I'll just pop
into Maplins, oh I forgot, I'm in Barcelona its 2am and I can't use Google maps on my phone to find the local branch.... The batteries are flat.
I'm a cynic aren't I .
It's nighttime in Barcelona, you can't find your hotel and your phone battery is dead. Double-A batteries won't go in a phone so you're screwed, unless you've read the following advice. If a phone sports a removable battery then you can carry a charged spare, and there are numerous pocket chargers on the market, but they all …
not sure about cynical, think there's another word for what you have
the idea is that, following the advice in the article, you keep the emergency charger with you so that you are prepared in advance and so don't have to go to the 24 hour Maplins that Barcelona doubtless has.
Hope that helps
Maplins is a fictional holiday camp loosely based on "Butlins" in the fictional seaside town of Crimpton-on-Sea, where Joe Maplin and his Yellowcoats have replaced the real-life Billy Butlin and his Redcoats.
Maplin is an electrical store with over 15000 audio, video and computer products, components and accessories.
@enigmatix but it's still stupid isn't it? An emergency charger and some alkaline batteries in your pocket at all times just in case? If you were thinking that far ahead you would just make sure your phone was always charged. Or maybe that you bought a phone with interchangeable batteries (what a radical idea) and carried a spare.
On most phones a couple of years ago, including mine, you can just swap the battery out, but user removable batteries are no longer fashionable - another "innovation" and "advance" brought to the market first by Apple.
Mind you I still have a Psion 5MX which ran for weeks on a pair of double AAs anyhow - would love a modern version with bluetooth/wifi
They're *technically* user-removable. But with the amount of levering of delicate hidden clips and the lack of obvious catches that modern phones are equipped with, I doubt that the covers would survive even a hundred battery swaps without breaking somehow. It's nothing at all like how phones were built even ten years ago, when batteries were obvious, massive enough to last for weeks, and intended to be swapped in a second or two by any untrained orangutan.
The fact it didn't have bluetooth, WiFi and more importantly, a permanently on mobile connection is the reason the Psions lasted forever. They had piddly little CPUs and monochrome screens too. Their suspend mode will purely hold memory contents, everything else will be powered down unlike a phone which still has an active mobile connection and is constantly waking up to do stuff.
A modern Psion would be as rubbish on power as a modern phone. It would still be cool to see one though.
Yes, it's only Apple products as far as I can tell, every smartphone around here (Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson et al) have removeable ones. I do keep the awesome EBB-U10 around for my Galaxy S Plus, though, because it's an external battery as well as a hard shell, and as a bonus charges via USB port so there's no swapping of batteries (and thus no shutdown/reboot when battery is low) to worry about.
As for the Psion, yes, I had a 3, 3C, Revo and 5MX and they were wonderful little things. However, throw on bluetooth and wifi and I very much doubt you'd get much life out of your 2xAA any longer...
I've got a duracell four AA charger which has a removable plug section so it can fit nicely in luggage. It has a usb port to allow charging of usb devices from the charged AA cells.
As it happens a standard 9v battery isn't the best option for charging as it's only 500mAh. A fairly standard AA is 2000mAh, maplin also make a 4x AA enclosure which connects to one of those 9v battery type connectors. The drawback with rechargeable AA cells is that you only get 4.8v but the chances are that this may well be enough without voltage conversion.
"As it happens a standard 9v battery isn't the best option for charging as it's only 500mAh. A fairly standard AA is 2000mAh"
But remember those little things called Volts? The mAh capacity of a battery does not tell you how much energy it stores, you need to know that and the voltage. A 9V 500mAh battery stores about 50% more energy than a 1.5v mAh battery.
Basically when it boils down to it for the same technology the amount of energy stored by two different batteries is comparable by their volume.
Only problem with that Duracell device, is that they don't have the voltage on the data pins, and so won't charge an iPhone (in spite of being advertised initially to do that). As mentioned elsewhere, iPhones query the charging device to work out if they can pull high loads through it.
Not really, you probably have one kicking around already, some keyboards come with USB-to-PS/2 adaptors, and you can always buy the cheapest Chinese USB hubs you can find for the individual sockets or rewire it with whatever power source you wish to use so you can charge things from all ports of the hub (though you may need a 2A 5V power supply to cope with four things charging at the same time).
However going down the DIY route of making your own USB charger it should be noted that some phones requrire a small amount of voltage on the data pins before they'll charge, notably Apple's products because some can take up to 2A from the USB port on wall adaptors for example but limits itself to only 500mA from a normal computer USB port. This can be set with the right combination of resistors.
