My DIY iPhone Battery Packs

Posted by Jonathan on September 9, 2009 in iPhone, Projects |

DIY 6000 mAh iPhone Battery Pack


Years ago I had a 12 volt battery pack I made out of (8) 1.5v AAs, giving me 3000 mAh for my old iPod Classic. I used the Lithium AAs from Energizer. Since the iPhone wont charge on the firewire 12 volt pins I used the charge converter offered by CableJive to convert the 12volts to 5 volts USB. When I had a case on my phone I had to use a extension cable I made for the dock connector with the charge converter to let it work with my case. I decided a month ago that I needed a new one that could  work out of the box with the iPhone. A couple weeks ago I was able to start work on it.

High Capacity 6000 mAh Version:

I used the same type of case with my new one, it’s a point and shoot camera case. I’m still using (8) AA batteries, BUT I got (2) sets of (4) AAs in parallel. That gives me 6000 mAh at 6 volts using the 3000 1.5 volt lithium AA batteries from Energizer. Here is the spec sheet for those batteries. From what I  found on the internet the iPhone 3Gs has a 1250 mAh battery so this pack has 5 times the capacity.

I am using AA batteries because I don’t need to use this case everyday. I just need it for emergencies, like when the power was off for a week in my area due to a huge ice storm. Using the AA batteries I was able to watch movies on my iphone all week when I had nothing to do, which was most of the time. Since i am just using a 9 Volt Snap connector I could get special rechargeable batteries that would hook into it. I could even hook a 9 Volt battery into it. The regulator should convert anywhere from 5.5 volts to 35 volts down to 5 volts. Though the bigger the drop in voltage the more heat the regulator produces.

Since I have improved my modding skills since I made that first battery pack years ago I wanted to make this one better in every aspect. Instead of just having a cable come out of the pack with a dock connector on the end I wanted to make it where the cable was able to be removed. This allows to make the battery pack to look nicer and more compact.

Making the pack work with the iPhone requires some work. You can’t just use a regular regulator to drop the 6 volts to 5 volts. You need to use a LDO(Low Drop Out)  regulator. This is because the 6 volts to 5 volts is a drop of 1 volt and most regulators need at least a drop of around 2 volts to work. The LDO regulator is made to work with Low drop voltages like 1 volt.

You need to provide a voltage of around 2.8 volts to the Data – and around 2 volts to the Data +. That means you need some resistors in the design of the circuit board. I like using a circuit board because I can remove parts quickly and easily if I need to. I also left extra spots on the board that will allow me to add more connectors easily.

I went with a Type A USB connector for all my Misc USB devices that I need to charge or even the iPhone. I also added a 2 pin Molex plug that provides a 5 volt and ground that I can use with my really short spiral iPhone cable that I made. Now you might be asking yourself how I am able to only use a 2 pin cable when the iPhone needs those voltages on the Data pins. Well I was able to use 1/8 watt resistors and fit them into a dock connector to make the voltages I needed. I did this in a dock connector that is one of the medium sized ones, not the large one. SEE PHOTO BELOW.  I bought some small dock connectors(same size that comes on the dock cable you get with the iPhone) to try and do this. When I got them I looked at the size of the connector and just laughed because I’m good, but not that good. There was no way I was fitting four resistors in about 3-4 mm of space.

I did try and add a USB Mini B and a USB Micro AB connectors, but the pins are so small I will either need to make a special circuit board or buy some smaller hookup wire. Both of those options will take longer than I want to spend and I don’t have a use for them yet. I can add them quickly when I do decide to implement them since I left spaces open on the circuit board for more connector wire hookups.

I added a switch to cut off the voltage being supplied to the regulator because it was pulling a small amount of current even with no device attached. it  It was still regulating the voltage even with no current draw. I did not add a LED to this version like I did in my first, because I thought it was unnecessary and a waste of good power.

I also added a tripod connector onto the case so I could attached it to the iPhone using my tripod case mods. I will eventually add another tripod connector to the other side of the case so I can hook the iPhone to the battery pack and then hook the battery pack to the tripod.

