The most bizarre thing about this Instructable for converting a regular AC outlet into a USB outlet is that only this morning – dealing with various review phones bleating as their batteries expired on the mess that is my desk – I found myself wishing for such a thing. Apparently the work of 30 minutes and a mere $10, we’re not sure we agree with project author Hextor’s tongue-in-cheek prediction that “it will get your home ready for the future, when most appliances are USB” but for bringing new life to an unloved outlet it can’t be beat.
As you might imagine, the project basically involves taking two cheap USB chargers – which you can find for a few bucks on eBay – stripping them of any extraneous casing and then squeezing them behind a normal outlet plate. A couple of USB slots have been cut in a regular blanking plate, and then some light electrical work hooks the whole thing up to the mains.
If you’re regularly juicing up an iPod, cellphone or pretty much any USB gadget, this could be a real time saver. The only drawback is that you’ll need an outlet wall box with sufficient depth, and of course most larger appliances don’t (yet!) run on 5V.