And that right combination of resistors puts 2 volts on D+ and D- for a 500mA charge. E.g., 75k and 50k between 5V and GND. See http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/icharge.html for more details.
Some older Motorola cell phones expect to see something special on the "X" pin: http://pinouts.ru/all/razrv3_charger_pinout.shtml
This is rather annoying, since the USB cables I've dissected don't show any wires from their X pin; I have to buy a plug and hack it myself.
I followed the ladyada instructions in a buck converter for bicycle use, and it worked fine; 500mA by 5V is 2.5 watts, with an efficient converter a hub dynamo can keep up, and various iDevices declared that they were in fact charging when I hand-spun the wheel. But it turns out that there is an affordable pre-built alternative (no idea if it works, just found it googling): http://bikeusbcharger.com/
"On most phones a couple of years ago, including mine, you can just swap the battery out, but user removable batteries are no longer fashionable - another "innovation" and "advance" brought to the market first by Apple."
Except the reality is very few people would carry a spare battery and making it removable probably adds cost, bulk etc.
If you want to carry a spare there are LOADS of USB chargers available (as shown in this article) - many of which are barely bigger than a removable battery would be anyway. Plus they have the benefit of being able to charge other devices.
Loads of devices have non-removeable batteries - for instance every Bluetooth headset I ever owned - it's not just Apple.
Making it removable would not significantly add to cost, but it would cut into the insane amounts of profit they make by having you take it into the store for replacement. Look into the after market alternatives vs doing it through Apple. But ignoring a full replacement, having the ability to swap in a spare is kind of important at times too.
batteries with every phone I buy. They come standard at no extra charge when you buy from Chinese suppliers.
Used to be I had to out up with chinese instructions/software, but now they have the last but one version of Android so they are basically the same as anything else out there, just a lot cheaper. Slap in a pay as you SIM from whichever country you happen to be in and you're good to go.
"As it happens a standard 9v battery isn't the best option for charging as it's only 500mAh. A fairly standard AA is 2000mAh, maplin also make a 4x AA enclosure which connects to one of those 9v battery type connectors. The drawback with rechargeable AA cells is that you only get 4.8v but the chances are that this may well be enough without voltage conversion."
You said a (primary - non-rechargeable) 9v battery is 500mAh at 9v - a rechargeable AA might be 2000mAh but that is also at around 1.2-1.4v.
The problem with not using a voltage regulator is your 4 x alkaline (Duracell type) cells are typically more like 1.6v out of the packet - so you would be feeding about 6.4v into your phone. The other problem is the voltage will sage under load and if it drops much under 5v the phone may decide to stop charging.
Fully charged rechargeable AA cells are about 1.4v - so 4 of those would not even reach 5v and certainly not 'under load'.
So the best options are either a genuine USB charger or you could go with the voltage regulator option but easiest to start with a higher voltage and drop down to 5v - would think at least 6v+ - so a 9v battery is fairly sensible / available option.
Where do you think your 5V or whatever is going? Into the 'phone's switch-mode PSU!
It ain't that fussy, particularly as the charger's probbly made at Foxconn, and 5v is just a rule of thumb...
(Why 5V? Thought mine was 8,4? Check when I get home...)
IIRC, 5V was chosen in the dark ages (TTL chips being dark on the outside) as the transition between the Zener effect and the Impatt effect. Thermal stability.
Definitely open to corrections - I remember this from a 1977 lecture.
Yup. I remember finding this out myself. Basically TTL chips like to run between 4.8 and 5.2v. I remember the tutor saying how wonderful CMOS technology was because you can run some of the chips on damn near anything from less than 3v up to 18v or so.
That said, I wouldn't want to take the chance on the phone's built-in power management being so smart. Regulator ICs are cheap and pretty efficient, and the phones are probably built in the same place as the chargers, after all!
Typical Ni-MH is ~1.2V so 4x give 4.8V which is just within the USB 5V spec to work and unlike alkalines they keep their rated voltage steady until exhausted.
If you have to use Alkaline (bad choice use Lithium instead) then place a 1N400X diode in series and that'll drop the voltage by 0.6V to give you around 5.8V at first but very quickly drops down to 5V and falling rapidly, alkalines don't keep a steady voltage.
I see Maplin sells the Rolson Emergency Phone Charger too BTW.
But this device doesn't like giving out more than 200mA before it packs in due to current drain abuse. I known, I've taken them apart to get the specs of the DC-DC converter.
A 9V pp3 battery is not efficient. Apart from only rated at 200mAH, there will be a 4V drop across the regulator. This is power completely wasted. The Regulator needs at least 2V across it to work. So it wastes a lot of the battery.
