Picture of Make a USB iPhone iPod Charger On The Cheap!

There are many designs for iPhone chargers out there and many are confusing or use parts that are hard to find.  My design uses parts that are easy to find, is tested works with all iPhones and iPods (as of this posting), and just works.  It is a fun and useful project.  I made one a few years ago and put a video on YouTube.  I weekly get many questions about making one.  So here you go and i hope you enjoy it.

Step 1: Parts List:

Picture of Parts List:
  • 1 - SPST Switch (I used a toggle switch)
  • 1 - LED for "ON" indicator red or green (Radio Shack sells LED's with resistor "350 ohm" you can mount.  That's what I used.)
  • 1 - 350 ohm Resistor
  • 1 - 7805 Voltage Regulator
  • 1 - 22uF Capacitor
  • 1 - 10nF Capacitor (code 103)
  • 2 - 33K Resistors
  • 2 - 22K Resistors (Other values can be used, read step 2)
  • 1 - Female USB Connector (I got mine at a dollar store)
  • 1 - 9v Connector
  • 1 - 9v Battery
  • Electrical Tape
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Small piece of perfboard
  • Altoids Tin
  • Dremel Tool with cutting attachment or tin snips to cut the tin
  • Drill for switch and LED hole
  • Hot Glue
  • Paint if you want

You can go here for a good tutorial on soldering. 
For most of the parts you can use techno scrap and recycle old broken electronics or just buy them.
I wanted to use parts that are easy to find and inexpensive so everything can be bought at Radio Shack or if your don't mind on-line shopping I like http://www.taydaelectronics.com/servlet/StoreFront because it's cheep!  
I hope you enjoy the project.  

Warning: Just a fair warning that there is a small chance that something can go wrong and you can end up frying your really expensive iPod.  Be careful.  

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how do you cut the perfboard for the circuit board?

NinadM11 month ago

This is very good project. I also have made some changes with original circuit. I used resistor of 330 ohm instead of 350 ohm resistor and 10uF capacitor instead of 10nF capacitor and it's working great.Highly recommended for those who need cheaper power banks for outdoor use.

Jean-DominicM2 months ago

Made it with my students (16 years old) ! Worked great !

lukenstein1232 months ago

Why would it fry you device and what would cause this?

RobertC25 months ago

ref: "on ether side of the regulator a capacitor is placed to smooth out the current a bit." Why?

Your power source is a battery. Unlike a rectified AC source, there shouldn't be any ripple. Or am I missing something?

The painted tin is quite nice! ;-)

bradk3 RobertC23 months ago

Using capacitors like this, even when running off battery power, is just good practice. There's more to it than just rectifying ripples in the power source. They also serve to filter out noise from the device being charged from interfering with the voltage regulator.

True, this circuit would probably work 99% of the time without the capacitors, but it's a good idea to include them.

RobertC2 bradk33 months ago

I see. Thanks!

willwardlaw3 months ago

would like to know how many charges you get out of it

DDM1 willwardlaw3 months ago

Just my 2 cents but I wouldn't think too many. 9v alkaline batteries don't hold a lot of juice. Only about 300-500 mAh at 9 volts depending on current drain and the iPhone 4s battery is just shy of 1500 mAh at around 3.6v I think. I don't know the math but I would guess less than one full charge.

shane better3 months ago
I' be just started teaching myself electronics, and I was wondering why you need so many parts or why you don't just have larger resistors. Is there a reason ?

This method is more slightly efficient than using a large resistor and also works independent of load. basically if you have a regular phone that may draw only 1 amp and a tablet that could draw 2 aps, this circuit will provide 5v to both of them, where as a resistor will push too much voltage into the tablet. There's actually an even better solution called a switch-mode power supply. Though those are not simple or cheap. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about electronics! Don't be afraid to spend hours on the web breading things.

ibenkos3 months ago

Awesome project! Does it work on the newest iPhone and iPad?

moose673 months ago

Did a similar build but used 2 9V in parallel and a 12V car usb adapter. Stripped the adapter down and glued it into a tin. Picked up a toggle switch at Radio Shack and it worked great.

EmilioD15 months ago

Hello I am doing somthinlike your project but what I was planning is make the charger being able to connect to a connector in the wall but I am not really sure how to... do you think you can help?

Boneless15 months ago

this is amazing

sbizarro made it!5 months ago

awesome, works great!!! Thanks

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pfantastic made it!6 months ago
I've only tested it on an old Samsung Galaxy. Works great so far!
pfantastic6 months ago
My first real circuit. I made a lot of mistakes but they were worth it for the knowledge gained. I liked this instructable because it's totally functional, it looks cool so you can show it off to your friends, and it was just challenging enough for a beginner. Thanks man!
jknight201 year ago

This is a great instructable but the use of a 9v battery means that you get very little juice out of it. I'm rather a novice at this stuff, what would I need to change to replace the 9v battery with, lets say, 4 AA batteries?

Thanks again for the fun project.

amdlo jknight206 months ago

You can find a pretty cheap step down modules at ebay. Like this one:

Well, I have been extensively researching to find a 6v to 5v voltage regulator... And apparently, to my surprise, there are none. So, you can do what I'm doing and use 4 AAs and 1 AAA in an altoids tin with a LM1117 voltage regulator. But if you're trying to charge an apple device you'll need to put a variable potentiometer between USB pin 2, and 3, then adjust it until the ipod accepts the charge.

this is nice. How much did it costs you to do all these? Thanks man!

sorolfo8 months ago

how many watts did you used in the 350 ohm resistor???

Logan Rolfy9 months ago
Made a circuit like this, just modified to feed Samsung phones (works on notes, only Samsungs I have around). They need to "see" 1.2V in the data lines of a USB. Check out my charger, its an instructable.

Hi again. I'm also wondering if both voltage dividers are necessary for current reasons or can you just use one?

Hi, took me some time but I finally managed to make it. USB inputs are opposite of what I expected. For some reason it didn't occur to me that that was my problem so I spent forever adding and removing components. As a result my circuit is unbearably messy. I just started learning Eagle PCB and I want to get a board printed for this. Would you have any problem with me getting a manufacturer to print a board for this design? thanks

lukasnebula10 months ago
wait so you are a kid in middle school and you made this?

Yep. Easy if you just put you're mind to it and know how to do it. Made a few other things, just check them out. Go to my page.

Hemanth.GR.1510 months ago

Can we use this circuit to charge PlayStation Vita charger?

Logan Rolfy11 months ago

I have made it... but my iPod wont let me put photos onto my computer :-(

ngibbs21 year ago
How much is CHEAP? what's the total cost of this product?

It depends on if you have the necessary tools yet, or not. You can pick up a hot glue gun for $5 at Home Depot. A really nice Dremel tool will run you around $50-$60. All of the components are pretty cheap, costing me about $10 for them all.

donh4642 years ago
im trying to find all the parts for this project. I cant seem to find the 10nF resistor anywhere. Any help appreciated...

I know its been a year, but for anyone else with the same question, 10nF is equal to .01uF. The capacitors I have found are labeled as .01uF.

kmannarbor1 year ago

how would this design be modified for android devices? Am I'm mistaken in thinking that the two volts on the data line would be unnecessary? If so, would you even need the pcb and all those resistors and capacitors? Wouldn't a voltage regulator be enough?

matt826101 year ago

can I use a LM317 and place correct parts to have an output of 5v and substitute it in?

it works with moto g or samsung's cellphones?

Rodville1 year ago

Would this work with 12V instead of the 9V?

hey rodville yes it will work with 12v but be aware of the amps that the battery gives out. Since this battery only gives 500mAh

My battery pack puts out 3a max
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