Introduction: MintyBoost! Kit V1.1 and 1.2

Picture of MintyBoost! Kit V1.1 and 1.2

This is an updated version of the detailed instructable by this device's inventor, Ladyada. The updated version has some extra components. Questions about this device should be directed to Ladyada's forums, and the project site has a similar how-to.

This instructable now covers version 1.2 of the kit as well. Version 1.1 and older have green PCBs, and the version 1.2 is all white. The only major difference in 1.2 is the R5 resistor placement. Step four on resistors has more information about it. Other than that, you can follow the further directions without worry.

Also, if you do have a v1.1, there's a slight modification to make it work with new iPods. In version 1.2, the modification is simplified.

You can buy the v1.2 kit at the MAKE store.

This kit is great for soldering beginners. To learn the basics of soldering check out this great guide by noahw. Also, here's a good video tutorial from the MAKE blog.

Step 1: What You Get and What You Need.

Picture of What You Get and What You Need.

The list here is for parts from the V1.1 kit. The only real difference is the two resistors.

What you get with the kit:
1 x IC1 MAX746 with Socket
2 x C2, C3 Power Supply Capacitor
2 x C1, C4 Bypass Capacitor
2 x R4, R5 10k .25W Resistor
1 x D1 Schottky Diode
1 x L1 Power Inductor
1 x X1 USB Female Jack
1 x Battery Holder
1 x PCB

What components you'll need:
2 AA batteries

What tools you'll need.
Rosin core, 60/40 solder
Soldering Iron hopefully with a pencil-like tip
Wire clippers
A vice to hold up the PCB
(You can get all this stuff really cheap at or

Step 2: Capacitors, Diodes

Picture of Capacitors, Diodes

Lets first solder the blue capacitors and the diode. Why are we doing these first -- because the orientation matters. Check out the pictures to see what I mean.

The blue capacitors have a stripe that needs to be in the same direction as the stripe on the PCB. You can also follow the + on the board. The longer leg of the capacitor is positive.

The diode has a stripe on it too, and it too needs to align with the printed stripe on the PCB. There's a super up-close picture to help.

Stick those components in, and bend the tail wires around the back a little so they don't fall out when you turn the board over.

Solder them in nicely and snip the excess tails.

Step 3: More Components

Picture of More Components

In a similar fashion add the yellow capacitors and the big, fat inductor. Follow the images for placement.
Again, put the components in the board, bend the wires back a little, solder, and cut the excess wires.

Step 4: Resistors & a Special Note.

Picture of Resistors & a Special Note.

Version 1.2 (white PCB) makes configuring the Minty Boost for newer devices easier, since the R5 resistor has two placement options. (See the photos)

The designer suggests putting the resistor in the "pullup" position (last photo) for best compatibility. However, if that doesn't work you can always clip the wire and try the "pulldown" position.

Bend the resistors as shown in the first image, and stick them into their tight spots, R4, R5. Follow the soldering procedure used in the other steps. Remember, follow the R5 pullup position first especially if you have a newer iPod (this was written in Spring 2007).

NOTE for V1.1: If you have a new MP3 player like the iPod nano 2G (small metallic), Shuffle 2G (metal clip), Zune player, or if you are not getting your device to charge when you're finished constructing this, you'll need to modify the component lay out a bit.

It's pretty simple actually. One leg of the R5 resistor can be soldered to the + power contact. See the last images for details.

Step 5: USB and IC.

Picture of USB and IC.

Next, the USB jack should go on. I actually clips in so you don't have to worry about it falling off. Stick it on and solder. User LasVegas suggests even soldering the clips down:

"To stabilize the USB-B connector, I would recommend that the "clips" be soldered into place as well. I've too often seen connectors, without the shield soldered down, work their way loose and cause bad connections."

After that, follow with the IC socket, which needs to line up with the U on the PCB. See the picture for detail, and this same rule applies to the IC itself, which also has a little U drawn on it.

Step 6: Power Source

Picture of Power Source

Finally, the power wires need to be soldered in place.

RED = +

Again, follow the images. Almost done!

Remember that if you need to modify this to work with newer players, you should attach that R5 resistor now, too.

Step 7: Test It.

Picture of Test It.

