Introduction: Charge USB Devices With Paper

Picture of Charge USB Devices With Paper

Oh and a 5V source, like any 5V source I used an old phone charger. 

The reasoning behind this is the need to charge my mp3 player and only having a spare phone charger for a phone I no longer use, so I reckoned there was a way based on the fact that I managed the exact opposite when my phone died. 

I wouldn't say I set to work so much as stared at a plug for a while. 

I managed not to use a single tool and only two materials... So no list.

You'll have to forgive me on some of the photos, I've had to use my phone for these since it's the only camera with a short enough focal distance I have at the moment, so they're all a little washed out looking...

If you liked this instructable then please vote for it in the USB contest, which is in the voting stage now! 

Step 1: Rip the End Off the Cable

Picture of Rip the End Off the Cable

I just yanked the plug off and exposed the end of the inner wires by stripping a quarter inch off each end with my thumbnail. 

Basically grip the nail where you want to strip, bend the cable over the back of the nail, press your nail down hard and pull the cable. 

Image below's borrowed from another of my 'ibles...

Step 2: Eh What Now?

Picture of Eh What Now?

At first my notion was that I could just poke at the contacts in the male plug before realizing the metal outer would short the connections... 

However that gave me the notion of making the male plug a female plug for this purpose, yes this instructable has forever muddied the waters of robot and computer sexuality, at least it'll slow down the terminators...

So get a bit of paper...

Step 3: Dots.

Picture of Dots.

Hold the USB plug down and draw two dots marking the outer two pins, if they're facing upwards ground is left and +5V is right

Step 4: Holes.

Picture of Holes.

Poke two holes in the paper with a pen, slide the wires through a little so they lay flat on the back with just the exposed copper showing. 

Step 5: Folding.

Picture of Folding.

Fold the paper over backwards and then over a few times to create a rough shape, it just needs to be fat enough to hold the exposed wires against the pins. 

Step 6: Squeezing It In.

Picture of Squeezing It In.

This is mildly tricky, you've got to shimmy the paper in at an angle to start with so the contacts don't just get pushed away from the back of the paper, also you may need to squeeze it in at the sides, bend any excess paper upwards to ensure that it doesn't interfere with the contacts.

Step 7: Success...

Picture of Success...

It worked first time, which was a shock, a really big shock.  This seems like it needs refined and learned, not just thought up.


DJ Radio (author)2011-07-27

I thought it was just the paper and then I saw the 5V cord thing. I am disappoint.

inhaos (author)2011-05-06

it's cool
and here's a perfect solution for you
good luck

killerjackalope (author)2010-07-27

Its odd that would mess it up, try recovery mode and see what happens

killerjackalope (author)2010-07-27

Hmm that's weird, possible wire mixup or the power lines are touching data lines, in an ipod connector pins really are small so dirt or a sliver of wire could be grounding a data line to the plug without being very obvious to the eye

RoddyTheGreat (author)2010-07-18

I have the exact same mp3 player! I have never come across someone else with the same. Do you think this would work with an iPod Touch?

Kirbsome! (author)RoddyTheGreat2010-07-25

The iPod touch would not work, since it requires the "apple identification chip". Basically meaning you have to pay apple a hundred billion dollars if you want to charge without a computer.

Yeah though an ipod's significantly more expensive, take care with it. Thats funny about the mp3 I found it under my bed after two weeks of parties nobody wanted it back

technoguy94 (author)2010-07-20

Wait, did I miss something? What actually powers it?

An old phone charger though any 5v source will do the job just fine.

Kryptonite (author)2010-07-11

Nice job! Good phone camera, by the looks of it, too.

Thanks, the phone is a godsend, replaces a compact in most situations

I think I might just make this charger.... I'm pretty sure I've got a 5v somewhere.

