this project was inspired by the following web page:http://www.i-hacked.com/content/view/62/44/
that said, there are unlimited numbers of things that can be powered by usb. with the holidays coming up, why not christmas lights? i've added a switch to the original design to allow me to turn them on and off without unplugging the usb cable. The whole thing is mounted into an enclosure (altoids tin, of course), purely for aesthetics.
Step 1: Get your equipment
i began with a battery operated set of christmas lights, and the male end of a usb cable. i cut off the c battery holder, taking care to mark which wire was positive and which was negative. frankly, this may not matter in this case, but i wasn't completely sure, and i'm a better safe than sorry kind of guy. i stripped the ends of the wires and twisted them to keep them together. i then stripped the outer sheathing off the usb cable and located the red and black wires. these are the only ones we will need. if you're following along with me, strip them too. for an enclosure, i chose--of course--an altoids tin. this, however, is the first project i've seen inside an altoids smalls tin. (at least that's something)
oh, i also use a small toggle switch and some solder and what not.
Step 2: Get funky I
drill a hole in the side of the tin closer to the base than the top. i used a much smaller bit and then used a precision file to work it up to size. it wasn't a perfect circle, but it allows you to move the hole a bit to get the fit right so the lid will still fit on. besides, the nut to hold the switch in place on the enclosure will cover it once it's on.