Add a USB Port to a Lamp

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About: illustrator, animator, builder of things

When I came across this vintage Electrix goose-neck desk lamp I realized it was a goose-neck desk lamp I couldn't live without, so I bought it. Then I thought it'd be a lot cooler if it had a USB port in the base of it. Turns out, this is a fairly simple thing to do.

(This happens to be my second modified lamp. My newer phone uses a "quick" charger, so this is an upgrade. Maybe I'll use the old one as Secret Santa gift.)

Supplies:

a lamp (with a convenient spot for a usb port)

a usb charging block

a new lamp cord (optional)

screwdriver

drill

small file

hot glue gun

wire strippers

heat shrink tubing

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Step 1: Observe the Lamp

This lamp has a red on/off switch mounted to the base.
Three screws hold a metal plate on the bottom that hold in the guts.
The guts consist of a wire from the power cord, to the power switch, then from the switch to the bulb fixture, then back to the power cord to complete the circuit.

Step 2: Crack Open the Charging Cube

I thought I would be able to use my flat head screwdriver to pry apart the cube, but I was wrong. I ended up drilling a hole to get the grip I needed. To avoid mangling the parts inside I was careful not to drill too deep.

Step 3: Cut a Rectangular Hole

The usb block component was temporarily placed inside the base, and I used a pocket knife to mark where the hole should be cut.

I used a dremel tool to make a rough hole, then used small files to clean up the shape and size of the port hole.

Step 4: Attach the New Cord

The cord that came with the lamp was crusty and gross, so I ordered a new cloth covered one. The new cord was a little thicker, so the hole where it enters the lamp needed to be reamed out a bit. By chance, I already had a suitably sized bushing lying around.

I connected the cord where the prongs of the charging block used to be, and left some wire to reconnect the lamp the way it was before. Heat shrink tubing was used to cover the bare copper.

I crammed it all in there and fixed some things in place with hot glue, then put the cover back on and it was ready to use.

Step 5: Try It Out

I use a USB meter to check if the port is working and see the voltage and amperage.

Because the charging parts are connected before the lamp's switch, it can charge your phone whether the lamp is on or off.




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    2 Discussions

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    AnandM54

    4 weeks ago

    Wow...brilliant idea!!!

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    jessyratfink

    4 weeks ago

    Nice! I want this in every lamp in my house :D