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How to charge a ipod shuffle without a charger

how to charge a ipod shuffle without a charger

the testing

so, this was my laboratory for the weekend…

I tried all kinds of different setups, here for instance, it’s a zener-diode of 5.1v + 100 ohm resistor and a diode (to make sure the current doesn’t flow the other way around (that is, from the ipod to the flashlight)).

. and it all seemed promising, but my ipod remained dead… in a last desperate attempt, I removed all the voltage-regulation-logic, so only a diode, for making sure the current goes the right way, remained…

and here’s the pin-out for a USB-plug…

. this setup gave a cool 5.8V, significantly higher than the 5V USB-power normally is, but like I said, this was becoming one last attempt… I must say I gambled a little here… according to there should be a Linear Technology LT4055 USB power controller/Li-ion linear charger inside my 1G ipod mini and even though I couldn’t find specs of it, I gambled that it could take 5.8V instead of 5V …so my choice was between getting it to work or frying my ipod…

time to put it all to a final test (this has taken almost all of my weekend, so it’s about time!)

the final test

Well, this ipod looks empty…

. this is the last screen you see before it goes totally dead…

time to start cranking!

. this is the first sign of life you see (this is not an animated icon, but a static one). once in a while it tries to boot the ipod (with the apple-logo showing) but in the beginning it kept falling back to this icon… so I had to crank some more!

woohoo! it gathered enough power to boot my ipod!

(this happened after appr. 30 minutes of cranking and several attempts of my ipod to boot in between but not succeeding in that)

. then it seemed it found it’s way, cause I could stop cranking and it kept charging (there are batteries in the flashlight, so those are discharging). it kept charging for appr. 5 minutes and then this animated charge-icon became static (which I guess tells me it doesn’t charge anymore). time to check up…

YAY! not one, but two (2. ) stripes on

the battery-icon (and two numb hands of cranking…)

well, I’m a little sarcastic here, and I didn’t test it but I guess this is something like 30? minutes of music. which isn’t even that bad imho


To be honest, I did go wrong on the amount of cranking I thought would be involved… On the flashlight-packaging it says 1 minute of cranking gives you 30 minutes of light. but I didn’t think it through how little current 5 leds take… so… it can very well be that the cables I made earlier, with a zener-diode to make sure I wasn’t going over 5.1 volt (check the hackaday-topic I mentioned earlier if you want to know about that). would also work but at that moment I thought I did something wrong. Well, this setup works (yay!). but with a lot of cranking involved, so I have to be quite desperate for some tunes and miles away from another possibility to charge it, before I crank power my ipod this way… but hey, it is possible! (and for me, that was the point of doing all this)

usable or not… this is going into my bag for sure and I can always use the flashlight to make my ipod sock look a little scarier.


This setup worked for me, but I really can not tell you or guarantee you this will work for you also… you are risking your ipod with this.


Somehow, the 5.8V this setup was giving, bothered me and kept me from putting this project away as being finished… so I continued a little until I would be satisfied with it…

So, I came up with this… a 5.1V zenerdiode to make sure the current wouldn’t go over it, a resistor to make sure it doesn’t short-cut and a diode to make sure the current flows the right way (all from the how-to: ‘usb battery’ v2 )

Please tell me it’s a work of art… :-)

Aaah, this looks good…

Wow, it still looks good after I jammed this circuit inside the enclosure of the plug (a fresh one, I didn’t want any tape on this I-do-it-one-more-time-cable)

And yes. we have a charge-icon on the ipod!

. a little closer…

Category: Forex

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