How to Add an On/Off Switch to a USB

Written by alice godfrey
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A cable that uses USB, plugged into a USB port on a computer, permits both data transfer and power to those devices attached to the cable. To manually disconnect the flow of data coming through a USB cable, install an On/Off switch onto one of the data lines in the cable. The procedure requires a few tools from around the house as well as supplies from a hardware store. No special electrical precautions are necessary while adding the switch to the USB cable.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Wire stripper
  • Electrical tape

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  1. 1

    Disconnect both ends of the USB cable from any computer USB port and any USB device. Lay the USB cable horizontally on a work surface.

  2. 2

    Cut a 4-inch slit across the outer insulation at any point on the USB cable, using a utility knife. Pull the insulation back to reveal the wires inside.

  3. 3

    Separate the white data wire from the others. Cut through the white data wire, using the blade of the utility knife. Strip 1/2-inch of insulation from each end of the two cut white data wires.

  4. 4

    Loosen the screws on each end of the On/Off switch using a Phillips screwdriver. Wrap an end of the two cut white data wires around each screw. Tighten the screws. Push the insulation back together. Wrap a strip of electrical tape around the cut area of the USB cable for insulation.

Tips and warnings

  • The green wire can be substituted for the white one, should you prefer to use it or if it is easier to grasp from inside the cable.

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