Charging your phone when you don’t have a charger can be a tricky situation. But it’s something that can be done if you’re willing to think out of the box. Here are just some methods of charging your phone without a charger:
- Laptop USB output ports
- Power banks
- 12V cigarette charging ports
- Portable solar panel chargers
- 9V batteries
Regardless of the approach, you will need to use a charging cable to provide power to your phone. You could also rely on wireless charging if your device is compatible, but the options are pretty limited here.
Here, we provide an in-depth explanation of the different charging techniques. Let’s take a look!
Charge your phone via a laptops’ USB port
Whenever there is a power outage, you may feel inclined to use your smartphone more than your laptop, and for good reason too. It’s capable of connecting to the internet/mobile network and can be used to make an emergency call. Of course, you can only power-up your mobile device through the laptop, as long as it still has some charge left.
All you need to do is connect your phone to your laptop’s USB output port to provide power to it. However, you should be aware that charging it in this manner will most likely take longer than usual and it will consume energy from the laptop’s battery. The main reason why it’s much slower than a standard charger is because laptop USB ports are not designed to for high power outputs. They usually only have an output of 0.5A, which is sufficient enough for communicating with devices that are plugged in, like a mouse or memory stick.
This is a good method to use when you want your available power to last for as long as possible. That’s because laptops consume more power than smartphones. So not using your laptop and instead using its battery to recharge your phone, will give you the longest runway before you run out of power.
Connect your phone to a power bank
Power banks are generally very useful devices when you need to charge your smartphone during a blackout or when you don’t have a charger nearby. These can be big lifesavers, especially when you will most likely need quick access to a power source. They typically store a large amount of energy for later use, so they are the ideal devices to use as a back-up.
Power banks also come with all sorts of fast charging technologies, which may be beneficial if you’re looking to quickly recharge a device. Not only that but depending on their capacity, they can hold enough energy to recharge your phone several times. So if you’re stuck in an emergency situation for a while, then these are perfect for you.
To begin charging your phone, simply connect a USB cable to the output port. Cables normally come packaged with the power bank, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing a new one. There are times when one isn’t provided for you, but if that ever happens, you will need to use the correct cable to take advantage of the fast charging capabilities.
As soon as you connect your device, the recharging process will start automatically. Otherwise, you may need to press the power button to turn the power bank on. Speeds may vary, depending on fast charging technology, but most output ports usually have a 5V/2.4A rating or higher. For a wide array of power bank options, you can check our review section.
Use the 12V cigarette charging port in the car
Most cars have a 12-volt power socket (cigarette charging port) that can provide power to your mobile device. However, most phones are not equipped with a charging plug that fits the 12V power socket. So you will need to purchase a special adapter for the charger to plug into.
In order not to drain your car’s battery, you’ll need to turn on the engine. Please note that running the car’s engine to charge your phone is a bit risky in an enclosed space, like a garage, and should be done in a safe area to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide exposure.
This is a good method to use during an emergency especially if you have enough gas in the tank. Refilling your tank from a gas station will dramatically increase your access to power.
Use a portable solar panel charger
Yet another method of recharging your phone is to use a portable solar panel. Basically, these devices collect and harness solar energy and deliver power to your connected smartphone. However, you should keep in mind that these are only useful and convenient during clear, bright days. Otherwise, you may not be able to provide power to your mobile device.
Solar panel chargers do not have any input ports since it obtains energy from the sun. Instead, they usually have one or more output ports, allowing you to connect your device with a cable. However, charging speeds depend entirely on exposure to the sun, so it’s not as slow or fast as you might have thought. If it’s cloudy outside, you can expect the charging speed and performance to decrease.
But even in the best of conditions, portable solar panels will take hours to completely recharge your phone. Still, for emergency situations, this might just be enough to get through.
Improvise a charger from a 9V battery
While it does not involve a paperclip, this is one of those methods that you’d expect MacGyver to use for charging his phone in an emergency situation. It’s a bit limited, but it can give your mobile device just enough juice to make a call or send out a few texts. This can be very useful if you don’t have access to power through a charger, power bank, etc. Don’t expect it to last long though because the 9-volt battery only has a 500mAh rating.
To start things off, you will need a car charger and a metal pen spring or key to make the charger operational. Attach one end of the spring onto the car charger nub. Next, position the 9-volt battery so that the large negative terminal is connected to the other end of the spring, while the small positive terminal is connected to the car charger.
Hold it in place for a few seconds and your mobile device will start receiving power. It’s imperative to note that everything must be well connected. One end of the spring should be touching the car charger’s nub and the car charger button should be inserted. Otherwise, it won’t work if any of these parts aren’t hooked up correctly. You can use a piece of tape or aluminum foil to ensure everything stays in place. Here’s a video showcasing the entire process:
Other ideas to try out
If none of the above apply to your situation, here are some other quick ideas you might find useful:
- Depending of the area you live in, you might be able to connect your smartphone to a free USB slot at the train station, local library or even in public parks. Many cities offer free public charging spots, some of them running on solar energy, thus they should be able to provide power even if the grid is out.
- Are pubs or restaurants open in our area? You can ask the staff there if they can help you charge your phone while enjoying a nice cup of coffee.
- Ask people for help: your friends, neighbors or even a policeman if the situation requires.
These methods are pretty effective when it comes to charging your phone without the portable charger it came with. If you find yourself in an emergency, like a blackout or some other event, a power bank would be your best option since it provides more energy with additional features. For best practice, you should ensure it’s fully charged, so you won’t run out of power at any given time. The other methods are a bit slower, but otherwise, they can get the job done just as easily, even if it’s not as effective.
However, regardless of the situation please DO NOT take your phone apart or remove the battery. Also, please DO NOT attempt to use any of the hype methods you can find online such as charging your phone with fruit or paper. They will not work and might even be dangerous for you or for your phone.
Can you think of any other methods you can use to charge a phone without a charger? Let us know in the comments!