Have you ever been in a situation where you really needed your phone to make a call or order a ride but it had just died (no rhyme intended) . I know I've been in the situation and it only gets worse with the older a phone gets, as a phone gets older its battery life significantly decreases. Now there are lots of solutions to this like carrying around a power-bank, but these come with their own problems for a start they are big and clunky, aren't always charged and if you don't have your phones USB cable they are unusable so to counter this problem I'm going to show you how to make an emergency phone charger that can clip onto your key ring and use to charge your phone using a very common disposable battery.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
This is a really cheap and easy build so the parts we are going to need are minimal, we will need:
- buck converter (Get it here)
- 9-volt battery clip (Get it here)
- Dead 9-volt battery (you can use a new one but it would just be a waste of a 9-volt)
- New 9-volt battery
- Protoplastic (Get it here)
- Micro-USB cable (Get it here)
The tools we will need for this project are:
- soldering iron
- glue gun
- hot water
- hot air gun (a hair blower will work just as well)
Step 2: Buck Converter and Protoplastic?
Let's start with the Buck converter, this is a really cool little circuit that lets us take a larger voltage and slim it down to a smaller voltage of our choice. So, for example, we are going to slim down the 9 volts from our disposable battery down to 5 volts that we can use for our phone. You may be thinking "but that's what a resistor does?" and you are right but the buck converter does it in a completely different way. A resistor lowers the voltage by converting the unwanted power into heat, this is why resistors get hot. A buck converter uses an inductor which results in the buck converter not wasting energy meaning its way more efficient.
Protoplastic is this really cool plastic that comes in small pellets, when these small pellets are heated up they melt together and become moldable but when they dry they become rock hard making it great for making project housings.
Step 3: The Old 9 Volt
The base of the project is going to be the top connector of an old 9-volt battery, to get this out we are going to need to disassemble the old 9-volt battery. We do this by finding the seam of the metal casing around the battery then we slowly peel back the metal casing and pull the whole battery assembly out. inside you should see six 1.5 volt cells that add up to 9 volts and of course our connector, cut the two connections going to the connector and put it aside for later.
Step 4: The Micro USB Connector
To make this as compact as possible we are going to need to make the micro USB cable as short as possible. We start by cutting the cable about 4 cm from the micro connector side, next we crack open the micro USB casing, inside there should be a red and black cable and possibly a green and white wire, cut the green and white wire completely off and set aside the micro USB for later.
Step 5: Setting Up the Circuit
To set this circuit up we start by connecting our other 9 volt connector (not the one we got from the old 9 volt) to the buck converter, we do this by connecting the red wire from the 9 volt connector to the positive input on the buck converter (labeled in +) and the black wire goes to the negative input on the buck converter (labeled in -). Now we connect our positive probe from our multimeter the positive output of the buck converter (labeled Out +) and the negative probe connects to the negative output of the buck converter (labeled Out -). Now we plug a 9 volt supply (I'm using a power supply but using a 9-volt battery will work just as well) into the battery clip and turn the multimeter to voltage mode, now we turn the tiny potentiometer with a screwdriver until the multimeter shows a reading of 5 volts
Step 6: The Circuit
In the last step we soldered our battery connector to input terminals of our buck converter now to finish the circuit we need to solder the micro USB connector to the output terminals of the buck converter we do this by soldering the red wire from the micro USB to the positive output of the buck converter and then the black wire is connected to the negative output of the buck converter. Now we take the circuit and glue the buck converter to the back of that 9-volt connector we salvaged earlier, then the micro USB is glued on top of the buck converter (make sure the 9-volt connector can connect to that other 9-volt connector we glued the buck converter to, check the photos for a better idea of what's going on). Plug an old device in that you don't care about too much (just in case we did something wrong) and give it a test, once everything is verified working we can add a blob of hot glue on top of everything to keep it in place.
Step 7: The Final Casing
So now that our circuit is made we need to make a strong casing to make sure it doesn't take damage while being on a keychain, to do this we use or protoplastic, start by warming up some water and pouring a small amount in, once its warmed up mould it around the buck converter into kind of a half egg shape and let it harden. Once its hardened blow it with a heat gun set on low or a hair dryer set on high all this does is smoothen out the surface and makes it feel better when touched, and that's basically it, we should have a working emergency phone charger that fits on our keyring. Now I wouldn't recommend using this device that often because 9-volt batteries aren't that cheap but it's great for emergencies. I put a backup 9-volt in my backpack just in case as it's small and light. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment and ill try my best to get back to you.