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occasional genius

9v USB Charger

UPDATE The response for this item has been so phenomenal that I've started my own company dealing in Altoids-tin DIY electronic kits. Check out The Electroids Co or go straight to the Altoids 9V USB Charger Kit.

There's a small tradition for people like me with my (mental) faculties to go about building their own slick iPod accessories. Other people have designed battery-powered chargers for their iPods, from Altoid tins, and I wanted in on the action.

But the problem with these designs is that they use Firewire ports to power their iPods, which renders them pretty much only for charging their iPods, whereas USB can power iPods, cell phones, air conditioners, little robot guys, rubber duckie lights, personal cooling fans, air purifiers, Christmas trees, and essentially anything that requires 5 volts or less. So I figured I'd make a battery-powered USB charger that I could use to power my cell phone or my iPod in a grind. I hate not having a full charge on my devices, when my cell phone's battery is anywhere under 90% my heart starts racing and I get on my hands and knees and look for power outlets.

So if I had a small, compact USB charger that I could throw in my backpack or slide in my pocket that could be powered by inexpensive little 9v batteries, I'd be a happy camper. Problem was, I had no idea where to start. There were no decent tutorials out there, and Radio Shack's prices were insanity (and they didn't have USB sockets). So I had to do my own research, and I had to make contact with electronic parts manufacturers in order to actually get resisters, USB sockets, and voltage regulators for decent prices (or at all).

My final design is pretty sweet, I think. I used an Altoids Gum tin.. it's a perfect fit for a 9v battery and it slides right into the little key pocket on a pair of jeans. Since I wanted to maximize the battery's life as much as I could, I added a toggle on-off switch so I could physically cut power from the socket; and to accompany that I added a small red LED light that would turn on to show that it was turned on (and that there was still a charge to the battery).

Good news is, it works perfectly. One cheapo battery put out a steady 5 volts through the socket for over 5 hours, and then kept going over 12 hours with a steadily decreasing voltage output.

I've got a usb charging cable for my cell phone, iPod, and PSP. A fresh 9v provides about 5 hours of playback time on my iPod, 60 minutes of talk time or 4 hours of standby, and I don't have any idea how it would fare for the PSP, but 9v batteries are like a buck so who cares?

Click here for more pictures

Since I went through all the effort to learn how to do all this crap and to get the parts, I thought I might save some other people the effort and start putting out kits and instructions so the people who see these things and say "cool.... now how do I make one?" will have an answer.

That's right, I'm selling the things. That is, after PayPal fees I'm pretty much selling them at cost, but I sure wish someone were selling these things a week ago.

So click here for my electronics kit storefront. If you want to learn how to design circuits and get started with the underappreciated world of electronics, check the kits out. I'll be adding some more kits (flashlights, bigger chargers) sometime later.

Edit: Ok, I'm getting a lot of hits, a lot of buys (thanks, guys), and a lot of complaints from people who just want to know how to build it and don't want to buy one..

What I'm primarily selling is the parts to build one of these. If I put up the how-to instructions, you'd just have to go out somewhere and buy the parts yourself at around double the cost (my first prototype with RadioShack parts cost around $22.70 not counting the usb socket which was impossible to find). If you buy a kit, you're buying it for the parts as well as the instructions to get you started in electronics making.

Anything that can power via USB can power via this. I'm getting too many emails asking if it can power your sony/samsung/motorola/gatorade whatever. This thing emulates a usb port, so it will power anything that charges over usb. The end.

If you want a pre-built charger!!!!!!! Click here


Wow, that's pretty neat.
2:28am Wed Nov 02, 2005
Wonderful, although I don't switch my phone on, don't have an iPod or a PSP.
9:23am Wed Nov 02, 2005
if you really wanted to help the people why didn't you publish the howto instead of trying to sell them?
11:28pm Wed Nov 02, 2005
Yeah you stingy f***er, post the plans for this...
12:25am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Who said he only wanted to help people? Maybe he wanted some cash.

And maybe they're SECRET plans. No good posting SECRET plans.
12:40am Thu Nov 03, 2005
People! I'm selling the PARTS to build it. If you want to run all over town and buy all the parts at retail and put everything together yourself, that's fine (I did it). I'm selling the kits so you can get all the components without dropping $23 at Radio Shack.
12:56am Thu Nov 03, 2005
But some apparently do want to run around town and buy the parts, obviously. I know I would, but if I was you I'd go with the cash.
1:04am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Give the guy a break you mother f'ers and just buy the kit from him. You cheap bastards
1:06am Thu Nov 03, 2005
You guys who are calling him stingy are yourselves cheap bastards! He's charging you comfortably under $10(!) for the kit. He isn't exactly gouging you. Sure, he could post the plans, but to what end? To share his design with a bunch of cheap, ungrateful, rude twerps?

Nice idea, Aaron
1:09am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Aaron your selling parts but your also selling the instructions too you stingy steaming pile of shit. Don't try and deny your stinginess with lies. And for all you cry babies that can't figure it out yourself, just buy it from the tight wad. Oh never mind, your all probably to stingy yourself to cough up even a cent you chumps. HAhaha. Toodles.
1:28am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Chris Taylor
$8.50 sounds pretty damned fair to me - I work at radio shack I KNOW how much this shit costs.

ANYWAY questions. how good is the regulator ? I have a zodiac it needs 5v at 1amp and its VERY VERY intolerant to voltage that stray more than 10% from 5v. how reliably will this hold 5v ? the radioshack regulators dont hold 5v for shit. they allow the output v to drop well below 5v. - can you make a kit that takes 7.2v input and reliably hold 5v output ? (I have tons of 7.2v battery packs as I use them to power everything !
1:33am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Post The Instructions Now
Post the Instructions or I will Hack your computer with the most powerful virus ever. No seriously though post it because I don't have any way of paying you because I'm only twelve years old. Don't make me!
1:37am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Chris Taylor
also how to build one of these is easy here I will do it right here in this post.

figure out which wires in an old usb plug you dont need are power (will take you about 30sec and a volt meter)

now connect thepositive to the + out on regulator (5v regulator)connect 9v snap positive to the +in on the regulator connect both negative to the ground on the regulator

snap on a 9v battery. DONE if your dwevices charges "fast" double up the regulators to spread the load and reduce the heat build up (those bastards can get awful hot :-)

what your buying from him is all the grunt work of getting these parts together and for a damned good price. so shut up and either pay the measily freaking $8.50 or go figure it out on your own.
1:38am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Chris Taylor
also will you have $17 (boudle) to send me a ready to go one ($20 if you double up the regs so I can handle higher loads)
1:41am Thu Nov 03, 2005
yea ok, we get, is it such a sin to do things the easy way??? i'm soryy i support someone who has a good idea, and IS GRATEFULL enough to sell you the kit/plans. He could have just posted a picture and been done with it. Cheap f*cking bastards is wat you lot are. And response to the hackaday link, not evryone wants to carry around a open 9v battery w/ wires going to a flimsy usb connector, at least Aaron came up with a good idea for a housing

Nice Job Aaron.
1:42am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Re: Chris Taylor

The 5v regulator I'm using is very consistent in downgrading. A fresh 9v battery will put out a steady 5.000000 volts for a few hours, about 5, and then the voltage started dropping as the battery started to give out (I was benchmarking on a very cheap battery -- a decent Duracel might hold out longer).

I've been unable to find anything that can upscale a current lower than 5v to a steady 5v, but I'm trying to find some kind of setup that will do just that. Most electronics are capable of dealing with a lower-than-spec voltage, but since not everything is, you might want to try to make sure you're using good batteries and arent dragging them to death.
1:56am Thu Nov 03, 2005
A linear 5V regulator??? Inefficient design! So... where does the other 4V @ 250 ma go? INTO HEAT!!! You *like* throwing away half of a 9V battery's life?
1:58am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Aaron -> Keep up the good work!

Don't be discouraged by those calling you "stingy" or whatever else ... I think selling kits is absolutely brilliant!

If all you had here was the instructions, people would complain that you "stole" the instructions from somewhere else, and if you wanted to do something useful, sell a kit.

Ignore -*those*- stingy bastards. I think the fact that you are selling the kits for such a cheap price is brilliant.

Just because they don't want to shell out the $8.50 ...
2:00am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Darth Chump
I can't believe that you fucking bastards would attack this guy for choosing to sell something he came up with. And calling him a 'stingy fucker'...you goddamn retards can't come up with 8 FUCKING DOLLARS?? Sonny Fucking Jesus you guys are a bunch of right twats... Hey Aaron, good job on the design..and it's perfectly ok to sell whatever the hell you want at whatever price... Don't listen to these fucking pussy whiners who probably still live at home with their momma's and that's why they don't have any cash... Hey..cheapo fucks....Get a job and don't whine over something that costs less than 10 GODDAMN DOLLARS...Pathetic bastards..... jesus.....
2:11am Thu Nov 03, 2005
I am really interested in buying this, although I clicked on the how to and they use soldering and pretty advanced stuff. Aaron, to build these small chargers do you need any other materials than what you provide, anything else I should already own? Cause I don't and I would feel like such a tool if I had the parts but couldnt do anything with them. Thanks!
2:30am Thu Nov 03, 2005
To build this kit as specified you will need a soldering iron, solder, electrical tape, a multimeter or volt meter, and a container (Altoids Gum tin in instructions, basic project box would work).
2:36am Thu Nov 03, 2005
You might also be concerned with the cost to the environment by wasting batteries. Maybe you should encourage recyclables.
3:08am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Aaron, congrats on the design, All you stingy mofos who asked for the design, get lost. People seriously have no respect these days and expect everything for free. That's not how the real world works. So leave Aaron alone, work it out for yourself, or better yet, get fucked and learn some manners while you're at it. -Simon
3:16am Thu Nov 03, 2005
you ALL are fucking losers. jesus h. christ. if i hadn't read the original post, i would have thought you were all a bunch of 12 year olds. solution: do it all yourself. don't look at hackaday and don't order shit. hack it with mind bullets.
3:36am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Just digg all these people, dude.
4:11am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Why would it be stingy that a person to sell something he built?

Would any of you work for free? I make webpages, would I ever do it for free? Um, you get paid for what you do. It is common sense.

Man, I gotta work tomorrow, I hope they don't pay me! Fuckers.
4:13am Thu Nov 03, 2005
thats hot! must... resist... ordering one!!

4:56am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Wow! Record amount of posters! I'd buy one but you won't ship it to me and I don't have the equipment to build it :)
10:03am Thu Nov 03, 2005
Chris T.
Thanks for this, Aaron! I ponied up the $8.50 for a kit--this is perfect for those of us who go a little cross-eyed at the hardware hacking we see on MakeBlog (I'm a hopeless software geek, trying to get treatment for that). Hopefully this will give me some staying power on my palmtop for cross-country flights.
6:46pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
honkytonk woman
is there an in-law discount?
6:50pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
no need to keep on repeating stuff about babies.. and shouting big words like F**Ker and so on.

pretty sweet design. it would be cool if you put a rechargeable in their. and then made some kinda dock that it could sit in to charge up. it be kinda like my dads camera.. if you dock it, it charges up the NiMh batteries. but if your in some wacko country, you pop in your duracells or W/E and your set.
7:51pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
I'm not sure exactly how one would go about this, but what if one used a slightly larger box (regular altoids tin probably), and built a charger into this? I might pursue this idea.

*Looks for info on building a 9V battery charger.
9:45pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
I've looked into home-brew battery chargers. They're bad news. Bad news like molten acid exploding in your face.

If you wanted to use a Ni-Cad 9volt battery you sure could, just use a real recharger.
10:06pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
Sir Aaron i bow down to thee, i have seen this on other blogs (namely the hackaday one) but u are the only one whos sells me the parts for it,from all the lazy people in the world i thank you
10:46pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
First, the insturctions can be found within 5 minutes of googling it, or by searching the hackaday or make zine sites. Second, 7.50/9.50 is pretty damn cheap for a kit, especially just because of the usb socket.

Now, what I don't get is how people are saying it costs like 22 dollars to make this from radioshack parts. 1 dollar for the battery holder (Frivolus), 2.50 for 5 battery connectors (The hard ones), 2.50 for 2 switches, 1.25 for 2 Red LEDs, 1 dollar for a pack of 5 resistors, 3.50 for 50 feet (Thats 50 12' pieces) of hookup, and finally 1.59 for the regulator. Ohh, and a dollar battery. Lets see thats 14 and change for all the parts to build 1, add 3.59 and you can build two. Now lets get rid of the unneeded stuff. Snap holder is not needed, and the hookup wire can be had by asking any phone company tech in a van if you can have a bit of hookup/bell wire. That makes the price under 10 bucks not counting the box/tin. So, stop exagerating as well. Hell, if the people already have a soldering iron, they can free a switch and a led out of any broken toy or whatnot. Probably the hookup wire as well. So that's 5 dollars not including the tin or the battery.

All in all, the usb connector is probably the only reason to go with this guy. It is cheap compared to Digikey + shipping.

Ohh, and look at some of Maxim-Dallas' regulators and dc-dc stepup ic's to bring up a lower voltage or for better stepdown control , Aaron
11:08pm Thu Nov 03, 2005
Good Going Aaron, i will purchase a kit as soon as I acquire a soldering iron. Pay no mind to the middleschoolers with an entitlement complex.
5:01pm Fri Nov 04, 2005
Cheap Bastid
Hey, why does Apple need to charge $250 for a stinkin' IPOD? Why don't they just post how to build it? Stingy f'ers!!!!