I will not be providing a How-To Tutorial on this Battery pack, but I will provide a parts list and Schematic on the resistor layout if anyone requests it. If you want to make your own battery pack email me and I will try and get detailed information up as quick as possible.


3000 mAh version:

I made a smaller 3000 mAh version to see how small I could make the circuit board, make one that fits in  your pocket easier, and because I has the extra parts laying around. I made a very short dock cable to go along with this version and I have parts coming to make another short cable with the USB end being a right angle connector.

I will not be providing a How-To Tutorial on this Battery pack, but I will provide a parts list and Schematic on the resistor layout if anyone requests it. If you want to make your own battery pack email me and I will try and get detailed information up as quick as possible.


My Old One:

I just thought I would show you a picture of the one I made years ago for my iPod Classic. This one was 3000 mAh at 12 volts.

Credits goes to Pinouts.ru for the voltages I needed on the Data Pins.

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Microphone Adapter “Line In” Schematics

Posted by Jonathan on August 29, 2009 in Microphone Adapter |

As I promised in my earlier post here are the schematics for my ‘Line In’ microphone adapter.

Below I show you how I got my Sennheiser EW100 bodypacks to work with my iPhone. I’ve used this and it works for me. I made this schematic after my observations with how the Standard iPhone headset behaves when it was plugged in using the test rig I showed in my ealier Post.  The resistor is used to drop the voltage on the Mic line as to tell the iPhone there is a external Mic attached. The capacitor is used to protect the Sennheiser Bodypack from the DC current emited by the iPhone.

Here is my massive Line In Microphone box that allows you to switch from a ‘Pass Through’ to a regular ‘Mic to Tip’ and then a ‘Mic to tip’ that allows the Sennheiser bodypack to work.

Massive Switch Box

Link to a PDF of this schematic

Parts list is below:

S1 – This is a 4PDT Switch that I bought from Mouser Part Number 633-M204201D

S2- This is a DPDT Rocker Switch I got from Radio Shack.

S3- This is a DPST switch I made from a DPDT switch. It is just used to keep the resistor and the Capacitor from feeding back into anything else.

R1- This is a 4.7K Ohm Resistor I got at Radio Shack.

C1- This is a 10 uF Capacitor. You can get one at radioshack or Mouser 140-NPAL50V10-RC

You can get the 4 Pin male Headphone plug at Mouser 171-7435-EX

You can get the 4 Pin Female plug also at Mouser. I used a 161-5435-EX, but 161-7900-EX would be easier to use as you wouldn’t have to put the plug through the case and THEN solder the wires like I had to.

Here is a ‘Mic to Tip’ that allows the Sennheiser bodypack to work only.

Microphone Line in Cable

Link to a PDF of this schematic

Parts List Below:

R1- This is a 4.7K Ohm Resistor I got at Radio Shack.

C1- This is a 10 uF Capacitor. You can get one at radioshack or Mouser 140-NPAL50V10-RC

You can get the 4 Pin male Headphone plug at Mouser 171-7435-EX

You can pick up the 3 Pin Headphone at Radio Shack or Mouser. 16PJ106-EX

Credit goes to Jesse from Bent-Tronics.com with regards to the capacitor idea. I came across his post when I first ran into frustrations with getting the Sennheiser body packs to work.

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UPDATED: My Newest Gmail Filter

Posted by Jonathan on August 13, 2009 in Gmail |

A quick showing of my Newest Gmail Filter.

from:(-NYtimes -newsletter -newegg_news) subject:(-CCS: -"UPS Compass Online" -Sourceforge.net -Newsletter -Xbox-Scene -E-tips) (((Track Your Package) OR (Has Shipped Track) OR (Shipped Ebay)) (UPS OR Fedex OR USPS OR ("Post System" Ebay)))

So here is the new version:

What bugs me is that Gmail filters are all ran at once. There is no sequence to the filter process. So The -label part would be able to take care of a lot of the exceptions i have in the subject and from fields. Those fields are pretty much copies of the filters i have set for incoming mail on my ads and newsletters.

