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.

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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 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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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

lukasnebula2 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.152 months ago

Can we use this circuit to charge PlayStation Vita charger?

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.

donh4641 year 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.

kmannarbor3 months 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?

matt826104 months 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?

Rodville5 months 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

Ok after some research i found out that the input current doesn't matter which means you can use the battery but you will need a heatsink becuase it would dissipate a lot of heat.

jhosborn1 year ago
I am trying to build this charger and the instructions call for a 350 ohm resistor but the closest I can find is 330 will it still work, or will it destroy my brothers phone
ryoung26 jhosborn5 months ago

It will work; that resister limits the current to the LED.

dustinfathead6 months ago
So some of these parts listed don't have their volt listed. The 22ufcap has dif volts. Any help? Just want a more accurate parts list.

ANY voltage for that cap should work.

ryoung265 months ago

My 16 year old son decided to make a charger for his iPhone. He had NO electronics knowledge prior to this project. He taught himself to solder from a different Instructable, and we chose THIS Instructable as it was clear about the need for the 2 volt data signals to get Apple goodies to accept a charge; it had a good materials list; and an apparently clear schematic.

Unfortunately, we found the schematic and the instructions a little hard to follow.

1. Pin 1 of the USB receptacle is not labeled on the schematic. Thus, my son soldered it all together backwards - we didn't discover this till I found a USB pinout FYI, the TOP pin in the schematic is pin 1, which is the LEFT pin looking at a female USB with the "board" at the top, and is the +5v input.

2. The materials list did not specify what type of perfboard to use. We used bare, but in the pictures you clearly used perfboard with plated holes. Shame on us I suppose for not looking at the pictures BEFORE going to Radio Shack, but we sure scratched out heads at the step:"Solder the red (positive) wire from the battery connector to one pin of the switch and from the other pin to the perfboard."

3. About those pictures - they are too blurry to be of much use, frankly.

Overall, this is a GOOD Instructable, but I'm a little disappointed it was Featured; a little refinement and it would be a GREAT Instructable.

ryoung26 ryoung265 months ago

One more thing - the heat sink you clearly used to mount the voltage regulator is NOT listed in the material list. These voltage regulators are pretty sturdy; the current is not very high; and it doesn't last very long when it flows, so I think the component will live until my son loses the charger <grinning>,'s another point where this Instructable is Worthy Of Improvement.

Can u plz explain how to put this together in depth plz
Hey I was really confused reading this????
lharp7687 months ago

did it without the 10nf cap. no issues. love this! thanks for the schematic.

also I used an old Wizard brand 1/2" socket for a heat sink.

KiralyCraft7 months ago

Will this also work for the iPad? What about linking more 9V in parallel to get more amps? Like, same setup, but with 3-4 9V's in parallel?

dbaham made it!8 months ago

First project in a long time, I probably should have spent more time on the board layout, but it all fit.

jknight209 months 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.

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.

elee07638 months ago

Was I the only one that couldn't get this to work? I built it just like the instructions said, and the light lit up, but the device I wanted to charge (4th gen iPod) didn't charge. This is my first project, could that be why?

elee0763 elee07638 months ago

never mind, I figured out why it didn't work. Radio shack guy gave me a 10 uf capacitor instead of a 10 nf one.

bjones909 months ago

Hi Matt

I really like the article and the design of your charger;
you have a retro/modern thing going that works well. It’s great to see people
still willing to hack stuff together for even modern devices and risk frying
their iPod. I write occasionally for <a href=””>iPad
Repair</a>, I’m assuming this wouldn’t be enough to charge an iPad, what
changes would you need to make to make it suitable for iPad charging?

Best wishes


stevenarango10 months ago

looks very nice. i made one like yours mine gives 5v on the out put

but the battery overheats like mad.... any ideas why have you come across this problem? my usb charger is on my page.... cheers.

The 7805 in this design is capable of 1A so you could draw 1A plus losses from the 9V battery which is not recommended and would explain the hot battery. Make sure that the resistors that you use on the USB data lines limit the charging current to 500mA or less.

anothertaylor10 months ago

I didn't see an answer to the 350 ohm resistor questions. The 350 ohm resistor is a current limiting resistor for the LED. The larger the resistor value the dimmer the LED but less power will be wasted lighting the LED. The opposite is also true, the smaller the resistor the brighter the LED but more power is wasted lighting the LED.

Care must be taken to make sure the forward current through the LED does not exceed the maximum forward current or the LED will not last long. The actual current can be determined from 9V minus forward voltage on the LED (from datasheet) divided by the resistor value.

squall9871 year ago
could you not just short the data pinouts for dedicated charging mode?
hibbly1 year ago
Where did you get the 350 ohm resistor? I'm trying to impress a girl in my Calculus BC class, help me man.
usbmod hibbly1 year ago
u can use any resistors, if u have 2 175 resistors or a 300 ohm and a 50, they add up. so u can splice them together to make 350
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