Prepper hacks: How to charge a smartphone with a 9-volt battery

Prepper hacks: How to charge a smartphone with a 9-volt battery By  for

A grid-down scenario can be anyone’s worst nightmare, especially for the unprepared. The modern world has grown heavily dependent on technology and electricity, both being necessities for society to function. Losing access to these luxuries will adversely affect everyday life. A mobile phone, for instance, is more of a necessity than a commodity nowadays, giving people the ability to call for help or contact loved ones in times of emergency. Unfortunately, these little gadgets are short-lived and require electricity to boot it up again, which won’t be possible in a grid-down scenario. Thankfully, you can use something as simple as a 9-volt battery to spark new life into your cell phone. (h/t to

The spark of life

Today’s mobile phones use lithium-ion batteries, which are rechargeable and require a separate charging cord to restore power after the battery is drained. According to an article by Techwalla, a mobile phone on standby – the time you are not actively using the phone – can last about three days. This time drastically decreases the more you use the phone so it is inevitable that it will run out of power. In a grid-down scenario or even a temporary blackout, keeping your communication lines open is vital for survival.

In times like these, having a 9-volt battery on hand can provide enough juice to power your device to make a few crucial phone calls that can help save yourself or a loved one. To do so, you need to gather a few basic supplies, such as a metal spring from a ball pen, a car charger (one that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter) and a 9-volt battery. Here are the steps to fulfill this task.

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  1. Sit the battery upright so the terminals are easy to access.
  2. Attach the metal spring to the metal nub on the side of the car charger. You can use tape to secure the spring.
  3. Plug the USB connector end of the car charger into the cell phone.
  4. Let the larger negative terminal touch the spring while the end of the car charger touches the smaller positive terminal.
  5. Hold the charger in place until the phone reaches the desired battery level.

How fast your mobile phone charges can vastly differ depending on its type, how much power is left in the phone and how much juice is left in the 9-volt battery. Charging to full power can also differ depending on the model. The average 9-volt battery has about 500 milli-Ampere hours (mAh). This means it will take you eight brand-new 9-volt batteries to fully charge a mobile phone with a battery capacity of 4,000 mAh.

Charging your phone with this method is relatively safe because the car charger can regulate how much current is flowing to your device. However, using this method regularly can shorten the battery life of your phone. Also, the 9-volt battery might experience a short, which can result in an explosion. Only use this method for emergencies and when there is no other source of power available. (Related: The prepper’s guide to surviving a power outage.)

When caught in a situation that requires you to keep in contact with loved ones or emergency personnel, having a working cell phone on hand is invaluable for any prepper.

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