USB-C PD Power Hub for DIY Projects

USB-C PD Power Hub for DIY Projects
About a month ago, I showed you how to create a USB power hub using a DC power adaptor like this. One of the suggestions was to use USB type C as the power source and in this post, we will learn how to do just that.

The video above goes over some of the features of USB-C, shows you how to use the trigger board to switch output voltages and also walks you through the build. I’d recommend watching it first to get an understanding of how it all comes together.

Step 1: Gather the Electronics

Gather The ElectronicsGather The Electronics
We will need a USB-C power adaptor that supports power delivery. Along with that we also need a USB-C to USB-C cable, the power delivery trigger board, 4 USB type A ports and some wire.

Step 2: Set the Output to 5V

Output Voltage Options For My AdaptorOutput Voltage Options For My Adaptor

Set The Board To Output 5V (RED LED)Set The Board To Output 5V (RED LED)

Output Voltage Vs LED ColourOutput Voltage Vs LED Colour

A Note About Output VoltagesA Note About Output Voltages

The video tells you how to use the trigger board but here’s a summary:

  • Power ON the trigger board by holding down the switch. This will put it in the programming mode.
  • Press the switch until the RED LED is switched ON. This selects the 5V output voltage.
  • Long-press the switch to set this. The LED should then switch OFF.
  • Un-plug and then plug in the board again. The LED should be RED and the output voltage should be 5V. Verify this using a multimeter.
Step 3: Print the 3D Model

Enclosure For This BuildEnclosure For This Build

I’ve designed a custom 3D model for this build and you can obtain the files by using the link at the bottom of this post.

Step 4: Wire the Ports

Connection DiagramConnection Diagram

Wire Individual PortsWire Individual Ports

Wire All The Ports TogetherWire All The Ports Together

Wire The Trigger BoardWire The Trigger Board

Now that we have a 5V power source, we need to wire the output to the USB type A ports. Use the enclosure as a reference for the port locations and add wires of suitable lengths to each of the breakout boards. Then, wire them to the trigger board by using the reference diagram.

Step 5: Complete & Test

Glue The Ports In PlaceGlue The Ports In Place

Align & Glue The Trigger BoardAlign & Glue The Trigger Board

Verify Output Voltage And PolarityVerify Output Voltage And Polarity

Note About The BuildNote About The Build

The next step is to add the ports to the enclosure, glue them in place and attach the top cover. The enclosure has a lip/groove feature which will hold it together, but if not, you can also add some glue. I’d highly recommend measuring the output voltage and polarity across all the ports once you’ve completed the build. You can do this by using a USB breakout board and a suitable cable.

That’s how easy it is to build this power hub. If you want to learn how to build simple DIY projects like this one, then please consider subscribing to our YouTube channel or following us on social media as that helps a lot.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

USB Power Hub for DIY Projects

This USB power hub that can be used to power passive devices like DIY projects and provides up to 3A of current.

Step 1: Watch The Video

This is a very simple DIY build but the video above talks about the choice of the voltage regulator (linear vs switching) used for this project and it also goes over the enclosure details. I’d recommend watching it to get a better understanding of how it all comes together.

Step 2: Gather The Electronics

Components/Modules Required Components/Modules Required

We need the following electronics to build this project:

  • 1x LM2596 DC-DC power module
  • 4x USB Type A breakout boards
  • 1x DC power connector
  • 1x DC power adaptor – 9V or above
Step 3: Connect & Adjust The Output Voltage

Ensure Output Voltage Is Set to 5V Ensure Output Voltage Is Set to 5V

We start by wiring the DC connector to the input of the LM2596 module. Keep a note of the polarity and then connect the power adaptor. The blue light should start glowing. Use a screwdriver to adjust the trim-pot and set the voltage to 5V.

Step 4: Decide On The Enclosure

Check Component Placement Check Component Placement

We then need to wire the USB breakout boards to the power module but before we do this, decide on the enclosure so that you can use the correct wire lengths. I designed a custom enclosure that holds all the electronics in a tight space, which is what I was going for.

Here’s the link to the model: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3971771

Step 5: Complete The Wiring & Test

Wire All USB Boards Wire All USB Boards

Wire The Power Module Wire The Power Module

Check Voltage Output At All Ports Check Voltage Output At All Ports

Then, wire up all the USB boards with the correct wire lengths. Then, power on the module and make sure you have 5V across all the USB ports with the correct polarity.

Step 6: Add The Electronics To The Enclosure & Seal

Glue All The Electronics In Place Glue All The Electronics In Place

Check That There Are No Shorts Check That There Are No Shorts

The next step is to add the electronics to the enclosure and seal it. I used hot glue to hold all the electronics in position. I then used the top half to close it. The enclosure should fit snugly as it has a lip and groove feature if not, you can also apply some glue before closing it.

