At some point, we’ve all been stuck in a hotel room with a dead phone and no way of charging it. One Italian maker found the trick, which consists of screwing the charger into a lightbulb socket. We tested it out.
You come back to your hotel room, and your phone is flashing low battery. Naturally, the power outlet is out of reach behind an unmovable bed. It’s going to be a long night. Fortunately, Rulof Maker found a solution. In early February, he explained on his YouTube channel how to make a charger that screws into a lightbulb socket. The Italian maker also notes that this socket-charger can be particularly useful abroad when you don’t have the right adapter. So we tested this rather unconventional, but rather clever hack.
– Low-energy bulb (containing a sheathed power supply, welded to the base), 3€;
– USB charger, 4€;
– Electric domino, big enough to fit the prongs of the USB charger, 1.50€ ;
– Small cutting pliers;
– Wire stripping pliers;
– Flat screwdriver;
– Gaffer tape.
1) Detach the bulb from the base. Be careful, the neon tube comes apart easily but should absolutely remain intact. In case it breaks, ventilate the room well, as the mercury will leak out.
2) The circuit board that supports the electronic components is connected to the base by two power wires. These are what we need. Pick them out as close as possible to the circuit to keep the maximum length.
3) The black wire is thickest at the end, it’s a resistor. Cut it off. Match and strip the wires about half a centimeter. If they’re long enough, you can keep the plastic around the base.
Rulof Maker drills a hole in each of the prongs of the USB charger to thread the wires through. But without a drill press, this is nearly impossible (we tried). We chose the other option of using an electric domino.
4) Cut out two sections of the domino while keeping them together. On one side, insert the wires of the base and screw in. Then plug the USB charger directly into the holes of the domino and screw in.
There is no particular way to insert them. However, make sure that there is no contact between the wires of the bulb and the prongs of the charger. Finally, no metal part, including the unsheathed part of the prongs, should be left exposed.
5) If the plastic edges are still intact, you can secure the charger with glue. In our case, we wrapped it all up with gaffer tape, without touching the conductive elements.
We left the phone to charge for an hour, then we took the piece apart. No heat, suspicious odor or sign of melted components.
That said, beginner makers may be a bit apprehensive about this hack, but they can also buy a equivalent device for about 30 euros. Proof that there is indeed a need for this trick.
Tutorial for the lightbulb socket-charger by Rulof Maker:
More DIY tricks on Rulof Maker’s YouTube channel