Ultra Portable Usb Charger With Cool Enclosure




About: I have had a few careers so far, soldier, school teacher, arborist, millwright. I love change and I love learning.

I just started geocaching recently and have been using my garmin car gps. It works pretty good other than that a long day (or night) can kill the battery. I was inspired by this instructable:

DIY More Efficient Long-lasting USB or ANY Charger

Now I really did not intend to do anything different than what was in that instructable. I was walking around the dollar store looking for a cheap project enclosure and I came upon the flashlight section. Eureka! The perfect enclosure with battery holder and switch included.

I did not like the lights available at the dollar store but managed to pick up an aluminum 3 aaa Noma LED light at another store that fit the bill almost perfectly.

Please check out my other instructables and I also have a diy podcast called mechanicalmashup.tv

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Step 1: Taking Apart the Light

The first step is to remove some of the guts of the light. I needed a vice to loosen the threads for the LED housing, but other than that it was pretty straight forward. The LED was desoldered to be used in a later project. I drilled a hole in the lens to allow a USB mini cable to squeeze through. Seems like everything is good to go at this point. I just have to wait for the Anyvolt regulator to arrive in the mail...

Step 2: Oops!

So on arrival of the regulator I knew I was going to have a slight problem. The chip was a little to big to fit into the old bulb/reflector housing. What to do? I was on a bit of a time crunch and did not want to go buy another flashlight to rip apart.

Another thought I had was to make it more versatile by putting a female usb plug into it instead of the male mini. This would allow it to be used with other devices like an ipod.

I soldered the chip into the old LED wires (bypassing the resistor) I popped the lens off the end of the flashlight and fit everything together the best I could. The chip stuck out a good 1/8". I know I lose cool points for finishing it in such a ghetto way but I used hot melt glue to seal the end.

Step 3: Testing

Even though I used a volt meter to check everything out, I plugged my sons crappy old mp3 player into it first, instead of my gps. (I would have bought him an upgrade if it had fried)

I guess that even though this project did not go perfectly, the main point of it is that you could get a project enclosure with battery holders and a switch for a dollar by using a cheap flashlight.

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    28 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 3

    Cool concept! This inspires the thought that a flashlight would make a good enclosure for a lot of different projects...


    6 years ago on Introduction

    awesome Idea. I've been looking at Energizer Energi to power my phone Droid Razr cause with gps on and caching or hiking it dies in like an hour. Thanks so much cant wait to try this out.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    To make it more compact, I would build in the USB connector into the front of the flashlight.

    dave spencerArbitror

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    just a crappy cheap ($20) one we bought for my son figuring he would lose it. I can't remember where we got it from.