Intro: Emergency-Charge Your Mac in Asia Without an AC Adapter
This Instructable will show you how I was able to hack a way to charge my MacBook Pro and iPhone without a travel charger while in Korea.
Step 1: Identify the Problem...
I'm in Korea right now, and I was planning to stay at a westernized hotel which I knew had US style AC power outlets. So I didn't bother bringing my international travel AC adapter. But at the last minute, I was offered the amazing opportunity to stay in an authentic historic Korean house called Irang through a service similar to AirBnB called Kozaza. I even met the founder of Kozaza, a very kind gentleman named SanKu Jo. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! SanKu was nice enough to drive me to the Irang House. After he briefed me on the features of the house, he left. But I soon noticed that all the AC outlets were the Asian 2-prong round type. And here I was without any adapters, and my MacBook Pro and iPhone were down to about 10% power. So what would I do? Simple...as a Maker, I got right to work.
Step 2: Scrounge Your Supplies...
I immediately started to search the house to see what supplies I had. This was a real-life MacGyver scenario! I needed a way to connect the round female AC connectors with the male prongs of my power supply cord. I found a coat hanger, a pair of stainless steel chopsticks which are common in Korea, an Asian extension cord, and I had a rubber band in my computer bag, and my Swiss Army Knife. I was all set.
Step 3: Lethal Voltage, Be Careful!!!
In many countries outside if the US, the AC power voltage is 220 volts, instead of the 110 volts that we have in the US. This means that you will get twice the shock if you touch the wrong wires! The way I dealt with this potentially lethal situation was that I made all my hacked connections (as you will see in a moment) on an unplugged extension cord, and after it was all set up, I plugged the extension cord into the wall. If you do not have an extension cord, consider turning off the circuit breaker to the AC outlet you will use. You really should not hack your connections on a live AC outlet!
Step 4: The Set-Up...
First, I tried making little prongs from the coat hanger wire. But it was difficult to keep them in contact with the female plug holes and the prongs on my Mac's power plug. What I ended up doing was to insert the stainless steel chopsticks into each of the female holes in the extension cord, put a piece if the insulated coat hanger through the holes in the prongs of my Mac's AC adapter, then I put the chopsticks to either side if the prongs and secured them with the rubber band.
Step 5: Success!
With this impromptu set-up, I was able to charge my MacBook Pro and my phone, and I was able to have enough power to create this Instructable. I hope this will "spark" ideas in other people on how to charge your equipment in a pinch.