Picture of Make an Emergency Phone Charger - MacGyver Style!
In this video, you'll learn how to "MacGyver" a 40 Watt Electrical Generator from a cordless drill and a few household items.  Here's how to charge a phone, illuminate small lights, and make electricity in a pinch.

For more projects like this, check out www.thekingofrandom.com

Step 1: Watch the Video!

Note: This project is intended to be a "bare-bones" approach to generating electricity in a tight situation.  There are no voltage regulators, no diodes and no capacitors to smooth the current.  There may a risk of overheating and damaging equipment when operating electrical devices without a proper circuit recommended by the manufacturer. 

It worked fine for me, but if you try this on your phone make sure you understand, and are comfortable with, the risks.  Back up your data in case your phone is adversely affected and your data or equipment is damaged as a result.
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The King of Random (author)  ericocean2 years ago
Thank you! In reality you'd only have to crank for about 10 minutes to get enough charge to make a phone call. I just wanted to see how long it would take to completely charge the phone.

Thanks for your feedback, and I'm glad to hear you appreciate the little details!
Just curious; what's the chance of damaging the phone by "cranking out" too much voltage? Other than that I really like this idea. I suppose if you're stuck somewhere and your phone is dead and you have an emergency and you have no other way of charging the phone AND you just happen to have a rechargeable drill with the right equipment to pull this off it's worth the risk of damaging your phone. I'm more interested in how this could be applied to charging larger batteries such as lead-acid car batteries. Also, this makes me wonder what other devices I might have around the house that I could convert into electrical generators in a pinch.
Thanks for your feedback and your question. I believe this would actually work better for charging larger lead-acid type batteries. Higher voltage batteries would require spinning the drill faster so maybe it could be hooked up to a bicycle to accomplish that. I didn't notice any damage to my phone from doing this, but my goal was to just spin it barely fast enough to get the charging symbol. That was my safeguard against over voltage. I hope that helps!
Treknology2 years ago
Please note that if the selected drill has any form of "electronic speed control", it will require more dis-assembly than merely removing the battery as such electronics will probably impede the original intent of this project.

I also suggest connecting your USB wires directly to the battery contacts (or internal equivalent). The use of "foil" introduces more problems than it solves.

Was this just an experiment, or did you really need to charge your phone manually?
Now I have a use for my broken Black and Decker!
Perfect!! :)
Fantastic idea!
Glad you like it Dave!
I gotta say, the thing that TOTALLY brought me to the tutorial, was your name, "The King of Random".
That's very cool.
But yes... this instructable is great!
Haha I'm glad to hear that. It's a name given to me by a friend who was always impressed by the random projects. I'm glad you like them as well!
chibimaddy2 years ago
Fabulous as always! I've learned so much from your videos. I had a magnifying head lamp set where the bulb broke, and we couldn't find a replacement, but I bought a cheap led night light and replaced the bulb that way. I know, not a big deal, but it was the first time I "hacked" one thing to use for another and also the first time I was actually RIGHT when I told the hubby that it would work :o) Thanks for that!
The King of Random (author)  chibimaddy2 years ago
That is great! Nice work on your successful modification! Was your husband impressed?? :)
Orngrimm2 years ago
The King of Random (author)  Orngrimm2 years ago
M.C. Langer2 years ago
Cool!! Great job as always, Grant!! :-)
The King of Random (author)  M.C. Langer2 years ago
Thank you sir! :)
faacuunndoo2 years ago
That can be improved easily. Your videos are cool. What program do you use to make them?
The King of Random (author)  faacuunndoo2 years ago
Awesome. Thanks, and I use Adobe Premiere Pro
Thanks :)
ianmi2 years ago
Love it
The King of Random (author)  ianmi2 years ago
Great!! Thank you :)
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