Much much better to use 4xAAA, 4xAA or 4xC or 4xD rechargeables Ni-MH batteries in a 4 cell holder from Maplin and a pp3 clip soldered onto an appropriate USB socket..
If you want to be clever, add a 150ohm resistor across the +D,-D pins too.
A decent set of AAA will give you 1000mAH, AA will give you around 2500mAH, C will give you 4000mAH, D will give you 10,000mAH.
ASDA sells a tiny black 4xAAA holder with various USB sockets. You just need to short the diode it has if you use rechargeables.
Better still buy a pack of Maplin's Hybrid AAA and you'll have 5V at 1000mAH on tap at any time as these Ni-MH cells only discharge very slowly so you can keep them in a drawer for 6 months without losing power like normal Ni-MH!
I've been down this route with my HTC Desire HD phone. :)
If you can find such a thing for sale, I'm sure you could find a charger for sale.
This would only be useful if you were stuck at home in a power failure and happened to have the parts in your parts bin to slap something together. I'm sure I do have the parts here, but expect even with the tech readers on this site there are very few people reading this that would.
"If you can find such a thing for sale, I'm sure you could find a charger for sale."
$0.54 (34.13p) on Mouser.com (part #512-LM7805CT)
$1.25 on SparkFun (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/107)
And, for the U.S.:
Probably very expensive at RadioShack
But like you said, most people will not have these in their house right this very moment.
9v into 5v reg? Not exactly efficient... Burning off 4 volts to start with, and a PP3 is both pricey and low capacity to start with.
Better to get 4xAAs and then use the 5v reg, you'll probably get a full charge from that.
Work out where you are staying before you leave home and preload your google map tiles onto your phone before you start roaming ya muppet!
Work out where you are staying before you leave home and print out a pocket sized street map onto some old tech stuff called paper. In case your battery goes proper flat, like. It's what people used to do in teh dark ages.....
Seeing at it's Barcelona I think Bill Ray ought to have taken the full experience option and asked a cab driver to take him to his hotel.
Whereupon he would have been charged €20 to be driven round the City GTA style for five minutes before being dropped at the bottom of Las Ramblas.
I have a Sakar Jeep handcrank flashlight/phone charger that includes a cable with connectors for most cellphones.
Came in handy last year when both the power and phone went dead at the same time. (Mr. Murphy loves to mess with me!)
The big downside: about 5 mins worth of cranking for enough charge to make a quick call.
so I invested in http://www.hahnel.ie/index.cfm?page=chargers&pId=54# a universal lithium-ion battery charger. There are equivalents made by other companies.
You twiddle the knobs until the two pins line up with the +/- contacts on your battery, and it detects the polarity and voltage automatically. It also has a female USB socket for charging things you still have the cables for.
It's dead handy.
Hopefully most phones will be able to charge over micro-USB soon... Apple and Nokia I'm looking at you! (You woulda thought that Nokia would see the wisdom is having their phones be easy to charge... after all, the ubiquity of Nokia chargers a few years back was a good reason for choosing their brand of phone!)
I've tried the
I happened to wander into a "everything at a pond" shops yesterday -- Ineeded a cheap pen.
For one GBP you can buy a device that holds 4 AAA batteries and comes with a selection of leads that enables it to be connected to most mobile phones. For another pound they had a pack of 11 zinc chloride batteries. These items are also available in the local "corner shop" for £1.99 each.
Plenty of "rechargeable battery chargers" around (i.e. a largish rechargable battery with a power out socket and normally a selection of "ends" to put on the cable ... though nowadays micro-usb may be all you need ... unless you have an iThingy). And, didn't one of "The Apprentice" teams last year try flogging emergency mobile chargers at a train station last year in one of the "sell cheap tat" tasks?
"Modern aa rechargeables are 1.2v out of the charger"
Except that is completely untrue - I just tested 3 different brands I use and they were 1.35v, 1.33v and 1.29v.
I never said the NiMH rechargeables were 1.6v but standard Duracell alkaline cells can be - did you actually measure the actual voltage you were getting?
1.2v is the typical 'nominal' voltage of a NiMH rechargeable - the actual open circuit voltage will vary depending on the actual chemistry used etc. For the same reason what most people regard as a 12v (lead acid) battery is usually around 12.6-12.8v when fully charged (technically nearer 13v than 12v).
