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  1. #1
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    Default How to make a USB Light

    USB Snake light
    Inspiration from http://www.metku.net/

    An easy and fun mod which doesn't take too long, nor cost too much.

    All writing and photographs are copyright of William Stewart, 2004. Feel free to tell your friends about this mod, or post about it elsewhere on the net. I do NOT give permission for people to copy and paste this article and publish it elsewhere. If you would like to ask my permission for distribution, please contact me on Willuknight @ gmail .com

    DISCLAIMER: It is not my fault or responsibility for you or your computer parts. Nothing happened to me while I made this mod. HOWEVER I accept no responsibility any damage or injury caused while following this guide. By reading the rest of these instructions, you signify that you have read and agree to this Disclaimer. Have fun !


    NOTE: Do not try this with multiple LEDs / different resistors unless you know what your doing. If in doubt, ask someone experienced with electronics. If you follow the guide and get the same LED / resistor, i doubt you'll have any problems. If you get a different value resistor or LED, you could blow your USB controller.

    Parts Needed:
    (DSE = D ick Smith Electronics)

    1x USB Cable
    (I got a spare USB printer cord and chopped off the printer end)

    1x LED
    (I got an Ultra bright White LED from DSE for NZ$7.95. Part number Z3980

    1x Resistor.

    Type will vary depending on what LED you use. If in doubt, ask someone at an electronics store.
    If you use the same LED I used, then you need the R 1058 Resistor @ DSE

    Electrical Tape
    Or you could be cheap and use sellotape.

    EXTRA'S

    Cable Cover
    I got a 3meter length at Repco for $9. You can also buy rubber covers for cables from Payless Plastics. They look really good inside your case to cover up Molex cables, ect. You could also try Heatshrink, ask at DSE

    Lamp Mount / Cover
    Use your imagination. I found a loose Icicle Christmas light cover, worked quite well.

    Wire
    If you get some wire, then you can make the light act like a snake light, i.e. bend it and it will hold its shape. Really Handy.

    You can get an old wire Coat hanger for this, or any other sort of wire that is easy to bend, yet will hold up the weight of the light. I only have thin wire spare, so I folded it 4x for enough strength.

    TOOLS:

    Soldering Iron and Solder

    Utility Knife

    Wire cutters


    Also handy is a vice or something to hold the wires in place.

    --------------------------

    Instructions


    Step One: Skinning
    a) Get your USB cable, cut off the end you don't want. Cut off 5cm of the plastic cover of the cable with your utility knife, being careful not to cut any wires (its good practice).

    There will be about 4 wires in the USB cable, and possibly a foil shield, surrounded by a weave of outer wire shield.

    b) Pull back the shields, until you can see about 5cm of the Coloured wires.

    c) The only wires we need to use are the Black wire and the Red wire.

    Red is 5volt, Black is Neutral.

    Trim back the plastic cover of these wires, until you can see about 3cm of the copper wire. Be very careful not to cut any of the copper wires. If you cut too many, you will have to trim back another 3cm.


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...Light/Pic1.jpg

    Step Two: Soldering

    a) Get your LED, and look at it. The longer leg is the positive wire, the shorter is the negative.

    You may want to trim the legs back so they're not so long, BUT BE CAREFUL NOT TO FORGET WHICH LEG IS + AND WHICH IS -
    My suggestion: trim the - leg first, then make sure you leave the + longer. Use Wire cutters to trim the led legs.

    (Just a tip about soldering, the less solder the better, i.e. use enough for the job, but not a big blob of solder. Also be careful not to melt the LED casing, resistor or wire sleeves with the soldering Iron. I've ruined one component that way.

    You may want to do what I do, and use a cardboard shield. Just get a small cardboard rectangle, and cut a line into it about halfway. Then put the wire you want to solder through the cut. The idea is that the cardboard protects the rest of the wire/components. Then when that wire is soldered, tape it up before moving to the next one.)


