Custom USB ports add RGB brilliance for your next Maker project

Are your USB ports boring? Do you need some RGB? Well, this $6 USB 2.0 Type-A port from Tensility International Corporation, listed via Digi-Key, aims to brighten up your dark and dreary USB ports. hat tip for arthur182 for bringing this to our attention.

Rated for up to 30V at 3A (90W via USB A?), this RGB USB port uses an RGB LED with a common anode connected to the power pin. Then the colors can be mixed by controlling the state of the cathode pin of each color. Controlling those pins would be the job of a microcontroller, perhaps the Raspberry Pi Pico’s RP2040 on a custom PCB. In the datasheet, we can see that there are two rows of pins. The ones closest to the front of the USB port handle standard USB 2 tasks. The rear four pins are for the LEDs in a blue, green, voltage, and red configuration. The extra LED pins mean we can’t fit this part onto an existing board. Instead they must be installed on a custom board with traces routed to send signals to the RGB LED. It also looks like a typical USB A port, ready to be soldered onto a PCB that is 1.6mm or less thick.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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