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What Each Colored Wire Inside a USB Cord Means

Mark is a professional blogger and a writer who also works in the IT profession.

USB Color coded wire

USB Color coded wire

USB Color-Coded Wires

Today, most hardware 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, external hard drive, camera or digicam, video cam, and more. They all need a USB.

So what is inside the wire, 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:

USB Cable Colors and What They Mean:

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

Common USB wires inside

Other Colors in a USB Cable

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 is the "negative" wire for data.
  • Green is the "positive" data wire.
USB color wires with corresponding codes

USB color wires with corresponding codes

Frequent Questions About USB Cords

What about the wiring inside a webcam?

Note that the wiring inside a webcam has four wires unless it also has microphone built in. If so, you can trace the wire to the mic. If you look, you'll notice that the Nokia USB pinout has the same code.

Should you use a shield on your USB pinout?

Yes, you should. Shielding is very important for protection.

Can you have a USB without a ground wire?

You can't have a USB cable without the ground.

Are the white and green wires important?

The most important wires are the positive and negative wires. These are the paths of electric power needed to run your device, so you now know what color they are!

What is the fifth wire found in a printer cable?

It could be the ground wire. Identify which are the power wires, identify the two data wires, and the fifth should be your ground.

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:

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What is the meaning of USB?
    • United Station Baseline
    • Universal Serial Bus
    • Universal SATA Base

Answer Key

  1. Universal Serial Bus

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

Question: How can I connect a two-wire mobile charger to a four-wire USB adapter?

Answer: Check for the positive wire and the negative one. Use a tester.

Question: Can I hook the green wire to the black wire, and the white to the red ? Will it work?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: Since the red and the white are both + & the black and green are - can you splice the black and green together and do the same with the red and white?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: I have a 6 wired USB cable. Can you advise which is the data wire and which is the power wire?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: My USB cable has a red, green, black, and white, which wires do I put together in order to power something?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires.

Question: I have my backup camera inside my bedroom, how can I connect it to my tv?

Answer: Please use the proper cable for that to avoid danger.

Question: I plug a mini Jack into my blue tooth speaker, the Blu. It cuts out and the mini is dominant. If I want to keep blue tooth up, which wires do I use out of the little USB, coming out of the speaker for an additional direct speaker hook up?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: How would I wire a USB to HD I?

Answer: It would not be possible to rewire dissimilar cables since USB has only four wires and HD has lots.

Question: You didn't mention anything about the fifth wire found in a printer cable and its code. What does it represent?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: Besides those four USB wires described in this article, there's also a bare wire (usually outside the "shield" foil that covers the four main wires). What's that bare wire?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires.

Question: I wanted to ask if it is possible to connect a USB charger wires to a normal plugs wires inside a wall socket? My aim is to have a charger inside a wall socket that will be a simple pull out and use type of thing.

Answer: No, please. Wall sockets have 220 or 110 volts AC, it will explode or shock you to death. Use USB ports with adaptor/converter on it.

Question: Where are the white and blue wire connected in the USB mobile circuit?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires.

Question: How do I connect a USB cable to a mouse?

Answer: Check the wirings by splicing the wire. It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: Do we need a green wire in a USB charger?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: When you are just trying to achieve power do you wire both the positives and both the negatives?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

Question: Can I splice a usb cable to an ethernet cable?

Answer: You can but it is unstable to the data coming and ethernet cable has 8 wires.

Question: I have a yoga microphone with a USB connection that I want to use with a stereo round plug. Using your cabling info I expect I would use the black wire for earth and the green and white for the mic connections. Is this correct?

Answer: It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires.

Question: Do I use the bare shielding wire as a ground wire since there is no black wire present in my USB cable?

Answer: No need. It could be the ground wire or any. Just focus on the power wires and have trial and error on both data wires. You can also check my other wires colors in my articles.

© 2012 Mark Johann

Comments

Clueless on July 29, 2020:

wow is everyone asking questions in first grade? Most of the questions can be answered if you actually read this artical. The Question "My USB cable has a red, green, black, and white, which wires do I put together in order to power something?" Is hilarious!

Francesco on March 28, 2020:

Inside every USB cable there's always a couple of wires that are twisted together. Those two are always the data wires. This applies also to webcams, and notabily laptops' internal ones, and can be good to know because in those webcams usually wires are not colour coded.

Manik R K on March 26, 2020:

Does it matter which side of the USB plug should be be positive Red? Left side or right side. Thanks.

