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.
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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:
- LM2596 Module: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LM2596-DC-DC-Adjustable...
- USB Breakout Boards: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10Pcs-USB-Type-A-Female...
- DC Power Connector: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4x-5-5mm-x-2-1mm-PCB-DC...
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:
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.
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