What Each Colored Wire Inside a USB Cord Means

Updated on January 5, 2016
USB Color coded wire
USB Color coded wire | Source

USB Color Coded Wires

Most hardware pieces today connected to our CPUs are USB-driven, meaning that they require use of a USB cord or wire. This includes your keyboard, mouse, webcam, memory flash drive, some speakers, the external hard drive, camera or digicam, video cam, and more.

So what is inside it, exactly? USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and there are four wires inside of it — usually, it's a red, green, white, and black cord. Each of these wires has a corresponding code:

  • Red color indicates the positive wire with 5 volts of DC power.
  • Black has always been the ground wire in almost all electronic devices.
  • White is the data as a "positive" wire, while
  • Green is also for the data , but as the negative wire.

Common USB wires inside
Common USB wires inside | Source

Other Colors

Some USB cords have different wire color combinations, like orange, blue, white, and green. In this case:

  • Orange is the positive, with 5 volts of power in the DC (direct current).
  • White indicates a ground wire, meaning the negative wire.
  • Blue corresponds to the negative data
  • Green as the positive data.

USB color wires with corresponding codes
USB color wires with corresponding codes | Source

Important Things to Note about USB Cords

These are generally the types of different USB color coded wires out there. So, if you are asked or asked about the color codes in the wiring of a hardware device, you can reference this article.

  • Note that the wiring inside a webcam has four wires, but check if your webcam has microphone built in inside. You can trace the wire if so.The Nokia USB pinout has the same code if we skin the wires.
  • Now that you know about the inside of a wire, the next question is: should you use a shield on your USB pin out? Yes, you should. Shielding is very important for protection.
  • You also cannot have a USB cable without the positive and negative, or the ground. The most important wires inside are the positive and negative wires. These are the paths of electric power needed to run your device. Also, you now know what color they are!

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions or suggestions. I hope you learned something today. Thank you!

Poll on USB cable defects:

What is your common USB problem?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Mark Johann

    Comments

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      • profile image

        LOL ME 

        12 days ago

        Thanks .... I was connecting two cables.... One: black, white, red, green. Other: Orange, blue, green, white...

        I was just confused about how should I connect it. Your article helped...

        PS. The comment MARK MANN post is right, as I am from China, BUT those info are for AC currents (he/she said that), NOT USB cables.

      • profile image

        Keith 

        6 weeks ago

        how do you hook up an antenna for Wi-Fi to your USB port the Wi-Fi only has two wires but it has two sets and those are the same

      • profile image

        Sierra 

        7 weeks ago

        So, my roommate's cat chewed partly through the USB cable for my keyboard, so I had to cut off the damaged part of the wire, but am having trouble reconnecting the wires. There is a red wire, a black wire, a green wire, a white wire and a copper wire...

        HELP...?

      • profile image

        Shayne 

        8 weeks ago

        Hey, I have one usb cable with white, blue, orange, green and the other one is black, red, yellow, blue. So, how do join these 2. which cable to which? Please help. Thanks.

      • profile image

        Fabulous Potato 

        3 months ago

        Hi, I'm trying to attach my phone charger to a battery made of pennies, and I got the battery to work (it made 6.5 volts), but I don't know how to attach it to the charger. The charger has four wires (red, green, black, and white), but I don't know how to attach them. Any ideas?

      • profile image

        Jesse 

        3 months ago

        Can i use just the red for hot and the black for ground? I dont need the other two wire for data im trying to make a solar panel charger and the solar panel is only got two wires

      • profile image

        Paul 

        4 months ago

        I don't know a thing of this cable just that most red is possible and black is neg.i learned a lot

      • profile image

        Christian kemp 

        4 months ago

        I cut the usb 4 wire cord one mine to wire up with a 2 wire.... now the 2 wire was white and green , I used the white and green on the 4 wire. Will this charge up my drone?

      • profile image

        chandresh 

        5 months ago

        there is also a copper wire in my samsung data cable. what is the use of it... ?