I am dumber after reading all these posts.
6:50pm Fri Nov 04, 2005
wow, u could go into small buisness with this idea and make some addons. this definitley got your blog a lot popular, well i plan on buying one soon and was about to post why you wouldn't want to post plans but cheapbastid beat me to it. oh and i agree that my iq dropped at least 10points after browsing through some of the comments.
8:46pm Fri Nov 04, 2005
Thanks Aaron!
To all of the complainers, I really think you should give yourselves more credit. Do you value your time so little? An hour of my time is worth considerably more than the money I just expended buying the Switch Kit, the Basic Kit, and the USB 5pack (with shipping) from Aaron. I could easily spend more in the cummulative shipping charges ordering from separate vendors. Going that route would only be cost effective if I were to buy in bulk and start selling kits. I'm grateful that Aaron is doing that very thing because I have no interest .
5:10pm Sat Nov 05, 2005
brian needs a charger
great work i have a creative nomad jukebox 30 gb zen xtra it has a3.6v battery i spend lots of time outdoors away from a power source would you could you make a charger for me a new battery fom creative will cost $50 and i still can't charge it in the outdoors i'm not one of the cheep sob's i will pay what it takes
7:35pm Wed Nov 09, 2005
brian needs a charger
1:14pm Thu Nov 10, 2005
Aaron, I got the kit today and I'm running out to buy a new soldering tip for this project. Thanks for the great customer service! For all of you thinking about buying a kit from Aaron, go for it-great service you won't forget!
8:39pm Fri Nov 25, 2005
Its not ez to find USB connectors i dont see them much around.
7:55pm Sat Nov 26, 2005
Great project, Aaron!! Those little tins come in mighty handy sometimes.

Don't worry about those haters, they cannot come up with something original, so they have to bash you. Peace!
6:10am Fri Dec 02, 2005
It seems that Cypher is compensating for something
2:47pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
I would rather build one what took 4 x AA Batteries.
the NIMH are high capacity 2000+mAh and cheap $1
then the regulator wouldnt get as hot or waste as much power since it is only getting 6.4v on full charge.
2:49pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
Cost is not an issue with me, but I must say that the repulsive tin this product comes in is poor. UNLESS, however, the charger was to be owned and operated with subterfuge; so that no one would suspect it to be such an accomplished item

Mr. Aaron - try making a 3-penny radio. Perchance we shoud commission you to build more inexpensive gadgets.
2:53pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
Pretty darn cool man... still, I'd rather have a solar powere one, or something like that. Tossing batteries into the trash just bugs me.
3:01pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
check out www.cellboost.com. They made an extremely small disposable charger for all electronic devices (cellphones, ipods, ext.). The cellphone one is only $4.99.
3:58pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
hey gino
i think you can recycle your dead batteries instead of trashing them. just take them to an electronic or battery boys type store.
4:11pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
Great Idea!
This is Sweet. Any recs on a soldering iron?
4:17pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
Yeah, be sure to get the kind of soldering iron that gets real hot on one end and stays cool on the other end.

The complainers here must live in China or Cuba or some other communist country. Here in the USA, selling something for personal profit is not considered a sin - in fact, it is what fuels our economy, the best in the world. Take a lesson.
5:35pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
Uh guys...? I dont' know about you, but I've got like 11 of those usb to PS2 connectors lying around. Take a craft knife to one of those and you've got a USB connector... As to the complainers, if you don't understand enough about electronics to make one yourself, you get no love from me. Great idea and implimentation!
6:59pm Fri Dec 02, 2005
Jason Striegel
The original usb battery howto is over at hackaday:

The idea came from Chris Diclerico's ipod battery post, which was mentioned above.

That said, it's cool to see more of these out in the wild, and the price for the kit is reasonable considering the time it takes to buy the parts and eat all the altoids.

Aaron, you'll sell more kits if you share your howto with people interested in the information. They're more likely to buy the kit because they'll see that it's not a scam and it's something they are absolutely capable of assembling.

Good luck!
3:45am Sat Dec 03, 2005
Mark Frauenfelder
$9.50 for kits and instructions is dirt cheap. Aaron is providing a great service. As for "Information should be free," that's a bad mutation of Stewart Brand's original observation: "On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other." Anyone who has a problem with paying for information is welcome to start from scratch.
4:13pm Sat Dec 03, 2005
Rusty G
that is awesome!!
12:16pm Sun Dec 04, 2005
F. Maxwell
If I put up the how-to instructions, you'd just have to go out somewhere and buy the parts yourself at around double the cost

Many of us already have huge collections of parts, including regulators, battery connectors, USB sockets, etc., from which to construct things.

That said, if someone has amassed a collection of parts that substantial, then they should be able to design this without help.
1:10pm Sun Dec 04, 2005
M. Graham
realsitically, the thing's not that hard to build. Just crack an electronics construction book and it'll seem like tinker toys.
12:08am Mon Dec 05, 2005
B. Burcham
Great idea. Nice design. Love the Altoids tin. You could market it differently.... MSPR $22.50, now only $8.50. Sale ends 1/1/06. Then the cheap bastards will think their getting a deal and they'll sell like hot cakes.
Rule #1 - nobody likes paying list price - everyone wants to think they're getting a deal.
11:11am Wed Dec 07, 2005
Finding USB connectors is easy. Just go buy a $15 GE powered 4 port USB hub an dthen a month later when it has fried itself you have 4 connectors sitting around doing nothing.
8:22pm Mon Dec 12, 2005
if you dumbass's can not build this without plans, please ,SHUTUP
1:30am Tue Dec 20, 2005
Damn people, stop filling this with flames. heres the bottom line
He made the idea
he did research and work
he feels like saving you guys the trouble
and decides to sell the kit and keep the plans so he can make some cash in the process
either you buy or stop flaming.
8.50 IS reasonable.

i myself have the same problem as one of the posters. i am 14 and my parents refuse to let me make any transactions over the internet. so i would have prefered to have the plans posted but tough luck.

nice design by the way. i would realy appreciate it if you would at least email me the directions. all of your points are valid and i completly understand but as i mentioned the parent issue and i would rather spend 20 bucks than not have it. if you decide to send it to me, i would of course not give it to anyone else. once again u are the creator and respect your desiscion but due to certain parental issues(i know i speak big for a teen) i will not be buying one. if you decide to email me, its elitegamer76@gmail.com
5:50pm Thu Jan 26, 2006
i just had a vague idea and took a trip to the nearest radioshack.
for 1 femaie usb port=$6.00
for 1 led(blue cuz i like blue better than red) $2
for a pack of 6 9v battery clips.-$4.99
(his price beats it already)
a pack of 2 small on/off slide swithches-$4.99

i do not know what he uses to convert the 9v to 5 volts. would you at least mind posting the power converter thing that you bought.
8:50am Fri Jan 27, 2006
kk heres the lowdown. i just finished one.
i am a crappy solderer and got burnt in the process. go figure. anyway. it ended up costing me around 20 dollars and couple hours of my life. the electronic equipment ended up costing 15 dollars and i spent 5 dollars on ointment for my burn... my point is, if you can save yourself the trouble and buy the simple, foolproof kit. and i still have not tested it yet. Once i go to school on monday, my friend is gonna bring his screwed up ipod cuz i dont want to screw up my psp or zen micro(it owns ipod, and i already made the altoids case for it.)
7:51pm Fri Jan 27, 2006
o, and i also didnt bother with the switch. i cudent figure out where to solder it
7:52pm Fri Jan 27, 2006
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in the second one, i used the paperclip to turn on the blue power indicator. never tested if it is the correct voltage yet because im too scared. but as i said, ill test it on my friends ipod whose scrollwheel is screwed up on monday
2:45pm Sat Jan 28, 2006
Do not i repeat DO NOT follow my pic for the connections. there are some items which are under the battery and you cannot see that i used. if you use what you see to make your own. you WILL fry your item
2:47pm Sat Jan 28, 2006
You need to have a voltage regulator. I recomend buying the kit because not only does it include exactly what you need, it also includes instructions that won't go wrong. To those that don't want to pay for this, I don't blame you, you could have many reasons but if your going to do it yourself, for gods sake look into it and make sure you know what your doing before soldering around blindly and plugging your valued devices into something that could fry them.
4:50am Fri Feb 10, 2006
Just curious is the voltmeter only needed to make sure the volt regulator and resistor work? That's one peice of equipment i don't have. also you mentioned using a rechargable battery i wouldnt doubt if you could come up with a circuit design for the charger connect to the wall to charge the 9V battery without taking the battery out of the tin. that'd be pretty nifty.
4:38pm Fri Feb 10, 2006
if you want to recharge the battery then use a manufactured one. self made chargers are a no-no as aaron has already said.
9:48pm Fri Feb 10, 2006
I am an a popular science reader this is a cool kit i made one for a portable tv used to 9 volt batteries and some other stuff. Some one asked what he used to lower the voltage it is a 160 ohm resistor and in the pick there is a voltage regulator also
1:03pm Sat Feb 11, 2006
? for nick what is that padding on that zen?
1:07pm Sat Feb 11, 2006
Cool design, I'll have to beg my parents to let me buy one!

(for Jake) it looks like nick used another Altoids case and some foam to make a pretective case for his zen micro. sweet idea...kinda sticks with the whole 'Altoids' theme
2:24pm Sat Feb 11, 2006
The 160 ohm resistor is for the LED, not for the usb voltage.
2:58pm Sat Feb 11, 2006
hi what do you need the thing that multimeter or volt meter for. I dont want to spend 90 bucks to buy one and don't know what its for. Can you just do it without the thing?
7:37pm Sat Feb 11, 2006
The multimeter is just suggested so you can verify that the proper voltage (5.0) is being put out by the usb socket, but if you wire everything properly it should do that by default.

I got mine from Radio Shack for $20 I think. A nice little compact yellow one that folds open.
9:06pm Sat Feb 11, 2006
I got mine for AUD$10 at Radio Parts in melbourne australia.
4:14am Sun Feb 12, 2006
What can this be used to charge. It seems it can only charge an ipod. Because if the charger has a usb socket then it cant charge a psp unless you get a special charger.
9:23am Sun Feb 12, 2006
you can charge a psp if you have a data cable like the one to transfer music and photos and movies to it. That works fine
10:41am Sun Feb 12, 2006
If your a gadget person, this is perfect. Pretty much any handheld modern device that links to a computer can be charged via usb.
11:20am Sun Feb 12, 2006
If it weren't for Pop Sci, i would never have found this page or even thought of the idea.
11:22am Sun Feb 12, 2006

They have USB charging cables for the PSP.
11:54pm Sun Feb 12, 2006
This is cool! (I wouldn't have ever been able to figure out how to wire something like this :)
I saw this in PopSci...
As soon as I get my new MP3 player I really want to get one of these...
Good work...
9:13pm Tue Feb 14, 2006
good idea man , although i wish i came up with the idea to sell this . This should work great when i go to fbla state and stuff , and is way cheaper than the charger you can buy from apple. so way to go.
9:15pm Tue Feb 14, 2006
Aaron, where would you recommend getting a usb charging cable for the PSP? I've seen some for $10, but if there's any cheaper ones....
9:15pm Tue Feb 14, 2006
$10 sounds about right.

According to the tipster on the scratchpad, I might be selling them come this weekend. We'll see.
9:44pm Tue Feb 14, 2006
Aaron, great idea. Just two suggestions. If you are going to use this charger to charge only iPods, Zen Micros, etc. (devices with a mini-USB socket), why not buy a mini-usb -to- mini-usb cable and cut it in half? It would eliminate the need to search for usb sockets and an usb cable (because it would be built-in).

Also, if you need 5V, why use a 9V battery and lose a lot of energy to heat? (as someone stated above). If you guys already have NiCd and NiMH chargers, pick up a 5V Receiver pack from an R/C hobby shop. Would allow for recharging of the external pack and would eliminate the need for the voltage regulator.
1:04am Wed Feb 15, 2006
Hey, I am thinking about starting a website and I was wondering where U got all these cool messageboards, the scratchpad, and the page loaded in whatever seconds.
6:47pm Wed Feb 15, 2006
aren't there 5v batteries or somthing??
6:48pm Wed Feb 15, 2006
good work man, pretty original just wonderin though how would i go about setting this up for my phone tht does not have a usb charger on the market?
11:07pm Wed Feb 15, 2006
Awesome work, creative and cool.
Don't worry about all the tards with nothing but negs to say. If you gave out bags of cash they would complain about the bags.
8:06am Thu Feb 16, 2006
Hey, Aaron, I was just wondering how many Amps your device supports, I noticed the PSP takes two while the iPod only one. It puts out five volts, right? My only other question is whether or not the iPod mini and PSP can take lower than spec voltage as the battery depletes. If you could answer these 3 questions ASAP, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.
4:33pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
I found a 5v battery!! The site is linked below, and I was wondering if it would work.
Also, what amount of amprage is unsafe 4 iPods, ect... I really dont want to fry my iPod mini.

store for battery
4:50pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
oops, broken link!
here is the adress:
4:51pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
im an idiot..... i havent found a 5 v battery....... didnt read well...............
4:52pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
Even if there are 5v batteries (and there must be somewhere), the point of this charger is that it uses a widely-available battery so you can use it in emergencies. They have 9v batteries at every gas station and drug store on earth.

4:59pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
Aaron, could you please respond to my previous post?
5:19pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
Hey Aaron.

I am going to buy your kit, but i have one question:

will it fry my ipod?

I have a 4GB iPod Mini, and I listen to it so much, it seems to die instantly.

But, with your charger, it would work great on the road if i cant get to a damn computer or wall charger.

