[lit-ideas] Charging Your Cell Phone in an Emergency

  • From: Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 17:54:13 EDT

Okay, Andreas!
But, like the fellow said from this article (he is from the Digital Divide  
Listserv run by Andy Carvin of the Benton Foundation--he is now in Guyana and  
sounds extremely aware of what to do in emergencies...) 
I'm going to experiment one of these days with an old phone that I have  just 
to see if I can figure out how to do this...for 'just in case'.  But,  I may 
also try to find someone to teach some ham radio classes...
How To Make Sure You Can Charge Your Cell Phone In An Emergency.

People can, indeed, charge their cellular phones from standard  batteries if 
necessary. Apparently some people believe that if the battery  doesn't fit, it 
cannot be used. This is untrue. 


This  is for use in life and death situations, where the cell phone is the 
last means  of communications, and where you are willing to try anything. In a 
city, you may  be able to acquire cell phones from stores, as well as batteries 
and other  accessories that will help. Unfortunately, most batteries require 
charging  before being used. 

Looting, as in the context of the present situation,  isn't condoned. All 
things being equal, if I were in a situation where I needed  to communicate I 
would probably loot. This does not make it legal, and this does  not mean that 
am responsible for other people looting. 

Whether it is ethical or not depends on the situation. So this is the  
disclaimer - I don't condone robbery. Don't use this article as a license to  

Survival Equipment

That said, if you find yourself in a  survival situation in the world today, 
a mobile phone can be useful. If the  networks aren't damaged badly, you may 
be able to communicate by voice - which,  of course, is ideal. In other 
instances, you may have to use SMS so that you can  
communicate with whoever is available, but what many people fail to realize  
is that you have to know who to SMS!. So have a number, if only one friend, 
who  you know can receive SMS and therefore will be able to communicate with 
-  perhaps relaying your messages. 

Be prepared. Other things that come in  handy are a first aid kit, knife, 
rope, and even something as simple as a  compass. A watch is a necessity. A 
charger for your cellular phone is great! But  you probably won't have all of 
things available - so you have to pick up  what you can, as you can 
(hopefully not breaking laws). This is a time when  imagination and knowledge 
comes in 

Emergency Power for Your  Phone

It's a good idea to have a spare battery for the phone. If you  don't have 
one, and no alternating current is available, you have a problem and  you'll 
need to use your head and imagination to power it. 

Each make and  model of phone is different. Some have 3.6V batteries, others 
have 4.8V  batteries, and others may have different power requirements. Some 
may have  circuits for allowing more than this voltage to be used to charge the 
battery,  some may not. Most phones have a cigarette lighter adapter for the 
phone, which  can come in handy if there are cars where you are.

Your cell phone manual  - the booklet that came with your phone and you 
didn't read (who reads them?)  has the information for your battery in it. 
that, if you have a charger  with you then you can read the information on the 
charger. It will tell you how  many volts the cell phone gets when 
recharging. The Amperes/Watts are important,  but not if you have only what you 
Ideally, you'd find batteries that  perfectly match the complete power 
requirements of the phone. You may not have a  chance to wait for the ideal.

If you have your cell phone recharger, the  best thing to do when your phone 
dies and there is no alternating current in  your area is to adapt your 
charger to what you do have. This link shows an image  of the phone adapter 
used to charge a phone using solar power1. You  probably won't have a solar 
panel around, but this concept works for charging  from other sources. 

If you have an AC adapter and all you have are DC  batteries, cut the wire 
between the adapter (the black, heavy thing with the two  prongs) and the 
attachment for your phone - give yourself some room to work  with, figure a 
from the cell phone end. That done, make sure the cell phone  side is plugged 
and check what you're going to use. 

If you have a  phone that requires 3.6 V, start off with 2 batteries that are 
1.5V (for 3.5V) -  any size can do, but the smaller batteries will not last 
as long.

If you  have a phone that requires 4.8V, start off with 3 batteries that are 
1.5V. That  brings the batteries to 4.5V, which is close. 

The Battery  Pack

The batteries you are about to attach need to be in series, which  means that 
they will have to be attached so that the positive (+ve) and negative  (-ve) 
sides touch, like so:

2 battery series

-battery+ -battery+

3 battery  series

-battery+ -battery+ -battery+

The batteries need to be  *touching*. Some tape comes in handy to attach the 
batteries to each other,  making sure that the contacts of each battery touch 
each other.

Now, you  have to split the wire to the phone a bit so that you can touch a 
wire to each  end of your new battery pack. Try the wires one way with the cell 
phone plugged  in. If your cell phone doesn't show that it is charging, 
reverse the wires. If  it still doesn't show that it is charging, check the 
connections to the battery  pack, as well as make sure that in 
moving things around you didn't make  break the connection between the 
batteries (it's easy to break the connection  between the batteries so that a + 
isn't touching a -). 

If your battery  is charging, sit and wait and repeat the process as many 
times as you can.  Expect to go through lots of batteries. These batteries will 
not give you a long  charge.

If your cell phone shows that the cell phone battery is not  charging and you 
are desperate, try a higher voltage at the risk of destroying  your 
phone(again, I'm not responsible!). To try the higher voltage, add a  battery - 
so that 
your 3V battery pack becomes 4.5V, or your 4.5 V 
battery  pack becomes 6V. Remember to switch the wires around when testing to 
see if the  battery is charging.

If you're *really* desperate, there are usually  batteries in cars. This is 
NOT recommended at all. But the idea is to find  things that have batteries in 
them and to adapt things to them. 

If You  Don't Have a Charger

If you don't have a charger, AND you know how your  battery connects to your 
phone (phones have special pins that are used for + and  -), you can attach 
them directly using some wire you scrounge up. Most people  don't know their 
phones well enough to do this, and if you do 
not know your  phone well enough to do this... DON'T. You may ruin your one 
device for  communication. It would help if manufacturers clearly marked those 
pins, but  they *don't* because they like selling you adapters.

If You Get It  Charged

If you do get it charged, you shouldn't waste your battery. Turn  off 
vibration alarms. Turn off all the stuff on the phone you don't need, and  
don't sit 
there and play games on it. Use it for SMS messenging, your battery  will last 
longer. If you use it to make voice calls, expect to be charging the  phone 
again shortly.

This is all *last* *resort*. Damage to your phone  *is possible* even if you 
do things properly, and again - I'm not responsible  for that damage. But if 
your life and health are at risk, it's up to you to  decide which is more 
important - the ability to get help or the cell phone which  
can get it for you. 

I hope you never have to use this.

1 DIY  Solar Electricity: Energy for Construction and Reconstruction.

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Marlena  Boggs                  mboggs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Adults Services Specialist     816-836-5200
Mid-Continent Public Library   http://www.mcpl.lib.mo.us

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