USB Power Hub for DIY Projects

6,418

69

14

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.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

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:

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Instrument Contest

      Instrument Contest
    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest
    • STEM Contest

      STEM Contest

    14 Discussions

    0
    None
    Bnbe_clubTiborV2

    Reply 22 days 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
    None
    unglaublich

    22 days 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 !!!

    3 replies
    0
    None
    unglaublichBnbe_club

    Reply 22 days ago

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

    0
    None
    Bnbe_clubunglaublich

    Reply 22 days ago

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

    0
    None
    n9god

    Question 22 days ago on Step 7

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

    1 answer
    0
    None
    Bnbe_clubn9god

    Answer 22 days 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
    None
    jonahlait

    22 days 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?

    1 reply
    0
    None
    Bnbe_clubjonahlait

    Reply 22 days 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
    None
    uberwald

    22 days 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 reply
    0
    None
    Bnbe_clububerwald

    Reply 22 days 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 :)