Mintyboost!

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#1
***EDIT*** This kit is not ideal for an iPhone or iPod Touch in its stock form. It requires more than 2 AA's. It will work well for iPod Video and lower, however. See this post for details.

So I ordered a kit from these guys tonight:

http://ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/

I'm very much looking forward to putting together a circuit again... albeit a very simple one.

The kit is only $20 (plus the cost of the altoids gum tin). They say it doubles the lifespan of an iPod video, so it should give me at least several hours of extra use per 2xAA. I have a ton of rechargeable AA's lying around, so I should be set for camping.

Of course I'll post pics of the process when I get it. Unless I seriously mess it up in which case... um... nevermind :p
 

IndyBlues

New Member
Jul 29, 2008
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#4
Very curious to see how this turns out. Please keep us posted.
Mike
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#5
2737053545_fd1196a788.jpg


Well it's in the mail and I was really hoping to have it before tomorrow (my camping trip), but it looks like this project will have to wait until next week. I did get the car charger mod done, though.... so at least I'll have a charged iPhone.

Stay tuned...
 
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kisstine

Zealot
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Jul 12, 2007
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#7
So I ordered a kit from these guys tonight:

http://ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/

I'm very much looking forward to putting together a circuit again... albeit a very simple one.

The kit is only $20 (plus the cost of the altoids gum tin). They say it doubles the lifespan of an iPod video, so it should give me at least several hours of extra use per 2xAA. I have a ton of rechargeable AA's lying around, so I should be set for camping.

Of course I'll post pics of the process when I get it. Unless I seriously mess it up in which case... um... nevermind :p
Gosh, I *so* wish I'd seen this post sooner. Yesterday was my son's 15th birthday and it would have been the perfect present. Guess now he'll have to wait until Christmas. Still, he's going to be really excited.. great find, Dave!
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#8
now you just need a battery charger you can plug in your car
Well, I can just charge the phone directly there. Like I said, I have a ton of rechargeable AA's lying around, so I have no problem waiting until overnight to recharge those.

The kit arrived (the day after I left on a week-long trip, of course).... so I'm considering putting it together tonight. We'll see how much I have in me after the Olympics :p

Can't wait to solder again, though...
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#9
Ok, so here's how the assembly went down.

Keep in mind that I haven't soldered a circuit since 8th grade. Check out how old my soldering iron is



Here's the bits in the kit. Not much to it really:



Warming up the iron and caching up the instructions. I was really impressed with the step-by-step instructions on the site. Those combined with the super-clear circuitboard layout made for a really simple assembly:



I'll admit I started this yesterday with the wrong tools. Never do that. I had a soldering tip that was too big and solder to match, and I didn't have 45-degree wire snips to keep things tidy. My first two solder attempts were horrible, cloudy metal globs. So a quick trip to Radio Shack today to get these things, along with a desoldering bulb to fix my mistakes and I was good to go. As you can see in this shot, the board is quite tiny!:



Here's the USB connector. Notice the large amount of solder to anchor this in place as it will endure the most physical stress:

DSC00187 (Small).JPG DSC00183 (Small).JPG DSC00186 (Small).JPG DSC00181 (Small).JPG DSC00185 (Small).JPG
 
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psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#10
A few more capacitors and such:



Connecting the battery pack:



I gotta admit, I'm pretty proud of my solder points. Especially considering how long it's been. Having the right tools made a night and day difference:


And here's the fully-assembled board with chip in place:


Ah... happy charging:

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psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#11
It's a tight fit:
DSC00194 (Small).JPG


The finished product:

DSC00195 (Small).JPG


The cool thing about this design over 9-volt products (of which there are many) is that this one uses cheaper, rechargeable batteries with higher amperage so it actually should be more efficient. Only time will tell... I'll be testing it out over the next few days. Until soon...
 
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Jul 6, 2007
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about.me
#12
Wow that looks awesome. I think I will have to order it. I go camping once a month (with boy scouts, the place where I am not supposed to have my phone :p)and this would be very handy. I have never done any soldering though, but I know someone who can help me. One question though, would it be better to use rechargeable batteries?
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#13
Well they're only better because they're cheaper in the long run. I use high-power 2600 or 2700 mAh NiMH AA's (off Amazon for about $20/12), and they deliver performance close to alkaline (which are around 3000-3200 mAh).

But you will get more charge off alkalines. But more bang/buck with rechargeables (obviously).
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#14
I had about a 70% charge last night but I still tested it a bit to see how quickly it charged. I got to 100% in under a half hour. Not too shabby! Next test is how many charges I can get off fresh batteries.
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#15
Well things haven't been going so good with the Mintyboost. I wish I had read the forums a bit more, but apparently it's tough to power an iPhone with a stock Mintyboost kit with 2 AA's. It works, but it doesn't give much before the batteries are dead. I'm experimenting right now with 4 AA's and it appears to be working well, no other modification of the circuit. Stay tuned for more details and pics of the new tin...

Just wanted to warn those of you who would buy this kit that it's not the best for the iPhone in it's stock form. It apparently works wonders with iPods, though.
 

psylichon

Genius
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Oct 31, 2007
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Philly
#16
Ok, I'm happy with the performance of 4 AA's (edit: Wired 2x parallel... the circuit cannot handle more than 3V input). The problem is I needed a new tin. A regular altoids tin would work for 3, but I couldn't find a 3-battery harness. So I went with a slightly larger one...



A little bit of wasted space, but it works:



And yeah, I'm not as thrilled with the final design, but it will work for now. It's all held in there with double-sided tape anyway, so I can upgrade when I find the perfect vessel:



Any ideas on another case? :)

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