Introduction: USB Powered Speaker

Picture of USB Powered Speaker

My laptop's speaker isn't loud and I have hard time listening to it when there's noise. Alternatively i have a speaker that runs on battery, whose battery drains fast. so i built this speaker which is powered by USB .

Step 1: Circuit and Components Required

Picture of Circuit and Components Required
The components required for this project are :
  • LM386 IC
  • 8 pin IC base
  • Type A USB Connector
  • 3.5mm Audio Cable
  • 8 Ohm Speaker
  • Two 220uf Capacitors
  • 10K Pot
  • 10 Ohm Resistor
  • soldering iron, solder
  • hot glue (optional)

Step 2: Wiring in USB Cable

Picture of Wiring in USB Cable
Cut the USB cable from any old USB device which is broken or not used. You will see four wires inside the cable when you strip it. The color of four wires are usually blue, white, red and black. The blue and white wires are data wires and are not of interest in this project. The red wire is the positive voltage that comes from the USB port which is +5 V and the the black wire is the ground.

  • Red wire +5 Volts
  • Black wire Ground

Step 3: Wiring in Audio Connector (3.5 Mm Audio Jack)

Picture of Wiring in Audio Connector (3.5 Mm Audio Jack)
I've stripped cable of an old headphone. As you can see there are 4 wires. blue colored wire has right audio signal and the green colored one has the left side audio signal, the two copper colored ones are the ground wires.
The wires coloring may be different in different cables, to make sure of the coloring use the continuity test in multimeter.
connect the green and blue wires together and the ground wires together as we are not building a stereo speaker here.
  • The green and blue wires together form the audio input
  • The copper wires are connected to ground

Step 4: Connecting the Components

Picture of Connecting the Components

Connect the components on the general purpose PCB according to the circuit diagram. the 10 K pot will be used to control and vary the volume of the speaker.

Step 5: Casing for the Speaker

Picture of Casing for the Speaker

I used the food container for the casing. cut out the bottom of the food container in the shape of circle with a diameter less than that of the 8 ohm speaker.

Step 6: Fitting the Components Inside the Casing

Picture of Fitting the Components Inside the Casing

make holes for the pot which will be used as a volume control and the USB and audio cables. Use hot glue to stick them in position and close the container.

Step 7: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Add a knob for the potentiometer, and any other modifications to make the speaker look good.


AirraB (author)2017-10-12

220uf or 22uf?

Mkhumbi JasonB (author)2017-06-28

blue and green wires from audio cables go to speaker directly? or via maybe R1 or R2? I dont understand your explaination you gave below?

helpme123454321 (author)2014-08-02

Where do the blue and green wires from the audio cable go? Does one connect to R1 and the other to R2, or do we only use one of them?

It is the stereo audio output. if you use two speakers, we use one for left and one for right. since we are using only one speaker, attach both of them together to single speaker.

KadirÜ2 (author)shankdroid2016-09-07

Hello, I've been struggling for a day now and nothing seems to be working. I can't even get a buzzing sound...

AswathS1 (author)2016-06-16

Pls tell me how to solder potentiometer in this circuit . What to do with three pins

itageengineers (author)2016-05-02

Can anyone tell me about the voltage ratings mentioned on both 220uf capicitors?

I've used both 50 and 25v. i think it wouldn't make difference. i used the ones i had.

UcM (author)2015-10-31

Increasing volume level cause distortion . How to get rid from it ?

adilsiddiqui (author)2015-08-31

Can i use lm386l 01 chip in this experiment...?

FrostyManiac made it! (author)2015-06-09

Thanks alot for this instructable :) this was my first (working) LM386 amp + speaker, I used the N-3 version. My version of this speaker has an 9v battery power, but I am planning to add a secondary usb power since its just a case of soldering a couple of wires because my power switch happens to be ON-ON type of switch.

stepdude (author)2015-03-22

MadMuz (author)2014-09-02

This is most likely a stupi question and will highlight my lack of electrical knwledge but whatever. With your capacitors what voltage should I be using Ive got some 25v 1s lying around.. Is that to big? Thx

hhvirusas (author)2014-04-15

May I ask what power speaker I need?

blackhero (author)2014-02-15

want to build like that.. can add a battery on it? and charge on via usb?.thank you

nerd7473 (author)2014-01-02

pretty cool

shankdroid (author)nerd74732014-01-02

Thanks :)

nerd7473 (author)shankdroid2014-01-03

you're welcome

Lectric Wizard (author)2014-01-02

Nice instructable. I would suggest that you try to get, LM386N-1, -3, LM386M-1, LM386MM-1, versions of the chip if you can. They have a 4v min. voltage rather than the normal 5 volt version. They may work a bit better on the 5 volts from the USB port. Cheers!

I will experiment with the other ICs you mentioned. Thanks :)

About This Instructable




Add instructable to: