iPod Altoids battery pack v2

I got some new Altoids tins, borrowed a Dremel tool from Mitchell, and purchased brand new firewire connectors from NTC. Here’s my second, cleaner, tighter, much nicer attempt at a sweet external battery pack for iPod. Once, again, credit goes to Drew Perry for the design and inspiration. His is made inside a deck of cards, mine is in an Altoids can. This one is way better than the first one I tried, and my soldering is getting better – not really.






What do you think? Getting good, huh?

UPDATED 12/19/04:
There has been so much interest in this project from all over the world I can’t believe it. There have been great suggestions for improvements, and some questions about how, exactly, to build one. So, I thought I would add some information to this post and get the information out there.

First of all, let me once again thank Drew Perry for the schematic and the original battery pack idea. He did most of the heavy lifting. Let me also acknowledge unixmonkey, who actually created an Altoids Battery pack before I did, though I didn’t know about it until after this project got so much exposure. His battery layout is different, but he also used Drew’s schematic and project as inspiration.

So, let me start with the schematic. The following is pulled directly from Drew Perry’s site. It shows exactly how the batteries should be wired together. As you can see, it is a very simply circuit, a perfect beginner’s project.


As far as the firewire port, I chose the RFS-6602, the “Vertical 6 pin receptacle, through hole type” (3rd one down on this page on NTC) because is is smooth and can slide easily through a hole in the Altoids tin. The original one I built used a salvaged port from an old firewire card I had, and it sucked – it was so sloppy and awkward to install.

As far as the pins go, Pin 1 is for the power, and pin 2 is for the Ground. It’s quite easy to figure out, but it took me some time. I bought a $14 Multitester at Radio Shack to help me figure it out. If you look at the schematic here below, pulled directly from pinouts.ru you can see clearly where pins 1 and 2 are.


That should help. It is tricky to solder the wires and keep these wires apart, and I suck at soldering. unixmonkey took a great step after this, which I will do to my next model. He simply smothers this connection with hot glue, to ensure there will be no short. Good idea. Mine is sort of dangerous.

So, you follow the diagram, solder it together, and check the voltage outputs. Should be between 11 and 12 volts. That’s it. It’s really very simple. I am embarassed by all this attention.

I also saw some comments on hackaday and engadget suggesting the batteries might unevenly discharge or produce unstable voltage. These are valid concerns. One commenter suggested a power regulator circuit board. I am going to look into it and maybe add it to the design. I hope I can get one to fit.

Rechargeable batteries could totally work, but the point of this project was to have a power source when recharging was not an option. If you were going camping, theoretically you could throw a whole bunch of regular alkaline batteries in your pack and you’d be good to go for the weekend.

Some other people have expressed concern over airport security and my little experiement. I am also a little worried about airport security, but am willing to give it a go. There is a high liklihood that I will get stopped and THOROUGHLY searched. Wish me luck.

Lastly, I am working on some improvements and other projects. I love squeezing stuff into Altoids cans, so look forward to new stuff soon.

UPDATE (1/17/05): I made a new version using just a 9V battery this time, and put it into an Altoids Chewing Gum tin instead of the fullsize one. I’m very happy with the result. Have a look at the iPod Altoids Mini.


387 Comments to “iPod Altoids battery pack v2”

  1. Drew said something

    You are a big fat nerd.

  2. Paolo said something

    I’m really impressed! One bit of advice, though. Don’t EVER bring this to an airport with you if you plan on getting to your destination any time soon.

    This would totally get you dragged out of the line and questioned for a while.

  3. rossi said something

    This looks really cool – but how much a charge do you really get from 3 9-volt batteries?

    If it’s substatial, then I think you’ve got something here, but if it’s going to give you the ability to listen to 2 more crappy songs on your awful play list – seems like a lot of work for not much of a pay off.

    Diclerico – does this let you listen to TKA’s whole Greatest hits album a few times or does it only allow you to listen to “Maria” and “Give your love to me”?

  4. chris said something

    According to the original creator, Drew, you get about 10 hours of play time out of these batteries. The really cool thing about that is regular alkaline batteries don;t really drain too much when you are not using them. Therefore, on battery pack like this could last you months of emergency uses. When connected to the iPod, it actually shows the icon animation of the battery charging, but I have yet to do any tests to see if that is really true. If so, it opens the door to many other flexibilities.

    As far as TKA’s Greatest Hits goes, I already own it, have already put it on my iPod, and know for a fact that this battery pack can play the whole album and then a little Cynthia and Johnny O, Dream Boy/Dream Girl. Sweet.

  5. Jon said something

    And then Apple increased the battery life to 15 hours.

    Don’t you feel a little like a nerd? Just a little?

  6. Mitchell said something

    If my dremel can help Chris relive his 80s Staten Island days for just a few hours longer, my work here is done. Ladies, extra points if you show up on saturday with an Aquanet hairdo.

  7. erik said something

    Why not use rechargable batteries instead of one-offs?

  8. Jonathan said something

    Come on, no one wants to have to recharge their emergency battery pack like those awfull plug-in flashlights that are never bright enough when you really need one. Good job! I hadn’t even heard about your first one.

  9. Flashman said something

    10 hours? Those batteries must be curiously strong…

  10. Ariel said something

    This would have saved my life when I was travelling and had absolutely no way to charge my iPod (you try finding an internet cafe in Provence that has a firewire port!). I’d buy one!

  11. francis gerard said something

    yay! pot and chewing gum step aside, recycled altoids tins goes high-tech

    seriously, great idea, alkaline or lithium batteries will last for many months, just make one of these canned cuties, keep it stored in your backpack.

    thanks for the tip, should we send pornpics of our altoids?

  12. Dean in Des Moines said something

    Looks really solid. How does the firewire port mount hold up? Think you’ll pull it through?

    Looks to me like you could dope or epoxy the wiring to the bottom of the tin and both clean up the mess and get them out of the way in one step. While you’re at it fasten the AA holder down too.

    The tin is a great idea and a whale of an improvement over cardboard. Best thing is that most true geeks probably have a steady stream of these.

  13. Alex Lee said something

    Great stuff man… But I think it can be easily done by other people if they have the tools, so no use trying to sell them though… Unless selling to very lazy people! Haha!

  14. dsfg said something

    Looks kool trick someone thinking
    is candy not a device.

    A special surpise hiiden betteen sheets of metal.

  15. todd2fst4u said something

    i made mine a long time ago based on these instructions: http://www.unixmonkey.net/articles/altoids/
    it is pretty cool but i haven’t had a use for it yet.

  16. chris said something

    Oh shit! I never saw those instructions! It’s almost exactly the same, except I really like how unixmonkey layed out the batteries. Mine are pretty cramped but his has plenty of room. His wiring and soldering looks better than mine too. Sweet.

  17. john said something

    Hey, don’t forget the OTHER important Altoids tin.

    A CMOY headphone amplifier.

  18. israel torres said something

    ok concept, bad implementation… the interface and the container are pretty neat, however as mentioned on hackaday the power implementation are pretty unstable and could end up damaging an expensive piece of hardware for the sake of being cheap. It would be better to get an extra ipod battery but instead of swapping it out to put it in the altoids case.

    Israel Torres

  19. Matt Cox said something

    Nice idea – but where do you put the mints?

  20. callumalden said something

    Isreal, chill – i don’t know if anyone else has looked at hackaday’s comments. Really, don’t you chaps have jobs? This is a fantastic idea, being jobless i intend to build three, mixing batteries, using them in the rain etc. etc. Keep the ideas rolling, I want one for my… oh 12 hours i see.

  21. Alistair said something

    Nice…. a freind of mine has a pentax optio s5i camera and the altoids tin is the perfect fit as a case…

  22. chris said something

    I also have the optio S in an Altoids can. I will post pictures soon.

  23. enero said something

    I’m lazy, and my soldering skills bite ass!

    I’ll buy one off of you!

  24. Fuzzy said something

    Waiting for you to start selling these on eBay…

  25. chuck said something

    This is cool, ignore all those posers who bag on it but haven’t done anything themselves; they probably all have Dell’s…

  26. Surfing Marmot said something

    Why not use rechargeable alkalines and be ‘green’ as well as cool? Help stop geeks from polluting the planet with one-off batteries.

  27. kmm said something

    Any suggestions for which firewire connectors to use? NTC has a whole page full.

  28. tony said something

    can anyone tell me which one of these firewire connectors I need for this project? u.u i’m clueless when it comes to this stuff.


    oh and one more thing.. dont’ mind my newbyness. but i was wondering why u need to have teh 2 9Vs in parralel? couldn’t you just have the 9 and 3V in series? wouldn’t that equal 12? don’t mind my newbynesss here.. ._.

  29. Sean said something

    Nice Idea! I don’t agree about the airport security though. I travel with a mobile networking lab, and three routers.

    I too have the TKA greatest hits album and would love to have a couple of extra hours to pretend it’s the eighties once again.

  30. MHolzinger said something

    What is the pinout to NTC for power?

  31. Adam S said something

    Yeah, why not use rechargeables? Possible?

  32. Ian said something

    Maybe I’m missing something, but if you don’t have a second or first generation iPod, why not just use a belkin battery pack? Maybe the cost is the aversion for some of you, but for the lazy ones with a bit of money, the belkin Battery Pack works great.


  33. Surfing Marmot said something

    Ummm…rechargeable alkalines hold their charge for years–that’s the point. They don’t discharge in a few weeks on the shelf like NiCad, MetalHydride, Lion, and others. So you could charge up some and take them all camping and still not pollute the planet with garbage. They sell them at Fry’s. I stopped buying disposable batteries two years ago. They’ll charge over 1,000 times before wearing out.

  34. Denny said something

    Chris = Genius

  35. Jason said something

    awesome project!

    also thanks for the link someone to that altoid tin audio amp, thats bad ass.

    here’s another link i thoguth was cool:


    readymade mag is a super cool magazine!

  36. Micah Buckley-Farlee said something

    In reply to Tony–
    The 9V batteries are wired in parallel so that an overall voltage of 12V can be achieved. (This is the voltage of the Apple power adaptor.)

  37. Tony said something

    oh, but why do we need 2 9V batteries, rather than 1? wouldn’t a 9V + a 3V give us a 12V overal charge?

  38. Poyang Bao said something

    Dear Sir/Ms:

    Thanks for your time and I take the liberty to contract with you.

    As we know , iPod is very popular and more than 6 million have been sold in USA , still it has serious faults . Its power consumption is too large and the inbuilt battery is hard to replace . Our PR-2500 is favorable for:
    1.an External Power Bank , Safe , High capacity
    2.a Mini-B cable can transmit signals between iPod and PC
    3.Pocket Type design can secure your iPod , also its smart
    4.all these quote Competitive price
    Surely you will find a ready market all over the world.

    Also we have a series of Li-polymer battery pack , such for PDA , notebook , MP3 , and other digital
    devices , and a rush of orders are pouring in . Why not send us your order?

    If you are interested in ,warmly welcome any ommunication with us !My mail is poyang.bao@acon.com

  39. Bob Foreaples said something

    You should insulate that tin box so you don’t short out the batteries. If they short you will see how much power a 9v battery contains! Seriously you could get a horrible burn and/or fire.

  40. BDK said something

    OH MY GOD you really have to have no life whatsoever. Amazing.

  41. BDK said something

    OH MY GOD you really have to have no life whatsoever. Amazing.

  42. jopari said something

    OH MY GOD you really have no life whatsoever to post the same stupid thing twice ;)

    nice job on the bat pack. ingenious.

  43. MHte said something

    Could you not use one end of a Firewire extention cable , and save all that soldering.

    Cut the end off FW ext. cable.
    you want to leave enough wire to connect to a small wire connector which also connects to the batteries wires.