    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...Light/Pic2.jpg

    b) Now solder one end of the resistor to the + leg of the LED.

    c) Then solder the red wire to the other end of the resistor.

    d) Now solder the Black wire to the short leg of the LED.

    Now test your light. All going well, it should work.

    If not, check that none of the wires are touching each other, and that the Black and Red lines do not touch anywhere.

    Now you have a functioning light, but itís still pretty ugly and fragile, so you need to finalize it.

    You can bend the wires around if you need to, but make sure they don't touch each other, or break
    ----------

    Step Three: Make it Pretty

    a) Now, if you have a led mount, affix the led to the mount. remember to make sure no exposed wires touch.

    b) Wrap up the end with electrical tape, and cover all exposed wires. Remember the other coloured wires, and the cable shield we didn't use ? you can cut this back, or tape it under. Remember not to let any exposed wire to be in contact.

    c) Now get your heavy gauge wire, for the snake light part of your light. This wire should be weak enough to bend without too much effort, but still strong enough to retain its shape, and bear the weight of the LED.

    Wrap the wire around the cord and tape it at intervals of 5cm or so, for strength.

    Your USB light should now look like this:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...Light/Pic3.jpg

    You can spray paint the cord, or wrap it in cablesleeving or heatshink if you want it to look better.

    My Finished Product :
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...Light/Pic4.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...Light/Pic5.jpg

    Well, that was exciting. All up it cost me $7.99 to make this, not including USB Cable, Electrical tape, solder, LED mount, Cable Sleeving and 1 hour or so time. Thatís about what it would cost to buy one on trade me

    However Iím still pleased I did this, as it was enjoyable, educational and now I get to have my very own home made USB Accessory!

    Sorry about the lousy photos. My current 2mb camera isn't good at dark photos or close-ups. I lost my good Sony Cyber shot in a fire

    I hope someone else out that takes up the challenge, costs could probably be saved by buying a normal LED instead of an Ultra bright one, which cost 99% of my budget.

    I'll defiantly be trying variations on this mod, maybe some LED spotlights inside my case

    Cheers,

    Willuknight AKA William Stewart
    Last edited by Willuknight; 26-12-2004 at 09:05 PM. Reason: fix format tags

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    i might try this......

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    I have been thinking of doing this for some time.....

    nice of you to write it all up for others.
    "Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer!"
    Grand Nagus - Zek

    http://brightwork.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light


  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    Mines customised for New Zealanders though

    Its probabably cheaper and easier to go buy yourslef one from trademe, however nothing beats having made something like this yourself

  6. #6
    Modulator Greg's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Willuknight
    Mines customised for New Zealanders though

    Its probabably cheaper and easier to go buy yourslef one from trademe, however nothing beats having made something like this yourself
    Hardly seems worth the hassle when you can but one which looks a lot smarter and costs less

    http://www.dansdata.com/usbthings.htm

    http://www.dansdata.com/images/usbga...gblight800.jpg
    Bugger the cancer. I'm suffering from terminal inertia.

  7. #7
    Resident Monopoly Hater
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    i been thinking of doing this for a while too... tho mines alot simpler...

    I blew a LED when connecting it to the 5v's on the usb tho...*scratches head*

  8. #8
    I said WHAT... dolby digital's Avatar
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    Unhappy Re: How to make a USB Light

    I had to buy a "fun" Christmas present and thought I would buy a DSE Christmas tree which you plug into the usb port and it lights up!! They had sold out

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    Quote Originally Posted by dolby digital
    I had to buy a "fun" Christmas present and thought I would buy a DSE Christmas tree which you plug into the usb port and it lights up!! They had sold out
    lol u serious?? i mean they look so cheap lol well i guess its the xmas spirit that counts

  10. #10
    I said WHAT... dolby digital's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a USB Light

    It was of those $5 pressie things... I was surprised they had all gone

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