LED Strips Portable Charger

The topic of LED Strips has come up a thousand times I believe, but is there a possibility of running a strip that has a USB connector that is plugged into a portable phone charger like this one?

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On a robot, during competitions?

Absolutely not. Edit: see below

From the game manual:(some sections omitted for brevity)

<R19> Electrical power comes from VEX batteries only. The only allowable source(s) of electrical power are as follows:
a. If using a VEX ARM® Cortex®-based Microcontroller, Robots may use (1) VEX 7.2V Robot Battery Pack of any type.
1. Robots utilizing the VEX Power Expander may use a second VEX 7.2V Robot Battery of any type. Robots are permitted to use a maximum of one (1) VEX Power Expander.
b. If using a V5 Robot Brain, Robots may use (1) V5 Robot Battery (276-4811).
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Yeah, as soon as I posted this, I found like 4 other posts that said this was illegal. I was going to put this on a competition robot.

You can however power the lights from the brain. Let me know what system you’re using (cortex, V5) and I can help you power them with the brain itself.

Actually the RECF made an exception on the Q&A.

See for yourself: Q&A: Do LED strips still need to be powered by brain/cortex

…using a small external power source to power a standard LED strip would be permitted, provided that no other rules are violated, such as R12e, R12g, or G10.

Game Manual:

<R12> f. Internal power sources (e.g. for a small blinking light) are permitted, provided that no other rules are violated and this source only provides power to the non-functional decoration (e.g. does not directly or indirectly influence any functional portions of the Robot)


“Small” is still quite vague though. Being allowed to do this will depend on the inspectors and referees at any given event.

I am fine if it passes inspection. I think that my focus would apply more toward the word functional. Does it affect game play? As an EP I would have teams disable them during matches so that it could not be considered a distraction or match affecting in any way.

As for the pits and judging, I like a good light show.

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We’re using V5, thanks.


  • 5 Volt LED Light Strip with a male USB plug at the end
  • Motor Controller 29
  • Wire strippers
  • Female USB to 4 pin cord (optional)


  1. Remove blue piece from the 2 wire end of the mc29
  2. Separate and strip the 2 wire ends of the mc29
  3. Strip remove the end piece from the male USB end of the lights (or the 4 pin end of the optional cord)
  4. Cut back the middle two wires, leaving the 5V and Ground wires (the outer ones)
  5. Splice the open wires from the mc29 and usb together. Try reverse orientation (5v to ground, ground to 5v) first, and if that doesn’t work reverse it. Make sure to not touch the wrong wires together while it’s powered on. It will short out the mc29,.
  6. Insulate the open wires separate from one another such that the wires are insulated from the outside, and the 2 wires aren’t touching each other (to not short it out)
  7. Plug the 2 wire end of the mc29 into the brain
  8. Program the lights like you would a 393 motor on the V5 brain. 0 speed will equal off, 100 will equal on. You can dim them a little, but the way the lights work they will just turn red due to low power input if put below like 75.
  9. You just decorated your robot. Yay!

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No problem. Just be warned, if you goof it up you will short an mc29. Be warned. Make sure you ha e spares.