How to Have Internet When There Is No Power.





Introduction: How to Have Internet When There Is No Power.

About: I like to modify things, make things, and modify the things i make. im no math whiz or someone with perfect grammar, but i am good at making things. at my school ive taken the welding, machining, mechanics ...

If you live in the area I do, power outages can be a bit common due to storms and such. Being the person I am, the internet would be so nice during that power outage,

So one outage I observed some stuff and noticed, I can have internet when there is no power.

Read on if you are intrigued.

Step 1: Observe!

Before we start, we need to know what we have and what we don't.
-Check your phone, is the line dead? If its not, you're good.
-Check to make sure your ethernet router takes the phone cord in.
-Make sure you have a laptop with a charged battery.

If you have a "2Wire" brand router, it should take in 5V.

Basics done, check some technical stuff!
Check your router, make sure it takes in 5V for power. If it is not written on the router you should be able to see it on the power supply for the router.
Check to make sure you have the right plug to fit the power jack on your router. Don't cut the original power cable, since you'll need it once the power is back on.

Now, on to the next step!

Step 2: Make Special Power Cords

If you've moved on to this step, I'm assuming you have a router that runs on 5V.
Now, you will need a plug that fits your router's power jack, and a USB cord.
Cut off the peripheral end of the USB cord so you are left with the part that plugs into your laptop.
Strip the wires on the jack and the USB cord, and connect the red wires and black wires, if the wires in the power jack cord are a different set of colors, match red to one of the wires and black to the other, then move on.

Step 3: Turn It On!

First, connect the ethernet cord if your laptop connects to the router in that fashion.
Next, plug the power cord you just made into the laptop and the router.
Turn on your laptop. Check the router for signs of power.
If it shows it has power, then great! You have internet for as long as your laptop battery lasts.
But if it doesn't, consider the following:
-Try swapping the red and black wires from the USB cord and test again.
 -If nothing gets it to work, your router might use too much current for the USB port to supply (shouldn't be a problem, my router pulls 2A but used the 500mA just fine.) or your router might run on a higher voltage than 5V. Double check the router and the router power supply for the voltages.

If you got your internet working, I hope you enjoyed my Instructable.

Just remember; I am in no way responsible for any damage inflicted to your equipment should you choose to follow these instructions.



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    22 Discussions

    Um: "Try swapping the red and black wires from the USB cord and test again.". That's just bad advice. How about showing actual pinouts so you can get it right the first time?

    2 replies

    USB is DC, your router uses AC. Even if you get the wires hooked up correctly, you're going to fry those capacitors. There's a reason why he wrote "I am in no way responsible for any damage inflicted to your equipment."

    Lol this modem like all the others uses DC input.

    AC->DC is made through the bloc on the plug.

    just a quick note. just because you can power your router/modem, doesn't mean that your ISP will power your Internet.

    for me Comcast Cable didn't, but frontier DSL did. ( however I have also heard the opposite, so it is regional/VOIP dependent. ) Hughes–net did, however it was usually during a storm which would knock out service anyway.

    we are now over with AT&T cellular, they do; although it is quite possible to hit a tower that Isn't ( it was quite nice during hurricane Sandy, which was during our transition from that other HN company).

    I have a question.

    Is there a way to not only have a U.P.S.(uninterruptible power source/supply), but also have a fully charged battery for your lappy?

    I guess what I'm asking is there a cord, or something, so you can play on the internet(when the power is on) & be charging 2 batteries at the same time?

    My thinking is that with this set up, you would have 3 power sources when the power gets knocked out due to a storm, or someone's stupidity(drinking & driving, falling asleep at the wheel, etc)...

    2 replies

    I'm sure a UPS would work fine for something like that, and then if your laptop was plugged in before the power went out, you wouldnt even have to power the router off of it since the router can be powered by the UPS.

    Sweet Jesus!

    now why didn't I think of that?

    That is such a cool idea!!

    TY for sharing! :)

    A more accurate title "how to power your modem via a usb port (in the event of a power outage)". Anyway great idea, in light (or lack thereof!) of the power outages due to Irene and the recent snow storm in CT this would have been really useful to have. I guess I didn't realize that the only thing keeping us from internet was power to the modem! Thanks!

    it would depend on how power hungry the router is.
    the "greener" the router the longer it would last.
    that would be something to test though.

    you arent leeching power from the phone line, you are powering it from the usb port.
    and im pretty sure its against most laws to leech the power from phone lines too.

    sorry, I misread the instructions. I thought you were trying to use the phone line. I now see what you mean (although it wouldn't help me in the slightest, my laptop battery lasts about ten minutes even without powering a modem). I know my grandmother used to have a large external battery connected to her modem for when the power went out (mainly because she used AT&T and the phones were connected via the internet). this is basically that on a much smaller and cleverer scale.

    If you have 4 or more USB ports, you can distribute the load across those ports, as well as draw higher voltage for modems that use 12v.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but you connect the ports in parallel you increase the amps, whilst in series the voltage is increased.

    4 replies

    Do not connect the two USB ports in series, you will just short them out. They are not independent 5v batteries that can be connected in series!

    Parallel is dubious, but may work ...

    If you really need more than 5v you will need a DC-DC converter, or an external battery. Not multiple USB ports, sadly.


    usb ports all have the same ground and 5v planes, connecting the 5v of one port to the GND of the next will just short out the power supply, and shut off your laptop.

    it was a good idea, but unfortunately it cant work that way.

    Thanks for bringing that up, because I am curious how a USB Y cable prevents this from happening?

    One connector is dedicated 5v/GND whilst the other is 5v/GND/Data.

    on all computers the GND lines on the ports are tied together, but on many the +5 v ports are individual regulated. it depends on the computer. the USB y cables are used to provide more than 500ma by tying the +5v's together. thus if a computer doesn't regulate the ports no damage will occur.

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing this useful info.

    Anyway, my laptop's battery is down, and I have a 2.2 KW motorized electric generator.