If you have a multimeter handy:
There's a simple test to make sure it works. Ladyada explains it in detail in the older instructable.

The basics are:
get a multimeter
set it to test voltage (V with straight lines)
touch two contacts on the USB jack.

The readout should be 5V. Check the image below. You'll need to push the contacts with some force.

Step 8: Cut the Tin.

Picture of Cut the Tin.


The original instructable explains how to cut the tin in a lot of detail. So you should probably go there now.

Also, there's another method that makes the unit more stable here.


robotman9 (author)2012-01-31

does anyone know if it works with a zune?

dragonriot (author)2012-01-04

LadyAda, I have already built one MintyBoost, and it's awesome. I have a second kit waiting to be assembled (I'm actually giving it to my son as a late Christmas gift) and I'm wondering if you or anyone has ever included a USB charging port to actually charge the MintyBoost itself without taking the rechargeable batteries out and having a separate charger? I have the plans for a nice and slim USB charger for 2 AA batteries that would definitely fit in a large altoids tin, which is what I'm using anyway. Do you see any issues with having the charge port on one end, and the discharge port on the other end?

emmjul (author)2009-06-22

Did anyone try charging a Creative Zen Vision W, because it doesn't work with the pullup configuration, wich works with the Ipod Touch, and I don't get it, how to install R5 as pulldown, did anyone try it before???

Derin (author)2008-07-16

can you post the schematic,I want to make one but not in a altoids tin and not on a premade kit,I can't get hold of those because I am not in the US.Help appreciated.

-henry- (author)Derin2009-01-25

The schematic and PCB files are here

fnords (author)2007-04-09

im gong to do some modding on my minty, but im completely new when it comes to building anything electronic, so heres the poser: if the output of the mintyboost is 5v @ 100ma and the batteries together usually drain at what..3v @ 300ma (i hope thats right), are the batteries in the mintyboost circuit draining at 100ma or 300?? sorry for the stupid question, but im new

ladyada (author)fnords2007-04-09

if you are drawing 100mA from the mintyboost at 5V then the batteries are draining at 5V/3V * 100mA * 120% = 200mA or so. The 120% is to cover 'inefficiencies' in the conversion process.

fnords (author)ladyada2007-04-16

one more question ladyada, if i hook up a solar cell to the batteries which gets 3v @ 22 ma, about how long will it take to recharge the batteries?

Derin (author)fnords2008-07-16

depends on the capacity of the battery,mine are 2700mah for example.

fnords (author)fnords2007-04-09

muchas gracias intersting for you of all people to respond. im building the boost mostly off the data on your 'mintyboosty meta documentation' page :P

Angus06 (author)2008-07-16

Hi, I asked the same thing on another instructble, but... How do you know how many capacitors and of what capacitance to use when designing a charger like this?

sk8erman541 (author)2007-06-14

umm.. yeah i ordered this kit in the mail and it got here fast. i liked the kit it was fun and easy to make. this was my first time sodering and i did suprislingly good here r some pics..

where are da pics?

idk i thought it said it put them up and i dnt have them on my computer ne more

kurt1978 (author)2007-11-27

Hi, I have done something simulare like you for my GPS. However when I use it, it will charge but also the screen will go into a mode that thinks it is connected with a PC. So i can't see my cart anymore (so i can't use my gps while charging). Is it possible to prevent this so i can use my gps during charging? Thanks Kurt

buddyboy (author)2007-11-25

how would I go about decreasing the current from 1A to somewhere around 350mA while leaving the voltage at 5V?...cause my phone uses i think 350mA instead of 1A

buddyboy (author)buddyboy2007-11-25

If i use V=IR i need a 14 Ohm resistor is that right? and if so where would it go?


poolshark1691 (author)2007-04-03

Ive checked this out before, and came very close to ordering the PCB board from adafruit, however i do not like web transactions (yes, even good ol' paypel), is the same PCB board used here available retail?? Because i know in the original article, you mentioned that the PCB board was "etched" and basically messed around with. So again, is there a way I can get that board in stores? I would very much like to do this project.

ladyada (author)poolshark16912007-04-09

adafruit takes checks/money orders all the time for those who dont like putting their info online. also, EYEBEAM in NY stocks some of the kits and you can just walk in. Not available in Walmart or Target....yet :)

