Friday 7 March 2014

Give your old phone chargers a second life

Old chargers converted to charge
USB gadgets

Ever thought about what to do with your old chargers? 

Everyone gets a new phone every now and then. If your old phone is broken its charger probably isn't. Sometimes the phone is fine but the charger connector isn't (easy to check: the phone charges when connected to a computer but you need to wiggle the connector for a better contact).

Give them a second life

You can give your charger a second life by removing the old and useless connector and soldering an USB socket to it.
This is much safer and cheaper than buying a cheap Chinese online: some of them are very dangerous (at least one dead by electrocution has been reported).

Tools needed
  • Soldering iron and tin
  • Multimeter (to find + and -)

Supplies needed

  • Your old charger
    IMPORTANT: make sure its output is 5V (volt) and rated for at least 500mA (milliAmperes, sometimes also written 0.5A)
  • USB socket
  • Some glue (e.g. hot glue) 
  • Some heat shrink (optional)

Check the charger's output rating

The procedure

1. Cut the cable at about 5 cm from the charger and strip the end

Cut the cable close to the charger
Optional: remove the cable protection
(not needed for this hack)

2. Find the  + and - (with the multimeter)

Remember to always check, the charger below had the red wire for GND (-) and white for VCC (+). Some of your gadgets could fry if you get this wrong.
This charger has the minus (-)
on the red wire !

3. Solder the wires to the USB socket

Choose where you will place the socket on the charger and cut the cable accordingly. You should then solder the wires. Remember to respect the polarity, see pictures
USB pinout:
Red: VCC (+5V)
White: Data (-)
Green: Date (+)
Black: Ground (-)
USB socket soldered to the charger

4. Glue everything in place and use heatshrink if needed. 

And voila !