    Had a google and there are verious end shapes, on the connectors, some small some not. So I guess you would have to make sure you get a FW end that is small

  44. 'nee said something

    I suspect that the 9V batteries are wired in parallel to increase the current. Also, as long as all of the batteries are the same age – straight out of the package into the tin – they should have similar discharge rate. What matters i that the voltage of both 9Vs remains close so that you get the same current draw from both.

    Great idea!

  45. me said something


  46. ScoobyDoo said something

    I wouldn’t use this while wet. There’s a reason that most electronics case are made out of plastic, and it’s not just because it’s cheap. You could snag a serious shock if you aren’t careful, and getting a ground to earth through a metal case is easy to do. However, this thing is cool! Bravo!!

  47. chris said something

    THIS IS STUPID… A million people have though of this already. Anyone who supports this ‘tin can’ idea is about as worthless as a hard shit.

  48. chris said something

    nahh, i am just being a dick – sorry.

  49. duff said something

    I think the metal case idea is okay if you line the inside with a non-conductive material, like duct or electrical tape. It’s a good idea but it has it’s flaws.

  50. tim duffy said something

    I was at Mars 2112 on Sat. Oct 30th.

    Nice podCharger();

    Werd son.

  51. paul said something

    Forget these unimaginative dipshits… this is wicked cool. Might try and make one, the idea of insulating the inside with duct tape could be good. Do post anything you find on a voltage regulator as well, maybe i’ll hop over to radioshack later and see. Meantime, where am i gonna stash my dope?

  52. scott said something

    Next project, take the iPod apart and build it inside an altoids can.too damn cool.

  53. chris said something

    Wow. That’s phenonmenal. What did you put the batteries in? Does it look cool? 8 AA’s seems like it might be kind of big, but it’s worth a try. Maybe I’ll make one too. Thanks for the tip.

    Can you explain to me how Belkin has a battery pack that uses only 4AA’s. It doesn’t make any sense.

  54. bh said something

    Just a bit of advice on your circuit design. There should be a diode in there somewhere to prevent the ipod from trying to charge the alkaline batteries. Electricity, like water, flows down hill… ah so to speak…

  55. UnixMonkey said something

    Your idea is cool, however, you are a homax. Shame.

  56. John said something

    This is not a good idea, it is if you had a proper brain though. Number one as already mentioned, you need a diode. Number 2 you need a capacitor to regulate the flow. Number 3 you need a couple transistors and a 1381 voltage detector to shut off the power after it gets below 10 volts or so. Hope you like a toasty apples.

  57. JD said something

    OK so umm what works best ? 8 AA battrys or 2 9v with 2 AA does anybody know? and oh anyluck with the power regulator circuit board thing? oh and BTW water does not conduct electricity ions inside of it do =)

  58. Carzand said something

    Is there any place where we can get quite detailed instructions on this? What are the risks to my precious music box?

  59. NME said something

    Altoids also makes some of their tins/cans out of plastic. There is some really neat stuff called Great-Stuff. it’s an insulation foam from your favorite Hardware store. spray it in, then cover with plastic wrap. Push your batteries in, trim the edges and there you go. It’s sealed. the batteries are removable and if you put some silicone rubber around the inside edge, water “Resistant”. don’t go diving with it. There are 1000′s of uses for you altoids cans, wireless antennae is my favorite.

  60. tobias said something

    how often do you have to replace the batteries?

  61. dan said something

    THE ENTIRE IDEA SUCKS MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You could damnage yourself or the ipod. There’s not f***ing saftey crap on this thing, goin either way. Only poor dudes would make this. Poor and geeky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Merry Geekmas!!!!!!!!

  62. dan said something

    take that back man. i love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  63. Yulian said something

    This is awesome, I’m going to make it and add some insulation, and made an LED, so that when the batteries reach low power it’ll tell me. Im also making all the other cool Altoid stuff. Anyone got a website for Altoid inventions?

  64. guitarfreak747 said something

    How do you know which firewire port to buy? I’m very confused! Please help me!!!!!!!11

  65. Pogster said something

    Heres my one issue, if you made it exactly as you or unixmonkey did without the diode, capacitor, or regulator circut, it cant damage the ipod battery, once the voltage got too low on the charger the ipod would just try to charge the batteries and you’d notice your ipod battery emptying im sure, so youd know to replace the batteries in the charger, but no damage can be done right? I know nothing of electricity but im almost done building mine and want to know it isnt in vain. Someone lemme know if im right or not, i dont wanna damage my ipod either, Mines a 20g 4G btw if it matters. Thanks

  66. dezert_fox said something

    Anyone using one of these had any trouble? Dead iPods or anything?

  67. Sd said something

    Whats the Firewire connector is used in that picture?

  68. Pogster said something

    Yea it caused me problems, my ipod battery is dead haha, i guess the 4G clickwheel ipod just doesnt like the voltage output from the battery pack

  69. eric_d said something

    Anyone else have trouble with their 4G ipod?

    How long did it take for you to kill your battery?

  70. vb said something


  71. crazy hulio said something

    Hey sammy, are you fur real? because that is insane in the membrane.

  72. Andy said something

    That battery is just plain old incredible. I would get so much use out of a battery pack like that. I saw that now apple is making one for the shuffle but still not one for an ipod or ipod mini. I would be willing to order one from you and pay money. If you are interested please let me know. You can email me at squibbles1987a@hotmail.com

    Nice work.

  73. shaun said something

    hello, can i buy one from you

  74. dante said something

    If you used rechargable NiMH AA’s and 9V’s, would it be a problem if the iPod attempted to charge them?

  75. Seige said something

    so there is a lot of misinformation on here. Let me try to clear some of it up. I don’t know the specifics of the iPod circuit, but you can rest assured that the LiIon charging circuitry prevents the internal battery from back feeding the external battery pack – so the diode is not needed (i just probed for voltage at the USB and firewire connector coming off my mini – nothing there). Secondly, the LiIon battery is probably only 4.2V nominal, which again means tht EVEN IF THERE WAS A PATH FROM THE INTERNAL BATTERY OUT TO THE EXTERNAL BATTERY, the internal battery would never charge the external. The charging circuitry probably works down even below 4.2V so that is how the Belkin adapter can work on 4 AAs. The LI charger is usually some sort of switch-mode power supply chip because lithiums like a constant current charge, so the charger would be able to buck or boost the input voltage to the correct output voltage (and current). NiMH batteries are typically 1.2V and drain to about 1V when dead, so start at 4.8V and end at 4V with 4 AAs. Chris, it would be interesting to replace your batteries with 4 AAs and see if it still worked. I’m guessing it would. Lastly, the battery configuration (2 9 volts in || with 2 AAs in series) is potentially dangerous. the problem is the ampacity rating of the batteries. I know AA alkalines are about 1850mAH. I don’t remember the mAH rating of 9Vs but i do remember they were much lower than AAs. I suspect the two 9V in || are to try to match the mAH ratings of the AA batteries. The problem is when you reach the end of useful life of the battery, but you are still pushing current through it. the internal resistance rises and the battery heats up. Most of these are sealed cans and when you heat them, they outgas and pressure starts to build in the battery. they could explode. But I suspect that the iPod will not run off just the 2 AAs – so the chance of a problem is low. if you have any questions, feel free to email me (assuming you log the email that i just entered above). CJ

  76. Nick said something

    has anyone tried it with just AAs.

  77. Samm Poseno said something

    I saw this on G4TechTV, and I am definately going to build me one of these!!! I am not too bad at soldering, and hopefully, the firewire connectors aren’t too expensive! Good job!

  78. Geoff Schmoe said something

    This is Uber amazing, does it work on other devieces that aren’t I pods? I hope. You are my hero!!!!

  79. Lou said something

    what was the total cost for parts? not including the batteries, but everything else.

  80. Java Junkie said something

    Hey, a little more utilitarian and less zaney, but how’s about making this little recharger unit into a flashlight case so that the fire wire port is on the bottom and an operational flashlight bulb is on the top and the batteries could be used for either purpose. Would attract a lot less attention at the airport and would be much more multifunctional on that camping trip.

    kudos on great ideas.

  81. ryan said something

    hey nice project. I really want to make one and i have been calling around to find the fire wire connection that goes in the altoid do u know the exact name and were i could get it

  82. MikeD said something

    Very nice. Thanks to Kevin Rose for getting me here. Even after everyone’s good advice it’s still scary to mess with something that took so long to get. (another thanks to kr ..http://www.freeipods.com/?r=10209091) But looks good and not too hard to make. Good idea. Anyone try 4AA yet?

  83. Ryan said something

    Great idea. i made one. actually charges it. One promblem some how it also discharges yhe ipod which alco can lead to a shorted out ipod.

  84. ryan said something

    freeakin awesome idea. CHRIS YOU ARE GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!

  85. Vibs said something

    Which firewire connector r u supposed to use?

  86. Eli said something

    Could you make me one? THEY ARE REALLY COOL!!!!!!!!!!

  87. chesta said something

    nice, but i dont c any instrutionz…watz up wit dat?

  88. vance said something

    Thats awesome i saw it on g4techtv
    thats cool

  89. gls said something

    First off I would like to aplaud the creativity. That said a Plastic box of about the same size and shape can be had from any decent electonics supply store and it would be wise to have someone confirm the correct voltage and battery configuration before using the setup descibed.

  90. casey said something

    awsome idea!!! but how many times can you chargean ipod without changing the batteries?

  91. bit said something

    Dude you guys should totaly make a bunch of these and sell them on the website

  92. Dexter Dakins said something

    this is so cool. i cant wait to try it. im so glad that i found this site

  93. mitch said something

    where do u get the connector from and how much is it.

  94. a kid said something

    that is cool but is there any way you could get that to charge up a cell phone???

  95. daavid swift said something

    i was wondering? could you do this for a dell dj i was teying to figuar this out please email me back on what to use for a fire wire

  96. ERiC said something


  97. ERiC said something

    I’ll make one of these for anyone for $20 that includes shipping. slongage@hotmail.com

  98. mrs. legolas bloom said something

    one more question for now, how do you know what generation your i-pod is?

    thnx again

  99. eli said something

    I wanted to know if i can buy one staight from you?

  100. Brandon said something

    What kind of salder should I buy from radioshack

  101. Yulian said something

    I just bought all the parts from my local Frys. Firewire connecter, cables, batter holders. I didnt buy a solder because my dad already has one, but you can buy that at Frys too. It only cost my $21 so its pretty cheap. Me and my dad are going to make it whenever he gets a day off and is feeling up to it, since I don’t know how to solder.

  102. Cyrix_2k said something

    You guys know you can recharge Alkaline batterieson a standard NiMH battery charger right? The 9v’s don’t even get warm while charging. Best part is that alkaline batteries don’t have a memmory effect, so I just charge ‘em up when they drop to ~7v, which is when my CMOY starts to sound crappy.

  103. Jared said something

    I am going to try this with USB rather than Firewire.

  104. idontknow said something

    I don’t know much but wouldn’t you need a resistor in there to get correct amps? What should the current be going in to the i-pod?

  105. Sam said something

    Hey guys, I just found a great site from where to get the firewire sockets. The website is: http://www.mouser.com/index.cfm?handler=displayproduct&lstdispproductid=256194&e_categoryid=621&e_pcodeid=53820
    and the socket # that you would need is 538-53462-0611 . Plus, shipping is pretty cheap…

  106. vote for pedro said something

    absolutly nuts
    and nuts

  107. cedric said something

    hey u should sell them for a low price u would make a lot of money I know I would buy one.

  108. joe said something

    Hey would it be possible that i could make one of those with a usb female port instead of a firewire port because i got a Zen micro

  109. Cable said something

    HEY…does anyone know how to make a pack for a DELL DJ20?

  110. Josh said something

    sell the dell and get an iPod

  111. MacBoy said something

    If i use rechargeable batteries how can it be charged? via the firewire port on my mac w/ a 6 pin to 6 pin? or is there something else i have to do?

