My $2,99 device wasn't working when I got it, so being the hacker that I am, I took it apart. It seems this here quality product was rather hastily put together. The USB port itself has a total of 6 prongs that poke into the ciruit board. Two on the outside are large and are meant to hold it in place while the 4 smaller ones are in the middle and two of which are soldered into the circuit. Well one of the large ones wasn't even through the hole in the board (bent) and one of the smaller ones was also bent. So basically it wasn't even hooked up. I desoldered it, cleaned it, straightened out the pins, resoldered it and then hot-glued the pins for more stability. Worked just fine.