Introduction: USB Iphone Ipod Dynamo Charger

Picture of USB Iphone Ipod Dynamo Charger

No outlet in sight? Do not worry pull out your very own USB Dynamo (wind up) Charger! Going Green could not have been so easy! This is a step by step guide on how to Build, Test, and Perfect your Green USB Dynamo! Please don't forget to Rate and Vote on the Pocket-size Contest.

Step 1: Planning:

Picture of Planning:

Looking around online there is no small Dynano USB Charger on the market. The smallest one available is made in Australia and measures 112(W) x 47(W) x 23(D)mm and can fit in a big pocket. My quest is to build a truly pocket size Low cost USB Windup Charger. Where to begin?

Step 2: The Options:

Picture of The Options:

Options are good. Looking online there are many ways to build a dynamo charger. Some good and some bad. (very very bad) Here are some of the best options:

1) Dynamo charger plus an Any volt micro step up step down voltage regulator (picture below). On Ebay there are many windup chargers for prices as low as $2.50 shipped.
Advantage:Low cost and easy to buy. Micro Any volt is a great little circuit that can take 2.6-14 volts and step up/down to 2.6-14 volt output.
Disadvantage:Some are poorly made and have bad electronics.

2)Dynamo Charger plus 7805 voltage regulator.
Advantage: Cheap and easy to build.
Disadvantage: Excess electricity is made into heat and has to be dissipated with heat sink. (hot hands?) Have to build a 7805 regulating circuit. (Google 7805 voltage regulator for more information)

3)Dynamo Charger plus USB Car Charger
Advantage: Very easy to build, All parts can be bought locally. Two wire connection
Disadvantage: Cases have to be modified to accept each other

Option one is the best in my option, But due to back orders I was not able to build this model. In this instructable I will guild you to building the easiest of the options, Number 3 and hopefully post the others in a later edition.

For more information about the any volt Micro please visit:

Step 3: The Right Stuff:

Picture of The Right Stuff:

The muscle:
Searching on ebay I can across a dynamo charger made for black berry cellphone. The Dynamo chargers cost 5 dollars shipping included (Ebay's seller info

The brains:
On a local trip to TJ max I ran across a Griffin USB charger and bought it for this project. This item has great body lines and is very small, that is what sold me on this item . The Griffin Charger can also take a range of power input, so cranking does not have to be at a constant rate. You can use a 7805 Voltage regulator to do the same, but why reinvent the wheel if somebody has already built it for you?

Step 4: The Doctor Says "Open Up"

Picture of The Doctor Says "Open Up"

To open the USB charger, use a small Phillips head screw driver and unscrew all 4 screws. Two flat head screw drivers can the be used to carefully pop open the case. Now look closely, there are two small connection point about 1/3 down the circuit board (from the 12V plug side). Griffin Might have put these two hole on the board for another project, But in our case they work great as a connection point for the generator. Get a knife and cut right shy of this point. After cutting the board. Measure and cut the black case as well. do not screw the case back together yet.

Step 5: Cutting the Dynamo Case

Picture of Cutting the Dynamo Case

Now to accept the USB Car charger cut the Dynamo Charger case. Where the electronics used to fit is now going to be removed for the USB car charger. Look at the picture below for a better understanding. I used an old soldering iron to cut the case. If you do not have an old soldering iron, use a sharp knife and/or a dremel.

Step 6: Soldering the Wire and Fusing the Cases

Picture of Soldering the Wire and Fusing the Cases

Now with the cases cut down to shape, solder wires from the motor to the USB Car Charger and test if the unit works. Screw the Black case together. If working, Use you Soldering iron to fuse the cases together. This step is very important and will made your USB wind up charger strong and professional.

Hint: Use the extra cut plastic as binder to strengthen the bonds between the two cases.

Step 7: Sanding & Painting:

Picture of Sanding & Painting:

After welding the cases together, sand them down to make a seamless professional product. Cover USB plug and light. Paint the charger your favorite color. I choose a light green to give my product a more earth tone.

Step 8: Size Matters:

Picture of Size Matters:

Here is a couple of pictures of the Dynamo Charger Compared to Orbits Gum.

Step 9: The Final Product & Future Plans:

Picture of The Final Product & Future Plans:

Over all I would give this project fro a scale 1 to 5 (1 easy-5 hard) a 2. Over all this is the easiest Dynamo project that I have done. Build this project in a week end and save the world! Maybe not the world, but when you are in a pinch and need some power this product will come to your aid.

