Phone-To-Phone Power Thievery

Once again, [Rulof]’s putting his considerable hacking abilities to good use, his good use that is. By modding a few simple parts he’s put together something that he can carry around on his keychain that’ll allow him to steal power from his friend’s phones to charge his own phone.

He starts by cutting away the motor from an iPhone fan to isolate the Micro USB connector. He then removes the charging circuit board from a cheap Chinese USB power bank, and solders wires from the Micro USB connector to one side of the board. Lastly, he cuts away the Lightning connector from a Lightning-to-USB cable and solders that connector to the other side of the circuit board. For longevity and cosmetics, he puts it all in a small wood block and connects a key ring. The result is a small, neat looking box with a Micro USB connector on one side and a Lightning connector on the other. You can see him make it, and then use it to steal power from his friends in the video after the break.

And as long as his friends don’t catch on, he’ll never be without a power source again. But if they do catch on, he could always turn an ATX computer power supply into an 8 USB port charging station and win his friends back by charging all their phones. And what if there just isn’t any power because you’re city’s been hit with a cyclone? For that, one very capable hacker has built a hand cranked phone charger.

38 thoughts on “Phone-To-Phone Power Thievery

    1. Wrong. USB OTG does supply 5V, same as any USB. I’m not familiar with the lightning specs — maybe he needs the board for that, or maybe he’s just doing a pointless thing. Certainly if it was USB on both sides, the PCB would be unnecessary — all you need is a properly wired cable. (That, and a gleeful disregard for inefficiencies. This isn’t like siphoning gasoline from your buddy’s car; you lose at least 20%, possibly 40-50% of the energy by boosting it up to 5V and then converting it back down. So now you’ll both have low batteries.)

      1. Yes, I have used a USB OTG adapter with a microUSB cable to use my phone to charge another device. I also bought a USB charging cable (OTG to microUSB) for less than a dollar from ebay, and it works the same way. Just plug the OTG side into the device that will supply power. No hackery needed for that. Unnecessary hackery is just Rube Goldbergery (a form of physical obfuscation).

          1. im with you…
            i try in vain to explain to people that an electric oven is next to 0% efficient, but they just give me looks, then i say okay have it your way, my desktop computer is my space heater!

            i mean, for a 2k-5k device it only puts out as much light as a couple watchbattery throwies… lol

    1. My friends and I all decided to get the 6P (so that we could share good ROMs, cases, hardware, etc). At a party one friend had low battery and we were extremely amused to find that we could charge his phone with my phone. Just plug them in and set the USB mode to “charge” and it’ll transfer juice

  1. Just one more example of the fact that all phones are held hostage to the ever smaller power cell marketing slim sham.
    You could give me a apull phone and I would pass. If an S7 I would hack out the power cell. My S5 can peel an apple. I rarely get below 60% power. All the sounds are flac and high def..

  2. To vampire power from any phone with USB-OTG all you need is an OTG adapter and a normal USB cable to plug together. I’ve tried it and it worked to have my phone charge my external charger battery some.

  3. I was building one of these back when 30pin was a thing.
    “The Bro Cable.”
    Then the lightning connector happened and I abandoned it.

    Is lightning going to get phased out now that we have USB-C?

      1. Witness the current iPhone’s (Lightning connector) inability to be cabled to the new MacBookPro (USB-C only) without a dongle. Both of these items (and both of those connectors) have been in development long enough that Apple could certainly have specified USB-C ports on both. But no. Because they’re Apple (post-Jobs, I truly don’t think he would have stood for that level* of nonsense). There’s too much $$$ in the dongles/cables/adapters slice of the market for them to ever do anything as logical as that.

        *Note: Jobs was more than happy to stand for the practice of continuing to use AC adapters with a known weak point (where the DC voltage exits the converter) with MacBooks, as the profit stream of $80/MacBook user/year was just too much to walk away from. So there’s that. But he at least had some common sense when it came to product interoperability, and that seems to have been lost in modern times at 1 Infinite Loop.

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