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Altoids Phone Charger

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Billy10mm, Nov 3, 2012.

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  1. Billy10mm


    Oct 31, 2012
    Hello Guys,

    Well, as per my introduction post (, the Altoids Phone Charger is under way. Yesterday my 4-40 computer screws and type-a female panel-mount USB connectors (I got three). Today the wife picked up a pack of Altoids from the convenience store in her office building and my son and I got started on what we could.:


    Yeah, it isn't pretty, but it's not bad for a Dremel, drill, and 20 minutes. I was hoping that my multimeter, on/off switch, regulator, and 9v battery holders would show up today, but they didn't. With any luck I'll have them all in on Monday.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2012
  2. Billy10mm


    Oct 31, 2012
    I'll put up some pictures when I get home tonight, but after an excruciating amount of time, I finally managed to complete this thing.

    Unfortunately, I got 95% of it done with a week, a majority of that being the drilling/cutting/dremeling/sanding of the Altoids box, and then spent 3 weeks pulling what's left of my hair out trying to figure out why this thing would charge my wife's Blackberry, both of our cell phones, but neither of my two iPhones.

    Turns out that I needed to send power to the Data+ and Data- points on my USB port - something that a few other people's projects I referenced didn't do. I later realized that those projects didn't involve iOS devices. So, for the reference, here's the schematic.

  3. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    Just curious, how much of a charge were you able to get from 1 9V battery? I would think a full charge would be impossible.

  4. Billy10mm


    Oct 31, 2012
    I think it might be possible. Will test soon.

    When researching this, found a guy who built one with a regular linear voltage regulator (very inefficient, lots of power lost to heat) who says he was able to charge an iPhone 4 (not 4s) from dead to ~60% full with one 9v. I think he smoked something significant before that test or before he made the video. According to specs, a standard Alkaline 9v has a capacity of 565mAh and an iPhone 4's battery has 1,420.

    A lithium 9v on the other hand (Energizer Lithium specifically), has a capacity of 1,200mAh. Given the efficiency of my regulator, the diminished capacity of my now 2 year old iPhone 3Gs (1,150mAh capacity when new according to specs), I'm hoping that I can get a full charge off of 1 lithium 9v. With a shelf-life of 10+ years, I can keep a few of these around in a closet and I should be set.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  5. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    will look forward to your results with different types of 9V batteries and which one you find to be the best.
    There's probably a few others that would also be interested in this style of project if it works out well :)

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