Car Lighter-USB Hub




Introduction: Car Lighter-USB Hub

Make a portable, multicharging device for your electronics, that will let you recharge your stuff in your car.

Step 1: Gather Stuff Blah Blah Blah...

Ok, in order to make this fun and easy device, we'll need:

1) regular USB hub (bought mine at 1,99 store priced at R$ 7,90 -- about US$ 3,50)

2) car lighter cell phone recharger that outputs 5VDC@>500mA (I happen to have a LG Scorpio KP215 cell phone, so I bought mine for this model on a street seller for R$ 13,00 (about US$ 6,00) -- this happens to be a bonus, check it later)

3) hot melt glue (optional)

4) electrician black tape (we don't need crazy wires touching each other)

5) multmeter (optional, but ok to check cables, etc. I learned I had a bad cable -- later on this)

6) pliers

7) knife

Step 2: Cutting, Wiring, Etc.

Well, this is a very easy project. So easy I'd say it's stupid. I saw some stuff looking like this here, at the site. Let's go.

Check this before, if you're in any doubt:
Quick and easy info.

WARNING: DON'T BLAME ME if you burn your devices, your car, your finger and nose. It's up to you do the stuff presented here at your own risk and responsibility.

This car hub is ONLY for energy purposes and can be modified for any 5VDC source of electricity you may think. Here in the site, I could see some candidates. Of course, it's a matter of changing the input connector for the appropriate one. That's why I entered the SANYO contest with this.

Here are some interesting sources found in this site, worth a visit, on this theme:

Build a 4 x AA USB Altoids Battery:

USB Cell Phone Charger Hack! (With Video):!-With-Video/

MintyBoost! - Small battery-powered USB charger:!---Small-battery-powered-USB-charger/

Converting a computer ATX power supply to a really useful lab power supply:

Changing the output voltage of a cheap power supply:

12V Car lighter to USB Adapter for less than 3 $ (1,5euro):

USB Car Charger:

How To Make Your Own USB Car Charger For Any iPod Or Other Devices That Charge Via USB:

TO DO: I saw a wonderful VGA adapter to USB, but can't find the link. Please help me.

Any time you use a 5VDC power supply, you don't need the car lighter connector anymore. It's just an easy way to convert the 12VDC from the car's battery to the output at the hub ports, which is "magically" reduced to 5VDC. Buying the ready connector is cheaper, safer and easier than try to build your on, unless you're deep into electronics. Plus, if it fits your particular cell phone, it adds up a usb cell phone cable as a freebie...

Well, I'm quite the contrary of Apostle Paul: I'm weak in words here, but I could talk a lot personally.. Maybe I'm just too tired today. Sorry all...


1) Cut off the end connectors of both the cell phone charger and the usb hub, leaving some inches of wire with the connector (size may vary, I show mine) and set aside (we'll work on them later).

2) Connect the wires (in my case, I got red and black from one cable and red and translucent from the other) with the correct polarity. My case was red-red, black-translucent. YMMV... Try connecting the same colors or, if in any doubt, have a polarized device, like a led or use the multmeter to check your wiring.

3) Protecting the connections from touching each other, test it in the car. Turn engine on and see if there's nothing wrong with the output. You can see mine pictured, check with multmeter.

4) If everything is OK, time to insulate wiring. I used hot melt glue in this project, plus the electric tape. Use the best you can. You'll want reinforced and well insulated cables.

Step 3: Making the USB Cell Phone Charger

Having this LG 5VDC cell phone is great, cause I could make a USB charger from the leftovers... Remember when I told you to set aside the connectors? We'll use them now.

Here is an easy step. Make a USB cell phone charger.

Just wire the two connectors together, insulate and voi-la. Remember, of course, to cut off the data wires. Now you can charge your cell phone on any USB port, plus our car lighter hub and even at those MP3 players chargers.

Step 4: Putting Everything Together

My car is a GM Omega Suprema 1993 (also known as "a barca" -- "the boat", in portuguese, in the sense of a bathtub). It's the same car as the Vauxhall Carlton and Opel Omega A Caravan/Wagon.

I'm too cheap to buy a real stereo, since the original died and is still wired to the speaker system. So from time to time I like to take my MP4 for a ride... I got some speakers too, and here's my "gig" for reference. The best is that you can use this small sound system in any car, good if you have a fleet of old junk, like I do. I also have a 1982 GM Opala Caravan that has no sound system, but has a good lighter, so I can hang on everything, listen to music, and charge my cell phone at the same time.

Hope you enjoyed. Don't forget to vote!!! :-)

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    It is my understanding, and correct me if I am wrong, that if you cross the two data lines on the charger, it will tell the devices that this is a charger only, and will allow many that refuse to charge to accept your charger as their own.


    11 years ago on Step 4

    I'll be honest its a good idea but your work and pictures is far to messy
    try take better pictures and with the actual product instead of using tape and hot glue why not invest in a soldering iron?
    their fairly cheap these days and can do a far better (and neater) job then hot glue can ever do so my suggestion try change the surface your recording on to a plain color (i recommend plain white) without wording on it because it creates to many visual cues which make the pictures annoying to look at and also try take higher res pictures, the quality of these aren't too great.
    Apart from that good job mate! keep up the good work with the ideas
    and i hope to see some more instructional's from you :)


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Any USB (auto) charger is good to have for lots of gear and this is a simple an deffective solution. Unfortunately there are some devices which require some kind of 'intelligent presence' on the data connections or they do not charge. My Creative ZEN MP3 player and a digicamera I have refuse to charge on anything else than their own chargers (or the computer USB of course). If anyone knows the answer to this problem?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    if the hub is also for data and not only for power, should work. the hub has a built in USB controller. No luck? just charge them at home


    12 years ago on Introduction

    hey i got the same usb hub for $5 from a dollar store :P