So, if it fries my ipod, i wont buy it. but still, dude, even if i dont buy it, dont lie and say it wont fry it and then i buy it then it kills my ipod... then... i go crazy and hack your website...

lol just kidding. but really i need to know cuz my dad said no i couldnt buy it cuz it would fry my ipod.
5:27pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
oh yeah and dont listen to those cheap scumbags who dont have $8.50 to give you for a kit that should cost like $22.
5:29pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
Alex it won't fry your iPod, the voltage converter lowers the voltage to a safe range.
5:46pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
Aaron, please let me know the amperage and voltage of your device, I'm assuming its five volts, but I need to know the amps before I buy it. Also can the iPod mini and PSP handle lowering voltage as the battery depletes?
5:49pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
By the way, after you respond, I recommend you fill your iPod with Pink Floyd.
6:44pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
can i use a firewire socket instead, and build it the same?
7:15pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
namedoesnotmatter: I really don't know the amperage, haven't checked it.

zerosaga: no.
7:36pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
can i use a firewire socket instead, and build it the same?
7:37pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
Thank you, I'll buy the kit soon, PSP's and iPod minis aren't hurt by lower that 5 voltages, are they?

I wasn't kidding about Pink Floyd, its good. Buy The Wall. Then buy everything else they ever made.
8:03pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
instead of a voltage regulator, coiuldn't u just use a resistor?? i have no clue cuz i am pretty new circuts...
9:22pm Thu Feb 16, 2006
V = I * R
That is, the voltage = the resistance times the current. The charger puts out 5 volts (because the voltage regulator steps down the voltage.) USB ports operate at a little under 5 volts. It doesn't matter what the current is in the device... 5 volts divided by your device's internal resistance, will give you the amperage. Period. As long as your device can be charged over USB, it will be fine.

Aso for whether devices can be hurt by haveing not enough volts... no. There will be a point where your I-Pod will simply not charge because the 9v battery in the charger is all used up.
1:19am Fri Feb 17, 2006
Here's a total, none technical question. I've never seen an Altoids gum box, only the mint boxes. Where do you find one? I'm in San Diego BTW. Thanx...
1:32am Fri Feb 17, 2006
Here's a total, none technical question. I've never seen an Altoids gum box, only the mint boxes. Where do you find one? I'm in San Diego BTW. Thanx...
2:17am Fri Feb 17, 2006
Hey Aaron, this is an awesome idea!! and if it wasn't for my PopSci subscription, i probably nvr would have heard of it. this is exactly the thing ive been looking for!! if only i had it 3 weeks ago when i was on a 6 hour bus ride and my ipod drained down to nothing. don't mind all the ppl to cheap to pay for a kit, although im 17 and my parents won't buy stuff for me online, in a few months ill be 18 and able to get a credit card. i definatly would like to buy a kit, as finding the parts myself woudl be way to hard, and the instructions would be really handy. as for soldering and the voltmeter, im sure ill be able to use some of those peices of equipment, found in the science classroom of my school, hehe. one of the main reasons this kit would be very valuable to me, is that even if i wanted to buy all the parts myself, ive nvr seen an altoids gum box. i look fwd to purchasing ur brilliant idea. keep up the good work.
9:14am Fri Feb 17, 2006
Hey, im just a kid with not much knowledge on circuits, but what is with this fancy voltage regulator? wouldn't just the correct resistor do the trick of bringing it down to 5 V?
10:41am Fri Feb 17, 2006
If you get a resistor to drop 9v down to 5v, what happens when the battery starts to die and drops to 8v? The resistor drops it below 5v, cutting off the charge.

A voltage regulator will make ANY voltage above 5v come out as 5v.
11:46am Fri Feb 17, 2006
I finally figured out how to do this in the right place!!!!!!!And I also found the Question mark.? ? ??????! Yae me!
any way,do you sell the instructins with the kit ?
2:00pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
sorry, I ment instructions
2:02pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
ok everyone is wondering htf to build this thing and complaining about the plans not being posted...there are many solutions to this dilemma:
1. buy the kit
2. go out and buy a popular science magazine...for it tells you the instructions

i hope this helps everyone who is upset about not having instructions
10:03pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
just wondering if anyone has a thourough knowledge of pocket pcs and their power supplies and knows if this will work with a HP 1945
10:08pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
hey i saw your charger in Popsci, and i went out and bought all of the parts, but i started to work on it, and i can figure out the instructions. it is kinda unclear, where thing are supposed to be soddered. is there any way you could email the instructions? Thx
10:30pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
one other thing... What's the resister for? just to protect the LED?
10:52pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
sorry! I just saw that you answered that in an earlier post.
10:55pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
Aaron, great idea!
After seeing your kit in Popsci, I quickly came to your site - an found just what I needed. Often, I travel very far on car trips, and ther is no wall outlet around. I hate seeing my ipod battery drop at all, and I become totally freaked when it gets any lower than 50 percent. I am deffinitely going to buy your kit - I love the altoids tin container.
12:32pm Sat Feb 18, 2006
i made mine and it was short circuiting. The battery was hot. Tear tear
1:58pm Sat Feb 18, 2006
Alex, i am trying to build it myself, but i cannot find the usb
where did you get it?
8:06pm Sat Feb 18, 2006

Your documentation, written directions and help were worth well more to me, than the measly ten dollars I paid for the kit.
11:33pm Sat Feb 18, 2006
hay i can't find a 160-omh reisstor which is next best?
12:21am Sun Feb 19, 2006
Where are you sending these things from Aaron cause I ordered 2 of them
11:32am Sun Feb 19, 2006
hey does anyone know if this will fry a psp. i really want one but if it frys a psp its not worth it.....
12:23pm Sun Feb 19, 2006

am i correct in asuming that the 160 ohm resistor is only for the LED? if so i have a light that works perfectly fine w/o the 160 ohm resistor, i am currently using that.

also, is there any way that you can email me just the plans for this project?, i am confident that i already have all of the parts needed from an old radio that i can use. i just need a little...guidance from you plans.
great invention, i look forward to trying it out.


4:53pm Sun Feb 19, 2006
I'm rather new to the making electronics world, and on my switching adapter from the wall to the usb port for my mp3 player says the output is +5V, and I was wondering if that just meant 5V, and if this device would work with it
Thanks in advance
11:31pm Mon Feb 20, 2006
I'm rather new to the making electronics world, and on my switching adapter from the wall to the usb port for my mp3 player says the output is +5V, and I was wondering if that just meant 5V, and if this device would work with it
Thanks in advance
11:32pm Mon Feb 20, 2006
oops, just getting the hang of these comment thingies

Sweet idea Aaron, read 'bout it in PopSci, and i was simply wondering if and what modefications would allow this Amazing idea run a sony diskman
12:52am Tue Feb 21, 2006
my mp3 player has a 3.7V Lithium battery--will the 5V charger work or do i need to get a different resistor?
9:42am Tue Feb 21, 2006
The type of battery doesn't matter, all that matters is if it can charge via USB. Every USB port on earth puts out 5.0v, so this thing is as good as a USB port.
10:21am Tue Feb 21, 2006
Does anyone know if this will work with a Dell Axim X50v
As far as I know it charges the same as a PSP
4:33pm Tue Feb 21, 2006
Heh, I knew I'd regret allowing any non-script html tags.
6:36pm Tue Feb 21, 2006
im a sixteen year old kid who saw the product in popular science so i bought it and if you dont know what you are doing this thing is really hard to make. So make sure before you buy it that u know what your doing or have someone else pay for it.
12:35am Wed Feb 22, 2006
I'm going to a place with no outlets/electricity for a month. I have never done anything like this before. Never used a soldering iron except for in art. . . I really want to have this so I can use my iPod, but I don't want to really fuck up and turn my iPod into crap on a stick or injure myself. Do you think I can handle it, or should I get my "uncle" (aunts boyfriend for 5 years) to do it 'cos he do that stuff. . . I don't know why aI'm asking this. . .I'll just get his help so I don't fuck myself over. . . I'm starting to ramble. . .I wonder if I remembered to turn off the radiator. . .
2:46am Wed Feb 22, 2006
I just read my message and its really weird. . .

Announcement: "Everyone disregard these two messages."
2:47am Wed Feb 22, 2006
I said stop reading these!

I feel weird. My hand is HUGE!

Mooo. . .
sorry, I started and couldn't stop. I'll leave now.
2:50am Wed Feb 22, 2006
Moo. . .
Aaron: That's such a great design. Pictures are flawless too. I wish I didn't suck at soldering . . . T_T
oh well. . .
2:51am Wed Feb 22, 2006
What happened to the kit without the light and switch?
That is really all i need.
3:40pm Wed Feb 22, 2006
He couldn't keep both of them in stock.
5:49pm Wed Feb 22, 2006
yall should try out the bawls mints cans, they are a PERFECT fit.

5:54pm Wed Feb 22, 2006
I like the charger and making stuff is my field but if you started selling retractable usb cables for the Zen Micro--now that I would definitely buy (I own a Zen Micro)
Please sell them at a good price :)
8:41pm Wed Feb 22, 2006
wow they are huge, resizing (if u read this they are probably already resized)
6:24am Thu Feb 23, 2006
you can usually find a USB fan at www.newegg.com , they are "teh pwn"
10:19am Thu Feb 23, 2006
I found this on the internet on chrisdiclerico.com a long time ago, but putting together the kit is awesome. it gives you detailed instructions and a place to start.
1:57pm Thu Feb 23, 2006
Has anybody tried to see if this kit works properly on the ipod video? I've build 2 sets with similar circuitry (using a 7805 voltage reg).

When I plug a ipod vid in, it shows the charging sign, but the battery doesn't seem to charge. It also cannot act as a emergency backup batt - i.e a dead ipod cannot power up when I put it to the charger.

My charger also has a mains power adaptor socket - will have to try and see if the ipod can charge or not.

If the ipod can charge when the mains are plugged in, probably means that the 9v batt just can't supply the current needed for the ipod. Will need to test on less power-hungry models, like the nano.

If the ipod doesn't charge, then there is probably some magic circuitry in the ipod that needs to be triggered to enable charging - something like the "connect usb data pins to -ve to enable charging" on the shuffle. Will also need to try on other ipod models to determine if it's only the video with this problem.

Some pics of my ugly chargers ;)

10:43pm Thu Feb 23, 2006
I just found a cool website for awsome different things that u can plug into ur USB charger!!
11:16pm Thu Feb 23, 2006
oopsies!! i didnt spell the link tag right......
11:19pm Thu Feb 23, 2006
.............ok...........its late and i cant spell for beans........ here it is, last time, ive got it right and ive checked it twice.......
11:22pm Thu Feb 23, 2006
I got my kit in the mail today. Thank you for the quick delivery.

The instructions are great. It took me about 2 hours to assemble everything. I hadn't worked on anything like this since a seventh grade technology project.

The only obstacle I encountered was with the Altoids gum I bought. The tin for the sour cherry gum doesn't have a flat bottom so i had to hammer it out so the lid would close with the battery clip in it.

Now if I only had a 9 volt battery handy to test this with I would be a very happy man.

Keep up the good work!
1:13am Fri Feb 24, 2006
woot nice sight rober1992! I have the 'USB Fever'
7:39am Fri Feb 24, 2006
I've been trying to order the kit for the past week, but my amex gift card is screwed up. Does anybody know how buy stuff with a gift card? I'm getting desperate.
2:24pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
somebody pleeaase help me!
before I smash up my computer out of frustration or something (who knows. maybe it'll work.)
2:32pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
What if i dont use the 160 ohm resistor? can i still use a light?
6:34pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
no, it will fry the LED.....
about the AMEX giftcard..... just use a credit card. If ur a kid then trade it to ur parents for cash and a kit....
8:33pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
what led should i use? is it okay if i got over a few ohm?
8:59pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
...cont 160 ohm vs 168 ohm?
9:01pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
The 160 ohm resistor is selected specifically for the type of LED I'm using in my kit. If you're building your own (making my children go hungry) you'll have to pick the right resistance for the voltage of your LED.
9:13pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
Thanks and sorry but i would like to build on my own to see if i can. But i give you all the credit
10:44pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
What is the scratchpad, anyway???

Have you considered a bulk package of both cables for something like $20?
10:52pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
The scratchpad... you write things on it. It's like a scratchpad, except it's exactly like one.
11:50pm Fri Feb 24, 2006
I was thinking when 'shopping' for my altoids tin. could you use a bigger tin for something along the lines of a usb battery charger hub? just a thought
12:33am Sat Feb 25, 2006

Hey everyone, I'm Tyler, and here's my story.

I saw this in Pop Sci like everyone else. I've never ever played around with "electronics" like this - resistors, LEDs, soldering, etc - before. So this was my first time. I figured it out really quick, the detailed instructions were great.

I soldered and soldered for about two hours and put it together in the full size Spearmint Altoids tin. Fits prefectly, I doubt it would fit into the smaller Chewing Gum tin. I put in a battery and flipped the switch and voila - the red LED turned on! And that was my first try! So I guess I got the hang of it.

I went out to Radioshack and bought a multimeter. Of course I forgot to purchase the battery for it, and it was too late to go back, so I am at the moment unable to test the voltage coming out.

I decided to plug my iPod Nano in, anyways. (I can't wait!!) So, everything was normal with the red LED on and all. When I attached the iPod, the nano woke up (turned on). Then the only thing that happened (and kept going on for as long as it was plugged in) was the volume kept jumping up and down. (As if I was frantically spinning the click wheel back and forth.) I have no idea what this means, hopefully someone else will. I couldn't see any indication of any charging ocurring. My iPod still works perfectly fine and normal - it's not fried :).

That's really the only USB device I can test on this...I don't expect my webcam, printer, usb hub, or graphing calculator to show any changes when plugged in.

So does anyone have any ideas as to what might be wrong? I'll be able to test the voltage tomorrow when I get a 12v battery for my multimeter...

