Introduction: DIY Multipurpose USB Cables

About: I am an aspiring Electrical/Electronic Engineer. I love innovation and using technology to solve problems.
USB cables are one of the most used tools on the globe. They are used for several purposes with several devices. They can be used for lightening, data communication and connection.
They are used for charging smart phones, tablets, portable media players, and other electronic devices.
They are also used for sharing data with phones, computers, gadgets, microcontroller boards, circuit boards, and so forth.

In this instructables, I will show you how to make the USB Type-A to micro-B cable. But once you understand it, you will be able to make the others.
So let’s now see how to make this powerful multipurpose tool.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

USB Type-A Male connector.
USB micro-B Male connector.
USB Type-B Male connector (optional).
USB mini-B Male connector (optional).
Flexible Wires of different colours.
Wire Tube.

Soldering iron.
3D Printer.

Step 2: Configuration of the USB Connectors

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. Therefore, the USB connectors use the Serial Bus communication line.
There a various USB connector types, choice depends on the function someone wants. This include the Type-A, Type-B, Mini-A, Mini-B, Micro-A and Micro-B. Each is used for specific purposes.
There is usually a female port in which the connectors must be plugged to. This ports are found in devices like systems, computers, CPUs, phones etc.
The connectors to be used here have four pins: 1 for power, 1 for ground and 2 for data (D+ and D-).
They take a voltage of about 5V and a current of 500mA. Also the data rate transfer speed is 60 MB/s.
The power and GND pins provides the lightening and the data pins enable data transfer and communication.

Step 3: Printing the Covers

Before we start the wiring and soldering let’s get the cover ready.
If you already have the covers or the USB connector you bought came with a cover, then you can skip this step.
But if you don’t have a cover, I made some simple models which will be used for the cover. The cover has a body and a slide. The models can be gotten here.
Then open and print the models using any 3D modelling software e.g Fusion360.

Step 4: Getting the Wires Ready

Using your pliers, cut the fours wires, each of length 80cm.
Then cut the wire tube such that its length should be like 3cm less than that of the wires.
Chop off the rubber insulation at both ends for the four wires.
Then strand and twist the four wires a bit and pass them through the tube.

Step 5: Soldering

We want to make a USB A to micro B cable. So take one of the connectors and solder each of the four wires to a pin as described below.
As seen in the images, the pin 1 is for the voltage, the red wires should be soldered to it.
Pin 2 is for Data-, the white wire is soldered to it.
Pin 3 is for Data+, the green wire is soldered to it.
Pin 4 is for the ground (GND), the black wire is soldered to it.
You ought to be fast with the soldering to avoid unnecessary heating.
After completing one side of the connectors, pick the other connector and also solder the corresponding wires to the pins.

Step 6: Fixing the Connector Covers

After completing the soldering, take the covers and connector, then fix the connector into the covers and clip them.
Do this for both connectors.

Step 7: Finalization and Testing

So finally your USB A to micro-B cable is ready for use.
If you have a power bank, you can plug the cable it to it to test it. You can also connect it to your computer and phone to test for data transfer. You can also test it on a microcontroller board etc.

If you actually carry out the project correctly as I have explained, the cable should work fine.
But if the cable didn’t work, then there will be need for troubleshooting.
Some common problems include wrong connection/pairing of wires, or one or more of the wires has cut inside, or the connector is bad.
So you have to open the cover, check the cables if they are correctly paired.
If the cables are correctly paired, you can use the multimeter to check for continuity to ensure that the cables are okay.
If each of the wires read continuity i.e the multimeter beeps, then it may be the connector that is having problem.

Finally, using similar procedures, you can also make the other cables like Type-A to Type-A, or Type-A to mini-B, or Type-A to Type-B, and so on.
Have a nice day ahead.
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