Hack Your Spinbrush for More (battery Free) Power




This ible (instructable) will not show you how to hack something into a useless item that's only nice to look at, it won't show you how to make an overcomplicated gadget, it will not take you months to accomplish, and this ible will not cost you your firstborn to make.  If you are looking for any of these things in an ible you may be disappointed with this how-to.  In this quick and easy (and very low cost) Ible I'll show you how I hacked my Crest Spinbrush into a money saving power tool.  This will not only save you money, but you are likely to use and benefit from it every day (hopefully at least twice a day)!

The Crest Spinbrush as it comes out of the package is easy to use, cleans your teeth quicker than traditional toothbrushes, is effective, very cheap (I've seen them for as little as $5), and only operates on 2 AA batteries.  This is all very nice for about two weeks when you realize you will need to replace the batteries soon.  After about a year of constantly changing batteries I decided to do a little tweaking and this "hack-brush" is the result.  With the hacked spinbrush you will be able to clean your teeth even quicker than the original spinbrush, it will be more effective, and you will never need batteries again, saving you more money!

Step 1: Parts

Step 2: Precautions and Power

The instructions that follow are very technical, please have a physics book, several electronics reference guides, and a computer programming manual nearby to assist with the process. Just kidding, this will be the easiest project you've ever done. All joking aside now be advised, the misuse or mishandling of the tools (dremel, hot glue gun, wire strippers) can be dangerous; however unlikely, don't kill yourself hacking your toothbrush. Ok, let's begin!

First we will prepare the power source

For this we will be using a used cell phone charger. If you don't have one ask around. I don't know anyone that doesn't have an unused charger in their junk drawer. If that doesn't work you can always find chargers at your local electronics store. Notice that most cell phone chargers (I haven't seen differently) have an output of 5 volts. The AA batteries supplied the Spinbrush with 3 volts (1.5 volts * 2) so we will have a gain of 2 volts. More power for you!

Cut off the end that attaches to the cell phone, I used wire strippers for this. Strip the sheath exposing the two wires inside to about 1/2 an inch. Now strip the two wires exposing the copper wires. Set this aside and move on to the battery cap.

Step 3: Dremel Time

Drilling through the Cap

Now that the wire is ready we need a way to get it into the battery compartment. Take the battery compartment cap and look inside. You'll see the wire coil that connects to the batteries. Remove this with some needle nose pliers or any other way you can. Mine just came off when drilling through the cap so no worries if you don't remove it first. On the bottom of battery cap is a small notch, at least there was on mine. Take your dremel with an appropriately sizeddrill bit and (using the notch as your mark) drill through the cap.

Feel free to take a break here, grab a beverage, maybe a snack, and pick up when you're done. Next we'll attach the wires to the toothbrush.

Step 4: Wire It Up

Attaching the Wires

Take the cap that you just drilled. Make sure the wire coil is gone from the inside. Now slide the wires through the cap, outside to inside. Give yourself some slack for this next part. Solder one wire to one of the metal pads on the inside of the Spinbrush where the batteries used to be housed. Then solder the second wire to the remaining pad.

Detailed Description:

Plug in your soldering iron and allow it to get hot, I was able to do this easily with a 15 W iron from radio shack. Apply a small amount of solder to the tip of the iron. Apply solder to one of the pads by holding the tip of the iron to the pad. As the pad heats up hold the tip of a strand of solder to the pad until it melts into place. Remove the iron and the solder, if it didn't work try again. You may need to brace the spinbrush in place to prevent any unwanted movement. Repeat to second pad.

To apply the wire to the pad hold the copper tip of one wire to one of the pads (actually to the solder on the pad) and at the same time apply the tip of the iron to the solder. This will heat the solder joining the copper wire to the metal pad. Repeat this process with the second wire and second pad.

Step 5: Waterproof It

To prevent any leaks I used a hot glue gun to waterproof the hole where the wire is inserted into the cap. I glued around the wire on the inside and the outside. Once this has dried I also applied glue around the cap where it snaps into place with the body of the toothbrush. For added safety always use your tweaked Spinbrush on a GFCI outlet.

Edit (16 Nov. 2011):

I understand it sounds scary to use this in your mouth when it is plugged into a wall. It's completely safe, just make sure it's plugged into a GFCI outlet. For further reference check out this article on GFCI outlets.

That's it! I hope you enjoy your new toothbrush in all it's spinning glory! Don't forget to VOTE for this ible in the Hack it Challenge!!!

