Simple USB Altoids AA Charger!

Today I am going to show you guys how to build a 4x AA charger that works very well on any USB device. I have noticed that it can charge as fast as a wall charger, maybe even faster!
This tutorial is perfect to do if you are a beginner and want to learn how to solder!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Parts

Here is what you will need, I have included the radio shack part numbers for some parts.

- 4 x AA Battery Holder #: 270-391 ($1)

- 1.2V/2000mAh AA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries #: 23-525 ($20)
You need 4 of these, the part number is for only a 2 pack, you can find them cheaper like $4 for two sometimes.

- AA battery charger ( there are many kinds at radioshack and elsewhere)

- Soldering iron #: 64-2051 ($8)

-USB extension cable ($1)

That's all, lets get started!

Step 2: Putting the Holder In.

This part is a little tough to do, the AA battery holder barely fits and it makes the tin stretch out a little. Look at the picture for help.

Put the bottom side in first and then pop in the top

Step 3: Soldering the Wires.

First you need to cut the extension cable about where I did and remove the shielding then cut back the wires that aren't black and red.
Now you need to solder the red from the holder to the red on the usb extension cable. Then the black wire to the black on the Extension cable.
Here is a helpful diagram ( I am not good at making these)

Step 4: Your Done!

After you charged your batteries up put them in and you made your own AA charger that outputs around 5 volts!

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    31 Discussions


    5 years ago

    Using male and female is so sexist... Just kidding! Great ible really simple others aren't so simple. Have you tested it though?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    how can i get this to work with my itouch? i see a comment talking about connecting something in the female usb port, but can anybody give more detailed info please?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You need to put a 100 ohm resistor between the middle two pins on the USB port, They are the data pins, it makes the device believe it is plugged into a wall charger.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    instead of getting the a male to a female or whatever if you get the a male to a male( you can use the other end to build another one.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    It would have to be a female to female. not a male to male. The part that you put inside the altoid tin needs to be the receiving end of the usb cable.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Is this safe for expensive cell phone equipment? I looks really cool and easy. Almost too cool and easy to be safe ;-)

    10 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    I have built a usb charger based on these instructions. I have tried it with both 4 AA and 4 AAAA batteries, but the outcome has been the same. When I connect it to my iPod or Zune, nothing happens. However, when I connect it to a flash drive, the light turns on, so the circuit works but something else is wrong. Do you have any ideas on what I can do? (P.S. it is set up in a series circuit, not parallel). Thanks.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    What you want to do is connect the middle to pins of the Female usb together, this tricks the ipod into thinking that it is a legite apple charger.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It's because apple is dumb and wants you to buy their chargers, you can bypass it by searching around for a tutorial. And I guess zunes are the same


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    I've connected both a Zune and iPod to non OEM chargers and they worked, I have a generic 12v car socket usb charger that works with both.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It isn't regulated; with alkaline or lithium ultra batteries it would be 6 volts or lower, with NiMh it would be around 4.8. Defiantly not! I would only use this for simple, hard to break stuff. (Say a keyboard light, or fan.)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    NiMh batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.2 volts. 1.2 times 4 = 4.8. But, as NiMh batteries are used, their voltage decreases. That means it's all a guessing game... low voltage can mess up IC's, voltage transducers, and the like. So, it is NOT safe. If this had a step-up and regulator, it would be much, much more safe. The only thing I would trust with this is non-voltage dependent objects (like a keyboard light or fan) and defiantly NOT expensive cell phone equipment.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm guessing that you have the "Ultra" type batteries, which have been specifically engineered to provide power more congruent to that of a AA. I'm just here to point out that it isn't safe for everything, and in fact could be quite destructive on some technologies.


    9 years ago on Step 1

    It would work (new batteries start a 1.6v) but not very long.


    9 years ago on Step 4

    I've got a slight problem. The as soon as I touch the wires to the batteries it turns whatever im using off,


    9 years ago on Step 4

     Would this work better if you put a 4.8v regulator in it. Between the USB cable and the battery holder. Since my 4 NiMH Batteries are equaling 4.8 volts (4*1.2v) I think this would be safer. Im not sure if Im correct though, Im kind of new to electronics.