As extreme weather events have left thousands without power, the question of how to keep your phone fully charged is more important than ever.
From battery packs, solar panels and hand cracks to DIY chargers using a 9v batteries, there are dozens of way to charge your phone without using a typical charger.
However, experts today warned that many will not work – and some could actually damage your phone permanently.
Here are some of the options:
Make a DIY charger using a 9V battery
A video showing how to make a charger with a 9V battery went viral on Twitter today before being removed from the site.
Maybe that’s because the method is a flop – and experts say it’s also dangerous.
DailyMail.com put it to the test and found no success.
The parts needed to make this charger are a 9V battery, a spring from a pen, a car charger adapter, and a phone.
To assemble it, connect the metal point on the car charger adapter to one sprocket on the battery.
Next, connect one end of the pen spring to the other sprocket, and then connect the spring’s other end to the metal piece on the side of the car charger.
Then connect your charging cable to the phone and USB port of the car charger as you usually would.
DailyMail.com tried to charge an iPhone 5S this way and found it ultimately lost power.
The phone started out at 13 percent – after 15 minutes using the DIY charger it was still at 13 percent.
After making sure the connection was secure and trying for another 15 minutes, the phone was at 14 percent.
Another connection check and 15 more minutes later, the phone was at 16 percent.
But soon an error message reading ‘This accessory may not be supported’ appeared on the phone.
After reconnecting again and giving the iPhone another 15 minutes to charge, it was at only 9 percent battery – less than it started with.
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.’
‘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.
Several online tutorials also show how to charge a cell phone using acidic fruit (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 it also has the potential to damage your phone.
Dubarry told DailyMail.com this method works on paper but is unlikely to charge your phone very much at all and can also damage it.
‘It’s possible, but food is better for eating than charging a phone,’ he said.
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 online or in department and convenience stores.
There are also premium versions that hold enough power to charge your phone a half dozen times.
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.
This device is the most manual way to give your phone a charge.
It’s a $60 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 labor – 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.
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.