Christmas is the time to splurge— not just with presents and food— we're talking decorations.
It's that time of year when verdurous fir trees take up half of your living room, when waving elf figurines silhouette your front windows, when Rudolph flies from the rooftops, Santa in tow. But more than anything else, it's a time when those Christmas lights double tour elctrical bills, dancing to the "12 Days of Christmas" for the whole neighborhood to see.
But when it comes to decorating for the winter holidays, there's one area of your home that usually gets ignored— your desk.
Because you're going to learn how to hack some normal, battery-powered Christmas lights into USB-powered Christmas lights, which will light up your desktop everytime you're working on your computer. Or take Christmas with you by decorating your laptop with these awesome DIY USB Christmas lights— no matter where you're at during Christmastime, at home in San Diego or at your parents' house in Tallahassee, you'll always be celebrating thanks to the power of your universal serial bus.
Step 1 Materials
- Battery-powered Christmas lights
- Spare USB cable
- Soldering iron
- Wire cutters
Step 2 Battery Casing
Take apart the battery casing. It shouldn't require any tools, because they're usually clip-on covers. At most, you'll need a screwdriver.
Step 3 Inside the Battery Casing
If there's batteries inside, make sure to remove them. You'll notice the wire running inside the box has two wires. One runs to the positive terminal for the batteries, the other to the one-way switch. The other wire on the switch runs to the negative terminals for the batteries.
Step 4 USB Cable
Now cut one of the ends off the USB cable with the wire strippers (or other cutters). If you're using a USB to mini-USB cable, then cut the small end off.
Step 5 Wiring
Strip the red and black wires on the cut end of your USB cable. The white and green can be left alone.
Step 6 Solder Red
Solder the red wire to the positive terminal and the black wire to the negative terminal. You can also connect directly the switch if possible (or build your own switch with a smaller box, for greater portability).
Step 7 Cut a Hole
Now you need to cut a hole in the battery casing for you USB cable to slide through. Once done, snap the case back together.
Step 8 Plug It In
You're done! Now time to test— connect the USB cable to your computer's USB port.
Step 9 Enjoy
Now just sit back, type up an email, watch a YouTube video, Facebook somebody— whatever it is usually do on your computer— and enjoy your Christmas lights.
PS: You can always improve this Christmas lights hack with blinking lights or smaller switch box. You don't have to follow these directions to the tee.
Watch the classic video version of this USB Christmas lights hack below, from Tinkernut. Also, for dancing Christmas lights, check How To Hack Christmas Lights for Custom Holiday Lighting Patterns.
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