USB Iphone Ipod Dynamo Charger




No outlet in sight? Do not worry pull out your very own USB Dynamo (wind up) Charger! Going Green could not have been so easy! This is a step by step guide on how to Build, Test, and Perfect your Green USB Dynamo! Please don't forget to Rate and Vote on the Pocket-size Contest.

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Step 1: Planning:

Looking around online there is no small Dynano USB Charger on the market. The smallest one available is made in Australia and measures 112(W) x 47(W) x 23(D)mm and can fit in a big pocket. My quest is to build a truly pocket size Low cost USB Windup Charger. Where to begin?

Step 2: The Options:

Options are good. Looking online there are many ways to build a dynamo charger. Some good and some bad. (very very bad) Here are some of the best options:

1) Dynamo charger plus an Any volt micro step up step down voltage regulator (picture below). On Ebay there are many windup chargers for prices as low as $2.50 shipped.
Advantage:Low cost and easy to buy. Micro Any volt is a great little circuit that can take 2.6-14 volts and step up/down to 2.6-14 volt output.
Disadvantage:Some are poorly made and have bad electronics.

2)Dynamo Charger plus 7805 voltage regulator.
Advantage: Cheap and easy to build.
Disadvantage: Excess electricity is made into heat and has to be dissipated with heat sink. (hot hands?) Have to build a 7805 regulating circuit. (Google 7805 voltage regulator for more information)

3)Dynamo Charger plus USB Car Charger
Advantage: Very easy to build, All parts can be bought locally. Two wire connection
Disadvantage: Cases have to be modified to accept each other

Option one is the best in my option, But due to back orders I was not able to build this model. In this instructable I will guild you to building the easiest of the options, Number 3 and hopefully post the others in a later edition.

For more information about the any volt Micro please visit:

Step 3: The Right Stuff:

The muscle:
Searching on ebay I can across a dynamo charger made for black berry cellphone. The Dynamo chargers cost 5 dollars shipping included (Ebay's seller info

The brains:
On a local trip to TJ max I ran across a Griffin USB charger and bought it for this project. This item has great body lines and is very small, that is what sold me on this item . The Griffin Charger can also take a range of power input, so cranking does not have to be at a constant rate. You can use a 7805 Voltage regulator to do the same, but why reinvent the wheel if somebody has already built it for you?

Step 4: The Doctor Says "Open Up"

To open the USB charger, use a small Phillips head screw driver and unscrew all 4 screws. Two flat head screw drivers can the be used to carefully pop open the case. Now look closely, there are two small connection point about 1/3 down the circuit board (from the 12V plug side). Griffin Might have put these two hole on the board for another project, But in our case they work great as a connection point for the generator. Get a knife and cut right shy of this point. After cutting the board. Measure and cut the black case as well. do not screw the case back together yet.

Step 5: Cutting the Dynamo Case

Now to accept the USB Car charger cut the Dynamo Charger case. Where the electronics used to fit is now going to be removed for the USB car charger. Look at the picture below for a better understanding. I used an old soldering iron to cut the case. If you do not have an old soldering iron, use a sharp knife and/or a dremel.

Step 6: Soldering the Wire and Fusing the Cases

Now with the cases cut down to shape, solder wires from the motor to the USB Car Charger and test if the unit works. Screw the Black case together. If working, Use you Soldering iron to fuse the cases together. This step is very important and will made your USB wind up charger strong and professional.

Hint: Use the extra cut plastic as binder to strengthen the bonds between the two cases.

Step 7: Sanding & Painting:

After welding the cases together, sand them down to make a seamless professional product. Cover USB plug and light. Paint the charger your favorite color. I choose a light green to give my product a more earth tone.

Step 8: Size Matters:

Here is a couple of pictures of the Dynamo Charger Compared to Orbits Gum.

Step 9: The Final Product & Future Plans:

Over all I would give this project fro a scale 1 to 5 (1 easy-5 hard) a 2. Over all this is the easiest Dynamo project that I have done. Build this project in a week end and save the world! Maybe not the world, but when you are in a pinch and need some power this product will come to your aid.

-About 2 minutes of winding increases the power level on my iphone about 1%.

-If you iphone is dead, about 5 minutes of cranking will bring it back to life

Future plans:

Building a wind-up&solar charger to put in the window at work/home to charge my iphone off the grid. How novel! Having the phone that makes you the most connected but charges with no wire attached.
Please contact me if you have any question comment or fun Ideas!

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    63 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This gives me an idea, rather than have a crank producing energy by hand, why not the voltage input to a bike light generator? Seem's like you could easily make a bike charge your phone with the same concept.

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    good idea, but notice that most people are not always on a bike, and do not use a bike daily. It could definitely work if you bike to work etc...


    Reply 1 year ago

    Actually this is a false idea. While Americans do not use bike as a method of transportation as much (less than 10%) many other countries have much higher ratios. Some European countries have as high as 40% of the population using bike as their form of transportation.

    Just because America does not use it as it's main form does not mean we can blanket generalize for the rest of the world.


    Reply 1 year ago

    yup, 40 percent is less than a majority, and therefore some, and the rest is most(sorry about the equivocated term). Also, notice that I said if you use your bike for transportation it would work great, if you were offended I'm sorry but I was not intending to blanket generalize or say your idea was bad.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Tried to make it both with Griffin usb charger, which supports IPhone 3gs and the cheap usb charger, which supports only IPod.

    Both worked fine for IPod, but give an error with Iphone 3gs (charging device is not supported by Iphone). 

    Not sure what I've done wrong and how to make it work with an Iphone too.

    Please somebody help!!!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    D+ needs 2.0v
    D- 2.75v
    for iphone charging thats what i was told but have no idea how to implement it


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i had an idea for a car. put a solar panel on the top of the car and and a USB port in it for charging phones

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    several hundreds of dollars worth of 15% efficient panels to provide a couple of watts to charge a phone, when the car battery does the same job... for free


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    its not totally free cos it will use more gas, the more current u draw from the car the more gas it uses it has to keep at the designated rpm.
    it would be better to use the solar panel to charge the car battery in winter so it wont go dead, just my 2 ¢


    5 years ago

    Just starting out I originally wanted to make a charger for work when I'm in a bind out on the water (marine construction ) 5 min into researching in realized I need to learn more about electronics started researching ohms law ext if there's any info anyone can give to help it's appritiated


    6 years ago on Introduction

    So, have you posted an instructable for option #1? Using the dynamo hand crank with the Any Voltage Micro? I'm interested!


    6 years ago on Step 8

    Holy crap! awesome finsh! I didn't expected that neat design at the end!
    Teach me master! you should do an instructable about finishing that


    6 years ago on Introduction

    It's a nicely narrated and illustrated project! For an emergency boost, it is certainly practical. Most of us won't find 100 minutes to fully charge a phone. During hurricane season here in Florida, that would be very desirable. Could a capacitor and some mechanical tweaks like gearing, larger diameter dynamo/crank arm, more powerful magnets etc. be added to enhance efficiency to just a few minutes?


    6 years ago

    I like this Idea a lot .... Ever think about puting this in production mode if so I'd like to buy....please contact me if so.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    At: TheRealDutchOwner: That is a great idea... Especially for those who ride a lot! Buuuuuuuut what kind of bicycle do you have that has a steering wheel? ;-)


    i had this idea but i never knew how to do it and now someone has done it. congrats it looks very good.


    7 years ago on Step 9

    How could you use use it to charge some batteries that charge the iphone? Kinda like the minty boost but without the solar panel?