      • profile image

        Saad 

        5 months ago

        Not working only red light work and my mouse has got damaged now.....................................................HELP

      • profile image

        mal 

        6 months ago

        Thanks for the explanation. Most helpful

      • profile image

        MARK MANN 

        6 months ago

        Please be careful with generalized comments as in the article, "Black has always been the ground wire in almost all electronic devices." Terms like "almost" are too subjective" and this is a technical article correct? Moreover, the statement is false! CHINA the worlds largest producer of consumer electronics uses BLANK and DARK BROWN for the POSITIVE (Non-Ground) side for AC Circuits. I understand USB is 5V DC typically around .5A with Smart Phones Fast Charging with as much as 2A, however never the less, CHINA is taking over, at least by the numbers, and they do NOT subscribe to our colors that were made popular by the American Automotive Industry. Incidentally CHINA likes BLUE for negative and YELLOW/GREEN for Earth Ground. CHINA also does not follow the AWG. In CHINA wires are ALWAYS "under specification" when an AWG is called out. They will commonly misstate raw materials particularly "copper" and "Oxygen Free Copper." Economically, FALSE STATEMENTS from CHINA "always" or let me say "Unequivocally" is in their Economic Favor (i.e. they benefit by the false statement in terms of universal value and exchange). Thank you for reading, Mark Mann M2TECHNOLOGY

      • profile image

        Cody 

        7 months ago

        The USB plug came off my flash drive motherboard while I was trying to modify it to fit into my xbox.

      • profile image

        Kevin van den Broek 

        7 months ago

        Is it posible to only use the black and red wire? I don't need to transfer data but only electricity. (Sorry for my bad english

      • profile image

        wambodra 

        7 months ago

        what do the colors blue, brown, white and grey do in a USB????

      • profile image

        Jose Louize 

        7 months ago

        I have red , white, , green, light yellow

        Is the light yellow also wire ?

      • profile image

        Shreesh Shukla 

        7 months ago

        I have a usb with wires red, green, white, black and the other one usb kable with wires red and white .

        How can I connect them both?

      • profile image

        Steve 

        8 months ago

        Device charging slowly...

      • profile image

        Xavier 

        8 months ago

        I opened my usb extension cord because I am trying to connect usb to solar panel for my solar power pack idea, But to test my usb after cutting in half and striping the wires I connect both peices back together only using the red and black wire but nothing worked after I connected them. I have no idea what is wrong

      • profile image

        Lee 

        9 months ago

        Trying to wire red,black,white,green to light pink,light green, light grey, white. What colors do I connect together? Both are standard android chargers.

      • profile image

        Thomas 

        9 months ago

        How USB can be connected to a Head Phone (Includes microphone also)

      • profile image

        blablabnbanana 

        9 months ago

        mine has 1 red wire, and all the others are white wtf

      • profile image

        Stephanie if I have only 3 wires red green an white what color is what 

        9 months ago

        I'm trying to convert. Into a positive an negative battery charger

      • profile image

        Dale 

        10 months ago

        Can I put red and white together and green and black together and convert it down to a two wire plug in

      • profile image

        Rod Mayall 

        10 months ago

        Poor connection on micro usb connectors!

      • profile image

        Heavy TrplD 

        11 months ago

        Two white wires, a grey wire and a light brownis maybe pink

      • profile image

        George 

        11 months ago

        Thanks much

      • profile image

        will Hart 

        12 months ago

        friends, I have a usb wire unlike most.

        it has the Red/white, Green. but in the grouping it also has 2 bare naked wires, and the shield.

        can anyone help me find out

      • profile image

        seeker9969 

        12 months ago

        what I want is a USB cord where I pull the power from a high speed phone charger and the data transfer cables go to a computer, so I have the ability to quickly charge the phone while transferring data

      • profile image

        barbara 

        12 months ago

        thanks

      • profile image

        Christian 

        12 months ago

        Am modifing the micro of phone part if the USB cord to a line out. So need to know which wire goes to Whats.

      • profile image

        bisael 

        13 months ago

        Thanks

        We have wire A and B

        Colours of A are Blue, White, Green, Orange

        Anf of B are Red, Green, Black, White

        Connect

        A B

        Blue Green

        White Black

        Green White

        Orange Red

        Connect with corresponding color

      • profile image

        ruwan alahakoon 

        13 months ago

        your post is great bro.tnx for support:)

      • profile image

        Tre 

        14 months ago

        Have USB cable charger with white green and red wire no black which is power an ground

      • profile image

        Naseeb Zada 

        14 months ago

        Thank You so much.

        I had to join two USB cables, the one was of the common color coded but, the second was Orange, White, black and blue.

        So, thanks again.

      • profile image

        Gage 

        14 months ago

        So could it be possible to double up each wire where they originally connect to get "double", or faster charge ?

      • profile image

        Eashan 

        14 months ago

        I have a gamepad with red white green and orange wire what to do then

      • profile image

        Ankit4252 

        15 months ago

        Hi Mark

        1.I have a USB cable (I-phone 6) which has three wires light Red,White & Green, other than this it also has a Non- insulated wire wrapped around these three wires. Could you please let me know the order in which i need to join it with USB connector.

