Intro: Cellphone Charger Wire Wrangler & Dock (RAZR)
Bob Loblaw doesn't like loose wires. Bob Loblaw dislikes loose wires so much that he will spend three hours fabricating a ridiculous looking contraption to keep them in check. Bob has a Motorola RAZR phone, just like half of the people in the country. And he's had it with the cord taking up valuable space and cluttering his work area. For this project Bob used stuff from his garage, and there are certainly better and easier ways to reduce the exposed wires, but this is Bob's story. Here's a quick rundown on how to follow Bob Loblaw's example.
Step 1: Get Some Ingredients...
While containing a cord can be as simple as using a zip tie, Bob's a bit too anal retentive for that, and plus it would be nice to have some semblance of a dock for his phone, although the side charging method of the RAZR makes this a bit difficult. Anyway, all of Bob Loblaw's projects involve JB Weld, and this is no exception. Bob especially likes the JB Quick type of JB Weld, since it dries much faster and Bob needs all the time he can get to work on his law blogs. First, Bob elected to JB Weld the mini usb charger plug to a 90 degree metal bracket. These are readily available at any hardware store for about a quarter. In hindsight, it would probably be better to do this near the end to make winding the cord easier.
Step 2: Cord Management
Next, Bob found a clear tube from an old shotgun cleaning kit that had snug fitting caps at either end. Bob coiled the absurdly long cord into the tube and stuck the caps on either end. Since the tube was the first thing Bob found, you could use anything from an old spool to more of an "H" patterned wire winding thing. Use your imagination. Just keep in mind that you'll want to have some way to attach it to the charger. With my friend JB Weld, that shouldn't be a problem.
Step 3: Put It Together
After coiling the wire, Bob Loblaw found an "L" shaped piece of thin metal that worked as a bracket for the coil. A "T" shape would probably work better for this application so it could fit under each cap, but my guess is most people don't have a shotgun cleaning kit tube lying around, so your project will likely be different anyway. Bob JB Welded the bracket to the back of the charger, and then tucked the other end into the coil cap. Next, Bob fashioned a 90 degree mount to extend from the side of the charger out the front to mate with the mini usb bracket. Had Bob thought ahead, this would not have been necessary had he not previously cut the original mini-usb bracket too short. JB weld the mini-usb on and then you will want to add some form of support for the bottom of the phone, because the mini-usb plug has about 10-15 degrees of play in it, so your RAZR will not sit STR8 unless you give the right side some support. Bob JB welded an aluminum tent stake to the right side of the charger and bent it until the phone sat straight. I hope Bob Loblaw has been explicit enough for you to get rid of you wires.
Step 4: If You Want It Even Cleaner...
Bob is never satisfied with his work. To that end, Bob decided to cut the cord and be done with the whole mess. Bob was initially afraid to cut the wire since Bob didn't know how many wires were in a USB cable. Bob found out there are only three, so let's go from there. Bob tore off the cable housing and removed the previous appendages from the charger. Bob then cut the cord and stripped the wires. Bob cut the wire from the charger and the USB plug a bit short, so leave yourself more room if your not a good stripper. Connect the wires according to color, and use shrink wrap or electrical tape to insulate the connections. Bob also used a larger piece of shrink wrap to cover the entire connection after joining the ends.
Step 5: Add a Mount and a Wire Loom
Since Bob made his connecting wire so short, he added a screw-in eyelet at the bottom of the charger to reduce stress on the wire as it bends up to meet the L bracket (more on that below). Bob found that the small threads of the eyelet screwed straight in beteween the joint of the two side of the charger and a pilot hole was therefore unnecessary. Bob bent the eyelet open enough for the wire to pass through using needle nose pliers and then closed it against the wire.
Next, get yourself a corner brace, about 1" on each side for the USB mount. Bob used a grinding wheel to flatten the side of the charger since the sides actually angle up slightly in the middle, and will make it difficult to mount a flat surface to it. Bob also roughed up the surfaces of the corner brace to make the JB Weld stick better. Before attaching to the charger base, Bob ground the top length to match the length of the USB plug. JB Weld or epoxy the brace in place near the base of the charger.
Step 6: Final Steps
Next, Bob elected to grind the top of the brace at an angle to account for the play that is inherent to the USB charger plug. TO get the angle right, Bob plugged the phone in and held the USB plug against the brace until the phone rested in a level position. Bob used a sharpie to mark the brace at the angle that made the phne sit straight. See photo below. Bob then used a bench grinder to grind away the shaded portions of the brace. The goal for Bob was for the USB plug to fully support the phone with no other supports cluttering the charger.
Bob then mixed up some JB Weld and stuck the USB plug onto the brace, and used the yellow zip ties to hold it in the correct angle whilst it dried.
Step 7: Done. Again.
Bob added a coil-over wire protector for giggles, and now has an even less cluttered workspace with his new charger. The yellow zip tie is cut off once the JB Weld dries. As shown in the pics, it still has a bit of a lean to the right, which Bob may have to fix by re-welding the USB plug at a steeper angle, but the phone stays put and charges fine. Bob also happens to read gizmodo, and will watch the comments on said site to ensure no besmirching of Bob Loblaw's name occurs. Bob knows of some hot cops that will quickly and judiciously suppress any such besmirchery.
Bob thinks gizmodo should recommend a better camera for Bob as well. The DSC-T5 has disappointed Bob.