I'm going to post some pictures of my charger on my website, just click the below link to see the photos.

Photos: http://smileyborg.com/usbcharger

1:29am Sat Feb 25, 2006
Oh, I'll stop being lazy and throw the html down and add my pictures here:

1:48am Sat Feb 25, 2006
Great work smileyborg. Unfortunately I dont have any answer for your problem. For some reason I can't see the voltage regulator in your pack. Is it just me or don't you have one?
8:15am Sat Feb 25, 2006
I found this schematic for a usb phone charger, all of the parts are NOT available at radioshack. Its probably cheaper to buy a kit.
8:51am Sat Feb 25, 2006
8:56am Sat Feb 25, 2006
Voltage: Yeah, everything's in there, just the wires are hiding the voltage regulator...

It's at the bottom near the battery. If you or anyone else is interested in seeing it, I can take a picture with the wires out.

Hopefully I'll be able to stop by a Radioshack today and pick up the darn 12v multimeter battery. (What a joke, I'll bet it's a $10 battery, too...)

I'll post the results here when I get around to it.
4:42pm Sat Feb 25, 2006
And in my last picture, you can barely make out the voltage regulator on the bottom directly in between the battery and switch. (Especially the 3 leads and soldering.)
4:45pm Sat Feb 25, 2006
smileyborg, are you sure you hooked up your wires to the right terminals on the socket?

My kit didn't come in time for the weekend so I have to wait until monday. :-(
5:28pm Sat Feb 25, 2006
Why was I too cheap to buy lineskipper??? WHY???!!!
5:36pm Sat Feb 25, 2006
I got mine friday when i got home from school, but i havent been able to put it together yet cause my dad is the only one who knows where the saughtering iron is and he isnt home till tomorrow!!!!
9:19pm Sat Feb 25, 2006
I just got my kit in the mail a few days ago, and then recently "finished" it. I'm having a strange problem though: If I plug in the battery and flip the switch, the LED comes on, and the two the prongs of the USB socket are putting out 5V. But, whenever I plug a USB cord into the female slot the LED turns off and there is no voltage. Any idea what the problem is?
11:47pm Sat Feb 25, 2006
namedoesnotmatter: yeah, I am, and I will be double-sure when I test them with my multimeter later today.

mfric: I actually have the same "problem" too but ONLY when I plug my usb hub into the charger. (When I plug the hub in, the red LED goes off, I'm not sure whats happening differently than when anything else is plugged in.)
4:11am Sun Feb 26, 2006
I get the exact same problem. Try using a complete new battery. I was using a USB Fan and that drains power really quickly cos it takes the most amount it can get.
6:40am Sun Feb 26, 2006
hi everyone
I go my kit yesterday, and just finished with it. unfortunately it does not work at all. my ipod mini does not respond at all to being plugged into the charger, and the voltage regulator and usb socket get really hot after being plugged in to the battery for several seconds. i think all my connections are correct, but the kit just doesnt work. any suggestions?
12:50pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
everybody is commenting on the charger not working with the iPod mini. I think the internal resistance of the mini is different than the other USB devices -- possibly so much so that the voltage regulator cannot correct the imput charge to compensate, where a USB socket could.

I guess that would mean that a different regulator might be compatable with the mini - possibly one that his a higher maragin for internal resistance
1:25pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
is lineskipper worth it?

I mean, does it really get there the same day?
1:27pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
I'm Loopy and your item is cool!
1:27pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
I think you should sue monkeys and get on with the brochure of planet zero I like my dog. IIIIII'MMMMMMM LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPYYYY!
1:29pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
carlpersons, thanks for telling me. i guess this means 2 things--one that I cant use it with my mini, but 2 that it may work with something else and i didnt screw up. what exactly do you mean by a voltage regulator with higher internal resistance margin? like, a higher voltage?
2:21pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
hey, when ever i plug something in, nothing happens at all. now, after reading that some think it doesn't work with the mini, it sucks because that's what i have. now, the pics show it hooked up to a mini, so shouldn't it work? i'm getting 5v from the socket in a recently destroyed usb cable. what's the deal? does it just not shw that's it not charging because it hasn't got the info wires hooked up or something?
2:24pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
hey anubis you're right
i tried it with a blackberry, nothing is happening, i am about to try with a camera. odds are i messed something up. i hope that's the case.
2:29pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
another thing--should the voltage regulator and usb socket get very hot? i built it with the regulator that aaron sent me with my kit, and it got really really hot. i am now using a regulator I got from radiooshack and there is no problem. should it do that?
2:31pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
hey, my voltage regulator heated up so hot that when i licked my finger and touched it, the spit boiled and hissed and it hurt my finger.... I later found that i had accidentaly gotten some saugter in part of the female usb port and there was a short........ my finger hurts....
2:33pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
dmax0: i think u may have my problem, my things wont charge and it heats up alot. i thinks its cause i got a bit o' solder in the usb slot... i would fix it now, but i r being forced to do my homework....
2:36pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
hey you know what rober--I tried to solder my usb socket into the side of the tin, and mine isnt working either! how do you plan to get the solder out? I am thinking the usb socket must be the problem, because I checked all my connections like 3 times. I would be being forced to do homework, but I dont have anything I have to hand in per se. lucky me
2:52pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
that sounds exactly like my problem, except i never did any soldering to the port besides the positive and negative connections. this is really starting to piss me off...
3:13pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
I'm getting pretty annoyed too. i dont think we can get a refund or even customer suppoert from aaron dunlap himself
3:26pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
I find it a bit amazing that everbody seems so enthralled over this 9 volt charger device. A far better route to take is to use any little battery holder that will hold 4 AA cells. This will put out 6 volts. If you want less than 6 volts simply put one or more diodes in series with the power lead to reduce the voltage. A silicon diode will reduce voltage at about 0.7 volts per diode.

The reason this is far supperior is that you get multitudes more battery capacity per dollar spent on batteries. I use a simple device like this with my Palm Tungsten E and Palm TX. I use regular alkaline AA cells or NiMH rechargable cells.

Do you realize how much more a 9 volt battery costs per amp/hour than AA cells? It is enormous. And a linear regulator such as the 7805 3-terminal type is very wasteful of energy, as is evidenced by the fact that they get hot.

I think your 9 volt device is a bit over engineered and an equal amount under powered.
4:10pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
After reading some of these posts I decided to see what was going on with the hot regulator.

I turned on the switch (while the charger was unplugged) and it wasn't hot (the only electricity flowing through is to power the LED). But as soon as I plugged a usb cable in, BAM, the sucker got REALLY REALLY HOT. As in you don't wanna touch that thing hot!

So I think this is normal, and actually a sign of a PROPER setup.

What's happening: The 9v battery is putting out (get this) 9v. The USB sockert only wants 5v so the voltage regulator is dropping the voltage down from 9v to 5v. However, since energy simply can't be "lost," the electrical energy is converted to heat. So you've got 9-5=4v of electricity being released as heat from the regulator. And if this is happening only when something is plugged in (to complete the circuit) it means everything is working as it should.
4:30pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Also, if you eliminate the wasteful regulator (by using the AA cels) you also eliminate the need for the switch.

Or you can simplify every thing and spend less money by buying a completed device on ebay for around $7 plus shipping. Just search on ebay for (your device name) battery extender
4:37pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Also, if you eliminate the wasteful regulator (by using the AA cels) you also eliminate the need for the switch.

Or you can simplify every thing and spend less money by buying a completed device on ebay for around $7 plus shipping. Just search on ebay for (your device name) battery extender
4:46pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
hey, everybody,

most of you with minis are talking about a really hot regulator. As smilyborg said, energy can't be lost, but if my regualtor is hot enough to fry my fingers, I usually get pretty worried.

if the regulator is hot enough to melt the hot glue around it (which happens alot to me - my multimeter is broken), something's wrong. At that temp, I get worried about something frying besides my fingers - like the regulator. Usually, that means there's a short, or the current is way to high, and I would make it stop really fast before my battery blows.

There would be three possible reasons for this: faulty soldering, cheap components, or a low power consumption load, such as a device with low internal resistance. If this is the case, it can be corrected with a new regulator that can compensate the higher current, or with by using AA's (as Gregor pointed out).
4:59pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Well, I have a feeling that my charger is setup correctly and "working" (putting out 5v).

What I'm wondering is this: maybe my iPod nano that I'm trying to charge needs some communication through the two inside data prongs in the usb socket for it to allow charging through usb?

Has anybody been able to successfully charge an iPod with this charger?
5:14pm Sun Feb 26, 2006

I think you may be right - and that would explain the heat that is generated when the iPod is connected. A lot of people are complaining that later-gen iPods aren't working with the charger. The iPod might just be connecting the circuit without running the energy through any load - so the power is simply in a circuit - without the ipod using any of the energy. This would prevent the ipod from charging until the data was sent from the device that the USB port was connected to (which, of course, doesn't exist in our case). Due to this extremely low, or non-existant resistance, the current, and therefore the heat, would be great, equivilent to a short.
6:15pm Sun Feb 26, 2006

now i'm worried.
I was buying the kit for a nano.
6:18pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
If your regulator is a 7805 it is probably rated at 1.5 amps but that is WITH a large heatsink. If your regulaor uses a TO-92 case (about the size of half of a pencil eraser) then it is most likely rated at only 100 ma of output current. I don't know what your ipod draws but my guess is you are overloading your regulator, and that causes heat. And, that heat is wasted battery energy. Use 4 AA cells, drop the voltage with one or two 1N4002 diodes (available at Radio Shack) and enjoy a device that will give you loads more battery life, no discernable heat, no need for a switch (just unplug it) and no risk of fire or meltdown or potential serious overvoltage to your ipod in the even the regulator fails.
6:25pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Okay I'm going out right now to the store and Radioshack to pick up a 12v battery for my multimeter, then I'll know exactly what's happening.
6:43pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
First of all to clear something up while the word is pronounced "saughter", it is spelled SOLDER. Also, smileyborg, you did not insulate your tin with electrical tape before starting. It is a METAL TIN. Your problem is a short circuit due to non insulated metal. And so everyone knows, an iPod mini draws 5 volts and 1 amp, just like everything else. There's no mini specific problem. I have a mini and get my kit tomorrow, I'll test it then.
7:52pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
OK!! IVE FIGURED IT OUT!!! First, check to see that no saugter from the usb leads are touching the usb casing. Second if ur voltage regulator is SUPER hot then see no. 1. Third, mine doesnt "charge", but if my iPod is out of battery, it uses the tin that is plugged in instead. (I dont know, it may actualy be charging without saying so and it turns on when plugged in like normal). Fourth...... uhhhh........... I AM FINISHED!! YAY ME!! IT WORKS!! pictures in a few mins.......
8:26pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
well tomorrow N E way........ sry got to sleep..... *snore*
8:38pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
If the ipod is truly drawing 1 amp then you can count on your regulator running very hot, to the point of shutting down unless you have a large heatsink on it. It will not work at all if your regulator is the small 100 ma type. Also, your 9 volt battery will live a very short life. A 9 volt alkaline battery has a mah rating of around 500. That means it will put out 25 ma for 20 hours (normally, specified battery capacity is rated at a discharge rate of 20 hours). The specified amp hour rating decreases dramatically when a battery is loaded heavily. Your 9 volt battery will not even last a half hour if your device (ipod) is truly drawing 5 volts at 1 amp. Actually it seems unlikely that it draws that much current but I don't have an ipod to measure it with.
8:48pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
It just says 1A, I'm assuming it means ma.
9:19pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Okay, first off, I got the multimeter working. I tested my usb socket - it reads 4.98v which is perfect. So then I plugged in the iPod usb charger and tested the end of that - also 4.98v. So that's working perfectly also.

namedoesnotmatter: I know what you're saying, but fortunately there is no short circuit or the red LED wouldn't be on and I wouldn't have 4.98v coming out of the usb socket. This is not a problem.

Rober1992: the regulator is supposed to get REALLY hot. I almost burned my finger on it (again). But it's working fine - 4.98v is coming out. So if your regulator is burning hot that's normal and (usually) means everything is working right.

So now I plugged my iPod in again and let it sit for a little bit. After about 20 seconds the battery meter went to full green. I don't know if this means the battery is charging or if now it's just drawing power directly from the 9v charger and bypassing the iPod's battery. When I turn the charger on, the iPod still does the "click wheel jump" as if I rapidly moved my finger back and forth on the click wheel. I'm assuming this has to do with the way the click wheel functions (it needs certain electrically conductive materials to complete a circuit and "scroll"). So I think, somehow, the 5v going in is messing with this sensitivity. Another thing I noticed is when I turn on the charger, the colors on the screen get a little darker/richer than when I turn off the charger.

So, who has these same "symptoms"? And does anyone know more about what's actually going on?

I can add a video of everything if it will help.
9:52pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
What says 1 amp? Where are you reading this, on the ipod itself, the ipod's power supply, the manual??

The ipod uses well over 1 milliamp, that is for certain. But it does not use anywhere near 1 amp just to play its music. However, depending on how it is designed, it could use a substantial amount of power to charge its battery. They can be charged slowly or very quickly depending on the design.

I just looked and see ipod battery capacities are around 500 to 900 mah depending on the model. If the ipod is going to run for 8 to 12 hours then it cannot be drawing more than 30 to 60 ma or so (ballpark) so a small regulator could do the jog of powering the ipod. But, I have no idea how quickly the battery charges. The specification for USB is that a USB powered device cannot draw more than 500 ma and therefore a computer or any USB master does not need to output any more than 500 ma. But, the ipod could draw a lot more than that through its regular charging port. Maybe that is what the 1 amp rating is about, but I am guessing it is more likely that the power supply of the ipod is simply rated at 5 volts 1 amp output. That does not mean that the ipod ever draws 1 amp, just that the supply is capable of 1 amp.