        2.I have another USB cable (I-phone 6) which has three wires i.e. Two white (One is bit thicker than other) & one Gray wire other than this it also has a Non- insulated wire wrapped around these three wires. Could you please let me know the order in which i need to join it with USB connector. Many Thanks !!

      • profile image

        Kyle 

        15 months ago

        I have a USB with the wire colours of,

        White

        Green

        Blue

        Black

        Where can I get the USB end to fit this?

        Thanks

      • profile image

        eloxim300.000.000€ miria_gia_ti_xwra 

        15 months ago

        Hi there!

        I have RED 5+ wire BLACK is ground WHITE is data + and GREEN.

        Here I have another one naked wire I suppose is Ground as BLACK wire. Am I correct ?

      • profile image

        Samuel 

        16 months ago

        My charger has four wires, red, green, white, black. There is also a bare wire leading from the front of the plug itself. What is that for?

      • profile image

        Matthew 

        16 months ago

        USB doesnt connect to aux, without an active adaptor, at least not in the sense of transmitting audio directly, as AUX carries an analogue signal encoded completely different from USB's UART digital encoding.

      • profile image

        Kyle m 

        16 months ago

        So how do u make a USB to aux where does the green wire hook up to

      • profile image

        greg 

        17 months ago

        how do you wire up the battery in your phone useing the wires and usb on t5he other end

      • profile image

        Luke 

        17 months ago

        Me too Luca! Gotta jumpstart these devices!

      • profile image

        Aravindhari 

        17 months ago

        my keyboard is having in orange,white,green,blue and board is having clock,date,gnd,vcc. so which wire is connet to which place, what i do

      • profile image

        moht 

        17 months ago

        why we use red(5v) wire here?

      • profile image

        Luca 

        17 months ago

        Wiring up a snapped USB cord to the battery of a mobile phone that has the USB port dissoldered, so can’t charge itself up.

        Thanks

      • profile image

        Simon 

        18 months ago

        Color are different

      • profile image

        Jessica 

        18 months ago

        My wires are bkack white. Second charger i spliced there was 2 white and 2 blue wires. One blue wire has silver wire and the other 3 wires are copper. What wires do i use to charge my s5 as the charging port is broken.

      • profile image

        18 months ago

        Need small cell phone u.s.b color code and tv audio and video color code

      • profile image

        Phil 

        18 months ago

        I was "fixing" my phone charger and it has 2 red wires? Lg 5

      • profile image

        Vijay 

        18 months ago

        What if data cable has only 2 wires red and black. My charger Cable has 2 wires only

      • profile image

        abhi 

        18 months ago

        amazing its very usefull for me thanqq

      • profile image

        Krishnakumar 

        19 months ago

        My wire has only two wires : Black and Red

        I want to use it for some other purpose

        What is the circuit???

      • profile image

        kagula 

        19 months ago

        i gt keyboard usb icant match the color and symbol, my usb wire color are blue,green,white and orange. symbols are D,C,G and V help me which color to which symbol

      • profile image

        Yvonne Davis 

        19 months ago

        Need to splice 3color coded wires to 2wires not color coded, both refriderators. I can't get it right keep blowing my circuit.

      • profile image

        Meran 

        19 months ago

        The USB plug on my Mp3 Player charging cord broke off! I cannot tell which side of the plug is meant for the positive or negative

      • profile image

        Ted Askin 

        20 months ago

        Which wire is the charging line. Red probably eh?

      • profile image

        Nita 

        20 months ago

        What wires do i connect if one USB cord has red n orange & light green n white wires and the other USB cord has red n white & green n black wires

      • profile image

        Leo Esch 

        20 months ago

        I would like to connect an External WIFI antenna directly to my tablet. Does anyone know which two USB wires must go from the antenna to the USB plug so it will function.

      • profile image

        Jennifer 

        20 months ago

        Can a USB white no green and white wire still be used?

      • profile image

        Shivam Thakur 

        20 months ago

        Thank you so much for your help

      • profile image

        Aphixsos 

        20 months ago

        Pls hw will i connect game pad with 5 wires red white green yellow black

      • profile image

        Emeterio Jimenez 

        20 months ago

        I have a galaxy note 5 i use for experiments with root which fascinates me to no end for some reason. But the wires from the connected battery broken off ( which is why it was given to me) and the battery is no where to be found. Ive grown tired of being bound to a wall so im trying to test out how i can use a usb cable and batteries such as the little 9v square batteries to keep it on while i walk around. Anyone that can help give me some ideas please email me with note 5 in the subject line i would really appreciate it. Thanks.