-About 2 minutes of winding increases the power level on my iphone about 1%.

-If you iphone is dead, about 5 minutes of cranking will bring it back to life

Future plans:

Building a wind-up&solar; charger to put in the window at work/home to charge my iphone off the grid. How novel! Having the phone that makes you the most connected but charges with no wire attached.
Please contact me if you have any question comment or fun Ideas!


jeremy.clark.35574 (author)2016-01-27

This gives me an idea, rather than have a crank producing energy by hand, why not the voltage input to a bike light generator? Seem's like you could easily make a bike charge your phone with the same concept.

kosbon (author)2009-11-23

Tried to make it both with Griffin usb charger, which supports IPhone 3gs and the cheap usb charger, which supports only IPod.

Both worked fine for IPod, but give an error with Iphone 3gs (charging device is not supported by Iphone). 

Not sure what I've done wrong and how to make it work with an Iphone too.

Please somebody help!!!

turbiny (author)kosbon2015-03-20

D+ needs 2.0v
D- 2.75v
for iphone charging thats what i was told but have no idea how to implement it

Triworm (author)2010-07-12

i had an idea for a car. put a solar panel on the top of the car and and a USB port in it for charging phones

drulex (author)Triworm2010-12-14

several hundreds of dollars worth of 15% efficient panels to provide a couple of watts to charge a phone, when the car battery does the same job... for free

turbiny (author)drulex2015-03-20

its not totally free cos it will use more gas, the more current u draw from the car the more gas it uses it has to keep at the designated rpm.
it would be better to use the solar panel to charge the car battery in winter so it wont go dead, just my 2 ¢

jsamson (author)Triworm2011-05-30

Great idea dude

H1T4TCH1 (author)Triworm2010-08-20


up4info (author)2014-09-23

Just starting out I originally wanted to make a charger for work when I'm in a bind out on the water (marine construction ) 5 min into researching in realized I need to learn more about electronics started researching ohms law ext if there's any info anyone can give to help it's appritiated

tridrles (author)2013-07-06

So, have you posted an instructable for option #1? Using the dynamo hand crank with the Any Voltage Micro? I'm interested!

kondzio29 (author)2013-06-25

Holy crap! awesome finsh! I didn't expected that neat design at the end!
Teach me master! you should do an instructable about finishing that

Vindos55 (author)2013-05-22

It's a nicely narrated and illustrated project! For an emergency boost, it is certainly practical. Most of us won't find 100 minutes to fully charge a phone. During hurricane season here in Florida, that would be very desirable. Could a capacitor and some mechanical tweaks like gearing, larger diameter dynamo/crank arm, more powerful magnets etc. be added to enhance efficiency to just a few minutes?

olesgreb (author)2013-05-10

I like this Idea a lot .... Ever think about puting this in production mode if so I'd like to buy....please contact me if so.

Caralchemist (author)2012-11-27

At: TheRealDutchOwner: That is a great idea... Especially for those who ride a lot! Buuuuuuuut what kind of bicycle do you have that has a steering wheel? ;-)

nmoraga (author)2012-11-25


lookwhatjoeysmaking (author)2012-10-27


i had this idea but i never knew how to do it and now someone has done it. congrats it looks very good.

neiled_it (author)2012-08-19

How could you use use it to charge some batteries that charge the iphone? Kinda like the minty boost but without the solar panel?

egriff (author)2012-04-27

I plan on making one of these for my Nook so I can still access all my pdf text books on engineering, chemistry, biology etc during the zombie apocalypse. Also I'll get a solar charger too, but its not sunny all the time and I never know when I'll have to hide out underground. ;)

TheRealDutchOwner (author)2012-04-06

If you bike alot, you could do this with a bike dynamo. You still need a holder for your phone on your steering wheel, but especially if you forgot charge your phone at home you still can charge it a little on the road.

pswiger- church (author)2012-03-12

great idea but wont that be tiring but still what people do for technology

cc67 (author)pswiger- church2012-03-27

you could use that if there are power failures

mrmerino (author)2011-11-21

Could you make a windmill for this, like a wind-powered iPhone?

mrmerino (author)2011-11-21

Nice gams bro.

pikky_team (author)2011-11-18

Thank you for your idea. If the stepping motor was replaced ,are there more some current ?

aduffield (author)2011-11-17

would this work with any mobile? or just the iphone. i want to know because i just finished building a steam engine and im thinking of using the idea for a phone charger