  112. Mike Wells said something

    In an attempt to get by with a less-expensive battery system, I tTried, using 2CR5 lithium batteries in series, but the solar charger set the pack on fire. That was NOt too easy to put out. I had seen some plan to build a LIthium Battery Charger from the electronic kit catalog which advertised “negative pluse” charging but that rechager didn’t work and super-heated the lithium batteries that I tried it on. the pack tempterature soared to 155 degree Farenheit and I was somewhat intimidated by the softening plastic on the pack. Luckily I did my experimentation in a meat smoker in my garage, otherwise, the mess/fire would’ve been serious.

  113. claudia said something

    Ipod speakers:
    Can anyone help me? My young son is trying to build the simpler altoid speaker, (the MacGver winner) before trying the battery pack. We cannot seem to make it work. When he reconnects the wire to the speaker, no sound comes out. What is the purpose of burning off the pastic coating (instead of stripping)after reconnecting the wires together? This didn’t seem to resestablish the connection. We have tried stripping the wire as well. The speakers on the headphones worked before being taken apart and rejoined. Any ideas? Thank you

  114. claudia said something

    Oops, I didn’t post the link from the ReadyMade site where we got the how-to info.
    Thanks again for any help.

  115. adam said something

    yo can somebody make a detailed site on how to make the battery pack like this one
    i need help on the wiring

  116. adam said something

    yo can somebody make a detailed site on how to make the battery pack like this one
    i need help on the wiring

  117. RahMan said something

    AND LOOK PROOF AT THIS SITE http://www.freeipodguide.com/

  118. keiff said something

    can you get this to worck with the dell dj

  119. al said something

    To stabilize the circuit could you use a dc/dc power supply?

  120. Dan said something

    y not just 3 9volt batteries, (please excuse if this is a dumb question)

  121. nick said something

    could you replace the firewire with a usb 2.0 port? if so, does t matter if it’s usb 2.0, or just a powered usb port?

  122. Ian said something

    Does anyone have a diagram for this? An electronics guy I know suggested a diode, a resistor, and a couple other things that I don’t remember to make sure the current is regulated and there’s no backflow. I don’t want to hurt my ‘pod.

  123. gbgbgbgbgbgbgb said something

    which wires go where?

  124. le french pimp said something

    i find this is a very very creative and handy piece of electronics, i want to try to make one, you are a fucking genius. keep up the good work. i have made an ipod mini case, it’s pretty good. just saw of the top of a tin and put in some foam padding et voila.


    now fuck off


  125. klucker said something


    Sup guys just experimenting here. I’m trying it with a USB as well. The wiring is pretty simple I’ll explain. So here’s the idea. Ther is one thing to remember about closed circuits. The positive spits the energy out and the negative sucks it in. So when you do the battery’s as explained farther in this article remember to go negative to positive and likewise. Whn working with a USB por that has a power input and a power output you just have to seperate thopse wires and strip the plastic coating to be able to splice the wires when ready. Now i’m going to tell u how to do it with 2, 9vt. batteries then three. So once you have the USB cables stripped you should purchase a few 9vt. battery caps. The ones that just snap on to the top of the batter are the best because they take up so much less space. You should also buy some butt splices to make the cuts where u need them. Alright so take the first battery cap and connect it to the 9vt. battery. U should now see two wires sticking our of the cap marked positive(+) or negative(-). Take the butt splice and butt splice the wire that reads negative to the positive side of the USB cable. Then connect the 9vt.’s possitive side to the negative side of the second 9vt. with a butt splice as well. Dont forget to wrap every butt splice in electrical tape to prevent shorting out during use. The tke the second 9vt’s positive side and again splice it to the negative side of The USB you have just created a single circuit from which your iPod can charge. For the three 9vt’s you can just keep wiring positive to nagative and then positivve to negative agin to add an extra batter. This project will not require any soddering if you use the splices instead of metal plates. HAve fun!! For all you parnts that need to know how to do this for your sons just tell then that a 12 year-old figured this out by himself as well as the Sour Altoids peakers with retractible cord!! Enjoy.

  126. Ross Whiting said something

    Question about how to connect the batteries together and the batteries to the plug. How do I do this? Which prong do I attach the wires too. Please, help. Thanks so much.


  127. john said something

    i wuz wondering if you could use this for other things like a gameboy or a rio?

  128. darko said something

    Hey, is it possible to do this for a Creative Labs Nomad Zen Xtra? I’m definitely a newb at these things.

  129. Dan said something

    Hey guys, i made my own little version of this. first off, i scrapped the altoids tin and use a slightly larger box, (ended up with the same net weight though). mine is longer lasting and is also more dourable (chris you are still a genius and i admire your creativity) if you want more details and pix, you can e mail me, (click on my name) chris i would really apreciate if you would e mail me too, id like to hear your thoughts on my changes to your design.

  130. Bob said something

    DIY iPod thingy’s are sooooo cool!
    But where do you get altoids in Europe (Belgium).
    I cant find them anywhere, I’m missing out on a great deal of the better hacks here!
    Please mail me (click on the name)
    on where to get them.

  131. mike said something

    hey i made one of these and was wondering something is the ipod supposed to get hot while charging

  132. David said something

    Where do you get the firewire port RFS-6602. Radio shack does not have them.

  133. Brendan said something

    How do you cut the hole in the side of the Altoids tin that allows you to slide the connector in to it? Also, did you just solder the connector to the inside? Lastly, what size solder do you recomend?

  134. Dan said something

    #1, you can get the ports from mouser.com, get there toll free # and call them

    #2, you can use a nibbler to cut a hole in tha side of the tin. (ahh.. a nibbler, the project makers best friend), pick 1 up fer real cheap at ure local hardware store

  135. random guy said something

    ever try modifying a tin to fit an ipod mini… no dice… my last resort was a small hammer i recently found in the hall closet

  136. Jack Tatum said something

    is anybody smart enough 2 make a bloody step-by-step site on how 2 make this (including wiring and list of items)

    or email step-by-step instructions 2 me

  137. Dan said something

    e mail me jack tatum and ill give u tha step by step

  138. Brendan said something

    I got the nibbler from Radio Shack, but I gots a small problem. You cant just nibble throught the side, you have to have an edge, and I cant get it. How did you figure it out. Email me… iM playing Halo.

  139. Bob said something

    should i add a capacitor and stuff to protect my i-pod

  140. Dan said something

    no that is unnesecary, the ipod itself contains a regulating cercuit that controlls the voltage

  141. Toby said something

    The airport warning is very valid, first hand experience. I built a wired shutter remote for a Canon Digital Rebel from a mini Altoids tin. It has 3 switches and a wire leading from it. The gate gaurds actually tried to dissassemble it then finally settled on just giving it an explosives swab test. Almost missid my flight because of that stupid thing so it flew home in checked bagage not carry on.

  142. Fish.the.iPoder@BJ.PRC said something

    thank you, buddy, for writing this article.
    i am from China, the biggest country in Asia.
    i’d like to translate your work into Chinese, my language, and post it on my MSN Space (http://spaces.m$n.com/members/fishtheblue/) to share this experience with iPodders in China.
    please tell me if you think my action is offensive to you.

    thank you again. ;)

  143. Jack Tatum said something

    dan u never sent me the step-by-step instructions

  144. Dan said something


    You never e mailed me..

  145. who? said something

    looks like a bomb

  146. rastro said something

    I am working on the same type of battery pack, but where I live its is hard to find nine volt batteries, so i am making my emergency iPod battery pack thing from 2 car battries (stolen from AutoZOne) and one deep cycle marine battery, but I was having trouble getting them damn things to fit in the hemroids can, so I decided to put them into my fishing cooler. Cooler has wheels, so it aint no trouble to drag around in case my ipod runs low on juice. There also some extre space left over for my PBR and beef jerky. But definitely dont try to take this on the airplane as the people at security frown upon PBR. I will be making these for resale on ebay too. I will be posting a link soon.

  147. Dan said something


    the stupidity of that project impresses me…

  148. E said something

    I’ll make one of these for anyone for $20 that includes shipping. slongage@hotmail.com

  149. Dan said something

    ill make a version thats more durable, longer lasting, safer on ure ipod, and is also the same weight..

    all for the same price of tha one “E” is offering, 20$

  150. Dan said something

    shipping included :)

  151. Dan said something


    email me if your interested

  152. Skip said something

    Here’s something that might work even better (plastic Case)



  153. Dan said something

    i use a plastic case in my version skip

  154. DylooT said something

    Bravo lad! Our physics teacher made us do this experiment so that we could understand electricity! Thanks a ton -DylooT


  155. Jack Tatum said something

    i think this case would b better than those tiny pill boxes

  156. Christian Keilback said something

    To answer all of your questions. First off, I have made many things run off of batteries. My Atari 2600, NES, SNES, PSOne, PSTwo, Genesis, Master System, my pong units, you name it. Power slips will not damage any equipment. What happens when the power goes out? Your iPod doesn’t die… its battery regulates the voltage. Don’t forget, you’re charging the battery, not running the iPod. Second off, this is a pretty easy mod, I plan on taking a firewire extender, cutting it, tracing pins 1 and 2, solder to a 9V connector, and hook that up to my 8 AA battery pack. 12V, lots of charge. The iPod can charge on anything 8V and higher. There is no concern about hurting any electronics at all, just make sure you have hot and ground soldered right or else you will have a dead iPod. Nice work dude, keep it up. Oh, and a little thing too, anyone who says you need a life is just too dumb to do this, so they think that comments like that will actually affect us. Keep it up, and I hope to see more mods from you!

  157. Jack Tatum said something

    dan i emailed u

  158. J.W. Snowman said something

    Does this work with 4th gen. iPods?

  159. kjl said something

    I know this will work on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation ipods but will it short circut the 4th generation?

  160. Alyx said something


    Brilliant idea, im thinking about doing a couple of them up as gifts for my friends who have ipods, but im not quite sure about some of the things and concerns that some people have about it. Seeing as im making them for other ppl, it would not be very good if my gift ended up ruining their ipod, so is there any need to be concerned about the backflow issue or the ipod being messed up in any way, ive read the posts above but there are some convincing arguements and answer, and i dont really know who to listen to. so if someone could respond to this on wether or not this will mess up your ipod, prefferably somone who is using one on theirs. that would be greatly appreciated. thanx

  161. brad said something

    which fire wire connector to use there are many on the site NTC

  162. Alyx said something

    forgot to ask this in my first post. Does onyone know for sure if this works with fourth generation ipods?

  163. Alyx said something

    ok, well, for anyone who wants to know, the specifications for charging an ipod via dc output is 12V at a 1 amp maximum. those sepcs are off the apple website. now the next question would be: what amperage does this nifty little battery pack put out?

  164. Alyx said something

    ok, last post for today, since apple is being difficult, does anyone know if these specs are the same for the mini or are they different?

  165. Steve said something

    I’m trying to make the altoids battery pack, but what do you mean by soldering and hot glueing and how do i make the hole in the side of the cantainer for the firewire socket?

  166. NUT--- said something


    Or your Mint case $17ish

    But Belkin does it with 4 AA batts. I get over 25-30 hours with the belkin/ipod setup “full batt”

    Nice job. I think you should use 3, 9vdc batts in series and use a regulator to bring it down to 12vdc

    That way the 9vdc batts can be used even when they are getting weak.

    use a LM317T and tweek it to 12vdc.

    Nerds RULE……

  167. Juan said something

    I did my circuit and everything, and when I tested the circuit with the Voltage Meter, I got 13.5V. Is that OK? Will my Mini iPod take it? It does work on iPod Mini, right? Right?


  168. Alyx said something

    it should work with your ipod but you might want to put something in there to bring the voltage down to 12V. and as long as its at 12V with a 1 amp max it should work on your mini, seeing as those are the specs for the wall charger for the mini.

  169. Alyx said something

    sorry, those are the dc specs for charging an ipod, theyre the same for the mini and the regular ipods

  170. RDT said something

    What if you take the guts out of an iPod and stuff it full of Altoids??!!

