Friday, January 16, 2015

MacGyver Fix for Phone Charger Power!

A few years ago I was driving a rental on a business trip and needed to charge my phone but the charger outlet had a blown fuse. It was late and I had little hope of finding a place to buy fuses. The moment brought to mind one of my favorite quotes.

'Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
- Theodore Roosevelt 

So in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt, I found a place to park, surveyed my tools and went to work. The task was to find another source of 12V power that I could reach and use.

I quickly targeted the dome light as a candidate, I knew there had to be a way to change the bulb so there had to be a way to pull it down and access the wiring. Once the light was down the challenge was figuring out how to connect to the harness without killing my charger or blowing the fuse for the dome light (and everything else on that circuit). Just one of the many reasons to keep a multimeter in your travel kit!

Paperclips fit the harness connector and could be bent to connect to the charger but had two drawbacks. Guessing wrong on the polarity would kill my charger and if the paperclips touched, I would blow the fuse for the dome light. I realized that using chassis ground for my negative terminal would solve the polarity issue as well as separate my positive and negative power connections. Sometimes having at least one known reference point can make all the difference.

As you can see from the photo, I used a hole in the metal frame to hang my Swiss Army Knife using the knife's scissors. I used another accessory on the knife to make the negative connection to the charger and support the charger. I was pleased with the my MacGyver solution and the fix got me through the rest of my drive and left me with a full charge by the time I reached my destination.

Note the gravity assisted connection to chassis ground via the scissors.

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