Make a USB Phone Charger for Almost Any Cell Phone!




My charger burned up, so I thought,"Why not build your own?"

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Step 1: Get the Parts:

1. Altoids tin.
2. Old wall/car charger that fits your cell phone.
3. Male USB.
4. 220 ohm resistor (red-red-brown).
5. LED (color is up to you).
6. Power Switch.
7. USB extension cable (just in case you can't fit the USB plug directly into your computer).


Step 2: Connect the Dots...

Now I'm sure most of you know what the leads on USB ports look like, and how all you will need are the 1st and 4th leads (Red, that's your positive 5V, Black is the ground). Just cut of the white and green wires if you have them, if all you have is the metal male USB part, then you just solder wires to the first and last leads. Now connect the positive wire (negative will also work) to your power switch. Then from the other wire on the other end of the switch, connect one end of the 220 resistor (a higher resistance would also work, it just depends on high bright you want your power light to be). And from that connection between the wire comming from the switch an end of the resistor, also run a wire directly to the positive (red) wire comming from the cut-off end of the charger (you just need the side with the adapter that plugs into your phone, it should only have 2 wires, (+) & (-) ).

Step 3: Jam the Crap in There.

After soldering the wires together, and wraping em with electical tape (better yet, heat shrink),cut a square hole in the front of the altoids tin that the USB plug come out of.... Once you get the right size (I just used my pocket knife to cut through the tin), wedge the USB in through it, and glue it in, I just used hot glue, but super glue or silicon would work better.

Cut, or drill the hole in the lid for the LED. Once you wedge that in, glue it in also.

Same deal for the power switch, and cord exiting going to your phone. Dont be bashful with the glue/filler, cause the most secure everything is, the longer it'll last.

Step 4: Ta Da!

You should be done! Plug your altoids tin into your computer (if it doesn't fit, simple run a USB extender cable (1 male end w/ a female on the other) from the tin to your comp. The LED should light up, if not, flip the power switch. If the LED still doesn't turn on, then you did something wrong. If it lights up when you turn on the switch, plug it into your phone. If your phone doesn't reply like it should, quickly disconnect it and back track. Thank you for checking out my instructable, and realize that I am not responsible for any damaged items, though highly unlikely, there is always the chance of error when dealing with electronics. Thank You!

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    20 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Wait so one of the parts you need for this "phone charger" is a "phone charger that fits your phone"?

    How was this ever useful?

    Also, it looks like it doesn't do much other than add a switch and LED to what would otherwise be done with just a plain USB cable.


    3 years ago

    trying to do this using a dead Nokia 1100 charger wire however the colors of the two wires are red and blue i don't know which one goes where (i got it on the usb side though i used to hook up original xbox controllers to pc Red and Black to Red and Black and then electric tape them... like a well trained chimpanzee)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    What is fake? (BTW This instructable is 9 years old...) That was before the iPhone, and that made me like 13 when I made this article... Chill.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    They should really put dates on these things.

    I made this Instructable 8 years ago, when I was in 9th grade.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I suggest you use a 5v voltage regulator, as your voltage source might not be relaiable.

    I need help with a project for school. I have a blueprint but am not familiar with the material needed. I have the blueprint and am willing to upload it to your email. I also am willing to pay a fee for help.

    Not with an iPhone 3Gs or 4. On those phones, the USB data pins need to have a voltage on them. D- should be 2.0V and D+ 2.9V to make the phone charge in high speed. If your wall wart is less than 800mA, you may want to have the phone charge in low-speed mode, with both pins at 2.0V. Ladyada, maker of the mintyboost, goes over this nicely. As well, this dude:


    8 years ago on Introduction

    if u can make two terminals positive (+) and negative (-) which can be easily attach to your cell phone`s battery so u can recharge any kind of cell phone battery but be sure your cell phone battery gives output of not more then 4 volts because to recharge the battery u must need more volts then it deserves 5volts are enough to recharge a normal cell battery (now a days cell phone`s are using about 3.6 to 3.7 volts)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    No. The resistor is just for the power LED. You can completely leave out the resistor, and LED; and hell, for that matter, you wouldn't even need the power switch! Just make sure that YOUR phone charges of 5v! If your phone charges off a 12v charger, then you would need a step up regulator. (less than 5, a step down regulator.). So yes, if you have the power cord, all you would do, is simply connect the red to pin 1, and the black to pin 4! BUT PLEEZ, CHECK A WALL WORT TO SEE WHAT IT USUALLY RUNS ON!

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Can you just connect the male USB to your phone charger cable? Or do you need the resister and stuff.

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Correctomundo! I was thinking though about maybe putting in a filter capictor anyway, But I do think that I'll try just making it portable, with batteries inside it next time. This was a 'sample' version, as with any project, they just get better with experience!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    "almost any cell phone" today have mini USB and can be charged directly from usb. Altoids, especially this one looks too big, I doubt that you will find place in you PC where you can plug it in. And if it is capacitor in the center then Led connected wrong, in best case it will light for few seconds what the point of switch ?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    it's not a capacitor. it is to show that the wires that cross each other aren't connected. the LED is running in parallel and the switch is there so that the operator can control how long their phone is charging for.