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    24 Discussions


    11 months ago

    One thing I did not see in here was any consideration of polarity. If a 5 volt phone charger puts out DC as the batteries do, and I insert them backwards, nothing works. If I reinstall them correctly, everything works.


    11 months ago

    Under the heading, "Attaching the wires:"

    Always a good idea to flow some solder on the wires ("tin" the wires) as well as flowing some solder on the pads. This better ensures a good solder joint.

    Solder wick is a good thing to use to draw off excess solder: Heat the soldered surface and the braided-wire solder wick; the wick will be tinned; remove the heat and the wick.

    I would rather use the voltage put out by two Al Kaline batteries (I mean "Alkaline" -- Kaline was a baseball player back in the 1960s!). It appears that some people have made manual toothbrushes out of their once-electric ones following this how-to.

    Electronic devices run on smoke: Let the smoke out and it won't run no more! :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm in Australia, and do not have a GFCI outlet, and actually the power here is stronger than in the US...what can I do.. I really want to do this.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 months ago

    The human body uses electric impulses via the nerves to send messages to the brain from my sense of feel, ranging from pleasant to painful, and sends motor skills messages from the brain to the muscles to allow me to walk, sit, stand and everything else my body needs to do to pump blood and breathe. Electric shock from the wall can enter a wet hand and exit through wet feet on the floor, passing through the heart. That is dangerous to fatal, and the reason for Ground-Fault-Interrupt circuits around sinks.

    When repairing TVs with 20,000 volts on the picture tube from days of old, the tech stood on a rubber mat and kept one hand in the pocket at all times.

    Any phone charger should work fine, just check the back to make sure it supplies 5V output voltage. The GFCI outlet will trip a breaker in the outlet if it should short via water or if it has some other power surge effect on it. It's a pretty great safety feature. I don't know about Australia, but in the US these outlets are required near all water sources (bathrooms and kitchens etc...). If you do a search online you can find them in Australia/New Zealand flavors.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I'm sorry but I cannot be positive here, this would be hypocrit.

    Most of the spinbrushes work with a single cell battery of 1.2V and a max. of 1.5V is acceptable for the motor. If you want to use a charger, which for me has no interest and is dangereous, take care that it doesn't deliver more than 1.5V. So, you won't have more power unless you choose to destroy your motor !

    1 reply

    NOTE :- Do Not use a 5 Volt cell phone charger , The Motor of Spinbrush is very senstive and can handle volatge upto Max 3 volts DC ( Three Volts DC only ) , otherwise it will certainly damage the Spinbrush Motor , as in my case.

    NOTE :- Do Not use a 5 Volt cell phone charger , The Motor of Spinbrush is very senstive and can handle volatge upto Max 3 volts DC ( Three Volts DC only ) , otherwise it will certainly damage the Spinbrush Motor , as in my case.

    Nice one ,but using it in an electric storm wouldn't be wise imo. wire up a few surge protectors into that thing haha. Kinda reminds me of the time I was stripping wire with my teeth and I put a live wire into my mouth and to my great suprise I wasn't killed, or maimed or even zapped. Idk guess i was lucky haha.

    2 replies

    Yeah, I've had a few nasty pokes myself in my electrical classes. Nothing like 120 V surging through your bicep. When I was a kid we used to lick the top of 9 Volt Batteries for fun. Ha Ha, good times!

    120Volt? you whimps. I got zapped once in my life only by our 230 Volt. Immediate jerking of my biceps fortunately pulled my hand away :-)

    Yeah the 9Volt thing. Done that :-) It is a zappy feeling on yr tongue but still.... kids do that.

    I don't think this device would be dangerous in any way. At least not more dangerous than holding yr cellphone while it is being charged


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Might be a good idea to tie a simple knot in the wire after you pass it through the hole in the bottom for strain relief. That way you are less likely to pull your solder connections loose if the cord gets snagged or you drop the brush but catch the cord.

    Great concept and execution. I may try this when my sonicare dies...

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love that this is an every day use. Not like a lot of the other projects that have been submitted for the contest. I like that this is something I can continue to use!

    You'll be fine. By using a GFCI outlet you will trip the circuit before any electrocution is done. It's actually really safe. Check this article out:


    As stated in the article I could be standing in the rain using a plugged in drill and if it is plugged into a GFCI outlet the circuit will trip before any harm is done to me.

    Thanks for your comments though, I made an edit in my ible to address this as I know many will have the same concerns.

    How so, when did 5 volts ever hurt anyone... go lick a usb hub bet u felt nothing... however don't (DO NOT) use this in a lightning storm. Then it is dangerous.