I have a simple device connected to the Raspberry Pi, a small USB fan. The problem is that the fan does not have a on/off switch so I must unplug the fan every time I want it to stop.

My question is: is there any way I can cut the power coming from the Pi's USB ports?

  • Do you mean outgoing power, you want to be able to switch off the fan but not the pi, or incoming power, in whic the fan's power supply is backpowering the pi, even though the pi's own power supply has been disconnected? – René Wolferink Mar 12 '13 at 9:07
  • I want to switch off the fan the pi must run normally. – opc0de Mar 12 '13 at 9:13

No, the usb power is hardwired straight to the RPi power.

You can interrupt the power to the fan with a transistor or a relay, but you'll have to cut the red wire.

  • 1
    Good answer, gnibbler, and quite correct from what I read on the raspberrypi.org forums. I can add that I've tried to do this on other machines (ARM and x86) and it is rarely possible -- only some USB controllers allow software power control. stackoverflow.com/questions/4702216/… stackoverflow.com/questions/1163824/… So I'm not surprised this isn't possible with the minimal USB in the Pi. – Tai Viinikka Mar 14 '13 at 14:06
  • Often you can toggle power in a usb hub's ports. Might try with fan on hub on pi, then switch power on/off on that hub port. May need external powered hub, depends on how thick your air is and how hard fan has to work. – lornix May 3 '13 at 7:25
  • 3
    This answer is wrong. It's possible to control USB power for Raspberry Pi models B, 2B, 3B - see my answer how exactly to do that. – mvp Jan 3 '18 at 4:59

You can use my tool uhubctl, it supports Raspberry Pi model B+, 2B or 3B - these models have hardware ability to turn USB power off and on.

Use it like this:

Turn off power to all USB ports (must use port 2):

uhubctl -p 2 -a 0

Turn on power to all USB ports (must use port 2):

uhubctl -p 2 -a 1

Turn off power to Wifi+Ethernet (must use port 1):

uhubctl -p 1 -a 0

If your Raspberry Pi does not support USB power switching, you can connect external USB hub that does (see list of compatible models), and control power on that external hub using uhubctl.


You can use one usb fan with "on/off" switch.

enter image description here

  • 6
    wow never thought of that !! – opc0de Mar 13 '13 at 8:52
  • I don't really understand why is your comment so rude ? You never said you did think about the switch! I tried to help you (help: Is not that what you asked for). But, I understand you frustration, see my edit. It seems that the question has already been asked and answered. – David Mar 13 '13 at 11:25
  • 2
    Dont worry about it David - Maybe it was not the answer for the OP - But somebody else might like it for another circumstance. Your answer is good. +1 - Not sure why you got downvoted- The OP said he does not have an on.off switch and you showed him where to buy one with an on/off :) -1 was not needed here and a bit rude. yes :P – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '13 at 12:30
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    David, indeed you shouldn't worry, but your answer just doesn't answer the question, which is how to cut the power coming from the pi's usb ports. So it's not a good answer. I am surprised you did get any up votes at all. – Jaap Versteegh Aug 10 '15 at 8:14
  • 1
    This did not answer the question. – Dr. McKay Jun 16 '18 at 19:28

This also works for me on the Raspberry Pi 3. It was copied from here.

   sudo apt-get update
   sudo apt-get install libusb-dev
   git clone https://github.com/codazoda/hub-ctrl.c
   cd hub-ctrl.c
   gcc -o hub-ctrl hub-ctrl.c -lusb

This will create an executable named hub-ctrl. You can then run it to do the following:

  • Turn off power to all USB ports

    sudo ./hub-ctrl -h 0 -P 2 -p 0
  • Turn on power to all USB ports

    sudo ./hub-ctrl -h 0 -P 2 -p 1 

Follow the link to also turn on/off the Ethernet port.

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