We are at that age where we like to experiment. We like to take things apart, see how they work and then put them back together again. This is made possible by our resident mad scientist, Himal Shakti. One day, Himal got an idea. He wanted to build
frankenstein’s monster a charger that could charge more than one device at the same time. But he also didn’t want to spend too much on it. So his solution? He decided to make one using parts readily available.
Building a charger is not something that can be done easily. Or is it? Well, that’s what we decided to find out. Now, first off, if you are not familiar with electronics, we recommend that you get the assistance of someone who does know electronics. This is so that you do not harm yourself.
Most of the components required are easily accessible, if you have them lying around. In fact, as you’ll find out, we used a number of recycled components to give life to this creation.
This was the basis of creating the phone charger. It’s not the charger that interested us, but rather, it was the PCB or printed circuit board inside. An old Huawei phone charger and a random Chinese charger were willingly sacrificed for this experiment.
In order to get to the PCB, you will have to take out any screws holding the charger together and pry open the housing with a knife, flat screwdriver or similar tool. Once you have pried open the casing, carefully take out the PCB out of the casing, and make sure you don’t damage the board. Most chargers are manufactured in a way that the two pins that go into to the wall socket are connected to two points on the PCB. Make a note of this for later on in the process.
Once we gathered the required amount of PCBs, we were ready for the next step. This involved a shopping spree on a budget. The most viable option we found for this was a trip to the land of plenty, aka Pettah.
We were looking for a container to house the Phone charger, and also some electrical wiring along with a way to connect all the chargers to a single outlet to power it all up. For electronic components, the best place is First Cross Street in Pettah.
As you can see from the image above, we managed to locate two boxes, each priced at a very low price of LKR 22/-. We decided to make things easier and get two. A bit of super glue helped us affix both boxes atop each other. For vanity’s sake, make sure you glue only the edged of the boxes lest the glue hardens and you’re left with a foggy mark on a usually transparent box. Or you can get a box that is not transparent. That works too.
Once the boxes were glued together, it was time to begin assembling the phone charger. We found and old radio and stripped it of its power outlet and cut a hole in the back of our charger box according to the measurement of the outlet socket. Then we drilled two holes through both boxes to pass the cables. Speaking of cables, we got regular two core cables (otherwise known in layman terms as blue/brown cables).
Since we were starting off with a dual charger prototype, we laid out both PCBs in the boxes and then measured exactly where to place the cut out for the charging ports. You wouldn’t want to find out that the gap is too small to fit a cable now, would you? If you take a look at the PCB of the charger, you will see the two points that you need to connect to the cables.
Depending on the PCB, the polarity of the charger (live and neutral ports) will be marked. If they are not marked, pick one for positive and one for negative. For added stability, we used some high quality double sided tape to fix the PCB to the box. This also ensure that there is no electrical leak from the PCB either.
Using a Soldering iron and some thin to medium gauge solder, we attached a pair of cables to the two ports on one of the charger PCBs and ran the remainder of the cable through the hole we drilled, all the way to the power outlet. We repeated the process for the other charging PCB as well and ran that cable too through the hole. Lastly, we attached the cables to the power outlet.
Something you should keep in mind here is that depending on the amount of PCBs you have, you will have a corresponding amount of cables. So if you have 3 PCBs, you will have three live cables (brown) and 3 neutral cables (blue).
When connecting the cables to the power outlet, make sure that you connect all three live cables to one port and all three neutral cables to the other port. Not doing so can result in electrocution or the PCB short circuiting and damaging itself and those around it.
All the cables were soldered, all the ports were nicely cut out with space for cables. Everything was glued into place. It was time to see if our phone charger would work, or go up in a ball of smoke. We ran a cable from the the phone charger to the power outlet, crossed our fingers, and switched everything on.
As you can see, everything was working without a problem. Then came the next challenge. Would it work as we expected? We’ve seen 2, 3 and 4 port phone chargers and hubs before. The only issue we saw with devices such as that was that as you plug in more devices, the power or amperage received by each device is collectively divided.
