USB Power Hub for DIY Projects

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Introduction: USB Power Hub for DIY Projects

About: #BnBe is a platform to help teach electronics no matter what the age or skill level. We’re currently designing a wide range of products from beginner level kits to industry-standard microcontroller platforms.

We have currently built two standalone USB powered DIY projects and we will continue to build more. Powering all of them is going to be a challenge and thus, I decided to build this USB power hub that can be used to power passive devices. You can also use the split, microUSB cables to connect up to 8 devices in total. The hub has a wide input voltage range and is small enough to be tucked away beneath your desk.

NOTE: This will NOT be able to charge smartphones or other "smart" devices as there is no USB power negotiation capability. This is meant to be used with "dumb" devices that simply need 5V power like most DIY electronic projects.

Step 1: Watch the Video

This is a very simple DIY build but the video above talks about the choice of the voltage regulator (linear vs switching) used for this project and it also goes over the enclosure details. I'd recommend watching it to get a better understanding of how it all comes together.

Step 2: Gather the Electronics

We need the following electronics to build this project:

  • 1x LM2596 DC-DC power module
  • 4x USB Type A breakout boards
  • 1x DC power connector
  • 1x DC power adaptor - 9V or above

These are commonly available online and here are some reference links to help you get started:

Step 3: Connect and Adjust the Output Voltage

We start by wiring the DC connector to the input of the LM2596 module. Keep a note of the polarity and then connect the power adaptor. The blue light should start glowing. Use a screwdriver to adjust the trim-pot and set the voltage to 5V.

Step 4: Decide on the Enclosure

We then need to wire the USB breakout boards to the power module but before we do this, decide on the enclosure so that you can use the correct wire lengths. I designed a custom enclosure that holds all the electronics in a tight space, which is what I was going for.

Here's the link to the model:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3971771

Step 5: Complete the Wiring & Test

Then, wire up all the USB boards with the correct wire lengths. Then, power on the module and make sure you have 5V across all the USB ports with the correct polarity.

Step 6: Add the Electronics to the Enclosure & Seal

The next step is to add the electronics to the enclosure and seal it. I used hot glue to hold all the electronics in position. I then used the top half to close it. The enclosure should fit snugly as it has a lip and groove feature, if not, you can also apply some glue before closing it.

Step 7: Use It & Share

This is a handy power hub that I will be using frequently. I've added the approximate cost breakdown in case you need it. You can also add the split USB cables as seen above to power a total of 8 USB devices.

Don't forget to follow us on social media to get notified of future builds. Here are some links:

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    19 Comments

    0
    saadland
    saadland

    1 year ago

    Nice little device. You should set the step down module slithly above 5.0V. As to compensate drop out. 5.v is a good set. like that when 4 device are plugged into each USB port, you are sure that each device will get it minimal 5v required for its well being :D

    0
    OGHagen
    OGHagen

    1 year ago

    Neat. I have plans to make a usb hub for my projects as well. I will probably add a Volt/Ammeter to monitor the current as I plan to run the hub from a 12 Volt battery.

    0
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    That's nice. You do get these tiny voltmeter modules on eBay which should work a treat!

    0
    BehramAssi
    BehramAssi

    1 year ago

    Hi Good idea. Why not use a 5V 4A Supply? Then you do not need the module. Switchmode adapters usually they are quite accurate 5v.

    0
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    You can use them too but I wanted to make something that will work with spare adaptors that we generally have around :)

    0
    Tarantula3
    Tarantula3

    1 year ago

    Good job mate

    0
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    1
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes! This is NOT meant to charge smartphones as mentioned in the video. I designed this to power USB DIY devices as there's no point buying special power hubs for those.

    0
    unglaublich
    unglaublich

    1 year ago

    BRAVO !!! BRAVO !!!BRAVO !!!
    your detail+simple explanation is extremely good for the beginner e.engineer so
    danke danke danke... my question is NOT on the lm2596, but do you know of any that will provide similar function for devices require 24v 14a( consistent ) ??? have a great day !!!

    0
    unglaublich
    unglaublich

    Reply 1 year ago

    as a fav. to me to all those starters, PLEASE DO NOT STOP bravo !!! brao !!! bravo !!!

    0
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you! I will try my best :) Have a great day!

    0
    n9god
    n9god

    Question 1 year ago on Step 7

    Is there a reason these hubs are typically limited to 4 ports?

    0
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Answer 1 year ago

    This is a custom device so you can add more ports if you like. I was happy with 4 ports because that keeps it a little compact and I can use the split USB cables to connect more devices. For commercialy available USB hubs, the number of ports will be limited by the USB hub controller but we do not use one here. I'm guessing it's a tradeoff between price and number of ports. Hope this helps.

    1
    jonahlait
    jonahlait

    1 year ago

    You daisy chained each usb onto the next, would it make any different if you wired each usb directly to the lm2596 buck instead?

    0
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    It would be better to wire the USB ports directly to the LM2596 as that way, you can use thinner wire and still draw high current. I mainly daisy chained them to make it a bit neat and I wouldn't be drawing close to the 3A rating.

    0
    uberwald
    uberwald

    1 year ago

    How much power can this simple circuit deliver to each port, and is that in any way protecting the devices plugged in? I'd really like to power a handful of raspberry pi devices without so many wall warts :)

    1
    Bnbe_club
    Bnbe_club

    Reply 1 year ago

    The LM2596 is rated for a max current draw of 3A. If you use a suitable DC power adaptor (9V or higher, 3A or higher) then you will be able to supply 3A in total. I'd recommend wiring all the ports in parallel, directly to the LM2596 if you intend drawing that much current. There's no individual limit on the ports themselves, so you can use either one.

    Higher output current: check out the XL4015 module that can deliver a max current of 5A and is simple to use.
    Protection: You can add a diode for reverse polarity protection and a bit of isolation. A polyfuse can be used to deal with any short circuits. Hope this helps :)