      • profile image

        chirag 

        21 months ago

        Sir my USB has pink white yellow and grey I want to make a wireless charger what wires should I use

      • profile image

        Bram 

        21 months ago

        i have an tomtom with an small monitor i want to use the end(what is used for in the car) to connect it to an usb so i can charge my cellphone, but an usb has green in it and the tomtom doesnt, is it important?

      • profile image

        Mikey 

        21 months ago

        I have a usb cord three wired copper white an red which r which

      • profile image

        Pranjal Trivedi 

        21 months ago

        My USB has 4 wires and now I can tell which has positive and which has negative charge . Thank you for information

      • profile image

        Daniel Gonzalez 

        21 months ago

        i have 4 cables a pink yellow white and light grey

      • profile image

        kinot 

        21 months ago

        hello sir .i have a logitech speaker without head connection.my mean is it is 3.5mm or usb male but its same own 4 wires.blue,green,black and white..i am aimmed blue is v+ and black is v- and connect it to power supply and led indicator work.white and green yes is data. But i found 2 extra wires coloured white and red bulked.what is it sir?

      • profile image

        Kent 

        21 months ago

        I have a USB cable with the colors Black,Brown, Orange and White. I want to connect to a 2.5mm female Jack. which two colours do I connect please.

      • profile image

        John Galoon 

        21 months ago

        I like the topic I need to learn more on USB cabling. I needed yo replace the usb socket / plug but failed because I needed to understand the color codes. Thanks. But I'm still having the same challenge.

      • profile image

        Abdul Shakoor 

        22 months ago

        Hi Mr Mark.

        Hope you're doing well.

        I have a small problem. Having read this post I thought you might help me.

        I have a laptop table below which are fixed two 5-volt fans that receive power from the USB port in the laptop.

        The problem is that the metallic piece of that USB cable that is inserted in the laptop is corroded. So I cut that corroded USB cable metallic piece and tried to attach another one. But I have failed in doing so when though I have connected the right type cords. i-e green with black and red with white and tried to test it with a battery as well. But that didn't work.

        Please help

      • profile image

        bjayanaresh 

        22 months ago

        How to check positive and negative

      • profile image

        Ronald 

        22 months ago

        Yes it is important to have positive and negative known wires ,but the ground is vital

      • profile image

        Amber 

        22 months ago

        I have a USB cable with pink light green and white. Very confused. Connecting to a new end with white red black and green?

      • profile image

        Boakye Barnabas 

        22 months ago

        Hi Mark, my USB cable wires are,yellow,white,light green,and ash colors.what is meaning?thank you

      • profile image

        Aman 

        22 months ago

        I have a headphone which has blue white red and blue color wires. So please tell me that which is positive and negative

      • profile image

        Tommy Anderson 

        22 months ago

        I'm trying to connect a micro USB (female to female), in order to connect my bluetooth controller to my cellphone, because the bluetooth isn't working. Firstly, is this possible? My problem is, I have one female end with red, green, white and black wires. The other female end has red, green and white wires, but there is no black wire. But there are two exposes wires without a color coding. Do you have any idea as to which ones I should connect? Do the two uncolored wires matter? Thanks for the help.

      • profile image

        Rajat C 

        23 months ago

        Hey i wanted to know can i use normal wires if i'm making my own USB cable

        thanks

      • profile image

        John 

        23 months ago

        i got a question. wiring a mouse from PS2 to USB. i manage to get power on butt he mouse doesn't receive data.

        ps2 wires are Black, Green, Yellow, Red. The USb wires are Green, Blue, Orange and white.

        the connections are Red-Blue, Black-orange, Green-Yellow, Green-white.

      • profile image

        Agterbosch 

        2 years ago

        None of this is right.. Blue is usually ground, not data-, green is always data+ in any color scheme, and white is data-..

        The correct scheme if you want to connect these 2 different colored wires together would be this:

        Red or orange = 5 V

        White or gold = Data−

        Green = Data+

        Black or blue = Ground

        So in other words, orange to red, white to white, green to green and blue to black

      • profile image

        Ycar 

        2 years ago

        Hi is it applicable to charger... my charger has 2ampere the wires are red and black only, but the charging pin is broken so i decided to change to other pin but the pin i was have are 4 color which is red black green and white ... how can i connect it

      • profile image

        Walt 

        2 years ago

        Hello Mark,

        My usb only has red, white, and green. Could you please tell me what the positive and negative are? I am trying to turn my childs swing from battery operated to wall charge.