  171. alex said something

    I am thinking about adding a $2 led from radioshack to light up when your ipod is plugged in to show off or a voltage meter. i was wondering how would you connect the led to go on when it is pugged in

  172. DWY said something

    Typically you will get a reading of greater than 12 for fresh batteries. You’ll see this with most batteries reading higher when fresh (even if you test them individually; 9v many times reads as 10v or 10.5v).

  173. DWY said something

    I made my first one last night and wanted to share a couple of things I found:

    * Getting the solder to stick to the Altoids case is a real pain. Anyone else having this issue?

    * Take your time cutting the hole. Even with a nibbler it’s a delicate task. The first one I cut it slightly too big and the jack wobbled. To fix, I used some silicon duct sealer with a Q-Tip to fill in the gap. It dries clear so it doesn’t effect the look and since this isn’t meant for stability (that’s what the solder is for) I didn’t notice any problems.

    * The FW jacks I ordered had some plastic “cap” on it around the pins and the first couple melted when I soldered around the jack/case. Many of the sites I visited didn’t have zoomed in pictures of the jacks, but in the future, I’d be very careful on what type of jack to order. I also tried to super glue (to avoid melting the plastic) and I couldn’t get the glue to bond with the case/plastic. It eventually dried but the seal was brittle and fell off easily.

    * Getting the two wires properly soldered so as to solder them to the pin was a huge hassle (not to mention a mess getting it all correct so as to not touch another pin); so I used a wire splicer to connect the two wires further back on one wire. Then, it was a simple matter to connect the single wire to the pin. Using the splicer versus the direct solder didn’t seem to change the power output what-so-ever. Don’t try to splice by hand, spend the extra couple of cents and get a splicer. You’ll end up ruining 9v caps by cutting through the small wires…

    * I must have ordered a different female FW jack than shown here. Mine has to stick out some from the case otherwise the batteries won’t fit. Apparently there are different style of 9v connectors; mine are pretty “fat” and take up quite a bit of room in the case. Check around to find different styles so you can inset the FW jack.

    Well, that’s all I can remember for now…

  174. Scavenger said something

    So, has anyone actually made and used one of these successfully and repeatably?

  175. Erik said something

    this is the easiest usb charger i’ve seen yet and it can work for the shuffle ipod. I’ve got a 3d gen iPod and a shuffle so im gonna make them both. Thanks!


  176. DWY said something

    Here is a link to some photos of my project:

    Click Here

  177. CCW said something

    Just in case anyone wanted to save a few bucks on the FW female connector. Your ipod comes with a 6 pin to 4 pin adaptor. Apple already gave us everything we need, sins the Altoids.

  178. brad said something

    mine did not come with an adaptor

  179. Alex Long said something

    I love this idea, but I’m terrified of hurting my beloved iPod. Will it work on the 4th gen? Does anyone know? I can’t seem to find anything that says if it does or not.
    P.S. For a bunch of allegedly intelligent compugeeks, your spelling sucks ass. Thanks.

  180. handdoc said something

    I just completed my Altoids Ipod charger. Works like a charm. Cost me a total of $9.

  181. Steve said something

    I Really Need Help!
    I just put everything together, and I got to the wiring to the ubs socket, I’m really confused, I don’t know which pins to connect the black and red wire to.
    Please help me!

  182. Steve said something

    OH, and I’m using a mini ipod. Will it show if it’s actually charging, will the battery at the top right of the ipod screen do that wierd charging thing, or will it just look normal?

  183. alex said something

    What If the voltage is too high what can you use to bring it down

  184. 3dmac said something

    I don’t think so. At least not at 12 volts.
    The v4 iPod,mini,Photo, and shuffle are 5volt USB2 chargable. I have the newest USB Charger and it is rated at output DC 5v @ 1AMP. This is the same as a USB2 port on any MAC/PC.
    Thats why the Belkin Pack uses 4AA rechargable lithioms..

  185. online casinos said something

    wonderful work. i enjoyed read your site a lot.

    online casinos

  186. alex said something

    I ordered 2 fw ports and my luck ups lost them they were supposed to be here on the 18 but they have to now find them i cant wait to see if mine works

  187. Steve said something

    How many volts does the brand name ipod battery pack give to recharge the mini cause i think 12 is too mucn

  188. Ryan W. said something

    hey can you by any chance send me more detailed instructions?

  189. Alex said something

    you are my idol!! i wasnt about to buy one of the like 65 buck ones and i realli need one for when i goto camp <3 Thank Yah!!!!

  190. Steve said something


    I just finished this project for my mini. If you didnt no if it worked for the mini or not it does, but what happens is you should leave it alone or just listen to music and put the “hold” on. What happens, or at least for me, is the screen eventually goes black, it might flicker and go back to normal (as long as you dont use the touch pad). If it stays black then thats okay, it’s still charging. You might have some difficulties, but overall, it should work, i eventually got mine to, if you need any help with the MINI e-mail me. Once or twice it showed the battery sign with an exclamation point (!) next to it, but I just reboted the mini and tried again.

  191. Steve said something


    “If you didnt no if it worked for the mini or no it does”

    my bad, sry

  192. Steve said something

    Alex, what did you mean by this?

    2 led from radioshack to light up when your ipod is plugged in to show off or a voltage meter

    What is a voltage meter or w/e ur talkin bout

  193. alex said something

    I meant the leds for looks or to tell u when the voltage is getting low or a voltage meter i was going to look for but I have no more room left in the case for it

  194. Steve said something

    Okay, I looked it up, I no where I could put one of those lights, only it would just tell me when it’s on.

  195. Steve said something


    I just tried 2 9v and it WORKED, if you cared

  196. Steve said something

    I just tried 4 AAs, it DOES NOT WORK, i repeat, IT DOES NOT WORK, there is not enough charge, but like I said before, two 9Vs works perfectly for minis, doesn’t do ANYTHING!!!

  197. Steve said something

    I have tried adding a LED light, it works FLAWLESSLY! I’m going to add one to my next battery pack i made, ill take pictures and post them, showing how to add one of these!

  198. alex said something

    Hey steve can u tell me instrucions were to solder the led light on the connector i have no clue

  199. Tony said something

    I’m working on one using three 9volt batteries and an LM7812 voltage regulator. my order from mouser with the FW jacks should be here tomorrow, and i should have some results tomorrow night sometime. stay tuned.

    for the record, doing it this way doesn’t fit into an altoids tin, so i’m building a custom case to match the ipod for it. i’m gonna do a test setup though with all the wiring in place though to see how it works.

  200. Steve said something


    Al you need to do is, connect one wire to one of the pins, and other to another pin. Be sure you solder it to a pin the has a wire from the clip otherwise it won’t detect electricity. That’s pretty much it.


    Sounds cool, but what exactly does a regulator do? Ill stay tuned.

  201. Steve said something

    Alex (or anyone else):

    Here are some pics of how I added the LED light, note, as long as the batteries are hooked up the light it ON!!

    http://www.geo cities .com/steel cube12/LED light.html?1111706597066

    When I posted this I had to add some spaces, when you go to the address, dont include ANY SPACES

  202. alex said something

    Thanks steve very helpful i will install mine soon i will show pics and report how it cam out

  203. alex said something

    Steve (or anyone else) i am going to put a switch so i can turn the light off and on but do you think that will stop the current and if so how can i make it so that the current will go without the light on

  204. mikey 27 said something

    dude do you think you could rig one up for the sony psp cause the battery is supper week it only last two to five hours email me if you ever make one your a freaken smart i envi you magnifecent basterd !

  205. Steve said something


    I think you probably could, Just connect it to the pins along w/the wire from the batteries, ill look into that tho. Where where you planning to get one, do they have one on radioshack.com?

  206. Steve said something

    OH SHOOT!For some reason my light doesnt work anymore! Try hooking it up to two wires, 1 red, 1 black! Try this before you glue anything or put it in the container!

  207. alex said something

    I tried it also after about 6 hours it didnt work anymore i think it burnt out mine got very hot and burnt out

  208. alex said something

    if anyone wants to im me and ask me questions my instant message is fartman091

  209. Tony said something


    THe voltage regulator will limit the outgoing juice to exactly 12v at 1 amp, the specs for charging a 4th gen iPod. it will disipate a little juice as heat, byt whatever. the regulator will shut down and cut off output if it starts to fry from heat or a short.

    it’s just a little bit safer way to do this, considering the high cost of ipods.

  210. Kyle LeFever said something

    This is wicked cool! My girlfriend is going to love this thing.

  211. Steve said something


    WOW! That sounds safer! What model would you get? Say, you get one from radioshack, could you find the exact one you might be thinkin of on radioshack

  212. alex said something

    tried adding led lights but the result was 13 bad led lights at the end i think the voltage is too high for them how can you hook them up then

  213. Jack Tatum said something

    can anyone write and show wit pics detailed instructions
    the wiring instructions are pretty vague

  214. Steve said something

    Get the 12V LED lights

  215. Steve said something

    I’ve been havin alot of trouble with the LED light. I’ve just about given up on it, I think I might
    just stop tryin to add the lights unless someone figures out how to use em, without messin them up

  216. alex said something

    i am trying a new task i have a fairly large tin case from this gay protractor and i am going to put a computer fan in it with grills on top and bottom with a seperate battery for it

  217. Ivan said something

    Hey, this looks like a sweet idea. Can you send me some instructions that are simplified, I could probably use the ones posted here, but i am only a kid and don’t really understand. o yeah, i saw your design in Mac World Mag.

  218. Ivan said something

    o yeah, my emal is ivanpowerkronick@yahoo.com

  219. Tony said something

    the voltage regulator is model number lm7812, from Radio Shack. most red/organge/yellow/green LEDs you get from radioshack are made for 2volts. if you attach that right onto even just one 9volts battery, the LED will burn out in just a few seconds. you need to use the proper resistors for that to work. refer to the links below, in order, for choosing resistors and hooking them up correctly.



    i’ll also post details on my implementation when i’m done, including part numbers and such.

  220. meeee! said something

    anyone confused on the instructions can go to unix monkey:

    it is clearly layed out

    i dont like the layout for the batteries and the positioning of the firewire so ill probably design it like chris did

  221. Steve said something

    I was kind of hoping to make these or the gum container ones for ppl, but how would I receive the money and they receive the pack w/o any cheating, not like I’d mess around.

  222. adam said something

    How about a single AA battery in a chapstick tube…? I think the chapstick tube would be too small, but you probably could beat it up to somehow make it fit.

  223. Juan said something

    I just made the oneusing the Altoids Gum can and a 9V battery, but decided to use a USB port instead of a FWire one, since I’m on a Mac, my USB cable is pretty much useless and it was a hassles to unplug my FWire everytime I wanted to use the cable.

    Anyway, made it, and it started charging my Mini 4GB. I did it for like 20 min. and it was charging. The next day I did it for like 1hr, it said it was charging, but at the end the Mini’s battery became discharged. Mini still works fine, but not sure why it didn’t get charged. Anyone?

  224. Juan said something

    Oh, and I made the FirwWire verison using UnixMonkey diagram, and went all the way and sanded my Altoids canister so it’s all smooth silver metal, and put an Apple logo from the back of an old keyboard on it. It’s freakin’ beatiful, and it works.

    I’ll make one for $20. (I’ll sand it for $5 more) juan.cano@cox.net

  225. chris said something

    I don’t know what the iPod mini is rated at, but USB is only 5 volts! Hooking up a 9 volt directly to the USB port is a mistake. You need to use a 5 volt voltage regulator if attempting anything USB. If the mini is rated at 5 volts to anything greater than 9 volts, you should be OK. BE VERY CAREFUL.

    Read this article by this guy who made a small USB charger – all the instructions are there:

  226. DWY said something

    Anyone else havinng issue getting the solder to stick to the FW port and the Altoid tin?

