By Evan Ackerman
There are lots of ways to charge USB devices on the go using disposable or rechargeable batteries, but none of them are as small or as cheap as this DIY one. It’s basically just a female USB connector stuck to the top of a 9v battery, with a voltage regulator in the middle to make sure that there’s only 5 volts coming out. Total cost? If you have a soldering iron and a scrap female USB cable, the voltage regulator will run you about $1.59 plus tax at RadioShack (which I refuse on principle to call “The Shack” like they want me to). The real beauty of this thing is that you don’t have to use a 9v battery. You could use a whole series of D batteries, for example, and go on vacation for a month with your iPod.
Now, yes, you do have to know how to solder if you want to make one of these yourself. But seriously, soldering is easy. And it’s fun! You get to MELT METAL! You can pick up a basic soldering set at The Shack for all of eight bucks, and there are a bazillion beginner guides online (try Instructables or even YouTube). So, have a fun afternoon and learn a useful skill while making a handy little gadget at the same time. Or, you can always just do it with glue, you wimp.