      • profile image

        Walt 

        2 years ago

        Hello Mark,

        My usb only has red, white, and green. Could you please tell me what the positive and negative are? I am trying to turn my childs swing from battery operated to wall charge.

      • profile image

        Brandon Walker 

        2 years ago

        Hello mark, I'm looking for a temporary solution to my phone charging problem until i get it fixed. It's a Galaxy Note 3 and it seems that one of the pins inside the charging port has been bent/pushed back i think. I can see it near the back of the port when I look. Anyways, it currently charges if i use a wall charger and even charges when plugged into my PC as well as transfers files, but it charges significantly slower than it use to and it will not recognize most external power banks. They charge other phones but nothing happens when plugged into mine and the power banks eventually just turn off because they arent being used.

        In short, I'm wondering if I can modify one of my cables by removing a wire or rerouting the wire in order to either fix the external power bank issue or to increase the speed my phone charges back to it's normal speed. 2 questions in 1 but I've searched for days and asked in other places. this hub seems very informed and even if It my problem cannot be fixed, any insight would help alot, and I've already bookmarked this to read other articles. Thanks in advance

        (side note - some power banks work on the phone and some do not, even ones from the same brand.)

      • profile image

        Glenn 

        2 years ago

        I have a USB type C cable... Trying to do a power project. The four wires I have are loght Grey, Pastel Pink, Pastel Green, and White. Can you help me determine which two are the 5v Positive and the Negative colors? Plz and Thank You... :)

      • profile image

        mohd syazwan sahar 

        2 years ago

        hello, im want a ask.how i want to connect if their is 2 wire as red and black.. and i want connect with usb ports. which is black , red, green and white color. how i want to consider this to correctly connect it. hope for ur reply. thanks!

      • profile image

        louisianna 

        2 years ago

        i had a white usb cable and when i cut it open i have a pink wire and a white wire.

        which is which??

      • profile image

        Seth Tyler 

        2 years ago

        Hey I have a little problem. My Dog chewed my iPhone charger cord and I need to replace it with an old wire they were both iPhone. The one that my dog chewed was green red and white and the other charger is greeen red and black . Do I splice the white and black together ? Thank you!

      • profile image

        Argeneus 

        2 years ago

        My "other" proplem

        Is that after 2-3 months of modered use, my caple starts charging slower and slower... soon yes i end up with

        (Not detected - Detected - Not detected -Detected and so on) and always ends with Not detected

        I think the proplem is just whering down the copper by use.

        I think it's cutting corners on prize by manifactural proses..

        Maybe they need a better metal or metal mix or maybe use just a little more copper in the tupes... they know chargers and most Usb with mini usb end will move around alot more now day's

        *Hope u understood this, dont have time 4 spellcheck now

        cheers from Iceland

      • Mark Johann profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Johann 

        2 years ago from Italy

        Cloth wire is the support lace only and not a conductor. Please check your wires. I must be four wires. Red and Green are power wires. Red for positive and green for negative.

      • Mark Johann profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Johann 

        2 years ago from Italy

        I always believe green is the negative. Sometimes, it is black. Then pink wire is the positive which may sometimes be red.

      • profile image

        Mysteryneophyte@gmail.com 

        2 years ago

        hi mark,

        I have a usb cable with red, green, white and cloth like white wire. It also has a unshielded wire. I am wondering if I can make this cable a charge only cable? I want to get ride of the data cables, which are they?? Thanks, im lost here. Its for my samsung note 10.1...trying to see if I can get rid of the red x while charging so it doesn't take 24 hours.

      • profile image

        Michelle Weaver 

        2 years ago

        I bought a charger that is like 4ft. long for my cell phone. It has on the outer side's yellow & pink wires, the center has Lt blue (maybe Lt.green) and white.

        What is positive and negative?

      • Mark Johann profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Johann 

        2 years ago from Italy

        Hello there! Data wires are used to view videos from usb devices. Of course, you need power wires for that.

      • profile image

        RPierce 

        2 years ago

        I'm trying to hook up a security camera going usb, I would like to know what colors I can use to get video from my camera to my pc. The only wires I have from my camera are typical shield ground and one positive the wires I have on the usb are red, green, black and white along with the shielded

      • profile image

        Mikeshaver92 

        2 years ago

        I have a flat micro USB phone charger that has 4 wires 1 white and 3 clear I want to splice a normal charger on it with a red and black wire... how do I do that

      • profile image

        devin 

        2 years ago

        I have a I pod nano I'm trying to splice the wires and wire it back up using another USB but there are 3 wires in the charger to my I pod and only 2 to my USB witch ones are hot out of my I pod

      working

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