At any rate, now that I have looked up ipod battery capacities, if you use 4 alkaline AA cells it appears that they should run an ipod about 4 or 5 times as long as it runs on its own internal battery. The 9 volt battery will likely run it for a few hours but its capacity is even less than the internal ipod battery capacity.
9:57pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
I also have noticed when I'm using my multimeter, if I accidentally touch one of the multimeter's leads to to a "ground" while in contact with the rest of the circuit, the red LED goes off. This also happens when I plug in my usb mouse, webcam, and usb hub.

I think this means the electricity is just flowing as fast as possible from the battery to the ground when this happens - there's no reason for it to go through the LED and turn it on, so the LED goes off.
9:59pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Smileyborg, did you test your voltage while the device was actually powering the ipod? The reason I ask is that three terminal regulators shut down their output when they are overloaded. If your regulator gets too hot to comfortably hold your finger on it is overloaded. It will not last long like this, but more importantly it wil have a very reduced output voltage. Check its output when in operation and hot.
10:03pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Gregor: yeah, I tested it while the iPod was plugged in - 4.98v. And the regulator was burning hot as usual, but it seems to work fine...I don't know really anything about this particular regulator but it seems to be able to handle it.
10:09pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
Also, this thing seems to be burning my 9v battery like hell - I've only had this turned on for maybe 5 or 10 minutes total and the 9v is only putting out 8.40v now.
10:12pm Sun Feb 26, 2006
I think that I'm going to go a bit deeper with this and re-make one with addons. I can get all the parts I need here so that isn't a worry. The changes I will make is that I'll get a larger 5v regulator so it isn't so hot and much more stable. I'll change the battery to 4 AA batterys. Instead of using the LED where it is, I'll change the resistor and plug it straight to the positive power supply before it comes in contact with the voltage regulator. I'll also add a second LED coming from the negative prong of the female USB socket so it will go on when power is going through it. I have attached it to the negative prong so it only takes the remaining power and not power from the charging.
3:45am Mon Feb 27, 2006

The problem with your plan of 4 AA cells combined with a linear regullator is that the three terminal regulators require about 2.5 volts higher input than the can give as a "regulated" output. That is why I originally said to use silicon diodes as voltage dropping devices. It will also preclude the need for a switch if you use the diodes since simply unplugging your device will stop all current flow. The fact that your regulator is getting hot is the proof that it is wasting your battery power, and a very significant amount at that. The LED is also just a power waster unless it is in series with the power being consumed by the ipod. In this case the LED would be the voltage dropping diode. It would be required to handle the total current used by the ipod (it probably cannot) and LEDs typically drop the voltage about 1.5 to 2 volts per LED, so using a LED for the voltage dropping diode is probably not going to work.

Toss the LED, switch and regulator. Use 4 AA cells with 1 or 2 silcon diodes in series with the supply to the ipod. First put in two diodes and then measure the voltage while your device is plugged into the ipod. Then remove one of the diodes if the voltage is too low. Exactly 5 volts is not important. Anything from 4.5 to 5.5 should do just fine. The diodes can be had at Radio Shack very cheap. Any one-amp or greater, silicon switching diode or any so called power diode will do. The 1n400x series of diodes will be just fine.
6:38am Mon Feb 27, 2006
I have got no idea what a Silicon Diode is. Could you maybe link me a diagram and some pictures?
6:47am Mon Feb 27, 2006

This is a simple drawing. Note the "band" diode. It is the end that will be the + part of your circuit. The diodes must be oriented as shown with regard to their band. They are a small device much like a resistor
7:03am Mon Feb 27, 2006
I pretty new to all this electronics stuff, so if the're any misunderstandings or inaccuracies below, I hope you'll forgive me ;)

About the 4 AA battery solution you suggested - is there a chance that some devices might not be so tolerant of the difference in voltage? Also, as the batteries got more and more depleted, their voltage will start to drop, possibly below the charging voltage. You'll be left with half-used batteries, or you'll need some way of disconnecting one of the diodes from the circuit.

I also saw this Hack-A-Day Article. They suggest using a zener diode to limit the voltage to about 5.1V. Which solution will end up wasting more energy?

Also, does anybody know what kind of circuitry Griffin or any other manufacturers use for their chargers? A lot of them seem to run off 4 AA batteries, so I wonder if they use similar kinds of circuitry to those mentioned above.

Going on to the ipod charging problems, I've tested a ipod video with my charger (based on this design, except I use the cheaper 7805 IC, which makes mine about the same as Aaron's charger), and I've determined that it does NOT charge. This is even with mains power (given through a 500ma DC power supply). This rules out that hypothesis that the battery does not supply sufficient amperage. The charging indicator comes on,but doesn't show any increase in the charge.

I'm going to test with my friend's nano soon, to see if the same problem persists.
9:04am Mon Feb 27, 2006
So I see we've all come to the same conclusion that Aaron's charger needs a little redesigning :). I also figured that out. I went on eBay and bought a bunch of electronics stuff, I'm going to build 2 LED flashlights. Then maybe I'll give this charger another shot. But for some reason, I just don't think it's gonna charge my iPod properly...so I think getting one of the premade ones on eBay for $7.99+$6.99S&H is the ticket. (Search eBay for *your iPod/device name* battery extender, as Gregor pointed out earlier.
9:30am Mon Feb 27, 2006
I pretty new to all this electronics stuff, so if the're any misunderstandings or inaccuracies below, I hope you'll forgive me ;)

About the 4 AA battery solution you suggested - is there a chance that some devices might not be so tolerant of the difference in voltage? Also, as the batteries got more and more depleted, their voltage will start to drop, possibly below the charging voltage. You'll be left with half-used batteries, or you'll need some way of disconnecting one of the diodes from the circuit.

I also saw this Hack-A-Day Article. They suggest using a zener diode to limit the voltage to about 5.1V. Which solution will end up wasting more energy?

Also, does anybody know what kind of circuitry Griffin or any other manufacturers use for their chargers? A lot of them seem to run off 4 AA batteries, so I wonder if they use similar kinds of circuitry to those mentioned above.

Going on to the ipod charging problems, I've tested a ipod video with my charger (based on this design, except I use the cheaper 7805 IC, which makes mine about the same as Aaron's charger), and I've determined that it does NOT charge. This is even with mains power (given through a 500ma DC power supply). This rules out that hypothesis that the battery does not supply sufficient amperage. The charging indicator comes on,but doesn't show any increase in the charge.

I'm going to test with my friend's nano soon, to see if the same problem persists.
11:15am Mon Feb 27, 2006
The design on the cortscorner website may be a good one. The reason is, it uses a switching regulator. They are not near as wasteful as a linear regulator. But any heat it produces is wasted battery power.

The blue LED and the zener are not required for anything other than to tell you the device is ON i.e. the 9 volt battery is connected. The Shottkey diode is not required but is a safety device in the event you try to connect your 9v battery backwards, however, there is no need for it to be a higher priced Shottkey diode. Any 1n4000 series silicon diode (cheap at Radio Shack) will do the job just fine.

When I build devices such as this I almost alway use Nickel Metal Hydride rechargable cells. The reason is two fold: (1) they are very much cheaper to use than throw away alkalines for things like ipods, PDAs etc. that get a lot of continuous use. (2) they have a very constant voltage through out there discharge. When they are just about depleted the voltage drops off fairly fast.

I don't own an ipod, so I can't actually measure how much current it uses during normal music playing and during its battery charging with or without music playing etc. In fact it is most likely limited to how much current it will draw through its USB port. I am assuming it has another charging port other than the USB port.

If you use 4 AA cells and 2 diodes, and the voltage is right, you are correct that it will drop as the batteries deplete. If they drop enough, you could use a simple switch to connect one end of one of the diodes to the other end, thus bridging that diode. But, this requires you to monitor that voltage and be sure to open the switch when installing new AA cells... not a very good design.

I would suggest using 4 NiCad or 4 NiMH cells. They will put out very close to 4.8 volts through out there entire charge. Then you don't need any diodes or switches or LEDs or anything, just a holder for the 4 cells and a cable with a plug to plug into your ipod. Just be sure you put your cells in the battery holder correctly, not backwards.

Here is a little safety circuit you can add on to the device if you are concerned about putting your AA cells in wrong. It uses a fuse and a diode. If the batteries are in correct the diode will not conduct and all will work. If your cells are in backwards, the diode will conduct and blow the fuse. Note the orientation of the diode.
12:11pm Mon Feb 27, 2006
I just got done looking at the "USB battery" on the forementioned 'hack a day' website. This is a very poor way to do business. It is very wasteful of your battery power as everything over 5 volts (the zener diode voltage) goes straight to ground. Of course all the battery's energy first goes through the resistor. This resistor limits the current so that the zener does not burn out. It also limits how much current can get to the ipod or whatever.. The author's explanation of the reason for the resistor is completely wrong.

This device will do the job but it is very wasteful of battery power and will only allow a small amount of current to your device. If you use a 100 ohm resistor a maximum of 50 miliamps can flow. If you use a 300 ohm resistor like he did, only 16.6 miliamps maximum can flow. And all the while just slightly less than that amount will be flowing through the zener diode directly to the battery's negative terminal (ground). Very wasteful.
2:17pm Mon Feb 27, 2006
Thanks for the explainations; I probably try building one of your 4 AA batt circuits. It seems like simpler is better is this case :)

For a second, I was wondering why you didn't just use a power diode - then I remembered about the voltage drop it would induce. Quite a cool design.

However, wouldn't it be troublesome to have to change the fuse everytime it blew? Perhaps the fuse should be removed, an a LED & resistor used to replace the diode?
9:09pm Mon Feb 27, 2006
My kit finally came today!!!!!!!! I got the charger and the flashlight. All the parts were in great shape and everything was present. As soon as I solder the whole thing together I'll post pictures. Nice job, Aaron, well worth my money.
9:37pm Mon Feb 27, 2006
namedoesnotmatter: that's great, but as you can see from all our posts, Aaron's kit isn't turning out to be the greatest. Tell us what luck, if any, you have.
12:12am Tue Feb 28, 2006
It would be troublesome to replace a fuse perhaps, but the only time it would need replaceing is when you install your AA cells backwards, hopefully never. Your idea of the LED to show if the batteries are backwards would work of course, but only if you are paying attention and looking to see if the LED is lit or not. The fuse would simply be fool proof.
6:11am Tue Feb 28, 2006
Does anyone have a link to a store where I can buy a regulator that can handle 9v to 5v without heat or will the heat from this device be nonlethal?
4:28pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
I built the USB charger per your instruction, but when I plug in the USB cable the LED gets very dim and my Video Ipod doesn't charge. It appears that there is some type of short circuit? The short doesn't exist when the USB cable is disconnected. If I disconnect the connection between the +5 volt USB terminal to the USB metal guard, the LED doesn't get dim when I plug in the USB cable and the Ipod flashs the screen on, but it doesn't charge. Any idea why this is happening?

6:41pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
hey any one out there know where i can find a usb thingy that can adapt to other phones? like say the um verizon kyocera phantom? yes i know my phone sucks but please just tell me where it is!
10:28pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
oh yeah and uh whats your name uh minniemoo (if that is your real name) i think your ipod just sucks and/or you built the thingymobobber wrong.
10:32pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
no now seriously is like everybody like asleep! i mean common! im slow at typing! and its not that hard to just push a freakin button! GOSH! now seriously! FREAKIN TYPE SOMTHIN!