Step 7: Use It & Share

Final Build Final Build

Split USB Cables Split USB Cables

Project Cost Project Cost

This is a handy power hub that I will be using frequently. I’ve added the approximate cost breakdown in case you need it. You can also add the split USB cables as seen above to power a total of 8 USB devices.

A Modular, USB Powered, Bluetooth Speaker System

A modular, UBS powered, bluetooth speaker system

We learn how to build a simple, yet very useful USB powered, Bluetooth speaker system that uses a modular enclosure.

Step 1: Watch the Video To Get An Overview Of The Build Process

This video will give you an overview of the entire build process, details about the enclosure and electronics involved. It would be advisable to watch it before you set out to build this speaker system.

Step 2: Gather All The Electronics

Electronics Layout Electronics Layout

I would strongly recommend you purchase the Bluetooth module and the amplifier as a combo like the one shown in the video as that will simplify the wiring for you. If you have previously purchased a BBox2 unit then you can use the electronics and speakers from there.

We will be using commonly available 2″ (51mm) full-range speaker drivers along with a microUSB breakout board for the input power. We also build a small filtering board consisting of a 100nF capacitor for filtering along with a 1000uF electrolytic capacitor which acts as a reservoir capacitor. The combo amplifier module that is available online works from a single, 5V supply so you do not need to add any more electronics to the filtering board. However, if you use the amplifier module from BBox2 then you will need to create a 3.3V power supply as well and we will be using the LD1117 linear regulator as the Bluetooth module does not draw a lot of power.

Step 3: Build The Filtering Board

5V Filtering Board Wiring 5V Filtering Board Wiring

5V Filtering Board 5V Filtering Board

5V & 3.3V Filtering Board Wiring 5V & 3.3V Filtering Board Wiring

5V & 3.3V Filtering Board 5V & 3.3V Filtering Board

The filtering board is optional but I recommend adding it as not all USB power supplies can deliver the frequent current bursts that are needed when playing low-frequency beats at high volumes. Once again, if you are using the off-the-shelf combo module then you only need the 5V section. If you are using the module from BBox2, then you will need to create the 3.3V section as well. Refer to the wiring images shown. Once the filtering section has been built, solder the USB breakout board to the input.

You can also add a switch to control the power to the system and there’s more information about this in the step about the enclosure.

Step 4: Wire It Together & Test

Combo Module Wiring Combo Module Wiring

BBox2 Module Wiring BBox2 Module Wiring

Testing The Setup Testing The Setup

Once you’ve created the power supply section, solder some wires to the speakers and start wiring it all together. When you first power on the system, the two LEDs will blink rapidly, indicating that it needs to be paired. Use a smartphone or computer to scan nearby devices and the Bluetooth module should show up as either the CSR8645 or the F-3188 module depending on the firmware loaded onto the actual Bluetooth module. Simply tap the name to pair and once paired, using the speakers is as simple as playing some audio. You can use the volume buttons from the phone to control the speaker volume but do keep in mind that you can also control the volume from the physical buttons themselves. If for some reason the speakers don’t sound loud enough then you can adjust the volume manually using the buttons.

Make sure everything works before moving on to the enclosure. Don’t worry about the sound quality as the enclosure plays a huge role in enhancing this as you will see later.

Step 5: Build An Enclosure

Example Cardboard Enclosure Example Cardboard Enclosure

Example Enclosure That Uses A Can Example Enclosure That Uses A Can

Making A Hole For The USB Board Making A Hole For The USB Board

Gluing The USB Board Gluing The USB Board

Final Left Speaker Section Final Left Speaker Section

I strongly recommend using an enclosure for this build as it enhances the final audio quality – both in terms of loudness and the actual tone. You do not have to 3D print an enclosure and you can also use a cardboard box or can as shown in the images.

If you decide to 3D print an enclosure, then here’s a link to a very nice one that I will be using: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2446587

I used an old soldering iron to make a hole in the amplifier enclosure and this is where I planned to mount the USB board. I used hot glue to support and hold it in place. Mounting the speakers was easy enough and I used version 1 of the speaker fascia as these were perfect for the speakers I had. I used 6×1/2″ or 3.5x13mm self-tapping screws to hold everything in place. The 3D model also had a small hole on the amplifier cover for a power switch and so I decided to add one. The switch sits in series, between the USB board and filtering board.

Step 6: Wire & Place The PCB Inside the Enclosure

Final Left Speaker Section Final Test

Final Build Final Build

Next, we need to wire it all again and then place the PCBs into the enclosure. I used double-sided tape to hold them in place. Once this is complete, you can power it up to make sure it works and then attach the amplifier cover using 4 more screws.

Step 7: Play Some Beats & Share It With All of Us!

Final Build Final Build

I don’t know about you but I was very excited when I built the first prototype using the Bluetooth module and that was even before I created this 3D printed version. In my opinion, this is definitely a very exciting build for anyone who wants to learn more about electronics. I hope everything worked together wonderfully and that you will continue building DIY projects like these.

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