Also I had to use “ads–newsletters” in place of “Ads & Newsletter” which is the real title of that label.

Matches: from:(-NYTimes -Newsletter -newegg_news) subject:(-CCS: -"UPS Compass Online" -Sourceforge.net -Newsletter -Xbox-Scene -E-tips) (((Track Your Package) OR (Has Shipped Track) OR (Shipped Ebay)) (UPS OR Fedex OR USPS OR ("Post System" Ebay))) -{label:ads---newsletters OR label:forums---discussion-groups}
Do this: Apply label "Order Tracking", Never send it to Spam

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My iPhone Tripod Case Mod Tutorials Are DONE.

Posted by Jonathan on August 4, 2009 in Projects, Tripod Mount |

So it took longer than I thought it would, but I finally finished them.

After using modified cases for over a week it is so wonderful being able to just throw the iPhone onto a tripod and do some quick vlogging. If you have the skills to do these modifications I recommend doing them. I’ve put all of these cases in my pocket after I have added the tripod adapter and I’ve had no trouble getting them in or out. The Otterbox Defender is tighter than all of them, but it is a very big case beforehand anyway.

Before we get into the meat of this post I want to give a shout-out to Scott from Scottevest. His Youtube Video looking for a solution to the iPhone and a decent tripod mount is what got me started thinking about how to do this. Check out the great products he has for the geek with too much stuff to carry and not enough pockets at http://www.scottevest.com/

As I explained in my video response to him I had just received my 3GS and I wanted something similar. Since there wasn’t anything out there, I made it.

The whole point of these modifications is to add a tripod mount to the case you use daily, so you don’t have to put the iPhone in a special case just to put it on a tripod to do some quick recording. My tutorials show you how to modify four different cases, but you should be able to adapt these designs to a unlimited number of cases.

Each tutorial consists of a extensive write-up with pictures of all the parts and tools I used. Each tutorial has a uncut video, minus retakes, showing me making these modifications to the iPhone cases.

The video quality is not that great due to the camcorder used, and the forgetful nature of the person operating the camera, ME. The video is for reference only though, as the accompanying articles are extensive enough to modify a case without a video. One angle is shot from the back of me and another angle is shot from the iPhone on the table in front of me. I switched between the two angles when I thought it was needed or when I forgot to push record on one of the camcorders. I had to sync the camcorder and iPhone footage by hand, so forgive a little off sync-ness. Remember these videos are for reference only.

I will be making a short Edited Version of each case video, but that will come after I get rested up some and finish some other projects.

Feedback is very much welcomed. You can leave a comment on my blog or use the contact link above to send me a email.

Now for the disclaimer: I,  Jonathan Kutz can not be held responsible for any loss, inconvenience, damage (whether special or consequential) or claims arising out of the use of the information contained on this site. If you mess up your iPhone case, iPhone, or harm yourself in anyway while using the resources I provide here I am not responsible. Use common sense, if you think you can do the mods I list here on the site, go for it. If you don’t think you can or don’t have the tools, wait till you think you can or do. SAFETY is the primary factor in any steps you take, on these or any other projects.

I am providing this material as a GUIDE ONLY, for people that want to do these modifications and do not want to figure out how to do them.

I made a post for each case and one for the accessories I modified or made. Links are below.

Switcheasy Colors:

Switcheasy Colors
This is definitely the simplest and easiest modification to do. It requires more connection points to the case though since it is a silicone case. This design should work for any silicone case.

Switcheasy Rebel:

This is the lowest profile design of all my modifications and the cleanest. What makes this mod great is you can buy a Switcheasy spine for around $5 and modify it. If you don’t like it, no harm done to the case at all.

Speck CandyShell:

This modification probably takes the longest out of all the ones I’m showing you how to do, but it definitely comes out nice and clean.