Anonymous on February 01, 2020:

Good work.

Angie on January 21, 2020:

USB cord white green red convert to a USB aux cord red and white how

Kevin on January 11, 2020:

I am trying to make a vord to help charge my bluetooth speaker using a cell phone power bank. The only olug i have that fits is a DC power plug 2.5mm i believe...which only has 2 wires and my othee end is a usb phone cord, when opened it has 3 maybe 4 wires...red, white, green and open wire no sleeve...how do i splice that??

Hernondez Gadsden on November 06, 2019:

My most frequent issue is diminishing conductivity/connectivity at points of pin contact. Also weak or discontented wire contacts to pins. (Fragile poorly designed cables)

David Maddox on September 13, 2019:

I have a red green black and white and i need to hook it to orange whitelight green and black

kG on August 22, 2019:

white is negative. I messed it up because of wrong info

Perry on August 10, 2019:

I have a USB CORE THAT have a color coat red white and green how to connect the wire and what they are

Mark Johann (author) from New Zealand on August 05, 2019:

good for you bro :)

Matt on July 26, 2019:

The saved my usb-hardware-key day :)

RDX on June 20, 2019:

wanted to other cable to convert into USB

Norman on June 13, 2019:

Thnx ,wanted to learn about the data camble colour codes.

Souvik on June 11, 2019:

Can you please tell the wires of this usb cable.It has yellow,Red,white,and green.

Enayat on June 11, 2019:

Thanks for this good article :

Title : is choosed well

Content : is brief and complete

Michelle on April 11, 2019:

Can you convert a hd microsoft web cam to a tv with just the yellow and white wires please help single female and in need. Of a cam

Obiseen on February 24, 2019:

I just did the connection but it not working, what could have been wrong

LOL ME on February 07, 2019:

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.

Keith on January 04, 2019:

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

Sierra on December 26, 2018:

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...?

Shayne on December 25, 2018:

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.

Fabulous Potato on November 12, 2018:

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?

S P Walsh on October 24, 2018:

#Mark Mann: you make a few points of note but then make the same mistake you are trying to correct: China, as with any modern country does have standards for all these things but as far as I am aware, in their domestic market the standards are often honoured more in the breach than the observance.

The wire colours you have referred to, such as the green yellow for earth is actually required by a multitude of international standards to be reserved for the purposes of protective earth conductors. For the most part, there are no specific colours associated with an active or neutral for example in a permanent installation mains circuit. Any associations of colour to purpose in mains wiring is purely conventional rather than specified by a standard. Mains cables on the other hand are far too uniform to be accidental.

The whole world is converging (and has been for over 20 years) to world wide uniform standards which is why the USA is moving to 115/230 (and has been for a very long time) and here in Aus we are changing from 240 to 230 and parts of europe are changing from 220 to 230. Notice the 230 is the common theme. :-)

While American Wire Gauge is common place in many parts of the world and especially in certain industries (transformer manufacture for example) it is profoundly unpopular with engineers everywhere except perhaps the US. It is a totally useless wire specification for all but the wire manufacturers. Does it help you to know that a wire has the diameter of a wire drawn from 1oz of copper to 24ft in length? Or would you rather know the diameter or cross sectional area?

So I'm afraid where you say China likes yellow/green for earth, it is actually the vast bulk of the planet that demands yellow/green for earth and if you don't then that makes you the odd man out and it does not signify anything bad about China or any of Asia, Australasia, Europe, South America etc etc.

Your underspec'd wires are an artefact of the now crazy AWG standard which simply does not have proper near equivalents to many common wire sizes spec'd in mm2. That problem too has more to do with the US holding fast to AWG when the rest of the world went metric decades ago.

Sorry, but these are the facts about this, they are not evidence of a stupidity in the inhabitants of the rest of the planet.

Jessejohnson45 on October 24, 2018:

Im hooking up a little solar panel witch only has 2 wires and i wont to hook up a phone charger to it but it has red hot black ground and the two data wires do i need to have the data wires hooked up to?

Jesse on October 23, 2018:

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

Paul on October 15, 2018:

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

Christian kemp on October 01, 2018:

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?

chandresh on September 20, 2018:

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

Saad on September 14, 2018:

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

mal on August 09, 2018:

Thanks for the explanation. Most helpful

MARK MANN on July 29, 2018:

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

donald g gray on July 28, 2018:

red green white and peachchy,,orange on usb cable,2white black and red on battery,,,alcatel,,hook what to what

Cody on July 23, 2018:

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

Kevin van den Broek on July 20, 2018:

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

wambodra on July 19, 2018:

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

Jose Louize on July 11, 2018:

I have red , white, , green, light yellow

Is the light yellow also wire ?