This meant that you would have a faster charge time with a single device plugged in rather than charging 4 devices at the same time. With our DIY charger, since there were individual circuits, we would not see a drop in amperage. At least that was the theory.
Since our phone charger has separate circuits not linked to each other, theoretically, they would be able to power a device to its maximum amperage, which in this case was around 1A. We decided to put that to the test.
We decided to pair off the DIY phone charger that we made against an Orico 4 Port charger. Our test subjects were a Oneplus 2 and a Huawei Y6 II. We used Ampere for testing the power received from the chargers. The higher the value, the faster our devices would charge.
As you can see from the screenshots above, the DIY phone charger which we now christened “FranK” was maxed out at around the 570mA mark. This, we suspect is due to one of the charging PCBs being of a random brand and using lower quality components in comparison to the other PCB.
Over on the side of the Orico charger, with two devices plugged in, Ampere rated the power levels at around the 800mA margin which was again pretty standard. It should also be noted that the cables used also affect the charging speed. Usually cables from brands such as Auki, Anker and Orico tend to have more throughput when charging devices.
All in all, despite a few drawbacks, we had with us, a device that can couple as a phone charger or basically charge any device through USB. It also cost less than LKR 1000/- and was made using recycled parts that were readily available at home. Admittedly, it has no fast charging options or other fancy features, but for a budding electronics enthusiast to play around with, this was certainly a good way to kick things off.
What do you think about Frank the phone charger? Let us know in the comments bel
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start.
Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start. A caravan stop consists of different sessions about creating unique ideas for startup ventures and strategies for financing those ideas.
Come join the sessions on the 19th of December, starting with 2 pm at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.
The event is free of charge! REGISTRATION is mandatory for this event
(Wednesday) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
SLIIT, New Kandy Road, Malabe
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount Likuid Members: 20% discount Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount
Likuid Members: 20% discount
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount
Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity to help each other having a more productive digital nomad new year and build better cooperations for teamwork.
During this peer to peer learning session you can share your experiences to help others and learn from other practitioners. Together, dive into the most painful problems and brainstorm on solutions. It’s for you if you resonate with some of these questions:
How do I integrate work, life and travel?
How do I keep motivated to achieve?
How do I keep engaged with a client?
How do I manage my time and energy?
How do I get clients?
How do I find people to collaborate with?
How to deal with time differences?
How can I make human interactions with slack profiles?
How to set realistic goals in constantly changing environment?
What are the best tools & methods for productivity?
What’s the secret of aligned teams?
What are the best skills for a digital nomad?
ABOUT THE METHOD:
“We create space for meaningful conversations, experimental and peer to peer learning. Nothing frontal, no preaching. But space for your very unique questions.”
+ Full-day mentored learning program
+ Breakfast on the roof
+ BBQ lunch on the roof
+ Goodie bags & Take-home handbooks
+ Post-event networking
ABOUT THE HOST:
Kitti is a digital nomad herself and a marketing consultant for innovative companies and early stage startups. She is a conversation ambassador for tedxdanubia, hosted meaningful conversations on ideas worth spreading. In the past years she worked in self organized teams, practiced facilitation, joined peer to peer networks, decentralized teams and cocreated a collective of freelancers. She is a cofounder of a sustainability startup that just secured its first round of investment. Worked as a mentor for many startups, and in the meantime she visited more than 15 countries.
Are you a Sri Lankan female entrepreneur or a local social business? Reach out for your discounted tickets!
PRICE IN SRI LANKAN RUPEES:
Regular: LKR 5000
Early Bird till 16th of Dec: LKR 4000
Likuid Members: LKR 4000
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): LKR 2500
(Saturday) 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
5 Charles Place 00300 Colombo, Sri Lanka
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup. He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup.
He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain technologies.
1. Work with Hyperledger Fabric and Explorer.
2. Business use case with Hyperledger Blockchain Framework
3. Q&A session
This is a Free session. Register here
(Friday) 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Startup X Foundry
07, Charles Place, Colombo 03, Colombo
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.