Otterbox Defender:

This modification design is very similar to the Speck Candyshell, but because the case is thicker you have more room to play with when modifying the case.


These are the accessories I’ve made to go along with my iPhone tripod mods or some I’ve bought and modified.


The Giveaway is Over. Thanks for entering.
I will be giving away TWO Switcheasy Rebel SPINES that have been modified to add the tripod mount adapter. You will win just a modded spine, not a whole case. To enter this giveaway please send a email with the Subject line as “Rebel Tripod” to “Giveaway [at] jkutz.com” Replace the [at] with the @ sign of course. The only thing I ask of you is that you have a Switcheasy Rebel case to put it on and also that you let me know what you think of it after you receive it. The giveaway will run for 2 weeks from the posting of this article.

Should I Sell Part Kits?

Since most of the parts can only be bought in big quantities I am thinking of selling part kits for each of these modifications. Let me know if that’s something you are interested in with a comment below or a email using the contact link at the top of this page.

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OtterBox Defender

Posted by Jonathan on August 4, 2009 in Projects, Tripod Mount |

If you came to this page directly please go read the background and disclaimer information on this page.

What Parts do you need to modify a OtterBox Defender:

NOTE: A lot of the parts at McMaster-Carr are sold in Quantities. You usually can not just buy one or two of a item from them.

(1) Weld Nut with Holes 1/4″-20 thread size.

I bought mine from McMaster-Carr. Part Number “90611A350”

These are plain steel, a stainless steel might be better so they don’t rust as easy.


(3) 1/8” Blind CounterSunk Rivets

(I got these at Home Depot)

You can get them at McMaster-Carr. Part Number “97525A665”


Tools I used with Modifying the OtterBox Defender:

  • An 1/8” Drill Bit
  • A Drill bit with a diameter a little bigger than .300”, a 5/16” bit will be perfect if your holes are drilled with tight tolerances.
  • A Vise
  • A Punch to punch out the Silicone. I made one from a weld nut and just ground it down to make it sharp.
  • A Rivet Gun
  • A Cordless Drill
  • A Countersink set, a 1/4” to 1” set should do.
  • A metal file. Any length should do. A 6″ or 8″ bastard file is what I used.
  • An xacto knife set can help with some of the plastic work.
  • A regular 1/4″-20 bolt with 2 or 3 nuts. The bolt can be 1 inch to 3 inches.
  • A 1/4”-20 tap is Semi-Optional. It makes it easier when you grind down the weld nut. (A tap re-threads messed up threads)
  • A Belt Sander is Optional but makes quick work of some of the tasks.

Below you will find pictures of all the tools I used. Not all the tools were used from the pictures that have more than one tool in them.

How to mod your OtterBox Defender to incorporate a tripod mount:

Safety: Always wear glasses of some type with drilling/cutting/grinding metal and plastic. Safety glasses are the best to wear since they are usually made of a hard plastic, but anything to protect your eyes is better than nothing.

Step One- Prepare the Parts

  1. Take your rivets and put the head in the end of a cordless drill (this will in effect make the drill a lathe) and using a Dremel locked in a vise or a belt grinder sand/grind the countersunk end of the rivet to a smaller diameter and thickness.
  2. (This part is way easier to watch in my video than explain in writing) Take your weld nut and put it on a 1/4”-20 bolt, lock it onto the bolt with a regular 1/4”-20 nut. Grind the base of the weld nut down by about 50-60 percent. You want enough room to countersink it but make it thin enough to sit beneath the rubber in the case. Use water to cool it down, don’t let it get too hot
  3. Turn the weld nut around on the bolt and grind down the stem on the weld nut by about 30-40 percent. Use water to cool it down, don’t let it get too hot. This is where you need to re-thread the nut with the thread tap. You might have to do this or not depending on how you grind the stem down. You could use a 1/4”-20 bolt to try and re-tap the threads. (See my videos for more chat about this)
  4. Grind the edge of the stem to have a slight taper to make it a dull edge and not sharp at all.
  5. Take the weld nut and using a Dremel with around a 1/16″ drill bit/cutting bit expand the three outer holes of the weld nut inward. In the end they need to be about 1/8” in diameter to allow the rivets to go through them. You can not just use a 1/8″ drill bit and drill through the holes as they are not in the center of the ring of metal  that surrounds the weld nut. They are too close to the edge. Lock the nut in a vise REALLY good to do this, (see my videos on how to do this).
  6. Clean up any burrs on the weld nut with a file.
  7. Countersink the three 1/8” holes of the weld nut on the side that the stem IS protruding from.