HEY MAYBE IM OVER REACTING. oh sorry i forgot to take off the caps lock.duh. but still please type to me!!!!!
10:39pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
hey um aaron dunlap i think your times are wong.look undre the txt. it will say smthing like 10:00 or somthin but it really is like 8:00 so you might want to change it
10:57pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
dam........too bad i cant get the stuff cuz i cant have a credit card (cuz im 14..) but i dont wanna sound like a little stingy fucker and ask aaron to post the plans 4 it.... nice plans tho, gud idea, although the 9v batteries can be hell of expensive, and i dunno if 4 extra hours or so of playback on my ipod is enuf for a buck a peice, specially cuz my budgets a little tight rite now.....it would b convienient if this cud run off of AA's or something cuz yu can get those 4 about 3 bucks a duzen. look into it if yu have the time
11:09pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
dam........too bad i cant get the stuff cuz i cant have a credit card (cuz im 14..) but i dont wanna sound like a little stingy fucker and ask aaron to post the plans 4 it.... nice plans tho, gud idea, although the 9v batteries can be hell of expensive, and i dunno if 4 extra hours or so of playback on my ipod is enuf for a buck a peice, specially cuz my budgets a little tight rite now.....it would b convienient if this cud run off of AA's or something cuz yu can get those 4 about 3 bucks a duzen. look into it if yu have the time
11:12pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
oops sorry bout that double up...kliked submit twice
11:15pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
MinnieMoo: double check all the connections. Then test the voltage with a multimeter (available at Radioshack for $15). You may have accidentally soldered two things together that shouldn't be. (Make sure nothing is touching the case if the case you used is metal - except for the "ground" wire.)
12:18am Wed Mar 01, 2006
yomomma: you can in fact run this charger without any changes if you simply turn the 9v battery into AT LEAST four AA batteries (1.5v per battery x 4 batteries = 6v which the voltage regulator will reduce to 5v without any changes). If you use any less than 4 batteries, the USB port will be underpowered. But don't forget, if you use 4 AA's, as soon as the voltage on each battery drops to 1.25v and below, you are going to encounter problems. (Therefore, you will end up wasting some of the life of your batteries because they will need to be replaced early.)
12:23am Wed Mar 01, 2006
Sven: hahaha, the heat isn't lethal :). It's just really hot, where you shouldn't touch the regulator when it's working. We've been discussing whether it is "overloaded" or not, but it seems to work. Just don't touch it!
12:26am Wed Mar 01, 2006
Anyone that is trying to find a usb is blind. I took apart my old usb2 hub that i don't us anymore and now i have enough parts (since I already have all of the other things at home since my dad is a software engineer) to make 5 of the little usb things.
As for Aaron, I think he needs to sell a kit that uses the larger Altoids can and two 9v to create a larger charger, that's what I'm gonna do.
4:03pm Wed Mar 01, 2006
Nathan: are you planning on attaching the two 9v batteries in series or parallel? I'm assuming you want to make a "USB hub charger" with multiple female sockets. Keep us posted on how it goes, I'm interested to see how it turns out.
5:08pm Wed Mar 01, 2006
yomoma: you obviously have no math skils. if 12 AA's cost 3$, then that is 4 AA's for 1$!!! THAT IS THE SAME AMOUNT AS THE 9v!!!!
sory........ a little pissed cause i really screwed up myh charger....ipod.......thingy.........
8:13pm Wed Mar 01, 2006
where are you guys finding 9Vs so cheap?i always see them for around $3.
and to guero(whiteboy) your battery is probably is losing its charge. The same thing happend to me after i had charged my video after a while.
4:22pm Thu Mar 02, 2006
sorry i mean MinnieMoo not guero(whiteboy)
4:34pm Thu Mar 02, 2006
GumboJones: try looking at a Costco or other wholesale store (like Sam's Club, etc). You can get some pretty decent prices. And even try on eBay.
1:30am Fri Mar 03, 2006
I was going to wire the 9v together in parallel like here (http://www.unixmonkey.net/articles/altoids/)but I going to wire in the switch and whatnot. Although I had only planned on having one slot, it would be totally plausible.
3:54pm Fri Mar 03, 2006
I just put together the flashlight!!!!!!!! It's awesome! Haven't had time for the charger yet though. Everyone who is complaining about not having a credit card: there is a simple solution. Aaron takes money orders. Take some cash. Go to the grocery store. Ask for a money order for the dollar amount of your order after shipping. Mail it to the provided address. Include your order number. I did the same thing, only with a check. It works.
11:24pm Fri Mar 03, 2006
everyone that is haveing problems with charging the ipod mini (5g) did you remember that you need to also ground the usb so that it will charge. If you have any questions email me. t4585@aol.com
2:03am Sun Mar 05, 2006
hey, what kind of multimeter/volt meter do you need? do you have any cheap, reliable suggestions?
8:33pm Sun Mar 05, 2006
in addition to what namedoesnotmatter said, you can also buy prepaid credit cards at stores. they work just like credit cards to buy online stuff except once you run out of money you can't reload them. they're Visas
9:05pm Sun Mar 05, 2006
in addition to what namedoesnotmatter said, you can also buy prepaid credit cards at stores. they work just like credit cards to buy online stuff except once you run out of money you can't reload them. they're Visas
9:30pm Sun Mar 05, 2006
in addition to what namedoesnotmatter said, you can also buy prepaid credit cards at stores. they work just like credit cards to buy online stuff except once you run out of money you can't reload them. they're Visas
9:31pm Sun Mar 05, 2006
Here's a link to to a site with a bunch or really cheap electronics. They have some really cheap multimeters that look fairly good.

12:39am Mon Mar 06, 2006
If you need a multimeter just go to Wal Mart. I bought an analogue one for 8 dollars, and it works really well.
1:26am Mon Mar 06, 2006
Nice kit.
8:17am Mon Mar 06, 2006
Aaron: nice work on the kit, although some people seem to be confused between a soldering iron and a tube of toothpaste. One question though: I noticed that there are two different designs of voltage regulators, which one is better, and do they both wire the same?
6:26pm Mon Mar 06, 2006
Well I have been making these kits for my friends now for about a month. I have made 4 USB charging kits so far that work perfectly. I have the part to make 50 more. I have Peppermint tins, Sour Cherry tins and Sour apple tins. (Cherry and Apple are a limited quantity.) I can make them in any configuration you would like. (I.e. switch, led, no switch, no led, etc...)

Right now I am making them with leds and a switch that you can use on the outside of the tin. It work/looks really well. I test every unit I make to put out the required 5V. Right now I have been charging my friends $20. I will ship one to you for $25. Just let me know what Kind of tin and what configuration you would like. I have been using different color leds for different tins. (Green or yellow leds on the apple tins and purple or red on the cherry tins, Red on the peppermint tins and red on the Cinnamon tin I made.) If you would like a Cinnamon or wintergreen tin please add $2 and I will make you one.

To order send me a private message through this site.
6:44pm Mon Mar 06, 2006
Well I'm trying to make a charger on my own and just want to know do both the positive and the negative leads from the battery get soddered to thee voltage reagulator? if not where do they get soddered to?
8:56pm Mon Mar 06, 2006
MaximusZTS: I'm sure I stand for all of us when I say that you probably shouldn't be trying to sell your own stuff/assembled kits on Aaron's site. He worked hard to put this together, I don't think it is fair to take advantage of his success to promote your own idea/product.

(Another example: you certainly shouldn't scan Aaron's instructions for the charger in, throw it on your site, and post the link here!)

But your assembled kits sound pretty cool!
1:32am Tue Mar 07, 2006
smileyborg: if you look on his other blog he encouraged it. I would not think of stepping on anyones toes like that. But I read his blog and he invited it.
7:37pm Tue Mar 07, 2006
7:40pm Tue Mar 07, 2006
7:45pm Tue Mar 07, 2006
thx for the replies guys, found some cheap ones, save me about $10 :)
9:03pm Tue Mar 07, 2006
so...please post any success stories, thinking of buying a kit and want to know if it works, read though some of it and it looks like some ppl are encountering some serious problems
9:16pm Tue Mar 07, 2006
Hey aaron, nice idea buddie. im amazed of what you did! now i can charge my ipod just like that. im really thinking of buying one, but im not sure yet. and for u guys who are whineing, he has the right not to tell you. anyways, like joe said, please post any succsess stories, i would really like to buy one, but i wanna know if it works. THX
11:26pm Tue Mar 07, 2006
This is a great kit. I got it to charge my new iPod with video and it works great when i travel.
12:51am Wed Mar 08, 2006
do i ground the negative or positive form the usb..it says one in the instructions and one online....
9:16am Wed Mar 08, 2006
Online is newer, go with online. Grounding positive was an error on my part.
7:26pm Wed Mar 08, 2006
The instructions are in the latest popular science mag... :-/
12:27am Thu Mar 09, 2006
Hey! Anybody know how to make rocket powder, and/or give me a website that tells me how?
11:25pm Thu Mar 09, 2006
11:27pm Thu Mar 09, 2006
Is buying this kit even worth it? I keep hearing people complain a lot about theirs not working. or are people just so stupid these days they can't build anything right anymore because they're used to getting everything handed to them already made because they grew up spoiled and pampered and will never amount ot anything because they have no skills at all and will grow old and die alone because nobody wants to be with losers like those and these losers will regret all their miserable life that they never learned anything that will even help them remotely to succed in this darn age where if you don't go to college you don't stand a chance of being succesful AT anything except acting or modeling where no talent is required, but these people will probaly grow up to be just that so I guess it don't matter after all. Just wondering
11:39pm Thu Mar 09, 2006
hey ese. either someone tell me how to make you know that exploding shit or i parte your pinche madre. im not kidding homes. you pinche gringos are so arrogant just because you come from the U.S. putos. yo spit on your cara pendejos. PINCHE GRINGOS CHUPEN ME LA VERGA Y LUEGO VAYAN SE A LA CHINGADA, FAGS
11:48pm Thu Mar 09, 2006
hee Hee! I know where an online instruction manual is... Here on this very site. it's a PDF. But you'll never find it. noooo. your time is much too valuble to waste doing that, huh
12:18am Fri Mar 10, 2006
John, I have to say that you pretty much made an ass out of yourself there. I'm guessing that the people tha tbuy this really want to try to figure this out, because it's fun and useful. And you are really in the wrong place to find roccket powder. Think about it. Aaron does ELECTRONICS AND PROGRAMMING, not chemical engineering. And threatening a bunch of Americans in spanish just doesn't work. Just because you are taking over culturally doesn't mean the whole population has turned to mexican-spanish as it's primary language. And insulting everyone as being lazy bastards that will amount to nothing... good thing that we have the premier Space porgram, or one of the strongest militaries with the most technologically advanced weapons available... yeah, you are the one that seems to be heading towards that pit of despair.
1:25am Fri Mar 10, 2006
Thanks Anubis. Like I really give a fuck what you think. I was just WONDERING if anybody knew how to make rocket powder. I'm on this site because I want to buy a kit because I like electronics, but I also happen to enjoy pyrotechnics. So go fuck yourself! VIVA MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!
5:55pm Fri Mar 10, 2006
Nice job keeping the conversation to intellectual matters relevant to the usb charger.
9:33pm Fri Mar 10, 2006
It was no problem at all.
1:36pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
I have noticed that a lot of you guys have the screen scratched up on your iPods or other mp3 players. You should go to theinvisibleshield.com they have screen protectors for all sorts of different things.
2:02pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
instead of buying a clear sticker from that site for $25 you can go on ebay and buy a leather carry case that alraedy comes with one of those for $25.
2:54pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
Which of the two voltage regulators is best?
4:30pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
you could, but I prefer a clear sticker rather than a case. That's just me.
4:47pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
hey i need help finding a soldering iron, solder, electrical tape, a multimeter or volt meter,
7:41pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
Just go to a hardware store like Home Depot. I'm pretty sure they'll have all that stuff.
8:12pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
wal-mart also has that stuff, just check in hardware. And that was a good call earlier in the posts, about grounding the wrong prong. I thought it was a little off to ground the positive, but I did what the instructions said, and come to find out, didn't work. Switch the ground, and PRESTO!!! It works great now. Well done Aaron.
11:03pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
Hey Anubis, do you play Unreal Tournament for PC?
11:05pm Sat Mar 11, 2006
So I ground the negative?
8:52am Sun Mar 12, 2006
How did you get it to not burn you?
When I charge my nano it is fine, but when I Charger my Axim it gets very hot
Shouldn't it be the same for both because in both cases it is loosing 4v?
4:39pm Sun Mar 12, 2006
I finally built mine, those wires are tricky to cram in. My regulator got hot for a few minutes and cooled down. Pictures soon. As if anyone cares.
9:03pm Sun Mar 12, 2006
For some reason, I thought somewhere it said that the regulator didn't lose as much energy. Aaron said he used that instead of just a resistor because it didn't just knock the voltage down, it did it in a better, more efficient way. Is that mildly true, or am I just confused? If it is true, I don't know why it would be creating so much heat, because mine doesn't do that. It used to until I switched the ground, but now everything is fine, it doesn't heat up at all...

And why, JohnSmith, do you care if I play UT? If you must know, I do play '04.
11:13am Mon Mar 13, 2006
Hey Aaron, I have a suggestion to make. It's not a huge deal, but could you put pages up for your forum deal here? Because you have a ton of messages, and for those that have slighty slower internet, it takes it a while to load. Personally, I have cable, but my friend has dial-up, and I was amazed at how long it took this page to load. I think it would be an excellent idea to break it into, say, 10 posts per page. sure, you'd have a lot of pages, but it would load up on the first page a lot faster, and that is what most people check, because they know all of the previous posts.
1:40pm Mon Mar 13, 2006
I care cuz I play UT '04 too and I saw your name the other day on Bridge of Fate. I was just wondering if it was the same person.
3:35pm Mon Mar 13, 2006
It's a possibility. Can't quite remember which map or gametype that is, sorry. Last time I was on was about a week and a half ago.
7:43pm Mon Mar 13, 2006
Week and a half ago?I saw that name last Saturday on 3/11. Well doesn't matter. I don't play much either 'cuz my computer always freezes in the middle of a game.
11:58pm Mon Mar 13, 2006
Wow, I just noticed all this stuff about grounding the positive. Sure enough, that's what I did. (Not that I would have known any better.) So that explains the 500 degree heat! Darn, I kinda already pulled apart my wires and stuff....
7:17pm Tue Mar 14, 2006
Guess what: I switched the ground to the negative pin - voila! Now my iPod nano is happy. It works great. And the voltage regulator isn't SUPER hot!
12:21am Wed Mar 15, 2006
Quote hey anubis you're right
i tried it with a blackberry, nothing is happening, i am about to try with a camera. odds are i messed something up. i hope that's the case.
As you know the USB jack has 4 pins. The two pins that we have not wired are data pins. I think the BlackBerry needs to receive a signal on these pins before it starts charging. I looped the pins together by soldering a wire from one to the other and the BlackBerry Charging Icon comes on and off (flashes) So I know Im on the right track with this. This also might be the case for other USB devices. So far I have only gotten perfect results with an IPOD Nano. Im gonna do more experimenting and let you know the results.
12:06pm Fri Mar 17, 2006
"Aaron your selling parts but your also selling the instructions too you stingy steaming pile of shit. Don't try and deny your stinginess with lies. And for all you cry babies that can't figure it out yourself, just buy it from the tight wad. Oh never mind, your all probably to stingy yourself to cough up even a cent you chumps. HAhaha. Toodles."

I bet he is over 500 times smarter than you you wiseass
6:59pm Fri Mar 17, 2006
This is my second kit from Aaron and the fisrt one was a success. but the second one was not (atleast it will not charge my PSP). On the second one I decided to remove the switch and the led (thus I also removed the resistor). here are four picutres of what the finished product looked like.

