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How To: Run LED Solo From PCless USB Connector

Do you see something odd about this picture?  Maybe the fact an LED is illuminating from a USB connector with no PC in site?  Ya that’s it.  Good job Sherlock.

USB LED

So what we have here is a How To or USB Hack on running an LED from a Super-capacitor.  If you are non-technical, then we basically mean a very short lived battery to run the LED.  A super-capacitor has the ability to store energy for longer periods of time over traditional capacitors – yet still not long enough as with batteries.The concept of this tutorial is to wire a super-capacitor to a USB socket whereby your computer can charge up the capacitor and when disconnected you’ll get about 10 minutes of LED illumination.

USB LED

Granted there isn’t much day-to-day use with this USB hack, but just a fun little project if you have the time. Over on the Instructables website there is an updated USB tutorial which includes Continue Reading

DIY: How To Get Power From USB For Any USB Gadget Project

Here is a 7 minute video on how to wire up any USB port and suck the power right out for that USB gadget you dreamed up at 3am.  For DIY projects, USB hacking is one of the most popular forms of taking something ordinary and making something unique.  So if you’ve never tried a hack or USB tutorial, this is a great building block for yourself.  Enjoy! Source: YouTube. Continue Reading

USB Laser Duck Solves Lack of Laser Ducks

I think we can all agree there are not enough USB laser ducks out there.  To help solve this problem we came across a nice USB laser duck tutorial to take any rubber ducky and turn it into a zombie, creepy laser duck. I don’t think Ernie will be to pleased to hear the news.

USB duck

The USB hack is fairly simple and the ideal project for a young kid looking to do something cool for the first time.  All you need is a USB cable, rubber duck and some diodes. You’ll need to solder the diodes to the USB cable, then mount the laser eyes correctly and securely into the rubber ducky.  If the concept doesn’t make sense, you can jump over to Instructables and get the play-by-play. I think one way to increase the coolness would be stuffing the entire USB cable into the duck body.  Either that, or take another Instructable where you can increase the laser intensity to pop balloons, burn paper and more… but do it with a bit of caution and common sense. Video. Continue Reading

DIY: iPad Cork Sleeve

Don’t dismiss this post because you think a cork sleeve would be cheezy for your $700 iPad.  It’s not.  This tutorial helps you create a well designed, cool looking, durable cork case. Sure, cork isn’t very strong, but with added cloth and fleece the end result creates a strong sleeve and something which will protect your iPad and last for quit some time.

cork ipad sleeve

The materials are not difficult to find and should run you about $20 at most. Bobber does an excellent job of point out the details and making sure you don’t miss the important steps for making a quality DIY iPad sleeve.  He includes a ton of well documented pictures, after all, nothing is better than a picture for projects you’ve never tried. Full tutorial here. Continue Reading

How To: Duct Tape USB Holder / Wallet

I’ve seen some USB holders at Staples and Office Max for over $20 dollars and that’s just for a fancy pouch to place your USB sticks while on-the-go.  What about a DIY duct tape USB holder?  You get the satisfaction of making it yourself, save yourself some cash and a hint of coolness to your storage devices.

usb duct tape holder wallet

Granted the duct tape approach is more in tune with kids, but lets give this a quick review. In four simple steps you can do this exact project. Step 1 – Grab some materials, that being a ruler, knife, duct tape, thumb drives and creativity. Step 2 – Make the back plane duct tape which is very similar to making a duct tape wallet. Step 3 – Add the pockets.  In the picture you can see the USBs are parallel with each other, I would recommend staggering them so the thickness is reduced when folding. Step 4 – Put the finishing touches on there with some clean lines of duct tape, patterns and custom designs. For the full tutorial and loads more pictures visit Instructables. Continue Reading

How To: Use Physical Lock To Enable / Disable USB Ports

I came across this very interesting USB hack from TechOat the other day.  The concept of this modification is taking the key of a power box in your computer and turning that into the physical on/off switch for USB communication. The premise is disassembling the wires of the USB cable and port and weaving that into the circuit of a locking switch on your PC.  I think this illustration shows it best:

USB lock on off

What I particularly like about this USB hack, is the physical requirement to have the key in order to work the USB port.  This type of security [more fun then practical] for USB devices in general is much better than a Truecrypt type solution as that only protects the device, not the system. So what you need includes: Small USB thumb drive USB extension cable or USB socket and plug with cable Locking switch DPST Plastic box The rest is just elbow grease to get it working, for the specific details and tutorial, jump here.

USB lock enable disable

Continue Reading

How To: USB Steampunk a Flash Drive

Here at GetUSB.info we love the USB steampunk drive.  We’ve reported on at least a dozen of them over the past couple years and I’m sure we’ve missed three times that many.  Today we are tipping you off to a great tutorial on how to USB steampunk your own flash drive. Instructables has a very detailed, 9 page tutorial on how to steampunk your own gear.  It gives you a list of material, a detailed process, good and creative guidelines along with plenty of pictures and resources.

USB steampunk flash drive

It’s my goal to actually do this over the July 4th weekend [2010] and post my result.  Lets hope for the best! To give you an idea of the scope of project considering the following list of materials and tools.  If it fits into your abilities, then give it a shot! Continue Reading

How To: Remove a Virus From a USB Stick

How To: Remove a Virus From a USB Stick

The easiest way to remove any virus from a USB stick is this: format it!  Be sure to use the Full Format function, not the quick format function.In the very unlikely event you get an error messages saying you cannot format the drive because it’s being used by another program, or for some reason you have data on there you don’t want to format off, then you can try the following. Before I start however, let me explain the fundamental concept of what we are trying to do. With most virus’ they make it very hard to delete the files so they can spread their infection.  To do this, they use several files and ping each other so they appear to be in constant use.  This is why you see the error “being used by another program cannot delete or format.”  So what we need to do, is stop that process.  In addition, programmers put in attributes to make it hard to delete as well.  For example they set the file attribute to Archive, or System File so we’ll need to remove those attributes too. So lets start:  In Windows go to START > RUN.  In the field type cmd This will open the DOS command prompt.  Here you should be at the C drive root.  If not type cd\ and click return.  You will then be at the C:\ root.

