Wires inside a USB cable

Wires Inside a USB Cable. Click for a better view.

Because we live in California, we were talking about earthquakes and the question came up on how to recharge a smart phone. These phones use USB cables. Rechargers usually don’t have those.

Several years ago, I bought a SolarVerter F6220 solar cell panel. It can replace  four C, AA or AAA batteries (6 volt @ 220 mA). But it doesn’t have a USB connector.

I have a bunch of extra USB cables, so I took one apart to see if I could adapt it.

It’s pretty easy. You can do this in 10 minutes.

  1. Unplug the USB cable.
  2. Use scissors to cut the cable near the big USB plug.
  3. Use a razor blade and gently cut around the cable, about an inch from the end. Pull the rubber cover off.
  4. Under that is woven wire; this insulates the cable from electrical noise. Snip it away.
  5. Next is a thin paper wrapper. Remove it.
  6. There are several strands of string (to strengthen the cable). Clip those away too.
  7. You now have four wires: red, black, white, green.
  8. The white and green wires are data wires. Clip those too.
  9. The red and black wires are for power.
  10. The (+)red wire is power.
  11. The (-)black wire is the ground wire.
  12. Gently trim off the rubber insulation. You end up with about a half inch of bare wire.
  13. At this point, you’re ready to power your phone. Put it in a sunny spot. Connect the wires to the solar panel. Bingo! Your phone starts charging.
  14. It doesn’t matter if you reverse the wires. If it’s wrong, it won’t charge. That’s all. If it’s not charging, switch them around.
  15. If you want to get fancy, you can use solder to clean up the tips. I added little alligator clips. But it’s not necessary.

Bring on the earthquakes! 🙂