It is fuly insulated except for the grounding wire, the white you see is a tissue to help show the wires and the connections

thanks guys
3:16pm Sat Mar 18, 2006
AAAAAAAArooonnnnnn Help please first of congrats man great idea hope you do become a billionair pretty soon you deserve it man but question i have now built my second usb charger and i thought they were working fine they out put 5v checked um Led works fine phone charges but when i turn on my psp while its charging it shuts off like it short circuits why does yours do that to also when i connect a home made usb fan to it it has alot less power than when i connect it to my laptop why pleassssssse help anybody
10:55am Sun Mar 19, 2006
also guy before me needsome help looks like you connected your wiring wrong on the regulator you only connected the negative to both the possitve in and possitive out you forgot to connect the negetive go back to your instructions or if your first one works fine copy off of that one remember the negative black wire from the battery goes to the negative (grn)on the regulator then the positive from the battery goes to the possitive in from the regulator
11:00am Sun Mar 19, 2006
DAMN! i spent like 5 hours on this thing today, and finished it. good case, everything soldered in nicely, enough room for the cables and the battery, even the correct voltage and the switch on the outside without anything shorting out. Then it happened, after all the work and the burns, i was pushing all the wires down and the damned voltage regulators pin snapped off up at the base. I guess thats what i get for expeimenting to much.
8:56pm Sun Mar 19, 2006

the reason this thing doesn't work as good as your laptop is because the portable runs on a 9v battery and a laptop has a lot more power. lol
9:05pm Sun Mar 19, 2006
Hmm. So once I "successfully" grounded that negative pin, the only thing that seems to charge properly is my iPod Nano. NOTHING else, not even 4G or 5G iPods. Hmmmmmmmm.......?
10:46pm Sun Mar 19, 2006
tyler but here is the thing they bot output the same voltage which is 5v matter a fact the portable actually outputs a little more than the laptop it is true that the lap top has more power but it doesn't matter if the laptop has 50v cause the usb will still only output 5v get it like aron said it emulates a usb port thats why everything charges cause the objects cell phones ,ipods think they are connected to a usb port
11:10pm Sun Mar 19, 2006
I was going to comment on NeedSomeHelp's photos, but psp beat me to it. psp is right about the regulator hook up. Looks like a great rainy weekend project.
12:00am Mon Mar 20, 2006
hey electroman could use your help do can you think of any reason why my psp turns off while im charging it with my charger and why my usb fan seems to be alot slower on it than on any other usb hub and to any one out there with a psp has anyone succesfully charged there psp with this charger and had the psp on or playing it while it was charging any one hellllllllllllllllllllllppppppp pleaaaaaaase !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5:31am Mon Mar 20, 2006
(I am needsomehelp)

that sounds like a good idea to use the car charger, looks pretty genius
I resoldered my regulator but im still having problems bc teh instructions are made to be used with an LED and i toke mine off, which makes it a little harder to make out where the wires need to go.
i am still working on it tho and i will psot pics later
6:02pm Tue Mar 21, 2006

Connect The Two Middle Ports On The USB Backside And Then You Will Create A Effective Imatation Data Stream This Will Charge A Blackberry And A PSP
10:23pm Tue Mar 21, 2006
ilike pie you mean connect them to each other like a loop get a wire and solder one end of the wire to one and the other end to the other or how do you mean
2:14am Wed Mar 22, 2006
Ok, I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is really getting annoying. I mean, it's really not that huge of a deal to scroll down. But now even my cable connection is bogging down a bit. and it's mostly text...
2:12am Fri Mar 24, 2006
I'm trying to come up with a snazzy ajax-style paging system and that's taking too long. I can roll out something lamer shortly.
2:59pm Fri Mar 24, 2006
Shortly as in I just did it.
4:06pm Fri Mar 24, 2006
ohhh, nice. sorry for bitching so much.
10:48pm Fri Mar 24, 2006
I really like the new setup, thanks..
4:45am Sun Mar 26, 2006
i just put my kit together tonight, and i pluged in my mp3. The led lights up all well and the mp3 even comes on. But it always says it is fully charged, even when it's not. It simply doesn't charge it. Can anyone help?
7:16pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
YAY!! i seems that i was having trouble with the grounding wire! all is Good!
7:26pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Where are the instructions!!!
10:11am Sun Apr 02, 2006
tell me where the instructions are and i will stop posting

email instuctions to brandonroode_75@hotmail.com
10:14am Sun Apr 02, 2006
tell me where the instructions are and i will stop posting

email instuctions to brandonroode_75@hotmail.com
10:14am Sun Apr 02, 2006
are you parents related?
1:16pm Sun Apr 02, 2006
Nice of him to post his email address (brandonroode_75@hotmail.com) in plain text so spambots can pick it right up, which they do a lot since my site is teh popular.
12:09am Mon Apr 03, 2006
tell me or i will send your website a virus
3:06pm Mon Apr 03, 2006
Are you planning on shipping the virus or air mailing it?
12:35am Tue Apr 04, 2006
Moo you need to moooooooove the hell out of this site you say you can send a virus to this site ha hahahahah but you can't even find instructions that are posted in this very site your such and idiot the funny part is aaron is not even trying to hide the instructions and had you asked nicely anyone of us would of told you where to get them but thats what you get for being a dumb ass
2:19am Tue Apr 04, 2006
Psp, I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that... (though Moo should deffinetly moooove out of this site).
Aaron described the building process generally, but he didn't post the actual instructions. The instructions are available together with the parts, in the shop, for 9.50$, Which is, I think, a very fair price.
4:44am Tue Apr 04, 2006
ok i was joking about the virus

can one of you tell me where the instructions are

3:37pm Tue Apr 04, 2006
Look moo stop with the posting and Aaron will not post the instructions and what would you do with them; you need the parts which will cost you more then the price of the kit

Also nice job on the charger, you must have gotten a lot of sales with the article in Popular Mechanics
6:15pm Tue Apr 04, 2006
moo: The instructions are actually quite simple. Most of it involves organizing the batteries in the case, how to wire them, soldering, etc. If you simply take four 9V batteries and connect the positive terminal of the first to the negative of the second and the positive of the second to the negative of the third and so on, you will end up with one "big" battery. This will ensure you have enough power for your USB port. Now add wires from the left over negative and positive terminals on each end of this "big" battery. To test your power source, touch both wires to your tongue for about 10 seconds, you should feel a very slight "buzz." If you feel that, then all you need to do is connect these two wires to pins 2 and 3 of the female USB socket, as seen in this picture: http://pinouts.ru/connectors/usb_a_b_female.gif
That's it! Now you can plug in any USB device into the socket and it will receive power.
9:15pm Tue Apr 04, 2006
Man, I came here to check out this clever idea and see quite a few cheap arseholes showed up demanding FREE STUFF. This guy is clever enough to come up with a good idea and you stingy bungholes want it for free? Figure it out yourself.

Seems to me he's not making enough money on this idea to have to deal with so many fools giving him grief.

Anyways - Good work and good luck, Aaron!
7:43pm Wed Apr 05, 2006
Woohoo! I ordered from you a while ago, and I just now got around to building the kit. I am absolutely pleased-as-punch. It was a very fun project, and plenty easy, even though I've never ever done soldering before. I did have to use the illustrated version of the instructions, but with them, it was very simple. I bought a soldering iron (cheapest I could find) for this project, my first foray into any sort of homebrew electronics, really. (Aside from setting up our VCR and DVD players.) How fun! Keep up the great work. And the charger works great. (At first, I had somehow short circuited it. When I snapped in the battery, everything got really hot and the battery drained out FAST. It was late at night, and I couldn't find where I had shorted it out, so I left it overnight. When I got up the next day, it was working perfectly! The magical electric fairies were apparently helping.) Anyway, everyone should def. by a kit, even if you've never done electronics before. It's great!

-a very very VERY satisfied customer
8:50pm Wed Apr 05, 2006
So that's why my site's been acting weird, it's because moo sent it a virus.

Not very polite.
11:13pm Wed Apr 05, 2006
Haha Aaron, he actually did that? I can't imagine how. Well hopefully he will try out the instructions I left for him a few posts ago :), that should take care of his requests for USB charger instructions.
12:04am Thu Apr 06, 2006
PSP, you really need to invest some time into learning how punctuation works. I'm deleting anything you post until I see some periods and capital letters.
1:18pm Thu Apr 06, 2006
Wow, such great anger for such a small brain.

7:49pm Fri Apr 07, 2006
Agreed. Punctuation is a very good thing. It makes it so that the people that actually have some education (or the ones that paid attention) can understand. Seriously, if you want to post, use some punctuation. A long continuous sentence is so hard to understand.
8:37pm Fri Apr 07, 2006
Wow. I'm thinking along the lines of more moderated comments? Maybe they should be approved before they show up on the site. There's a surprising amount of bad language and derogatory comments for comments about a USB charger...and I think this site should be, at worst, PG-13...
1:23am Sat Apr 08, 2006
HEY, cool idea! ive been looking for a portable charger for my mp3 player, and yours is smaller than all the ones i have seen! great job! I am going to order a kit but how much is shipping?
4:27pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
5:43pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
How about moderated comments until say 5 or 10 comments posts have been "approved?" And force registration to comment. That should take care of most everything.
6:32pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
And, maybe a little code that scans posts for links to the instructions? :)
6:34pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
Stop having such good ideas!
6:52pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
Damn! I was going to try posting using the name PSP, but as you can see it didn't work. So, anyone still selling built USB chargers?
8:27pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
JohnSmith said:
So, anyone still selling built USB chargers?
Yes, click here.

11:57pm Sat Apr 08, 2006
Finally registered. Aaron, about PSP's IP, wouldn't it be his router's internet IP, not his computer's, even if he is running as a DHCP client it is probably translated into his router's internet IP.
10:45pm Sun Apr 09, 2006
Well yeah, but blocking the router blocks him.

Usually with DSL or cable, the IP address changes every few days so a direct ban doesn't accomplish much.

Anyway, blah.
10:56pm Sun Apr 09, 2006
Hey Aaron, this is a killer idea, I give you mad props for soming up with this kind of stuff. Don't listen to the whiners. Catering with them is like "booing at the special olympics". I already made one of these, and by looking at yours, it seems just as good for alot cheaper. Way to go, you're a genius, and I hope you sell alot of these suckers for the low freakin' price of $8.50!
4:47pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
I bought an altoids video, and I can't find the instructions. Post them, or I will FedEx you a virus. How do I track my order?
5:19pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
5:07pm Tue Apr 11, 2006
i am sorry aaron for saying i would send you a virus (i didn't)

could you please tell me where the instructions are
2:55pm Wed Apr 12, 2006
Oh, MAN!!! After everything that's been said about capitalization and punctuation, NOBODY can use it yet!
5:05pm Wed Apr 12, 2006
This is a great idea! I bought one two days ago and can't wait for it to come in.

I have a question though, once the the charge drops below 5 v, will the device shut off or stop charger? If not, can low voltage damage a DS or iPod?
6:38pm Sat Apr 15, 2006
Troubleshooting Question for anyone who cares (assuming no one, but never know).
So I bought one of these kits from Aaron - supporting the cause - and built it up according to the enclosed directions. However, I seem to be getting 8-8.2V out of the USB drive with my multimeter...

Im assuming its probably some error in my hookup, but dont really know where the issue could be since everything is running in and through the 5V regulator. Ive tried resoldering everything at least once, but no luck so far. Any ideas?

9:42am Mon Apr 17, 2006
Test your multimeter by hooking it up to a new battery, preferably lithium as they maintain a more consistent voltage that alkaline, sometimes multimeters are improperly calibrated. Also, make sure your multimeter is set to test DC, not AC.
11:00am Mon Apr 17, 2006
moo: The instructions are actually quite simple. Most of it involves organizing the batteries in the case, how to wire them, soldering, etc. If you simply take four 9V batteries and connect the positive terminal of the first to the negative of the second and the positive of the second to the negative of the third and so on, you will end up with one "big" battery. This will ensure you have enough power for your USB port. Now add wires from the left over negative and positive terminals on each end of this "big" battery. To test your power source, touch both wires to your tongue for about 10 seconds, you should feel a very slight "buzz." If you feel that, then all you need to do is connect these two wires to pins 2 and 3 of the female USB socket, as seen in this picture: http://pinouts.ru/connectors/usb_a_b_female.gif
That's it! Now you can plug in any USB device into the socket and it will receive power.