USB root

Next type the drive letter of your flash drive.  In my example that is drive letter F.  You can find the drive letter of your flash drive by going to START > MY COMPUTER > and look for the “Removable Disk“Next, type the drive letter, so for me, type f: and hit enter. After you are in the drive letter of the flash drive, type dir/w/a

This will list all the files in your flash drive, regardless of it’s attributes of being hidden, System file or archive. Now we should look for suspicious files such as anything listed as a .exe file or a .inf file.  Specifically anything with a autorun.inf should be deleted.  Some other popular ones are Ravmon.exe, svchost.exe, Heap41a and pagefile.pif. If you see any of these, then lets remove all the file attributes and try and delet them. To remove all attributes do the following: In the DOS command prompt type attrib -r -a -s -h *.*  This command will remove all attributes for all files. Now we can delete the files.  You do this by typing del filename [be sure to include the exentions too, for example type del autorun.inf and hit enter.

This should do the trick if you’d like to remove problem files without running the Full Format function. Continue Reading

DIY: Wood USB Marble Machine

During the month of July Instructables is running a USB contest for who can make the best mod while incorporating USB technology.  For this reason, we’ve been keeping a close eye on what you creative folks are up to. Today we bring you the 100% natural, all wood, USB marble machine.

DIY USB marble machine

I will admit the name is more impressive then the look, but the cool factor outweighs the look. The wood USB marble machine is an excellent DIY project and will open up your eyes to all sorts of different ways you can make an automated, electric motor powered marble machine. Check out the video, it’s well worth it! Learn how at Instructables. Continue Reading

USB Not Working – Try This

Do you have USB ports on your computer but for some reason the devices connected are not working? Or maybe your USB ports stop working after a long period of time? Don’t worry, the USB not working is [most likely] related to your computer configuration, not the ports malfunctioning. If our hunch is right, the fix is easy.  This is what we recommend checking if USB devices are not working on your computer. Lets check to see if the USB hubs and ports are set to power save when idle.  What this setting controls is the ability for a USB port to sleep if not used.  The sleep mode of the port is an effort to help your computer save energy going to connected devices that are not in use. To check the USB power setting lets do the following: Go to > START > CONTROL PANEL > SYSTEM. From here go to the Hardware Tab and click the Device Manager. Next, scroll down to the section labeled Universal Serial Bus controllers and expand it out.  Right click on the USB Hub listing and select properties.

USB not working

In the properties box, go to the power setting tab and look for the following.

USB not working

Once you’ve configured this correctly [uncheck] there is a good chance your USB devices will begin working [consistently] again. Continue Reading

How To: Format USB as NTFS File System

Format USB Stick as NTFS File System

Flash drives are getting very large in size these days, the new SuperSpeed USB 3.0 sticks are getting over 256GB capacity.  With these larger sticks, the option to format the device as a NTFS file system is available, but what about the smaller USB sticks? By default, any USB stick under 4GBs in capacity will not have the Format USB as NTFS file system option, but we can fix that. Here is the How To: Format USB sticks as NTFS: Click Start > My Computer > Right click on the drive letter for the USB stick and select Properties.

format USB NTFS

Now, click the Hardware tab of the Properties pop-up window and select the drive letter of which you’d like to change.  In this case, it’s drive letter F shown as “Simple Flash Disk 2.0 USB Device“  From here click the Properties button.

format USB stick NTFS

The next step is click the Policies tab and Continue Reading

USB Hot Plate From Old CPU

Here is a simple and incredibly fun USB hack where you turn an old CPU into a hot plate for your coffee, tea or some liquid fragrance [in a dish].

USB hot plate

This very useful USB hack can be done in 4 steps.
  • Step 1) Tools and Materials
1. A dead CPU. (Ofcourse you can use a working one but it won’t be feasible.) 2. A USB cable 3. A Fan grill with screws. 4. Any box (I used a wooden tie box cover) 5. A rotary Tool (the best tool ever invented) 6. Epoxy 7. A creative artistic mind…[continute]
  • Step 2) The Idea
A CPU will still have some working electronic circuits even if it stopped functioning probably. And this project will use the heat generated by running some Volts in the CPU through a USB cable.  First things first. Be Very Careful. Connecting a malfunctioning CPU to your computer may and will damage your computer’s ports or even worse. If you don’t have enough…[continue]
  • Step 3) The Steps
First, prepare the base. You have to find a thin box or a box cover to use as the base of the plate. I used a tie box cover made of wood because it has the same thickness as my laptop. Now put the CPU over the base you picked and mark a square to drill with your rotary device. The square must be a little bit bigger than the CPU. The reason behind the bigger hole…[continue]
  • Step 4) Preparing the hot plate
locate the ground pins in your CPU and that can be done by reviewing the CPU data sheet or simply by the devastating trial and error. Cut the USB wire and pass it through the hole you made previously in the base. Strip the USB cable and locate the black and red weirs (black wire = ground, Red wire = +5V). You can cut out the white and green data weirs for more space…[continue] Clearly this tutorial is from Instructables…Thanks Eric! Continue Reading

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