MacGyver Style Phone Charger

About: Fixer, Finder, Fabricator.

To get you in the mood centre click on the MaGyver sound track mp3 (or if your on a laptop right click and open in new tab)

( I have found this works on most computers with a good internet connection )

MacGyver, is in trouble, Tied up and stuck in the the basement of a building with no way out, and a time bomb is going to go off in one hour. Of course he could defuse the bomb but there would be no explosion to run from at the end of the show.  He can call he friend Pet on his phone to come and let him out but of course there is  a problem, the phones battery is flat and he doesn't have a charger. No matter there is an old computer a photo copier and some tools.

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Step 1: Collecting Supply's

Pete Knows MacGyver in trouble because his answer machine is working and we all know what that means!

As Macgyver looks around the room he can see an
  • Old computer
  • Photo copier or large old printer
  • soldering Iron
  • multimeter
  • Tin snips
  • Knead it
  • USB cable
  • Super villain
  • Duct tape

Step 2: Untieing Himself and Harvesting the Parts He Will Need

MacGyvers first challenge is to resist been bored to death by the super villains monolog.
When he finally leaves Mac unties himself and gets to work striping the parts from the computer and photo copier.
What he needs is
  • USB plug
  • Bridge rectifier
  • Stepper motor
  • Wire
  • capacitor 1000mirco farad
The USB plugs are easy enough to identify he just cuts the circuit board with tin snips.
The bridge rectifier looks like four diodes side by side and has a + and - signs at each end of the circuit board and also a couple of ~ signs. This is located in the power supply and  again he cuts the circuit board with tin snips.
While hes at it he cuts some red, black and yellow wires.
Then he removes the largest stepper motor he can find from the photo copier, they look like a regular motor except they have four or more wires out  the back of them.

Step 3: Wiring It Togther

Now all MacGyver has to do is wire the contraption up, fit a handle, charge his phone and call Pete to open the door with enough time to run and dive as the bomb blows up!
Stepper motor produce a low AC voltage at Low RPMs so we need to convert that to DC. We do this with the bridge rectifier.
The bridge rectifier is not to hard to wire up, he just needs to connect the AC side to one of the set of coils inside the stepper motor. the circuit board has a little ~ on it just solder some wire to it and the other end to the motor.  To find the correct wires MacGyver just sets the multimeter to AC and spins the shaft of the motor.  We he finds two wires that put out a voltage he wires it up to the rectifier.
Now he solders a red wire to the circuit board bellow the little + and a black to the - signs.
Next he solders the capacitor across the positive and negative wire, as this will help smooth out the voltage. The capacitor has a - - - -
( negative sign ) down one side and must be soldered in the right way around.
That done the USB plug can be soldered on. The two center terminals are not used just the two at each end.
It is important that MacGyver gets these two around the right way around or his phone could be damaged.
MacGyver  also find another bridge rectifier  which is a different style its all inclosed in in plastic and has 4 leads. He wires this in to the other set of coils on the stepper motor so his charger will produce more power.

Step 4: Adding a Handle

MacGyver needs to find a handle, been resourceful he decides to make his own. He cuts the cover to the power supply into a strip  to form the arm and uses a piece of rod to act as a handle.
Next he finds a product called Knead it which is a fast drying putty cement like stuff. MacGyver just cuts off a piece and works it like chewing gum until it changes color, he uses this to bond the arm to the stepper motor and stick the handle on. It takes about 5minutes to cure, so it need to be clamped so that it sticks and then hes ready to charge his phone, make a call and get released from his prison MacGyver and Pete Dive into the bushes, just before the bomb blows up.
Pheew he just made it. Good thing those bomb proof bushes were there!
Now you can right center click on the last file and enjoy the end credits
If your not into making handmade electricity, stepper motors are quite good bicycler generators for lighting or other projects like wind or water turbines. they are also  great for making a  human powered torch.

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    18 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    BTW: how can I tell a stepper motor from a "non-stepper"?
    Can assume that steppers have 4 wires attached while "non-steppers" have only 2 ??

    1 reply

    They make a great lighting dynamo, use a roller skate wheel or something larger on the end of the shaft, as a stepper works best at low rpms


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great presentation and awesome Macgyver'ing.
    Would a 5v regulator be required for device safety in a less hostile scenario?

    2 replies

    thanks for the comment, I dont think a regulator is required, for a couple of reasons, first the stepper motors Ive played with the output voltage is not as linear as you would expect, as the rpm increases the voltage increases to a point, then it stops increasing. also the few devices that Ive played with have some sort of over voltage protection built in, if the voltage gets to high they turn off.
    Saying that, Im no expert, and I cant be 100% sure that you wont damage your equipment, but Ive plugged in lots of things, and they all still work.
    Ive found that Apple devices need and extra component to make them work, Its a resistor across the center pins, google it if you need more detail.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Ha! Very cool format, and the picture is hilarious.
    I think I remember the Prometheus Syndrome episode :O

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice to see a Macgyver theme in a Macgyver contest. You've got my vote, and I've got a new outgoing message for my voicemail.

    1 reply

    Thanks Justinbethea, its great to hear you enjoyed it and that the sound woks for you. I wanted to make a "Ible that's a bit different and give readers a giggle.
    I had a few issues with getting this instructable, up as
    I couldn't upload photos for few days , the sound stopped working, The site crashed and I lost a heap of text a couple of times the name changed to jury-rig it, and then when I finally published the instructable it tripped a filter so no one could see it.
    I nearly gave up
    So it is really good to hear it was worth the effort.

    Thanks rimar,I recommend a larger stepper that the one Macgyver has, it only just does the job.
    can you hear the sound tracks when you click on them?