Timofte Andrei (author)2010-09-12

this is cool man! nice job :D

rpvanpatt (author)2010-02-06

 Hey I was wondering if you have a picture of the wiring set up?  Think it'd help some if so

snowluck2345 (author)2010-01-24

 could model/hobby cement be used instead of melting it with a soldering iron?

inventordude14 (author)2010-01-23

  Awesome! this works great for my ipod 3G!

p0g068 (author)2009-12-15

 there ought to be a law about having toes pictured on an instructable!  shhhh!  very reprehensible! or at least paint them first ! ....... L O L.  great instructable dude ! thank you. 

mattdias (author)2009-12-02

is there a way to do this for an ac outlet? (regular wall plug thing)

ivaneduardo747 (author)mattdias2009-12-04

Would be very difficult to start, better get a small inverter.

dan and kon (author)2009-11-13

 ya i would gladly pay you to make me one of these

phoenixjen (author)2009-07-30

Could you just make one of these for me? :)

Justin Lam (author)2009-07-29

hey kudos to this project! how would you wire up this in addition to a solar cell?

Rose123 (author)2009-07-24

Great idea! Mr. Fuller, you are a genius! :)

Javin007 (author)2009-07-23

I have to admit, despite being pitted against you in the contest, I voted for this. As a camper, a pocket-sized dynamo phone charger is probably about the most sensible, and brilliant concept I've seen on here. This should totally take 1st.

Javin007 (author)Javin0072009-07-23

*heh heh* I just read your test results. Wonder how fast you'd have to wind the thing to keep a phone alive during a phone call.

Javin007 (author)Javin0072009-07-23

To clarify my last post, I wasn't trying to "trash" this entry at all. Was just simple musing. This would (very literally) be a life-saver for people who manage to get lost, but still have their cell phones. 911 can use the GPS built into cell phones (required as of Oct of 04, I believe) to find people lost in the woods or mountains. This draws very little current, and just keeping your phone "alive" by winding this every few minutes could very literally save your life.

brokengun (author)2009-07-21

Nice! I've been wanting to build pretty much exactly this for a while now. I like how you just used the USB plug because it's so general and works with everything. Pretty sweet stuff, you should get some more numbers on exactly the power output your getting.

2robotguy (author)brokengun2009-07-22

This is one of my first prototypes. I plan on doing testing when I'm back at College mid Aug. Should have some good data to post as well a Diy circuit to build. I hope I can just modify the circuit that comes inside the Dynamo to begin with and make some with direct Iphone/Ipod plug. Then the next round both USB and Iphone plug. If you have any ideas please post. (Also I', working on at School Savonius turbine Research that I will post in the near future. Do you know anything about wind turbine to battery chargers? (need help))

brokengun (author)2robotguy2009-07-22

I was thinking about making a generator from scratch then hooking it up to a gearbox from one of these dynamos to see if I could mess with it and get some more power out of it. I am not sure how exact those hand crank generators are, but I have a suspicion that they are just a motor running backwards and could be improved. Then again, I could be completely wrong. I would love to see work on your savonius turbine. I know a little bit, depends one what you want to know. If you've got questions feel free to message me or I can send you my e-mail address if you like.

captainplaneteer (author)2009-07-21

I really like the 'going green' idea, and it fits in your pocket! great idea!

slashandburn (author)2009-07-21

Nice, make it play music & flash lights and I could make my kid could charge my iPhone.

ikestarm17 (author)2009-07-20

wow, that's so weird that I just published an instructable just like this yesterday. What a coincidence. Nice job, good luck! (yours is a lot better than mine)

2robotguy (author)ikestarm172009-07-20

My first Wind up charger was very close to yours. It takes time to refine and improve them. This one is 3rd generation and I still have a lot room for improvement. Keep up the good work! Email me if you have any questions.

Briguy9 (author)2009-07-20

If I could get both these components and do this myself, I would. It wins my vote!

2robotguy (author)Briguy92009-07-20

The parts are very easy to get and this is a great,Starter project if you are interested in dynamo Chargers. If you make one, please email me your pictures and I'll post them. (Or add a link to your instructable) Any question feel free to email. Thanks for the vote!

sungodfree (author)2009-07-20

neat little project! how big is it?

imakethings (author)2009-07-20

Add a capacitor in series with the 7805 so even if u stop cranking for a while it would still provide some disposable power!

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