Cool, take pics. I have plans to make more weird things aswell

kcls (author)2010-07-10

Nice 'ible. An ingenious idea! Did you change the title? I seem ti remember it being something more confusing...

killerjackalope (author)kcls2010-07-10

No but check out my published might be one of them

mitchell931993 (author)2010-07-08

see when i was looking at the intructables newsletter i saw the first picture and was totally like wtf. i thought this is going to be really stupid, but then when i looked through the instructable its almost incredible. such a simple useful idea. sorry for doubting you

dhvinay (author)mitchell9319932010-07-09

hey mitchel is 19 3 1993 ur dob ?

mitchell931993 (author)dhvinay2010-07-09

actually its the 9th, but yeah?

dhvinay (author)mitchell9319932010-07-10

oops, okay :D

Thanks, I kinda made the tile a bit odd, glad you liked the ible

yeah well when i first read it i thought it was something daft like running a current through paper. but its a really simple sort of... mount i guess.

I will make that happen now! The title is a misnomer i suspect

no, i dont think you should. I probably wouldnt of clicked on it otherwise. It a great instructable, and the title leaves alot to the imagination, something that people might want to find out more about

So running a current through paper wouldn't be awesome? I just thought of how to make a fully fledged female plug... Thanks, glad you enjoyed the instructable

deathorange (author)2010-07-04

You wernt kidding about the rip off from that pic xD.

Grab the connector and yank, I dont believe in scissors

sqeeek (author)killerjackalope2010-07-09

Lol I don't believe in scissors either... but wire strippers are nice ;)

killerjackalope (author)sqeeek2010-07-10

Reading this on my phone the word wire was missing on the screen, hah strippers

citizen251 (author)2010-07-08

I love it.

But I have resolved not to use it until I'm in a cold hotel in Budapest and my iPod (which has all my secrets that I'm supposed to deliver to someone named Natasha encrypted within my Doobie Brothers songs) has died and my charger was confiscated when the Magyar Garda took my backpack (intolerant jerks). I'll still have my phone charger because it was still in the wall when I went out to the internet cafe.

Thanks from the future. Your country owes you a debt of gratitude. Or will...someday.


Good to know it'll be a useful asset to the world.of espionage

nubie (author)2010-07-08

This is most excellent, if you are planning such a thing go ahead and buy a USB extension cable from the $1 store and cut it open for this. I have done this or similar before myself. My favorite is bending the pins in a Molex (PC drive connector) and then just inserting a standard wall wart onto the positive side, can power up PC fans that way with no tools to make a desk fan.

killerjackalope (author)nubie2010-07-08

The point was that i didnt have a female cable to do it with

bobbym529 (author)2010-07-08

Very MacGuvyer-ish. :-)

Cheers, quite a few of my projects are...

worldgnat (author)2010-07-08

If I'm not mistaken, there should be diodes built into these devices to prevent wiring errors from "blowing up" the device. This is really a novel idea - I love it. It might be cool to draw up a cut-and-fold diagram in a vector drawing application to make it neater and more replicable. Nice work!

Thanks, I'll sketch it up next time I'm back at the computer, thats a great idea

all4fun (author)2010-07-05

A great way to do it !!! I'm getting sick of all the different adaptor plugs ! just cut them off !!! whahah :D

killerjackalope (author)all4fun2010-07-05

Aye, then lose the charger

=SMART= (author)2010-07-04

Haha thats really clever mate !

killerjackalope (author)=SMART=2010-07-05

Cheers smart, do be niceand vote

rimar2000 (author)2010-07-04

Clever!!! I did something similar using a piece of ice-cream stick. The paper is easiest.

Good to know someone else thought it was a good plan, getting a lot of stick from phobics that believe their tech all has the kind of fragility found in buttercups


simplegreen (author)2010-07-03

would never do it just to do it. but in a survival or emergency type situation this is valuable information. Well done.

Cheers guess im a little less fretful about my devices...

Zed Lepplin! (author)2010-07-03

You are Macgyver!! This is great.

Cheers, thats an awesome compliment

Martinmayhem (author)2010-07-03

Buy the proper cable off ebay for a few pence and don't risk blowing up either your computer or phone etc.

No computer involved, should have read it, besides, its not that dangerous...

True, not physically dangerous, but one slip of the wires and you blow up the device USB port! ... guess how I know! :-(

About This Instructable




Bio: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.
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