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Goal Zero Bolt flashlight modified to charge standard 18650s

Picked up a Goal Zero flashlight from Woot last week, and was upset to find that (contrary to the advertisement) it won't charge normal 18650 cells. 
 
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Seems like that secondary contact ring on the battery is just routed to the negative contact of the battery, which prevents the flashlight from charging any battery other than the Goal Zero branded ones. I called the company, and they confirmed my supposition (Yay American companies with good customer service and accessible engineers!).

Since I have a bunch of old laptop batteries from work (which, incidentally, is why I care about being able to charge standard 18650s), I decided to use some more bits of it for this project - I remembered that these batteries very seldom use actual wires, and more often use flat metal strips coated in Kapton for connections, which is great since I don't have a lot of room to play with inside the flashlight body.  Grabbing a knock-off exacto knife, I managed to grab this without bleeding out on the workshop floor (this time).

Step 4:

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I removed the covering from the outer charging pin and attached the connector to the spring inside using the poor man's solder.  (I wanted to stick with non-permanent modifications until I was sure I wouldn't set my house on fire)

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I reassembled the charging pill

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And put it back in its housing
zapro9 months ago
Don't you mean 500 mA? mAh is a measure of energy, not current.
If the flashlight charges from USB, which have a maximum current of 500 mA, the limitation seems quite sensible.
Harrson (author)  zapro9 months ago
Good catch - I'll have to update the instructable.

I agree that the charging current is in line with the usb specs, but there do exist higher current usb ports. That said, it's probably much cheaper to make something that only draws that much, rather than something that tries to negotiate with the power source to get more juice.
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