As someone said Dimension Engineering make some nice components that are basically ready to use - but they are not especially cheap / so readily available in an 'emergency'. The other problem is the standard 'Anyvolt' (which can handle voltages above or below the desired output) only handles 500ma input or output - so if your input was below 5v you would get 5v but not 500ma output. If your input was above 5v you could use one of their cheaper step-down regulators (they do one that handles something like 3a).
They do a more powerful Anyvolt but it's more like £45-50 last time I looked which is excessive for an 'emergency' charger.
Realistically in an "emergency" can you really plan on being able to get any 5v regulator - more likely you would be best to just use 4 AA rechargeables or 3-4 AA alkaline batteries in series - under load the voltage is likely to be close to 5v or your device may not be that picky if the voltage is a bit low.
The Rolson gadget isn't 'just' a battery holder though, it's got a spanky little boost converter built into the translucent bit at the top, how else do you get 5 volts from a 1.5v cell?
Makes a lovely little power supply for microcontrollers too :)
You can also pick up exactly the same gadget, branded with some weird name, at petrol stations in the UK for £2.99 at the moment (Esso I think)
...because they are linear regs which dump the excess energy as heat and are therefore inefficient - the last thing you want when trying to get as much joice as you can from a couple of AAs. What you really need is a buck-boost converter, there are instructions for how to build your own on that page, or you can buy a kit from https://www.adafruit.com/products/14
Note that charging Fruit-themed devices is *not* straightforward, see http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/icharge.html for the gory details.
A much better solution-in-advance, a Brookstone external battery:
Or check out Casemate's offerings: a case with included battery:
Casemate also make phone 'holsters' which charge the phone whenever it is 'holstered'.
I used to think alkaline AAs could be got anywhere and bought gadgets for travel accordingly equipped. Disappointingly I found this to be far from the case in much of Asia and Africa and some parts of South America. AAs can be found absolutely everywhere, just not alkaline ones. You can very often find "Duracells" in ordinary shops but they are nearly always fakes: very cheap zinc carbons dressed in black and gold labels.
In these sorts of towns, for real alkaline AAs you need to go find a proper camera shop where you pay though the nose, sometimes the equivalent of $8 for a pair of off-brand ones.
Fortunately, AC mains is found pretty much everywhere (as is cellphone reception these days). Even in remote Indian villages and far flung islands in the South China sea, someone will be running a generator. Of course it won't be an uninterrupted supply, but always more convenient than dry cells. I learned my lesson: rechargeables are the only realistic way to go.
"The Rolson gadget isn't 'just' a battery holder though, it's got a spanky little boost converter built into the translucent bit at the top, how else do you get 5 volts from a 1.5v cell?"
The reality is those 1 x AA gadgets and alkaline cells are pretty cr@p - to get 5v and 500ma from a 1.5v battery means pulling more than 1.5 amps (a lot for most alkaline AA cells). At 1.5 amps the voltage will sag quite a lot so you are probably pulling more than 2 amps. As the voltage drops (as the cell depletes) the current draw will increase - so you will often get very little actual capacity out of the cell and into your phone.
Using a lithium (primary) AA cell would be better (as would using a rechargeable NiMH cell) - but still not great.
"Yes, 1.2v on the dot, generic NiMH cells. I also just tested some Duracell NiMH cells too, also 1.2v."
Checked with 2 different multimeters - the Sanyo Eneloop was 1.35v, a Duracell rechargeable was 1.33v and another NiMH cell was 1.29v. None were 'hot off the charger' - they were fully charged in the last few days.
Also NiMH charge at around 1.4-1.6v anyway - so hot off the charger they are unlikely to be 1.2v.
If your phone is important to you, you select one that allows you to carry a spare battery, or alternatively you carry a mains charger. If you're away on business and don't keep your phone topped up, you're an idiot.
No need to waste expensive and polluting batteries on keeping your handheld twit machine topped up. Simply select an appropriate phone (that lasts a couple of days) and put it on charge from time to time.
Not trying to be a bit finicky about your DIY design but, using a regulator to drop the voltage down from a 9 volt can lead to a fe problems with charging a phone, firstly if the regultator goes faulty then it will send the full 9 volts to the phone, also no smoothing capacitor is fitted on your design so it will quite a dirty regulated supply.
1- If the Regulator goes faulty then they almost always fail open-circuit.
2- Most phones can survive 9v for a little while.
3- Smoothing capacitor not needed as there is nothing to smooth. They are only needed if you start off with an AC power supply.
However, the best method is to rub your smartphone against your nipples and crotch whilst making groaning noises. It won't charge your phone and definitely won't help find your hotel, but that nice man with Guardia-Civil on his jacket will almost certainly put you up for the night in one of his nice cells. <LOL>
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