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

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

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

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

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

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

    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.

  • 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?

    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.

  • How would I wire a USB to HD I?

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

© 2012 Mark Johann

Comments

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    • profile image

      David Maddox 

      4 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      kG 

      7 weeks ago

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

    • profile image

      Perry 

      2 months ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Johann 

      2 months ago from New Zealand

      good for you bro :)

    • profile image

      Matt 

      2 months ago

      The saved my usb-hardware-key day :)

    • profile image

      RDX 

      3 months ago

      wanted to other cable to convert into USB

    • profile image

      Norman 

      4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Souvik 

      4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Enayat 

      4 months ago

      Thanks for this good article :

      Title : is choosed well

      Content : is brief and complete

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      6 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Obiseen 

      7 months ago

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

    • profile image

      LOL ME 

      8 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      11 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

      S P Walsh 

      11 months ago

      #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.

    • profile image

      Jessejohnson45 

      11 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Jesse 

      11 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 

      12 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 

      12 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 

      12 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Saad 

      13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      mal 

      14 months ago

      Thanks for the explanation. Most helpful

    • profile image

      MARK MANN 

      14 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

      donald g gray 

      14 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Cody 

      14 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 

      15 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 

      15 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Jose Louize 

      15 months ago

      I have red , white, , green, light yellow

      Is the light yellow also wire ?

    • profile image

      Shreesh Shukla 

      15 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 

      15 months ago

      Device charging slowly...

    • profile image

      Xavier 

      15 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

      JArmst49 

      16 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Lee 

      17 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 

      17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      blablabnbanana 

      17 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 

      17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Dale 

      17 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

      JD Carroll 

      18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Rod Mayall 

      18 months ago

      Poor connection on micro usb connectors!

    • profile image

      Heavy TrplD 

      18 months ago

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

    • profile image

      George 

      19 months ago

      Thanks much

    • profile image

      will Hart 

      19 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 

      19 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 

      20 months ago

      thanks

    • profile image

      Christian 

      20 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 

      21 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 

      21 months ago

      your post is great bro.tnx for support:)

    • profile image

      Tre 

      21 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Naseeb Zada 

      21 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 

      22 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 

      22 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Ankit4252 

      23 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 

      23 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 

      23 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 

      24 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      greg 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Luke 

      2 years ago

      Me too Luca! Gotta jumpstart these devices!

    • profile image

      Aravindhari 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

      why we use red(5v) wire here?

    • profile image

      Luca 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

      Color are different

    • profile image

      Jessica 

      2 years 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

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Phil 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Vijay 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      abhi 

      2 years ago

      amazing its very usefull for me thanqq

    • profile image

      Krishnakumar 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

      Which wire is the charging line. Red probably eh?

    • profile image

      Nita 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Shivam Thakur 

      2 years ago

      Thank you so much for your help

    • profile image

      Aphixsos 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Emeterio Jimenez 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Pranjal Trivedi 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

      i have 4 cables a pink yellow white and light grey

    • profile image

      Pradeep 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      kinot 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

      How to check positive and negative

    • profile image

      Ronald 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Amber 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Aman 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years ago

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

      thanks

    • profile image

      John 

      2 years 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

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