Four ways to charge your phone if you have a power outage

When the lights go out due to a power outage or we find ourselves far away from normal power sources, our phone's remaining charge suddenly becomes the most important thing in our lives. If you've thought ahead and have your battery, solar charger, or power plant charged and ready to go, you don't have much of a problem. But what if you don't have these devices? Don't worry - even then, you have several options for charging your phone. Edition Lifehacker shared four ways to charge your phone without electricity.

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The most obvious solution to the problem is your car. Most modern cars already have built-in USB ports, and car batteries are quite powerful sources of energy. If you have gas in your car, then you have the world's least efficient and most complex generator, and electric cars are basically huge batteries.

If your car doesn't have a USB port, but you're thinking about buying a starter kit, you're probably in luck, as many jump starters have USB ports.

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Manual charger

If you're a regular camper or hiker, then you're definitely aware of handheld chargers. If not, they are actually a great investment for emergency preparedness. Most of them include a radio and a flashlight, since their main advantage is to charge the phone and other small devices with little physical data. Some models include options for solar charging or AAA battery power. You won't get your phone up to 100% with one of these, but it will be enough to make an emergency call.

Burn the tree

Another way is to use wood or any other combustible material in something like the BioLite Campstove 2+ to charge your phone. Place the fuel in the chamber, light it, and the heat from the fire will serve as both a source for cooking and a power generator. Yes, the power is low, and you'll probably have to keep the fire going for hours to fully charge your phone, but at least it will charge your phone to its bare minimum even if there's no electricity or sun. The Campstove 2+ includes a battery as part of its design, so you can fire it up and then charge your phone anytime after the oven's battery is full.

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This is another hack to use regular batteries like 9V or AAA to provide a slow minimal charge to your phone. The easiest battery to use is the 9 volt battery, as this is the battery that comes with most smoke detectors, you may have a few left over.

For this hack you will need:

  • car phone charger;
  • 9-volt battery;
  • appropriate USB cable and any necessary adapters;
  • a piece of conductive metal, such as a key or paper clip;
  • coupler.

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Connect the cable to the charger and attach a key or paperclip to the side of the charger so that it touches the negative terminal and the bottom is flush with the positive terminal. Secure it with a zip tie, then connect the positive terminal (charger) and negative terminal (key/clip) to the positive and negative terminals of the battery. Your phone will start charging very slowly. Again, you'll get a small amount of power from a single battery, but that's enough for a quick call.

Although a little more complicated, it can be done with other batteries such as AA or AAA. In this case, you will have to connect the batteries to each other and remove the insulation from the charging cable. It's not very difficult, but the 9 volt version is much easier to handle and doesn't damage the cable in the process.

Staying connected during an emergency is vital, so if you find yourself in the middle of a power outage and a dying phone, one of these hacks will save you.

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