Build a custom USB cable of any length required from scratch, on location, by keeping a few parts and basic soldering equipment in a tool kit. Avoid making a special trip to the electronics store or waiting for a cable to arrive from a vendor. Finish a project in minutes instead of hours or days by creating a USB cable to match any need. Custom-designed USB A to USB B or Mini-USB cables or USB extension cables can be created in minutes with inexpensive parts that belong in any took kit.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Four conductor copper data cable
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Solder type USB connectors of various styles
- Helping hands soldering aid
- Electronic soldering iron with stand
- 60/40 tin/lead solder or lead-free electronics solder
Cut a length of four conductor copper data cable to the length required using the wire cutters.
Strip the outside layer of insulation from each end of the cable for about an inch using the wire strippers.
Remove the insulation from the inner conductors on each end of the cable for about a quarter inch.
Spin the stranded wires in each conductor between finger and thumb to eliminate the frayed ends that can cause short circuits when soldering.
Place the USB connector of choice for one end of the cable into the helping hands soldering aid and align one conductor with pin 1 of the connector.
Place the tip of the soldering iron against the conductor for one second and apply the tip of the solder to the conductor until a small amount of solder melts onto the wire and connector. Quickly pull the solder and the soldering iron away from the junction. Inspect to ensure a connection was made and that no excess solder has run between connections. Repeat the process for the other three pins.
Attach the plastic hood to the connector. Place the second connector into the helping hands soldering aid and repeat the soldering instructions, using the same colour conductor for each pin that was used on the first connector. The end result will be a cable where pin 1 connects to pin 1, and each other pins also connects straight through the cable.
Tips and warnings
- Use solder sparingly, applying only enough to make the connection and avoid allowing excess solder to run or drip.
- Use a fan or other ventilation to avoid inhalation of solder smoke, which can be harmful. Keep the hot soldering iron away from surfaces that are heat sensitive or flammable.
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