    My just seemms to roll off…

  227. Pareed Makkar said something

    The voltage from AC adapter for 4th generation IPOD is not 12 volt, but it is 5 volt. Therefore giviving 12 volt from external sourse may kill the ipod

  228. AMA said something

    On the back of my 4th generation 20 gig iPod it says the ipod is rated at 5-30 volts DC at 1.0 amp max. So theoretically any voltage between 5-30 volts at 1.0 Amp max should work.. am I wrong? am I missing something?

  229. Jonis said something

    I tried to make one but it didn’t seem to work. I followed the diagram, but when I tried to get a voltage reading the AA batteries started to get hot. I am not sure what I did wrong. I might to to make another since I have all the parts. Does anybody know of a site that has better pics?

  230. Steve said something

    DO NOT USE WITH MINI. Good thing I still have the warranty, but it RUINS IT! oh well, ill just use the warranty.

  231. AMA said something

    It sounds like a short circuit. Make sure all your connections clean and the positive terminals are not touching the negative terminals. Same with the wires.

  232. AMA said something

    Jonis, Where do u get all the stuff for this?

  233. Tim said something

    not to be noobish, but wouldnt you want to put a swtich on it so that you dont watse the batts while not in use??? my friend made a usb one with the 5v regulator for is mini and it worked great…except in 1 week that batt was dead nd he didnt use it once, except testing. he just remade it with a switch. would one be needed for a 4th gen ipod?? (i am going to be using a firewire, number 538-53462-0611 at mouser…i just need the port i got it all wired nd it is putting out 12.11vdc…… thanks

  234. Tim said something


  235. Brandon said something

    Hey, if anyone is selling a working one of these e-mail me for the info, click my name for the info

  236. 尖锐湿疣 said something


  237. Jamie Smith said something

    Best part of this website:

    Cynthia and Johnny O, TKA references! Freestyle lives!

  238. Lars Jorgensen said something

    Does anyone know…

    Wouldn’t it make sense to put a 1N4004 diode between each battery eliminating the tendency to recharge each other?

    What about a capacitor to smooth out irregularities in the current, along with a regulator; or is this getting too complicated?

    Is there any need to protect the regulator, with a diode, from reverse current coming from the iPod when the pod is connected but turned off?

    lem’me kno

  239. A said something

    Has anyone dismantled the Belkin charger.

    If so, can you tell how it can power an iPod off of just four AA batteries?
    Could the design be replicated? Could it fit into an Altoids tin?

  240. paige said something

    I WOUL LIKE TO KNOW IF U FOUND a website for altoids inventions. did u?

  241. A said something

    I’ve been reading some of the other posts here. If the iPod is rated at 5-30 volts, couldn’t you just use 4 AA batteries? That would be 6 volts. Does anyone think I would need voltage regulation or diodes if I were to use 4 AA batteries?

  242. KOGI said something

    You may want to look into using NiCd or NiMH rechargeable batteries to avoid the cost of replacing worn out alkalines. Then you could simply mount a DC power jack next to the firewire jack or on one of the other sides, and plug your Altoids into the wall to recharge. As far as regulation… if the iPod truly is rated at 5-30v you don’t need any regulation if you’re using batteries. It may be a good idea, however, to use some decoupling caps to ensure a clean, noiseless power supply. A voltage regulator MAY help you get a bit more battery life, but only if you use more of a performance part number. The 7812 is a VERY inefficient regulator that will burn just as much energy performing the regulation as you would theoretically save. Possibly even reducing your battery life.

    I prolly won’t be back to this page for a long while… if you have questions, email me at jackmanbob1@hotmail.com

  243. Lars said something

    I guess the reason for all the batteries is the duration of the energy, not just the voltage level.

  244. JCCK said something

    hey im 16 years old and Im comin from berlin.
    I`ve got an ipod mini and as i saw this idea on your site i wanted to start imediately to build my own Altoids battery pack.but I didn`t had one of those firewire connectors so i took the connector of a normal usb cable!
    when i bought my ipod there was an usb connection cable included. I`ve just used a 9v battery . Thanks for the idea!!!!!!!sorry for any mistakes i go to school to improve my english!

  245. Derek said something

    ATTENTION ALL PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TRY THIS WITH A USB AND HAVE A 4G IPOD!!!!!!!!!!!! it took me a while but I figured out how to make it work. but I did it. what you need is a female usb connector and you need to get a lm7508 voltage regulator that puts out 5V @ 1 amp (that you can get at radioshack for $1.59) and an altoids can and the rest of the parts in the instruction. here is a digram of how you should wire everything.(next collum) after you put everything together plug in your ipod with the usb cord that came with your ipod. it night take a minute or two so… just be patient and it should work

  246. Derek said something

    sorry couldn’t get the diagram but what you do is follow the wiring instructions but you connect the ground wires comming from the 9volts to the middle prong of the regulator. connect a wire from the fourth pin(by the way here is were you get the pinout for the usb http://www.pinouts.ru/data/USB_pinout.shtml)to the middle also. then the red wire comming from the double a’s goes to the input side and then attach a wire comming from the first pin to the output side(on the box of the voltage regulator should be a diaram for you) P.s. hope this isn’t to complicated for you.

  247. dsf said something

    google the sony nw-e507 for the hottest mp3 player

  248. Dylan Schink said something

    iPOd are da best!

  249. TJ said something

    For those folks in Australia trying to find this Firewire Port, get them online here. I bought a few from the manufacturer and willing to sell them to ipodders down under.

  250. Kyle said something

    Very very neat idea, but could i try more batteries in a different case of some sort?

  251. a said something

    youre weird

  252. mike said something

    Chuangbo Battery Co., Ltd is a leading battery manufacturer in China. We mainly produce Polymer Li-ion, Li-ion, Ni-MH & Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries, Li-MnO2, Li-SOCl2, Alkaline batteries, battery packs and chargers. We can also produce according to customers’ requirement.
    > > > > > > > >
    > > > > > > > > We have 2 modern production bases in Guangzhou and shenzhen, they cover an area of 380,000 square meters,over 4200 qualified employees are working there, the daily output is more than 700,000pcs.The quality control is implementing ISO9001: 2000 standard to guarantee the quality and stabilty of products.
    > > > > > > > >
    > > > > > > > >
    > > > > > > > > A strong R&D team enriches chuangbo Power leading role in battery technologies,We have 5 synthetical laboratories, a joint Post Doctoral Scientific Research Working Station with Tianjin University and a joint Rechargeable Battery Research Center with Guangzhou Government. Our strong R&D team is the most powerful backing of our development.
    > > > > > > > >
    > > > > > > > > We take humanistic management as our concept, regard the people as the most important factor in our development, pay attention to safety and environmental protection, take the responsibility of the society. We, Chuangbo Power people, with great passion and faithfulness,are willing to provide our customers perfect service, and striding forward with you to create a bright future.
    > > > > > > > >
    > > > > > > > > http://www.szbatteries.com
    > > > > > > > > name :Mike
    > > > > > > > > phone number :+8613723725142

  253. The Hotness said something

    I am interested in buying one so can you sell them or do i have to make my own?

  254. mistral938 said something

    u have to make ur own, unless somebody on here wants to sell them

  255. Steve said something

    Hey, if anyone wants me to make one of these for them, I will do it for hmmm, $20 plus shipping starting now, I got to find out what shipping will be though. and I can make the other ones two!

  256. Reed said something

    I decided to make one. I ran some tests on voltage and amps… No need for resistors or anything like that.


  257. mistral938 said something

    u didnt u put the plug on the side?

  258. Steve said something

    OK, im goin to redo the last message

    I will sell this battery pack for $20 + $5(shipping) = $25, I don’t have an account on paypal that allows me to recieve paypals, so I’ll take money orders, and ship the item the DAY i get the money order. I also sell the 9V battery packs for oh, $15 + $5(shipping) = $20 and I also made some that run on 2 9Vs which works best with minis that i sell for the same price as the battery pack above.

    If you would like one, email me which one u want, and ur address, I will then reply with confermation and my address for u to send the money order to. Thank You for reading!

  259. Jusrin G. said something

    Could you send me one because i just do not have the resources to make one. My Radio Shack sucks balls and all they sell is RC car parts. I would like it if i could buy one from you.

  260. Daniel said something

    thats pretty slick

  261. Doug said something

    Hi, anybody know how i could make one of these for my psp? thanks

  262. Doug said something

    PS: if you complete an offer for me that would be SICK!!! :) thanks

  263. Steve said something

    my email is steelcube12@hotmail.com

  264. John said something

    How do you make the hole for the port?

  265. mistral938 said something

    use a dremel

  266. mike said something

    yeah i was wondering when your making the v3 battery charger where do you solder all of the wires on the fire wire port because i get it all but that so…

  267. Steve said something

    oh if u want to buy one from me, i take paypal now, just upgraded, not that many of u cared

  268. mike said something

    do u take mail order cash or not cause ill mail u 20.00 in cash to ur house so if u want.

  269. Steve said something

    Yes i can take money orders, plz contact me at Steelcube12@hotmail.com about purchasin one tho, thank you =)

  270. Steve said something

    you can contact me at my email/\ or on AIM=Steelcube12

  271. will said something

    this is freakin amazing i wanna make one. :D
    how much is a saughterer?

  272. Steve said something

    u mean solder gun, er somethin, u can get em at radioshack, dont screw around with the tips, they break, i can prove it, accidentally dropped mine, i finished bout 4 packs before it happened tho, just dont drop it and u’ll be fine, well, i think their all diff, i got the one u hold like a pencil, works really well, runs on 4 AA er AAA

  273. Trevor said something

    did you end up getting searched at the airport? Im leaving soon and really want to bring my battery pack.

  274. Joe said something

    I am a little concerned about airport as well since my motivation for maing one of these is that I will be out of the country and unable to charge my iPOd via my computer.

  275. brad said something

    yall dont have to use that mouser 6bit firewire..it works with the regualr ones. with 6 bits in one straight line..just thought yall sould kno. the soldering is a bit more tedious but all the same

  276. dave said something

    Okay, so you turned an altoids tin into an ipod, big deal. I turned my ipod into an altoids tin!

  277. Evan said something

    hey, i was wondering if someone knows what are the concesqunces of not putting a voltage regulator in it, and will this work for the 4g 30 gig ipod Photo?

  278. Evan said something

    i did this with my ipod and it fucking shorted out, and now i’m stuck with no ipod, who ever made this things should rott in fucking hell ya fucking faggot

  279. Bob said something

    Hey Evan . . . unless I am mistake, aren’t you the one that made the one that fried your ipod . . .

  280. Bucho said something

    Dude, you are a true hacker. Very nice!

  281. Daniel said something

    Awesome! I wish we had Altoids in Australia.

  282. Ryan said something

    Well, pretty awesome but do you have a other webpage with detailed instructions on how to make this. I tried and, well my iPod is ok but there is a pretty big burn mark on my altoids can LOL. Simply to say, i think i wired wrong. Pictures are good, but kinda confusing when it gets down to the detailed stuff like which wire to connect where, etc.

  283. Andar said something

    I made the charger and I don’t know what exactly went wrong but I ended up frying my logic board. Now im waiting for a cheap, working one to show up on ebay

  284. FranHam said something

    The Amp-hour rating of the various battery cells needs to be considered and more closely matched.

    It is not a close match between the 9v batteries and the penlight cells. What may happen is that the smaller (lower amp per hour, the 9v) cells will discharge first, before the AA batteries.

    In this case, the penlight batteries will then charge the smaller
    battery cells (9v) in reverse. You are getting close to a good idea here. If you match the amp-hour capacity of all the batteries, you’d be much closer.

    An external battery for an Ipod is a good enhancement to an already
    very good product.

    Also, you don’t want to try charging a non rechargable battery.