Matt: I doubt the problem is with your multimeter (although it is possible). I suggest troubleshooting the problem like this: use your multimeter to test the 9V battery directly. If you are getting about 8.5-9.5V with a new(er) battery, the multimeter is working fine. Next step: just hook up the 9V battery to the 5V voltage regulator. Test the voltage coming from the two relevant pins on the voltage regulator - you should be getting 5.0V (or VERY close). If that checks out okay, you know the problem is with your wiring/soldering - check for short circuits with wires touching each other or any other metal (allowing the current to bypass the voltage regulator). Good luck!
10:05am Tue Apr 18, 2006

I anspired this charger by Aaron's unique charger but i mproved it. I added one more battery for more life.
Unfortunately i didn't find a female usb connector so i replaced it with a female common connector.
That all cost me just 9to10 Euros

Don't give up Aaron inspiring us

4:45pm Tue Apr 18, 2006
9:57pm Wed Apr 19, 2006
Just FYI. I still have chargers for sale. "Msg Me" for information.
5:39pm Thu Apr 20, 2006
I've just finished building my (hopefully 1st) charger, and ofcourse, it works perfectly.
My only problem is a dull knife and no patience... I wanted to fit the circuit in the tin so badly I didn't wait for my other cutting options and kinda violently banged my way through for the light+switch+USB connection holes..
Oh, I've just found one problem (except of my dull knives, lack of patience and lack of skill), when I connect the charger to my iriver PMP 140 while it's on, it acts as if it is connected to a computer via USB and consequently not letting me use the PMP (unless you define staring sadly at a big CONNECTED sign a function).
Anyone knows a way to solve this? If so please let me know, it could enhance the efficiency of the chrager quite a bit..
Thanks again Aaron, it has been my first time doing this kind of stuff and I feel it couldn't have been better, especially due to your great instructions and eMail help.
I'll post some pics of my not-as-pretty-as-should-be-yet-working-enough-to-please-my-expectations-of-a-first-project chrager XD
2:38pm Fri Apr 21, 2006
Oh now I'm fuked...
My ON/OFF switch got stuck, tried to fix it, moved it out of place, tried to get it back in, moved to much stuff, got my already half broken USB connection to break and now the whole thing is broke. shit.
I need to find a new damn USB female connection :(, and a switch :(..........
Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......... just when I started feeling good......
3:08pm Fri Apr 21, 2006
Anyone else have loads of trouble stuffing everything into the Altoids Gum tin? The ones I have look smaller and have a curved buttom. With the battery in, I can barely fit all the pieces from the kit in the tin with the lid closed! I'm thinking they must have changed the size. I just dont see how it would all fit, with the pieces I have, and still be able to change out the battery and use the switch.
2:07am Sat Apr 22, 2006
You could try using an Altoids Mints tin. Cinnamon recommended!
6:07am Sat Apr 22, 2006
Pepo The Great is 100% correct
7:02pm Sat Apr 22, 2006
I'm not sure if my comment went through, but I'm pretty sure it didn't. In brief, this is what it said. I'm having trouble with grounding the USB socket. When I don't have a ground, the charge goes everywhere. I've tested for current at every stage when there isn't a ground, and it's always there. However, since i have a 5G iPod, it doesn't exactly charge, but when I put a ground out from the negative prong on the socket to the side of the Altoids tin, it all stops working. Any ideas/ help? Thanks a lot.
8:43pm Sun Apr 23, 2006
ok i made one of these a little while back and accidently brock one of the connection and just got around to fixing it. since ive made it i havent gotten the charging symbol on my 5G ipod. Im i supposed to ground the negative or the positive. ive done it both ways but im still not getting anything to show up. but when up flip it on and off the backlight turns on.
Can anyone give me some help?
9:15pm Sun Apr 23, 2006
Ground the negative.
11:49pm Sun Apr 23, 2006
Yes, very great idea, Aaron!
4:59pm Tue Apr 25, 2006

I received the kit a little while ago and built it following the instructions. While it charges my sisters iPod mini, it will not charge my 5th generation iPod, or my father's Rio Karma, I have already grounded the USB as well.

Can anyone offer some help?
7:51pm Wed Apr 26, 2006
Ever since the (Buy it here.) link was put on the main page, I have not had even one request for a prebuilt charger. :(

BTW I still have some.
2:46pm Mon May 01, 2006
has anyone gottent this to work with the 5G ipod yet? mine still doesnt charge my ipod.
6:15pm Wed May 03, 2006
hey this is awsome. ive read a similar diy and got most of the parts but those instruction didnt include the led or the switch. so i was wondering if you could at least tell me where to wire those, id be really gratefull. i know im probably going to gets like yelled at for not simply buying my own but im only 14 and the fams moving so extra expenses are out of the question. :(
well wether or not you tell me thanks fo r offering a great product. i wish you the best of luck!
12:00am Wed May 17, 2006

unfortunatly i beleive the iriver takes a usb charge as a sign its connected. your now probably thinking how do i get around that smart@$$, but Ihave yet to find a way with the provided kit.
12:05am Wed May 17, 2006
Has anyone used the "Coldheat" soldering tool, does it work? Also, does this come with instructions or if not, is it easy to assemple (resistors, etc..)
5:12pm Wed May 17, 2006

I haven't used that Coldheat solder gun, although I have heard of it. I'm assuming it works, it probably just uses some other type of solder that doesn't require heat to liquefy. And, this kit does come with full instructions that are very easy to follow. Everything is explained and fairly simple to assemble.
12:12am Thu May 18, 2006
Marx said:
Has anyone used the "Coldheat" soldering tool, does it work? Also, does this come with instructions or if not, is it easy to assemple (resistors, etc..)

The cold heat soldering gun sucks A$$. It uses these two prongs on the tip that when they touch the solder it closes a circut and heats up very quickly then when you remove the tip from the solder the circut opens and cools down very quickly. In theroy it is a cool idea. In real life it sucks. Plus the tip are very brittle and need to be replaced often. I use a Weller variable watt iron I got for like $45 and it is perfect.
2:58pm Thu May 18, 2006
Alright, thanks guys
10:37pm Thu May 18, 2006
Has anyone successfully used one of these to charge a Dell Axim x50v?
10:16pm Wed May 24, 2006

Ebon said:

unfortunatly i beleive the iriver takes a usb charge as a sign its connected. your now probably thinking how do i get around that smart@$$, but Ihave yet to find a way with the provided kit.

Oh, I see... Thank you very much!
Guess I'll just have to be patient ( O_O ) and not listen to music or anything while it chrages.. .
Anyway I'd like to thank Aaron again for sharing his great ideas with idiots like myself.
1:00pm Wed Jun 14, 2006
Ok Im selling theese total customizable. Choose a tin color. Im selling them pretty much at cost too.
Ok so heres the price
Premium model with switch and led 25.00
Half and Half mode without a switch but with a led is 22.50
Half and Half model with a switch but without a led is 22.50
Base without a switch or led is 20.00
Bulk purchases go as following
Email RealRitzcrackerATgamailDOTcom
11:36pm Sat Jun 24, 2006
For those of you who absolutley cannot stand not having the plans...

Being in the field of electronics, I have already worked with this kind of circuit, and I can give it to you easily. Here it is:

SW1 1 | IC1 | 3
Battery+ o----o--> o---| 7805 |-------+--------o USB+
| | |
--------- |
| \
2 | / R1
| \ 1K Ohms
| /
| |
| |
| ---
| \ / LED1
| V
| ---
| |
| |
Battery- o-----------------+-----------+--------o USB-

For those who do not work with electronics:

This is a rather simple schematic (pronounced like "skim attic"), or circuit diagram. Because this circuit is relatively small, I can tell you how to read the above schematic.

Anywhere there is a line connecting two things, it represents a physical electrical connection between the two components. A "line" is represented above with a series of "-'s" in line from left to right or a series of "|'s" in line one over another.

Anywhere there is a "+", it represents that the physical electrical connection must connect to more than one thing at once.

Anywhere there is an "o," (except when part of a switch symbol) it means that the circuit is connected to an outside "thing," whether it is a single component (like a battery) or another circuit. If it connects to another circuit, the connection will be made with the connection on another circuit with the same label.

SW1, or switch number one, is simply an on/off switch. IC1, or integrated circuit number one, is the voltage regulator which lowers the voltage of the battery to the proper USB jack voltage level. R1, or resistor number one, limits the flow of electricity through the LED to keep it from getting too much power and keeps it from burning out. LED1, or light emitting diode number one, is the light which indicates when the power is on.

IC1 must be hooked up correctly. The schematic labels electrical hookup of the pins, but not the physical layout. When you get one, hold it so that the part number is facing you with the metal tab up and the pins pointing down. The arrangement of the pins when viewed from this angle are, from left to right, 1, 2, and 3.

Because of all the different versions of USB ports, I cannot tell you the exact pin out of the jack. But if you have a full-sized "A" type port (like those found on the back of your computer), then if you look at it from the front with the rectangle-shaped part on the inside of the jack on top, then the very left contact connects to USB+ and the pin on the very right connects to USB-. See this web page and scroll down to the heading labeled "Pin Assignments" to see a three dimensional view of this. Note that the pin labeled "GND" in this diagram means "USB-" in this case.
1:07pm Thu Jul 06, 2006
Oops! The preview of the circuit looked OK, but when I posted it it looks like nothing-ness.
1:10pm Thu Jul 06, 2006

Now, let's take a moment and think for a second. Do you think there might possibly be a reason that Aaron is selling these kits+instructions, and not giving them away? He spent hard work putting them together and getting people to visit his site. Granted, your "electrical schematic" is not his work and you are welcome to post it as you wish, but do you really think it's right to use Aaron's site to publicize the same information he is trying to make a living off? How about putting that post on your own site, where you can spend your own time, effort, and money getting people to actually realize it exists instead of ripping off someone else's. Think about that for a bit.
9:33pm Mon Jul 10, 2006
I think my voltage regulator may have shorted. Probably my fault (sigh).

Smileyborg: Keep in mind that Aaron sells more than the instructions, he also sells all the parts in a bulk shipment, including one very hard to find part (usb socket).
5:15pm Wed Sep 13, 2006
Yes, but there was also that bit at the beginning where people were just yelling at Aaron to post the instructions, and he wouldn't. He spent time learning about electronics to come up with the plans, and he found a way to turn it into a profit. You don't see big corporations telling you how they make their products, though the idea is a little different. Still, Aaron is trying to make a living, and if he just gives away his main breadwinner, then he'd be all poor and would have to go work somewhere. Work work, not something cool. I have to say that I'm sure Aaron can take care of himself too, and had he found the instructions to be taking away from his profit, he could easily delete the post. He did program this site himself... So personally, I think we should let Aaron deal with the people that try to steal his thunder, he's a big kid.
1:43am Sat Sep 16, 2006
Aaron said:
Online is newer, go with online. Grounding positive was an error on my part.

Where online? The web address on my instruction sheet is just a placeholder site.

BTW I bought this about 5 months after your post and the instructions are STILL wrong. It would be a LOT more handy if this info was posted somewhere easier to find than page 14 of your blog.


This is now working on my 5G video iPod. It went together in about about two hours. One to fix the tin up and one to do the soldering - all with the 'help' of my pre-teen son.

(I didn't count a couple of hours of disassembly, recheck, check again, web search etc fixing the +gnd to -gnd)
2:38am Mon Sep 18, 2006
Is anyone willing to make one for me and sell it? private message me
11:02pm Mon Sep 18, 2006
omg u should really add a charging thingie.. ! and a dock. ive been researching how to make a charger and ints confusing me :)
2:53pm Wed Oct 11, 2006
Thanks for such a great product. And for the inspiration to sell the kits and not soak people for some outrageous price.

The problem with all the haters on this site is that they are pissed they didn't have the inspiration or know how to create a product like this nor the means to market it on such a great site.

thanks again!
7:01am Mon Oct 30, 2006
aaron- that is fuckin brilliant.... and those people calling you a stingy bastard have obviously never purchased the parts and/or rifled through old PCBs to find the proper parts... if i had a way to pay you i would SO buy this for my shuffle :)
9:01pm Fri Nov 17, 2006
ok people hes selling the kits for less than 10 dollars dont be cheap only reason i havent bought one of the kits is because my dad has all this stuff at home and i can prolly struggle my way through with the short summary i found in an old popular science magazie
4:43pm Tue Dec 05, 2006
yeah i realize that you had a good response from people because of the magizine, but does that mean you should raise the price cuz people wil pay it. i read your site when the mag first came out and you were selling parts and plans for 8$. you said thats what it cost you, now you change it cuz you figure you can make more money. well thanks for screwing everyone over, im not buying and everyone else shouldnt either!!!!!
11:36pm Wed Dec 13, 2006
In order to solve all your heating problems, use a switching voltage regulator (LM2575) instead of a LM7805.

Maybe is a more expensive solution but is safer.

10:54am Fri Dec 29, 2006
this idea is really cool, i would like to buy your plans, but i dont want to wait really. but i have a quetion: do you have to connect the regulator to the can?
i didnt know if that was a ground or what
hey you have some brains comming up with this
that hackaday sucks.
good job man
3:09pm Thu Jan 18, 2007
This is a capitolistic country, where for an idea you have you can get paid for it. This guy came up with a project and did research to get the best price on parts. If you had an idea, how much would you want to get paid for it? It seems he is not really making a real high profit on his idea like he could. You could be seeing him on an infomrecial selling it for $29.95. Arron, I do appreciate you charging one cent for shipping to APO/FPO, for those of you who know what that is, you understand why. I was just in an APO area but back now. Do you have any other neet toys to build? Ciao.
9:17pm Thu Feb 22, 2007
Anyone selling a charger? I'd build one but I'm going away soon and need one ASAP.
10:15am Sat Feb 24, 2007
i once found a compatibility list for the altoids charger where has it gone?
12:56am Mon Aug 20, 2007

Expecting a creative person to forfeit their INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (look it up) on their invention, and to publish them to the rest of society for no personal reimbursement, is called communism.
6:19am Mon Sep 10, 2007
Wonderful thing about entrepreneurism...you can make money off of anything, especially your own ingenuity.

Aaron has every right to charge for this, tho Callard and Bowser may decide to enforce their copywrite to the image or their product as well...as is their right.

It is also great that you can do the same, use your brain to design something similar and use the resources available to locate parts.

In the spirit of this:

Digikey FTW.

And that's just the beginning...

There are plenty of places to get low cost parts for your experiments.
11:20am Thu Oct 18, 2007

L2spell n00b!

Sorry, thought I'd hit myself to save ppl time.

Never try to type with a 5 yr old yanking on your arm and yelling in your ear.
1:08pm Thu Oct 18, 2007
Comments closed for this page. Sorry.