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How to Build USB-Powered Christmas Lights

If you have an unused USB port on your computer you can put it to good use and add a touch of flair to your workspace.


  • : Working with electricity is very dangerous. Completely disconnect your computer from electrical outlets before you begin. If you have any doubts, contact a professional.
  • Step 1: Strip USB cable Cut the USB cable and strip a small section of the outer sheath to expose the red and black wires inside.
  • TIP: Cut back and ignore the data and grounding wires -- they won't be needed.
  • Step 2: Prepare lights Unpack the Christmas lights and cut off the battery pack. Strip the sheathing to expose a small portion of the wires.
  • Step 3: Match red and black wires Locate and match up the positive-charge red wires and the negative-charge black wires on the string of lights and the USB cable.
  • TIP: Use a multimeter, an electronic measuring device, to make sure you are matching up the wires correctly.
  • Step 4: Solder Use your soldering iron to connect the two sets of wires.
  • TIP: If you don't have a soldering iron, you can twist the wires together and wrap them with electrical tape.
  • Step 5: Wrap wires Wrap a piece of electrical tape around the bundle of wires for protection.
  • Step 6: Plug in and turn on Plug the USB-powered lights into your computer. Now you have mood lighting for the holidays or any time of year.
  • FACT: In 1882, Thomas Jefferson's associate, Edward Johnson, became the first person to electrically light a Christmas tree.

You Will Need

  • USB connector cable
  • Scissors
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Strand of Christmas lights with a 5-volt
  • battery-operated power supply
  • Electrical tape
  • Multimeter (optional)

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