    -An experienced, professional geek

  285. Ahmed Mahmoud said something

    Great idea, if I say so myself. I was kinda thinking of building one myself, altho for a different reason.
    when I got my mini I kinda freaked out when I found out battery life averages 400 charge cycles, so I started thinking..
    if I used an external battery pack all the time and so never allowed my ipod’s internal battery to discharge, would that mean we go through no charge cycles at all? and would that therefore increase internal battery life expectancy?
    another thing here, can I build a charge adapter to work on the mains? I know it already exists but 1.they dont sell them here in egypt and 2.theyre too damn expensive for power adapters.

    by the way, can I do it with a usb socket instead of the firewire? where do the power lines go?
    oh and about the inequal discharging, I suggest you add some diodes on the batteries. might work.
    great effort, I might et on it later when I get some equipment.

  286. Paul Santos said something

    You can get kits to make this sort of thing at this website. You can get USB sockets there too.

  287. Steve Lukather said something

    living in germany I was quite long searching about a case in europe.
    I found very nice one at http://www.geckoPAC.com

  288. Scott said something

    Nice one!
    Would like more detail and maybe more pics, or evewn a video of making it…how long does it take to make jsut 1 tin?

  289. mike said something

    Chuangbo Battery Co., Ltd is a leading battery manufacturer in China. We mainly produce PDA batteries, , battery packs and chargers. We can also produce according to customers’ requirement.

    We have 2 modern production bases in Guangzhou and shenzhen, they cover an area of 380,000 square meters,over 4200 qualified employees are working there, the daily output is more than 700,000pcs.The quality control is implementing ISO9001: 2000 standard to guarantee the quality and stabilty of products.

    A strong R&D team enriches chuangbo Power leading role in battery technologies,We have 5 synthetical laboratories, a joint Post Doctoral Scientific Research Working Station with Tianjin University and a joint Rechargeable Battery Research Center with Guangzhou Government. Our strong R&D team is the most powerful backing of our development.

    We take humanistic management as our concept, regard the people as the most important factor in our development, pay attention to safety and environmental protection, take the responsibility of the society. We, Chuangbo Power people, with great passion and faithfulness,are willing to provide our customers perfect service, and striding forward with you to create a bright future.

    phone number :+8613923714966

    website :www.szbatteries.com

  290. alex said something

    cool idea!!!!!!!

  291. Blake said something

    this is an extremely good idea…
    hey will… solderers are about 10 dollars and radio shack,
    which is the place you can also get the wires and AA holders.
    it takes about 30 minutes to make a full one, non-stop working
    i make and lot of them then sell them for $20 and make a
    **** load of profits and money, it costs about $5 per each to make one….

  292. dlpmaster said something

    hey anyone here tested this with an iPod with Video Capabilities..?
    I have an 60gb/black iPod Video and I hate having to recharge my ipod after watching a Movie (full lenght) or even a tv show..
    I was wondering if this was 100% save.. and if it would add more battery life time for a Video playing iPod.. anyone has tested this?
    Well it sounds great but before I try anything I want to make sure I won’t f-up my $400 iPod.. because money does not grow on trees..
    and would it be worth it for an iPod with Video?

  293. Wil said something

    do you know how to make a usb altoids battery pack for a dell dj 20

  294. Wil said something

    you all know on ebay some small company makes these for about 15 bucks

  295. david said something

    howd you make the fire wire conection thing?

  296. Paul said something

    Hey, i want to do this thing for my iPod Mini, how many batteries (and which type) shall i use? And; will it work ona USB cable instead of iEEE? thnx. Send me an email to smashmouthps@hotmail.com

  297. Paul said something

    Anybody knows if itll run on 4AA batteries? After all, normal USB ports give out about 5volts only.. smashmouthps@hotmail.com

  298. Carlos Abel Carvalho Pereira said something

    What about a battery pack using 4 AA batteries with a step-up voltage regulator? I’ve done it, and it works!

    Check out http://www.national.com/ds.cgi/LM/LM1577.pdf

    the circuit to make is in the 1st example. Plain and simple. IT WORKS. I HAVE ONE WORKING!

  299. Carlos Abel Carvalho Pereira said something

    Here is my site with all the info on the 4 AA battery charger for the 5G IPOD (and possibly others)


  300. ansil said something

    very nice. however it doesn’t appear to be rechargable or did i miss something in the thread. i mean if you are going through all the trouble wouldnt’ it make sense to make it rechargable. also have you htought about superhigh capacity gold capacitors through a regulator. I am not sure on the current pull of the ipod since i dont’ own one i am just now fixing a dropped one for my friend. But with a background in Engineering Electronics i think you could incorporate a li-Ion batteryand charger for the same price. cellphone Lion batts are cheap. you can pick them up at pawnshops for a couple of bucks. ratshack sales some from there catalog for dirt cheap.


  301. 310mar said something


  302. j said something

    First, a metal box is a terrible idea when you can get a nice ABS plastic “project box” at Radio shack or Fry’s. Second, wiring up 9volt batteries to double A 1.5volt batteries is a supremely stupid idea. A 9volt is not a single cell, but actually made up of six tiny 1.5volt cells which have no where near the MAh rating of the “double A’s”. Third, without a current limiter, you could toast your expensive “non user replaceable” iPod battery. Fourth, if you want to see just how “angry” a battery can get when it’s hooked up wrong, take a fresh 9volt and hold a penny (or an Altoids tin) on top of it with your thumb and see how long you can hold it there.

  303. John said something

    HOLY Q#@# U paralyzed my thumb omg!

  304. jesus said something

    yes my disciples have told me it smells minty. mmmmmmmmmm minty

  305. I said something

    I know that this is a really good idea, but I’m too stupid to figure out how to make one of these so… How much? I’m not rich so please don’t go crazy. Thanks!!!!

  306. Nathan said something

    I am going to try to make one of these for a 4GB ipod mini. All of the posts here confuse me and I’m looking for some one to help me via e-mail. I really dont want to scew up my ipod so it would be good if youve done this before. If you’d like to help me send me an e-mail at nathan90@gmail.com I have gmail invites for the person that helps me (if they want them). I’m not bad with electronic and I have a solder gun.

  307. Nick said something

    okay i reallllly want to buy one of these..can someone sell me one..ill pay 30 bucks for one..i just got my ipod video and i dont feel like shelling out 70 bucks for a battery pack at the apple store..


  308. Eric Nentrup said something

    Anybody have an idea of how to make a backup power supply for a PowerBook? Not necessarily with 9V’s or AA’s…

    I’m more interested in making an adaptor so I can use one of my camcorder’s Li-Ion packs (Canon GL2…third party 5500mah 8 hour pack) in a pinch. Thoughts?

    WRITE ME DIRECT! eric{a}ericnentrup{dt}com

  309. steve said something

    i made this one, but i followed unixmonkey, and i didnt apply a firewire port, instead i just cut my cable and wired the altoids can to the black and white wires inside the firewire cable. anyways, i would get about 15 hours of life from the charger, but once i changed my batteries in it(with fresh ones) it will only charge for about an hour, then stop charging, and the ipod says it has half battery life left. what is wrong with it? if anyone has answers, please email me at seekandestroy999@aol.com

    btw, this thing is fucking awesome! next for me is the altoids headphone amp, or the altoids portable speakers. btw, does anyone have info on the altoids wireless antennae? ive never seen that before. . .

  310. joe said something

    can you email more specific instructions?

  311. steve said something

    i moved the 2″AA” batteries out and put a 3rd 9 volt in there today, works just as fine as with 2 9 volts and 2 “AA”s did, but it seems to charge faster and last longer, and it took up less space. so, maybe it is smarter to wire it the same way as you did, but instead of the “AA”s and the rack that they are in, just put another 9 volt there. anyone see anything wrong with this? works fine on my mini . . . .

  312. steve said something

    btw, http://www.unixmonkey.net has some really simple and easy wiring instructions. also, since i went ahead and split open my firewire cable and hooked it up to the black and white wires inside, i didnt have to do any welding on this project. none at all. simple as hell.

  313. Kirby said something

    hey, jw where do i solder the wires to the firewire socket? also i can’t find a 2x aa battery holder ANYWHERE, where can i get one? 3.Will it fry a 1st gen. if there is no voltage regulator? Where do i solder the voltage regulator????

    I am supremely puzzled! plz help me! email me @ kirbster33@hotmail, or just repost on here.

  314. steve said something

    im not sure about the first gen ipod. . .but you can get the 2x “AA” battery holder from radioshack for about 2 dollars, and it has a 9 volt male connector on it. then you want to get 3 9 volt female connector wires from radioshack also, which come in a 5 pack for 3 bucks. then just go home and twist the wires together and booyah. its a working bomb

  315. Kirby said something

    ok cool, but also i want to experiment with 3 9volts. so if i got a 12 + volt regulator, it would work the same, right? I’m still confused as to where i would solder the voltage regulator anyway, so…
    p.s. anyone know any stores that carry firewire ports?

  316. Kirby said something

    lol sorry guys one more thing… this is kind of a newb question but when it says pins 1 and 2, are they actual pins? or do u just solder the wires in that area?

  317. BetaGeek said something

    Hi, nice project. On the matter of airport security DON’T take the tin through full of batteries. Remove the batteries then you have a tin full of wires, it doesn’t look like anything dangerous without the batteries in it, just a thought.

    Is it possible to put rechargeables inside the tin and charge them from a firewire port?

  318. John Thompson said something

    I picked up a GeekPod 100 battery from batterygeek.net and am getting 100+ hours of audio run time per charge and about 12 hours of video run time per charge. So far so good.

  319. Idiot said something

    Well guys I can tell you NOT to do this with a USB for the Ipod video, I have tried it and I now have A 300USD Brick! it seems I’ve totally stuffed the battery, think about limiting the voltage before using it for the ipod video.

    Anyway moral of the story is don’t be the stupid and double check things will work before you try them. Now if you’ll all excuse me I’ll now go cry in a corner

  320. India said something

    Hi :) i relly need help understanding this— if anyone could help me out,, i’m trying to do this for my science fair project– plez email me at ircs2b@aol.com or india@email.com — i need help understanding this and if someone could just make a list of all the materials I would need, I would relly apreciate it :D :)

  321. India said something

    around how much did all the materials and the altoids case cost?

  322. Idiot said something

    India: The altiods cost about 3USD or something like that, the USB connector costs like 1.50, the battery snaps are about 50c and the AA battery thing costs a dollar or so.
    I got all my parts except the altoids tin in New Zealand

  323. aaron said something

    Screw all you nay-sayers, i did it–no thanks to anybody else. Same setup, only with a USB connector. You need a 5 volt regulator (three pins: input, ground and output) and the female USB connector . Solder it all together, using pins 1 (positive) and 4 (negative) on the USB A female connector and bam! ipod charges. Email me at criminalrodeo@gmail.com if you have any questions.

  324. Ryan said something

    I was just wondering if anybody had tried this with the iPod nano and if anyone had any problems with it you can email me at lumby87@hotmail.com

  325. Steve said something

    Hey, if anyone wants me to make one of these firewire ipod battery packs I will do so willingly, just AIM me or email me with how many batteries u want in there and we’ll negotiate a price, thanks

  326. Steve said something

    or if someone just needs some help with makin the FIREWIRE one lmk

  327. AKbrennan said something

    Hey man, Great post, thanks for the help. I just made the V2 and im loving it, i ripped the firewire ports off a pci card, and after a few were unsuccessful from my bad soldering, i discovered that using hot glue is really a great tip. I was only wondering, is there a limit on how many batteries you can use? if you use say 4 9volts will the voltage short or ruin the iPod?? Thanks alot, brennan

  328. Joses said something

    has nobody made a usb tin charger?! I don’t want to buy the firewire. My g5 only came with a usb! Is it even possible?

  329. Mike said something

    Last I checked USB only supplies 5 VDC. iPod gets charged from USB. Supplying 12 V power just shows how robust the Apple toy is.

  330. cam said something

    If ur conserned about toasing ur apple just use 4 recharable AA make sure they are recharable then it is under 5V but should theorecly provide 14.4 Hours of extra life.

