USB Breakout Board




This is a really simple USB breakout that I made in half an hour so that I could control some USB powered Christmas lights with an Arduino and a relay module.

There are three ways to connect the USB with this board:

  1. Solder wires to the strip board
  2. Connect to male header pins
  3. Connect to female header pins

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Step 1: Parts Required

You will need:


  • A small piece of strip board (At least 4x5 - 4 strips, 5 holes)
  • A female USB jack - I took mine of a broken USB hub
  • 4 pin male header strip
  • At least 4 pin female header strip - we can cut this down to 4 pin later


  • Soldering iron
  • Side cutters
  • Glue gun (optional)

Step 2: Soldering the USB Jack

First, check the USB jack fits on the strip board. If the strip board to too wide, trim it down with the side cutters but make sure you leave four strips for the USB pins. n.b. the two bigger pins you can see in the photo don't need to be soldered.

If you have a glue gun and want to make the attachment of the USB jack to the strip board stronger, squirt a little hot glue under the jack, but make sure you don't cover the ends of the pins or else it will be harder to solder them onto the board.

Once everything fits, solder the four pins to the strip board. To learn how to solder, go here.

Step 3: Preparing the Header Pins

For the male header pins, snap 4 off from a strip.

For the female header pins, use side cutters. Align them so the cutting edges are along the centre of the fifth pin. You will break this pin and get four female header pins as shown in the last image.

Step 4: Adding the Header Pins

If you have a glue gun, squirt a bit of hot glue on the female header pins as shown in the first image. Quickly put this in the strip board before the glue cools. This will stick the header pins to the USB jack to make to whole unit stronger and more robust.

First solder the female header pins and then add the male header pins and solder these.

You can snip the any excess strip board that you don't want with side cutters but remember to leave some if you either want to screw you board to something or want to be able to solder directly to the board later.

Step 5: Finish

You now have a USB breakout board which you can connect to using male or female connections or soldering wires onto the holes in the strip board at the end.

Refer to the diagram to see which pins you need to plug in to to con

With the USB jack facing you

  • The left pin is VCC. This is the voltage input - 5V for USB
  • The 2nd left pin is Data - (used for communication)
  • The 3rd along is Data + (used for communication)
  • The right pin is GND. This is the negative voltage terminal.

For more information about how USB communication works, I found this article useful: USB Overview

If you just want to power something like my USB fairy lights, you only need to connect VCC and GND.

n.b. Just connecting VCC and GND won't work for changing some devices. For example, iPhones won't charge because you need to connect the Data + and Data - pins with resistors. If you want to charge an iPhone, go here.

Thanks reading this Instructable, I hope it was useful.

Step 6: Ideas From the Comments

Here are some ideas from the comments which you may want to do yourself. If you have an idea, please post a comment below and I might mention it.

BrynEB added standard USB colour coding with Sharpies onto the strip board. Refer to the graphic above for a reminder of which pin is what.

ursm is going to solder the male header pins facing downwards so that it can be used on a breadboard directly.

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10 Discussions


3 years ago

Neat idea! For some reason, though I could probably use it, it's never crossed my mind! Now all I'd need to do is make it so you could plug it directly into a breadbaord...

1 reply

3 years ago

This is a great way to get regulated 5V power from a USB wall brick. I have several Arduino Pro Mini's and I think this could be the perfect way to power them. Thanks for the great idea.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Just a note: the breakout board won't regulate the power supply. What tcodd86 means is that the 5V comes regulated from the USB wall brick. I might add a step about adding a regulator such as an L7805 anyway.


3 years ago

I'll build one, but also add a male header downside to add it on a breadboard.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Thanks for the idea. I have added it to Step 6.


3 years ago

Just cut the end off of a USB cable? Much easier to solder the wires and shrink wrap. I do this all the time for things that need a 5-6v wall wart, but I want to plug them into a hub or cell phone charger.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

I assume you are referring to male USB cables. Nevertheless, that would also work with the female end of a USB cable. The reason that I built my one like I have was because I wanted a way that I could connect either female or male jumper wires to my Arduino for rapid prototyping. Personally, I would use your method when I was making something more permanent - it would also look much nicer than some strip board!


This is great for making USB prototypes of use USB to power a 5V circuit