MAKEkits (author)poolshark16912007-04-03

Unless you go to the Maker Faire this summer, it'll be hard to buy these in person. The MAKE store may be safer to order from since it's got all sorts of security certifications. Other than that I don't think there's a way. MAKE directs people to its store site in the magazine.

dcshoeco33 (author)2007-03-27

this is a copyy of ladyada's

Amadeos (author)dcshoeco332007-04-02

lol, its a simplified version, I think... I love ur Avie, Eddie OWNS!

super_genius (author)2007-04-01

HAHHAHA LOL IM SORRY MAN!!! I did'nt READ the list. im really sorry, but still you might want to consider putting the rating in the pic for us dumber (sarcasm) people so we wont get confused.

super_genius (author)2007-04-01

ok um dude, first off you need to let us know what the ratings are on... everything. like, u say two blue supply capacitors, what uf?!?! and what ohm rating are the resistors? The thing that bugs me the most is what is the ic pin rating? is it a 555 or a 479? there are more but ya gotta get ur stuff right man!! the resistor can be substituted by a couple of different resistors, but the ic pin cant. cuz I really wanna make this but I cant cuz I dont know the stuff

jbond (author)2007-03-31

I keep looking at this as a basis for running a 2.5" disk drive from a 1.8" connector. Specifically hacking an Ipod to run a phat 2.5" disk. 1.8" disks run off 3.3v while 2.5" are 5v. The problem is the current supply. Do you think the Mintyboost circuit would handle that?

lemonie (author)2007-03-27

The USB plug looks a bit short, is this long enough to connect? I guess Altoids must be like Marmite: pretty much unheard of on the other side of the Atlantic? (I have heard of Altoids though)

ladyada (author)lemonie2007-03-28

The company that makes Altoids is British!

imajoebob (author)ladyada2007-03-31

Callard & Bowser was a British company. It's now a subsidiary of Kraft Foods. They're reported to be moving production from the UK to the US. I've been mad at them since they cancelled production of their hard butterscotch, perhaps the best candy ever made. But they still make a fine battery case.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)ladyada2007-03-28

yeah.. they sure are lol

MAKEkits (author)lemonie2007-03-27

The USB jack is pretty good, since the male end actually goes into the jack.

You can get this tin from MAKE. When putting this together, I used a larger tin myself, so it's not compact. (Notice the second picture with the bluish case)

evy-wevy (author)2007-03-27

for some reason, mine didn't need the extra resistors...was this becuase i have an original 5 gen video ipos, or is it becuase im special...

ladyada (author)evy-wevy2007-03-28

the resistors are there because many devices do need them like the new nano and shuffle ipods- better safe than sorry! :)

MAKEkits (author)evy-wevy2007-03-27

You should ask Ladyada, who figured this whole thing out, but I figure that since this new version (1.1) is a rework of an already working device, the resistors were put on for wider support.

LasVegas (author)2007-03-27

To stabilize the USB-B connector, I would recommend that the "clips" be soldered into place as well. I've too often seen connectors, without the shield soldered down, work their way loose and cause bad connections. As a side-note: Back when I worked for Control Data Corp, whenever newly constructed circuit failed to work and the technician couldn't find the problem, we would jokingly recommend that he try replacing R5! I just struck me as humorous as R5 was the solution for your low current problem.

MAKEkits (author)LasVegas2007-03-27

Thanks, I made a little note about that. When I tried sticking my iPod shuffle in in really takes work to slide it into the connector. I don't think putting solder on the clip holes will do any damage / confuse anyone.

mrmath (author)2007-03-27

I looked on both sites you pointed to, and couldn't find the USB plug. Can you provide a direct link to it? I was looking for a pair of USB, one male, one female, for a very easy project, but couldn't find them anywhere. Thanks!

MAKEkits (author)mrmath2007-03-27

You should check one of the big electronic component sites, like or, do a search for USB type A male and female. Type A is the traditional type of USB jack-- kind of long and flat. Type B is the more fat kind, you typically see going into printers. Hope that helps!

MAKEkits (author)dcshoeco332007-03-27

Yes, it's mostly a copy. However this is for the new version of the board. There are a few minor differences.

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