  331. Sarah said something

    Wow. This idea would be perfect if the risk wasn’t there to fry my 30Gb Video Ipod. Its so nifty to use the altoid can, looks alot better than the commercial belkin ones that are bigger and blander. Kudos to everyone building these chargers sucessfully.

  332. nick said something

    whoever told the rest about mouser is genius. best and cheapest place for electronic components.(use all the time)

  333. spiro said something

    can ne one gove me a baic outline on how to build this for the ipod video?

  334. Will said something

    Wow, this is great!
    But is it compatible with all ipods? and how is it that the battery watt-age is different from the V2 Charger and the V3 Charger, but still works the same?
    Someone please fill me in on this.

  335. andrew said something

    hey can u use a usb instead of fierwier????

  336. Geoff said something

    Ok, couple questions:

    1) So if a USB charges at 5V, then why step the power up? Apparently the iPod will charge on that 5V.

    2) How about just using a 9V battery?

    btw., i have a 5G 30gb video

  337. they call me tater salad said something

    Could I buy one of these? I’m going on a trip soon and won’t have an outlet to charge my iPod. If you could use a usb instead of firewire that would be sweet.

  338. yo said something

    ur an idiot

  339. ryan said something

    What regulator should i use for an ipod?

    12 Volts


    or this one

    5 volts


  340. john wenman said something

    any ipod battery problems can be addressed by the ipodstop boys at http://www.ipodstop.co.uk

  341. Geoff said something

    I think it depends on what iPod you have. 5volt for the shuffle and 12volt for anything else…correct me if Im wrong.

  342. brad said something

    i recently purchased a kit similar to this one and i was wondering if it is legal to carry onboard an airplane or will I be stopped at the security gate?

  343. W!ll said something

    i’ve found something better!It’s a whole mp3 player in an altoids tin. here’s the link if you wanna check it out…http://web.media.mit.edu/~ladyada/make/minty/index.htmlOr just click here to get there

  344. John said something

    I’m sure you’ve seen the article on these little babies in Popular Science’s March issue, eh? How does it feel to have started a revolution?

  345. John said something

    I’m sure you’ve seen the article on these little babies in Popular Science’s March issue. How does it feel to have started a revolution?

  346. Pat said something

    this is a cool project, but if you use more than 5 volts on a 5g ipod from a usb port, it won’t work. you should try these easy to understand instructions http://www.aarondunlap.com
    it comes with all the parts, you should get a low-power soldering iron and some 22 gauge wire to do it though

  347. JP said something

    Anyone who thinks the 2 9V and 2 aa batery Idea is good does not know enough about elecreonics to attempt to make any kind of electronic device.

    First 9V batteries can deliver 300mA amps for 1 hour aproximately. An NIMH AA can deliver up to 2700mA for 1 hour or 300mA for 9 hours.

    AA’s will give you 9 times the pattery life of 9 volt batteries.

    iPods are expensive and need a stable power supply. A 5VDC or 12VDC power regulator is available at radio shack for less than 2 dollars and is about 1 cm 1.5 cm. this will not increase the cost or size of the project by much and will make the device safe for the iPod.

    Devices that use 2 or 4 aa batteries to charge a 5 or 12 VDC iPod (Shuffle and Nano, and I think 4G iPods need 5 VDC) use DC to DC step up power regulators. National Semiconductor makes a great one that costs several dollars I think. These generate less heat and waist less energy than the step down power regulators that are available at Radio Shack, but they require a more complicated circuit so only people sure of thier abilities to read a schematic and build a very small scale circuit with surface mount parts (very small) should attempt this.

    For a simple design, take an aa battery pack using as many batteries as you need for a 5 VDC design you need a minimum of 7.5 VDC to run a 5 VDC step down power regulator. If you want to have the option of using NiMH rechargeables then that would take 1.2 VDC X 7 so an 8 pack would be best. If you only want to use Disposable alkaline then 1.5VDC X 5 would be accepble but a 6 pack would be easier to find. wire the + battery lead to the power input pin on the regulator. Wire the – battery terminal and the – terminal of the USB connector to the ground pin on the regulator, then wire the +5VDC from the USB connector to the + 5VDC output pin on the regulator. This is simple and is safe. I cut a USB extention cable in half and stripped out the + and – 5VDC wires on both. I wired the female USB to the regulator and the Battery pack to the regulator. I then hooked the male USB into the femail and tested the voltages to make sure it was 5 VDC and the polarity was correct.

    To make this for a 12 VDC iPod then make the following changes. I think it requiresabout 14-15 VDC so about 10 AA Alkaline batteries or 13 AA NiMH. If you do not need a very long play time maybe only one extra charge on your iPod. then 2 9Volt batteries. Substitute a firewire plug (I recommend sacreficing a firewire cable so you can use the opposite end for verifying the voltage and polarity.

    I prefer the AA NiMH rechargables as I have energizers that recharge in 15 minutes, and bateries are not cheap, but if I wanted an emergency charger and size was most important I would use the 9 VDC batteries.

    The important things to remember are

    1– iPods are expensive test you device with a multimeter not an iPod!!!!

    (you can get a multimeter for 5 dollars if you bargain hunt)

    2– iPods are expensive and 2 dollars for a voltage regulator is better than replacing the iPod because the voltage went out of range.

    3– iPods are expensive so use the same batteries. If you use Alkaline AA then use all the same brand and same age and use. If you use AA NiMH then make sure they are all the same mA/hr rating. If you use 9 Volt then anly use 9 Volt and if you have 2 9 Volts then make sure they are the same age and brand.

    Burns nad shrapnel wound HURT– so follow the above advice. If you have 2 9VDC batteries and 2 AA’s the 9VDC batteries will run out long before the AA’s. THe AA’s which can supply more current than the 9 Volt can hadle will start attempting to charge the 9 Volt batteries and it is very likely that the 9 Volt battery will get super hot and do one of the following.

    1- BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE (houses are super expensive)
    2- BURN YOU (if it is in you pocket it could burn something that you would not be able to fathom the pain) OUCH
    3- BLOW UP. This could damage pernonal property. Get you arrested if you are on an airplain (can you say GITMO) If it is in you pcket can you imagine a loosing parts near your pocket!

    There is a reason no companies with deep pockets market the design that started this thread. IT IS A LIABILITY! Products liability lawyers would get rich off of all the unitended unichs that would result.

    If the idea of putting the project in a mint tin is of utmost inportance then use the 5 or 12 VDC regulator and 1 or 2 9 Volt batteries to get the 9-18 Volts DC you need for the regulators. I also sugest a simple aluminum heat sink for the regultator as they tend to warm up a bit. the closer your input voltage is to the minimum supply voltage the less heat that will be generated so if you need 7.5 then shoot for 8 – 9 VDC I mad a plug in charger for my Nano with a 5 VDC regulator using an old 12 VDC wall wart I had setting around. With no heat sink it got hot, but with a few square inches if aluminum heat sink it gets to no more than 100-110 Deg F while charging the iPod, and barely noticably warm if just adding time to a charged iPod!

    I hope to mayby save a life or at least an iPod with this information.

    I am an engineer and work on some of the most complex high tech equipment on the planet. I make projects like this because it is fun and saves a few dollars, and I can get a great custom look. I do not however put my beloved iPod at risk, or even more important I do not risk injuring myself or others. There are many sites out there that have detailed schematics and step by step instructions for making the altoids can charger using power regulators. Please use those sites and save yourself pain frustration and money. There are also a few sites that tell you how to make a similar device using a step up DC to DC regulator. This will allow you to make a very small and effective device if you can find a supplier for the parts and have the skill to solder small parts precicely.

  348. Silivrenion said something

    Alright, so I went through the steps it took to create a USB Altoids tin charge pack. It works very well, and I can charge the iPod about 1 and a half times from two 9v batteries, which conveniently fit right next to my circuitboard (used for getting the latest generation iPods to charge, there’s some tricks you have to play ;) .

    The only question I have is about when the 9v batteries eventually decrease below the minimum operating voltage required by a standard LM7805 5v regulator. Will the decrease in input voltage cause the output voltage to sag much from the 5v it should stay at? Will the iPod simply stop taking power once the voltages are detected to be below what is required for charging? Will the iPod pick up surface charges and go into a state of being “tricked” into thinking its charged? Will a zener diode in avalanche mode at 7.5v provide protection if this is a problem?

  349. Jon said something

    I have a video Ipod which runs off USB, which is a 5v connection. Watching videos drains the Ipod fast — too fast to make it on a 12hr Amtrak ride. I was wondering:
    1) Why not use 4 cells such as AA ,C, or D: this creates 6v with alkaline cells (4×1.5v) or rechargeables, which creates 5v (4×1.25v)
    2) Has anyone tested run times with this project with a video Ipod?

    Here is my project – Make a Ipod Battery Pack “Dildo”
    Use a tube where I could put 4 ni-cd D cells in a row wired in series, with a usb female connector at the end. I would also use a 5v “wall wart” that I have laying around, and put a male connector at the end. That way, when the “dildo” goes dead, I could just use the wall wart to plug into the Usb port of the “dildo” to recharge. Also, using a female-to-female USB adaptor, I could charge and use the Ipod with the wall wart away from the computer.

    Let me know what you guys think.

  350. RSZ said something

    All the talk about specifics of 5v (USB) vs. 12v (FW) for the 4G vs. older ipod models has me confused. What I don’t understand is how the 3rd party “universal” audio devices such as the Bose Soundock, Klipsch, etc. (as well as other devices like iPod clock “radios”) , that also recharge the iPods, manage to work with all models? The only common point about compatibility seems to be the dock connector, not whether your iPod is 2G, 3G, 4G etc., or whether it uses a USB (5V) or FW (12V) connectors/charging cable.

    As a related question – I had a 3G iPod that died and received a 4G as a gift replacement. The 3G came with the 120V AC adaptor (cool hinged plug) that used the FW cable to connect to the 3G iPod. Can I still use the 3G’s AC apapter/charger FW (presumably 12V) to charge my 4G iPod (5V?) when I am on the road?


  351. RSZ said something

    *** RE: The issue of battery packs running iPods as external battery vs. charging the iPods (unless connected through the dock connector). If you compare the actual connector in a dock vs. the connector from eith USB or FW cable, on both sides of the dock connector there are two small gray pins that are longer than what is on either cable. This is true of the dock connector from iPod as well as the connector on my Bose Soundock. Could this activate a switch in the iPod for something?


  352. Jon said something

    RSZ – you may want to take a look at this site – http://pinouts.ru/data/ipod_pinout.shtml

    It shows a pinout of the Ipod connector – showing that there are two separate pins for usb voltage and firewire voltage.

  353. RSZ said something

    Thanks Jon. Certainly gives me enough reason NOT to use my old FW AC adapter with my new 5G iPod Video (erroneously stated 4G before).

    Does the Belkin battery pack have 2 voltage regulators that take the 4 AA cells down to 5V for the USB iPods, and ?up to 12V for the FW iPods? Is the latter possible by reducing the current (same power output)?

    My situation is that I am going on a bike trip across Iowa this summer (RAGBRAI) and camping each night for a week. While there will be some power available, I’m not terribly confident I can leave my iPod around for several hours to charge in a public place unattended. While my tent is new, it’s not modern enough to have 120V AC in the walls! Thus I am looking for options to recharge the iPod overnight while I sleep. Since size/weight is not a problem for carrying batteries (the sag wagon [a.k.a. bus] carried the tents, clothes, etc), bringing along multiple sets of batteries is not a problem. For that matter, would there be any reason why an iPod charger could not be made from 4C or 4D cells instead of AAs? Obviously getting to 5 V is not a problem, but would the larger cells’ current be too much for charging an iPod along the same design as detailed above?


  354. RSZ said something

    Wait a sec – the FW AC adaptor will simply go to the proper pins (19, 20) on the iPod connector (dock or no dock). Even though the 5Gs are designed to send/receive data and charge primarily via USB, are they wired to also handle the FW 12V if connected? Seems possible, and I haven’t seen any warnings from Apple not to use older FW chargers with newer 5Gs.

