Here in Nigeria, it is not uncommon for residents of cities and towns to go without electric power for days. This leaves phone users with many hours unable to get across to their loved ones and business partners.
Though the pump price of fuel is said to have dropped by N2 from N145 per litre to N143, many phone users in the country still can’t afford fuelling their power generating devices because of the economic situation in the country.
The question most people keep asking is how to keep their phone fully charged without having to rely on electricity.
Here are the answers:
From battery packs, solar panels and hand cracks, there are dozens of ways to charge your phone without using a typical charger, according to experts.
Backup battery packs: these are the easiest and safest option. They will definitely charge your phone and are inexpensive and available everywhere.
Solar panel and charger: this is an affordable option that ads more versatility than the traditional backup battery packs because it doesn’t require electricity to charge in the first place.
Hand crank: The Eton BoostTurbine2000 handcrank would be a difficult way to give your phone a full charge, but it can get you some power in an emergency.
Wind turbine: the inventors claim that when fully-charged, the turbine can charge your phone four to six times. But this is a pricey option at $399(N141,000).
But Matthieu Dubarry, an electrochemist at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute who is an expert in batteries, told DailyMail.com that trying to charge a phone with a 9V battery ‘is certainly not a good idea because of the voltage.
“You don’t want to put anything past 4.5 volts”, he said.
“That’s really really bad”, he echoed, emphasizing that no batteries, even lower than 9V, should be used.
If you attempt this for too long and the battery gets too hot, the phone can explode.
Sometimes this can happen right away and other times it can take two or three days.
“5 or 6 [phone batteries] is as much power as a hand grenade”, he said.
“There’s a risk, and we don’t want people getting hurt because they tried something off the internet without knowing about it.”
He explained the iPhone probably has a safety that prevents it from accepting the charge from the 9V battery, which is why the ‘this accessory may not be supported’ error message popped up.
Build a fruit battery
Several online tutorials also show how to charge a cell phone using acidic fruits (like oranges, lemons, or apples), copper wire, and both zinc and copper nails.
To do this, insert one zinc nail and one copper nail into several pieces of fruit so that the nails are close but not touch.
Next, connect the copper piece of one fruit to the zinc of another using the copper wire to make a circuit.
Then cut open the USB end of your charging cord, connect the wires to the ends of the copper wires in the fruit circuit, and plug in your phone.
Other ways to do this involve metal plates or coins.
But beware before trying this method; know that it also has the potential to damage your phone, Dubarry said.
Backup battery packs
Battery packs are the easiest and safest way to charge your phone.
You can charge these devices ahead of time when you do have power and then use them to charge your phone (as well as other devices) later when you can’t reach an outlet or don’t have electricity.
They can be purchased for less than $20 (N7,200) online or in department and convenience stores.
Solio Classic2 Battery Pack + Solar Charger
Using this small, 10.1-ounce device, you can charge your phone using solar power.
Simply spread out the panels facing the sun to the charge the device itself (which should take about 10 hours), and then you can charge your phone.
Inc. tested the $100 Solio device and was able to charge an iPhone in 90 minutes.
Also in 90 minutes, they got an iPad’s charge up 20 percent.
This is a somewhat affordable option that ads more versatility than the traditional backup battery packs because it doesn’t require electricity to charge in the first place.
The Eton BoostTurbine2000
This device is the most manual way to give your phone a charge.
It’s a $60 (N21, 600) hand crank that is roughly the size of a smartphone itself and has a retractable crank you can turn to charge your phone.
Charging your phone this way would take a lot of labour - three hours of cranking, to be exact.
But if you need to make an emergency call, one crank is enough to generate enough power a 30 second call.
Vindur portable wind turbine
Two electricians designed the world’s first portable turbine phone charger that lets people charge their mobile phone using wind power alone.
It started on Kickstarter as Trinity, a device folds together into a 12-inch cylinder and then unfolds into a vertical turbine that be used to charge USB devices.
To open the product you’d pull out the aluminium legs and arrange them either into a tripod or on a flat surface.
At the top of the legs is a turbine with three blades.
These capture the wind and spin, providing green energy for a generator that can supply to 15 watts of power.
There is also an internal battery that can store energy if you don’t need it right away.
The inventors claim that when fully-charged, the turbine can charge your phone four to six times.
After raising $75,000, the creators are now selling a new version called Vindur for $399.