Technology
Hacked phone charger does the trick

hackedphonecharger_cc.jpg
From the MAKE Flickr pool

In a bind, Nick found a way to power his phone with the only parts available –

My phone went dead in Philly. It’s an old enough phone that none of k-mart, radioshack, or a dozen dollar stores sold a charger for it. Finally, I found a car charger at a dollar store. I also bought some speaker wire, two nine volts and electrical tape. For less than $5, I could charge my phone.

Nice – it’s the simple ideas like this that can help the most. Though I’m assuming that lighter adapter is designed to accept 12 volts, handling 6 volts extra probably doesn’t do much harm in a pinch.

Update: In the comments, Steve writes –

Cigar lighter sockets can push out 24V in vehicles with 24V batteries
(big trucks, boats and things) so devices that are designed to be
plugged into them are often labelled as 12V/24V (Google for “cigar 24v”
and you’ll see).

Also, the output you get from the socket is typically very dirty –
rarely 12V, often around 14V as the alternator kicks out more for the
battery charging.

18V wouldn’t kill it, not by a long shot.

12 thoughts on “Hacked phone charger does the trick

  1. 6 volts too high, not 4, for those who are arithmetically challenged ;)

    Anyway, usual caveat applies, 9V battery + regulator = stupid idea, but if this was to charge the phone once in a pinch it’s not so bad.

    The dollar store near me sells for $5 what is basically a minty boost that takes a single AA battery and gives a nice regulated 5V output and comes with an assortment of adapters for different phones.

  2. You certainly won’t be able to charge much with such low powered batteries and with this inefficient solution.
    I guess if there are no cars and no power sockets in Philly then this would be a solution. Otherwise just beg or bribe somebody to host your phone while its charging (you can maybe buy an “universal” AC-DC adapter from the one dollar store and set it to 12V and rig it to the car charger if you want to charge from mains).

  3. Cigar lighter sockets can push out 24V in vehicles with 24V batteries (big trucks, boats and things) so devices that are designed to be plugged into them are often labelled as 12V/24V (Google for “cigar 24v” and you’ll see).

    Also, the output you get from the socket is typically very dirty – rarely 12V, often around 14V as the alternator kicks out more for the battery charging.

    18V wouldn’t kill it, not by a long shot.

  4. I once purchased a cell phone charger from the dollar store because I needed a cigarette lighter adapter. When I opened it up, all it had was a transistor, a power resistor, an LED, and a regular resistor.

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