Shreesh Shukla on June 30, 2018:

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?

Steve on June 24, 2018:

Device charging slowly...

Xavier on June 20, 2018:

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

JArmst49 on May 23, 2018:

I am hardwiring a Garmin Dash Cam in my car. I want to use the normal Garmin micro USB connector since it has a 90 deg connector to the cam and looks better. I have a low profile mini fuse (5V) plugged into a non-used 12V keyed on fuse slot that is reduced to 5.4V where I want to splice in the Garmin USB cable. The problem is the line carrying 5V has 2 wires RED and BLACK (I presume are POS and NEG). The 2 wires to the USB plug are RED and GREEN ( I thought would be POS and NEG also). When I splice the BLACK to GREEN and RED to RED I get nothing at the USB plug andd the Dash Cam does NOT turn on. Any help would be appreciated!

Lee on May 17, 2018:

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.

Thomas on May 16, 2018:

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

blablabnbanana on May 08, 2018:

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

Stephanie if I have only 3 wires red green an white what color is what on May 06, 2018:

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

Dale on April 25, 2018:

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

JD Carroll on April 20, 2018:

Can 2 usb cables be cut and the 2 small ends spliced together be used to transfer data between two devices such as smartphones???

Rod Mayall on April 03, 2018:

Poor connection on micro usb connectors!

Heavy TrplD on March 25, 2018:

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

George on February 25, 2018:

Thanks much

will Hart on February 24, 2018:

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

seeker9969 on February 21, 2018:

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

barbara on February 12, 2018:

thanks

Christian on February 07, 2018:

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

bisael on January 21, 2018:

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

ruwan alahakoon on January 10, 2018:

your post is great bro.tnx for support:)

Tre on December 25, 2017:

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

Naseeb Zada on December 24, 2017:

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.

Gage on December 19, 2017:

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

Eashan on December 01, 2017:

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

Ankit4252 on November 17, 2017:

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 !!

Kyle on November 11, 2017:

I have a USB with the wire colours of,

White

Green

Blue

Black

Where can I get the USB end to fit this?

Thanks

eloxim300.000.000€ miria_gia_ti_xwra on November 05, 2017:

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 ?

Samuel on October 20, 2017:

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?

Matthew on October 06, 2017:

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.

Kyle m on September 30, 2017:

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

greg on September 17, 2017:

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

Luke on September 17, 2017:

Me too Luca! Gotta jumpstart these devices!

Aravindhari on September 13, 2017:

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

moht on September 13, 2017:

why we use red(5v) wire here?

Luca on September 06, 2017:

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

Simon on August 27, 2017:

Color are different

Jessica on August 22, 2017:

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.

I on August 19, 2017:

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

Phil on August 11, 2017:

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

Vijay on August 06, 2017:

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

abhi on August 01, 2017:

amazing its very usefull for me thanqq

Krishnakumar on July 22, 2017:

My wire has only two wires : Black and Red

I want to use it for some other purpose

What is the circuit???

kagula on July 11, 2017:

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

Yvonne Davis on July 06, 2017:

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

Meran on July 01, 2017:

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

Ted Askin on June 29, 2017:

Which wire is the charging line. Red probably eh?

Nita on June 27, 2017:

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

Leo Esch on June 26, 2017:

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.

Jennifer on June 18, 2017:

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

Shivam Thakur on June 16, 2017:

Thank you so much for your help

Aphixsos on June 12, 2017:

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

Emeterio Jimenez on June 08, 2017:

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.

chirag on May 29, 2017:

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

Bram on May 26, 2017:

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?

Mikey on May 22, 2017:

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

Pranjal Trivedi on May 21, 2017:

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

Daniel Gonzalez on May 12, 2017:

i have 4 cables a pink yellow white and light grey

Pradeep on May 07, 2017:

Shorting which of these wires causes a USB short circuit condition ?

kinot on May 06, 2017:

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?

Kent on May 06, 2017:

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.

John Galoon on May 04, 2017:

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.

Abdul Shakoor on April 28, 2017:

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

bjayanaresh on April 27, 2017:

How to check positive and negative

Ronald on April 11, 2017:

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

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