10 Amazing Hacks that Harness the Awesome Power of USB

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After our USB 3.0 coverage last week , we figured it would be a good time to turn our attention back to USB 2.0 (aka High Speed), and one of the classic nerd hobbies: USB hacking. Because of its highly-accessible wiring, USB can be easily modified for all sorts of purposes, even by neophyte hardware hackers. In the past, we've shown you how to perform some simple hacks , but now we want to highlight some of our favorite hacks created by members of the DIY community.

Some are of questionable utility, some of them are downright dangerous, but all of them are good, old-fashioned fun. Read on for our collection of 10 amazing USB hacks!

Solar powered USB charger

Sure, you've seen handheld USB chargers before, built into altoids tins or otherwise, but have you seen a USB charger that's solar powered? We didn't think so.

With this hack you can be sure that you'll always be able to slowly charge your gadgets. As long as you're using your gadgets outside. And it's sunny.

USB air conditioner

This USB hack takes the traditional USB casefan mod, and takes it to new extremes by turning it into a full fledged air conditioning unit for your room. The hack involves installing a casefan into the top of a coffee tin, punching holes in the bottom, and suspending a pile of ice in the middle. The casefan (modified to run on USB power, of course) then sucks air in through the holes in the bottom and through the ice, cooling it in the process. The cold air is then expelled from the top of the can, cooling down your room.

USB minifridge

Miniature USB refrigerators have for years been a staple of office "white elephant" parties, and other occasions to give your friends bad presents. There's no better way to gradually chill a single can of Fresca and possibly overload your power supply at the same time.

Now, thanks to Ross V , you can build your own USB refrigerator, out of nothing more than a peltier refrigeration device, a box and a USB cable.