    If the thought above is true, what happens with “universal” accessories like the Soundock that are able to provide for 5V for 5G/USB iPods and 12V for older FW ones? What prevents both the 5 and 12V sources in the accessory from trying to charge simultaneously?

    Sorry for all the questions. These posts are great (particularly Rastro’s – 2 car batteries, marine battery, Igloo cooler, & wheels).


  355. Jon said something

    I’m not totally familliar with all ipods (mine is a video 30gb with usb cord for XP) — What I am wondering, you say you have a “firewire” version – do you mean that you couldn’t use a usb cord to connect to your computer instead of firewire? I wasn’t aware that there were “firewire” and “usb” versions of an Ipod.

    I assume the older ipods that have firewire don’t actually have a 12v battery inside – it probably has a voltage regulator circuit inside the ipod which lowers the voltage.

  356. Jon said something

    RSZ – I just reread the second post – I’m no electrician, but I’ll explain the way I understand it.

    If you connected a lightbulb, which draws 1000 milliamps per hour (mAh) from 3 volts, to 2 AA batteries which are rated for 1000 mAh and are 3 volts wired together, the light will run for 1 hour.
    Take the same lightbulb, connected to two D cells (which is still 3 volts), which are rated for 4000 mAh, and the light should burn for 4 hours.

    Take note — The light won’t be any brighter between the different cells, because they are the same voltage, and the lights current draw is the same. (1000 mAh) The D cells just provide a longer runtime.

    Therefore, I’d recommend whatever cells that are rated for the highest mAh — many want AA cells, because they give up runtime for portability.

    PS – I haven’t read a biking mag in a while, but I remember there used to be a slick handlebar mounted headlight, which had a small wire that ran to a battery pack that was shaped like a water bottle, and fit in the holder. Better yet, you could create a complete waterproof container, which contained battery pack and Ipod, and use a external remote such as the FM remote for changing tunes!

    PPS – I remember my grandma had a little generator on her front fork, that had a wheel that contacted the sidewall and generated 12v for a headlight. Don’t know how much drag that would create, but would be an efficient charger for you! I would think it would create enough current, because surely a 12v incadescent bulb draws more than an Ipod.

  357. Shancer said something

    hey this is really cool man. i just started it today. i got the usb and the altiods tin with the cut. so i can’t wait to finish this in the next week or so depending on how much time i have. thnx for the extra info too.

  358. chris said something

    man this is kool man i like this man koll man this is the shit man omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! man sex isbad om k

  359. RSZ said something

    So with all this collective intelligence, can someone please explain how the iPod chargers discussed here – in various “shapes and sizes” – will charge your iPod battery as well as allow it to play while connected, but commermcial battery packs like the Belkin are only to play the iPod (irrespective of the status of the iPod battery) but don’t recharge the iPod batteries. In the “pin-out” diagrams for the iPod connector I have not seen any different input for current to charge the battery vs. the input for current to play the device.


  360. RSZ said something

    Feel like I’m having a soliloquy, answering my own questions too! Looks like there are different inputs for FW (12V), USB (5V), as well as a 3.7V input – which is the voltage the iPod actually runs on (same as what comes from the internal battery). See http://pinouts.ru/data/ipod_pinout.shtml

    It seems you can use either USB or FW to CHARGE the 4G or 5G docking iPods, as well as the mini. (USB only for data transfer to 4G and 5G). The shuffle only charges with USB, and 3G and earlier iPods charge only with FW. This site was helpful:
    Thus FW (12V) seems to be a universal method available for charging (except Shuffle).

    So with the home grown FW designs for a 12V charging system, it would seem you can use it to charge a 4G or 5G iPod as long as you are sure NOT to use the USB voltage terminals on the iPod connector even it you think “but this is a USB iPod” (again, USB only required for the data transfer). For USB designed battery chargers with regulators set to 5V, you would clearly want to use the USB terminals on the iPod connector. The “universal” docking speaker devices (e.g. Bose Soundock) that work with any generation docking iPod either delivers the 3.7V to the 3.7V connection, then uses 12V to charge via the FW connection (which works with all iPods except the shuffle), or it simply uses the FW connections for everything (more likely).

    I think best compromise (but non-Altoidian) compromise for a portable non-AC charging solution is to use the “Emergency 9V battery charger” http://www.eforcity.com/dappipodupc1.html
    , @ $ 5.24, but connect a $ 1.89 eight AA battery holder to it http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062242&cp=&pg=3&origkw=battery+holders&kw=battery+holders&parentPage=search
    Although the Emergency charger is made for 9V, seems to work fine with 12V
    (accolades to brted@yahoo.com)

    Sorry – you won’t have any fun soldering or getting any other DIY fix with this solution – but yes, it’s simple.

  361. Sheldon Schwartz said something

    OR you can just buy a battery pack..

    I just got the BTI ipod video extended battery from ib2cool.com- I ordered it Monday last week
    and it got here last Friday- to test it, I charged it Friday night and had it play by itself
    non-stop–it only stopped working yesterday (Monday)!!

    It was only 59.99 with free shpping after I used the ‘podcast’ coupon code– this thing rocks
    it has like 53 hours of playing time for my songs– and it supposed to be able to play
    12 hours of vide too– it even came with 2 skins, a cradle, and a belt-clip–

    I’d reccomend it for anyone- they even have this funyass commercial you can watch
    by clikcing a link on the front page.

    Check it out ib2cool.com

  362. RSZ said something

    Thanks. Can’t see the commercial (the site is down). There isn’t a lot of info about the battery on the web site. Is it rechargable? Does it come with it’s own charger or do you need to dock it, or use the USB cable to re-charge it in its cradle?

  363. Brooke Whatnall said something

    Could you set this up so it worked with the new ipod video, this new ipod has a firewire cable block so you cant use it with firewire cables, beats me why, can you make a ipod video charger that charges with a usb port instead of the firewire,
    (though firewire kicks ass),

  364. Alex said something

    i was thinking of making a usb charger with 2 9V batteries for my 2gb nano, is there any risks for this project??

  365. RSZ said something

    Alex, I’m no iPod engineer, but if you read the long list of blogs that precede your note, you will learn a lot. The Nano typically charges via a USB cable, which caries 5Volts from a computer. However, the USB iPods like the Nano are still able to charge from a 12Volt source like a firewire cable. Visit this site to learn a bit more http://ipodbatteryfaq.com/ipodbatteryandpower.html
    So if you are using two 9 volt batteries connected in parallel, you may be able to charge the Nano, but you need to make sure you are using a Firewire cable (not a USB cable). Firewire cables have different contacts to the iPod than the USB cables, especially for the contacts used to charge the iPod.

    The alternative noted by previous bloggers is to include a voltage regulator (5 volt) in the circuit with the two 9 volt batteries. Prior bloggers have cited web pages where you can find the wiring diagram.

    The one problem you might find with two 9 volt batteries is that they may not have enough current to give an adequate or full charge to the iPod. I suspect that the original design of a charger in an Altoids tin used two 9 volts and 2 AA batteries was for the added current that the AA’s have. However mixing the battery types is not a good design.

    If you look above at my blog from 4/6/06 you will see that I found a very good solution to a portable battery charger for very cheap. Not much fun if you are looking for a project since the two parts I use are bought “off the shelf”. But it works great for my iPod video.

    Good luck

  366. Stan said something

    ummm, yeah. I tried to do this from memory doing usb, and kind of screwed myself over. I just hooked everything in parallel and ended up frying my mini. Oh well, it will give me an excuse to buy a video.

  367. Andrew said something

    I’m looking to make an ipod shuffle charger from 4 AA batteries providing 6 volts. Does anyone know if the extra volt will cause damage to the shuffle, ie should I add some resistance to the circuit to bring it down to 5 volts?

  368. G man said something

    Cool charger with the altoids. I recently got a triple charger as a present and it’s a ac,dc, and emergency(uses 2 nine volt batteries) charger, works with ipods, cellphones, and whole ton of other portable devices. They even have support for gps systems. This little charger has saved life so many times especially in airports where there’s no outlets. The site to get this charger is http://www.electronicmetro.com. It uses interchangeable adapter heads to power different devices, saved me a ton of money. I’m almost in love with a charger! Sounds weird. Hope this helps anyone that is tired of getting ripped off by the ridiculous prices of chargers out in the market.

  369. Dhaval said something

    Im in electronics and this makes total sense and sould work

  370. ?????? said something

    im from Australia, and i was wondering if any one knew were i could get my hands on an altoids Tin???

  371. Steve Turner said something

    That has to the be coolest external iPod battery pack EVER!!!

    I just replaced the aging internal battery on my Gen3 iPod with a replacement iPod battery from myBoomBox in the UK.

  372. John said something


  373. Paul said something

    Can you use a USB port with out a voltage regulator?
    PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Email me at paulrulestotaly@netscape.net

  374. sheen said something

    you guys are stupid

  375. buildakicker said something


  376. npab19 said something

    I was looking at your design and from the look of it it can fry your ipod and coust you about 100$ to fix it but not from apple. you would need a voltage regulater to it doesent b-caus your putting to much volts in your ipod and it can only take 5v. oh and yeah dont bring this into an airport I was stoped for about 30 min being questioned luckely my flight was delayed

  377. Daniel Thorlby said something

    This is amazing. Its stupid that companies don’t manufacture official external battery packs anymore. I really want one for my Sony MZ-RH1, I really do. It seems like everyone has forgotten the hardware users who don’t spend most of their lives near their PCs. If I go on holiday for a few weeks, should I really have to take my PC with me to recharge the battery for my MZ-RH1? Why can’t I just take some alkaline batteries, which are actually storeable?

  378. David said something

    I wants also thanks to Drew Perry for the schematic and the original battery pack idea.I was thinking of making a usb charger with 2 9V batteries for my 2gb nano, is there any risks for this project?

  379. Peter said something

    Can anyone tell me where (in the UK) I can get a charger that will charge iPod batteries outside of the iPod, by connecting direct to the batteris fly leads

  380. cooldude said something

    Can u make this with usb not firewire

  381. Justin said something

    @ Paolo,
    I was thinking the same thing.

    Airport Security: “Umm. What is this?”
    You: “Oh that? its just a box full of wires and batteries.”
    Security: “I See would you mind stepping in here a second?”
    You: “Ok Sure, But I have to catch a flight soon.”
    Security: “Oh don’t worry about that, it wont be an issue.”
    You: “umm. okkkk. Its just a tin of batteries and wires as a charger.”
    A few hours later….
    You: “No really, its a charger!!!”

    *Missed Flight*

  382. Nathan said something

    I’m planning on making one of these with a USB port. I have a flexible USB LED light that I want to be able to use without a laptop or computer. I suppose I could buy one somewhere, but why? :D

  383. antoine said something

    i would like to know if he is possible to make the contrary: to charge a battery of ipod for the usb?

  384. Jerry said something

    This is a bad design on many aspects: identical batteries aren’t supposed to be connected in parallel and batteries of different kind aren’t supposed to be connected each other at all. Just get a battery with a decent current and build a switching up converter to raise the battery voltage to the needed level.

  385. jojo said something

    did you know that all a 9v battery is is 6 aaa batteries in series hooked up to two connectors???
    why now just use the aaa s instead of the 9v??

  386. William I Traceys said something

    I will need an 18 volts battery pack for a laptop computer. That weights betweem 1/2 to 3 lb.

  387. Rudolf said something

    Jerry it is actually perfectly okay to put batteries in parallel, as long as they have the same rated voltage. By having each 9V battery only needing to supply half the current, and since battery life is measured in mAh, this dramatically increase the life of the battery. Only thing I would maybe add is a current limiting resistor. If you found out what current the iPod is usually supplied you could calculate what resistor to use and this would even further increase battery life.


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