I need help identifying which wire is which inside my USB cable. So I stripped the outer insulator for the USB cable, and it revealed 4 wires: Red, White, Green, and Yellow.

I thought Red would be VCC, but then I checked the circuit board for the mouse I ripped it off of and the board labeled where the four wires were soldered on.

It showed four characters each associated with a wire color: V (White), G (Green), D (Yellow), C (Red). Very strange from what I have learned about USB so far, but strangest being that Red is not VCC! Why is there no standard for these wire colors?

Anyways, how can I confirm which is which (VCC, GND, D-, D+)? I have a multimeter, and confirmed that between White and Green, White and Red, and White and Yellow, there is 5V. I don't think that is much of a development, but what should I do?

I do have other USB cables lying around as well, but that's an easy way out and my absolute last resort. Thanks.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Test connectivity between each exposed wire and the pins on the connectorized end of the cable? \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Aug 22, 2012 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ And then once you know which pin on the connector corresponds to which wire... reuk.co.uk/OtherImages/usb-connector.jpg \$\endgroup\$
    – NickHalden
    Aug 22, 2012 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThePhoton Sorry, what do you mean? It sounds like a statement and question mixed accidentally, and I'm unfamiliar with the term connectorized - sorry, I'm new to electronics. \$\endgroup\$
    – capcom
    Aug 22, 2012 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JGord Apologies if I was unclear, but the part I am having difficulty with is finding out which pin on the connector corresponds to which wire. Do you mean I should dissect the male end of the cable to see where each wire goes and work backwards? \$\endgroup\$
    – capcom
    Aug 22, 2012 at 17:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Photon means to test the wires against the pins on the connector, so that you can say "red = pin 1" etc. The pin assignments are unambiguous. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Aug 22, 2012 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


It's easy to just test the connectivity from the pins on the connector-end of the cable to the bare wires at the other end.

Even a hardware store multimeter is good enough for this test.

Disconnect the cable at both ends. Set your meter to the ohms function.

Touch one probe of the meter to one pin of the connector. Touch the other probe to one of the wires. If the wire is connected to the pin, you'll see (near) zero ohms. Depending on your meter you might also get a beep for continuity.

The pin assignments for the connector are readily available. Here's a picture from Wikipedia: enter image description here

If your connector is a mini or micro type, those pinouts are also available from the Wikipedia article on USB.


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