Step Two- Prepare the Case

  1. Find a place on the outer piece of rubber where you want the weld nut to protrude from. I chose the middle of the O in Otterbox to make it look cool. One you find that spot punch a round hole about .300 in diameter in that spot. (Don’t have the silicone part on the plastic case at the time)
  2. Put the weld nut through the silicone part of the case and then put the case back together(You don’t have to have the iPhone in it). Mark the middle of the spot the weld nut touches the plastic portion of the case with a sharpie.
  3. Take the silicone part of the case off the case and take the case back apart.
  4. Line up the weld nut on the outside of the case using the mark you just made. Take a 1/8” Drill bit and drill the three holes for the rivets through the smaller three holes on the weld nut. I stuck a rivet through a hole every time I drilled one to keep the weld nut in place and make aligning the holes easier.
  5. Countersink these holes on the plastic on the inside of the case. Do not countersink too far as you need some plastic for the rivets to grab onto. Countersink the hole a little more than the rivet head needs, you want the rivet head to sit below the plastic so it can’t touch your phone.  If you think you will need to countersink too deep into the plastic,  go back and make the rivet heads smaller. This plastic is pretty thick so you got more to work with than some of the other case mods I’ve done.
  6. Test placing your rivets through the case to make sure the rivet heads will sit a little below the plastic, if they are flush or above the plastic they could touch and scratch your phone.
  7. Clean up the inside and outside of the case around the area you are working on.

Step Three- Assembly

  1. Stick the weld nut on the outside of the case lining up all three of the rivet holes
  2. Put a rivet through the case and then the weld nut. So you are sticking the rivet from the inside of the case to the outside of the case. Using your rivet gun squeeze so the rivet grabs the weld nut and tightens. DO NOT squeeze the gun all the way.
  3. Place all 3 rivets and tighten them. The rivets should be filling out the countersinks you made in the weld nut. I personally just tightened the rivets enough to feel really secure but not pop the rivet shanks.
  4. Remove the rivet shanks.
  5. Now this part will take some time, using a grind wheel attachment on the Dremel grind down the rivet heads on the outside of the case to be flush with the weld nut. Make sure you don’t let the metal get too hot, use water to cool the parts down.
  6. Clean up your tools and mess. The case is going to be VERY dirty from all that grinding so make sure to wash it out good. You are now done.

Related Videos:

This video is a uncut version of my video tutorial on this case.

Download Otterbox Defender- M4V Format

To Download: Right Click – Then Click “Save Link As”

Its run time is 54:19 and its file size is 648.9mb.

I will be adding a edited/cut down version that is short enough for youtube in the near future. I will update this post when I finish that video.

This video shows you how to make a home made belt grinder/sander.

Download Home Made Belt Sander- M4V Format

To Download: Right Click – Then Click “Save Link As”

Its run time is 02:17 and its file size is 26.39mb.

Optional Step:

I had some Liquid Titanium laying around (it’s used to fill gaps in metal shafts for repairing and then machining them), so I mixed up a very small amount and I placed it in a syringe from the plunger side. A common product to use that is similar would be J-B Weld.


(McMaster-Carr part Number “7510A653”)

I then squeezed some of it into each of the rivet holes and used a small piece of metal (like a squeegee) to even it out on both sides of the rivet holes. I let it dry and I then used my Dremel to grind down any excess. It makes the mod look nicer and adds a little more strength.


Finished Product:

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