Alternative Ways to Charge Your iPhone

iOS 5 and its affect it on battery life reminds is highlighting just how importance mobile devices have absolute necessities. In case you had any doubt. Caught without smartphone juice at the wrong time could cost you a relationship, a job or even your life. But before you run out to buy extra chargers, here are six devices that will keep your phone charged without plugging it into the wall.


One minute of cranking is good for one minute of phone-time, claims K-Tor, the maker of The Pocket Socket Hand Crank Generator. It produces 10 Watts of electricity at 120 volts., which is enough to charge any portable except a laptop. Producing anything more than 10 minutes looks like it would wear anyone out, but when you consider how a bit of work can charge your device to make a call, it may be a very worthwhile 10 minutes. As far as charging day to day, it’s impractical.  K-Tor makes a pedal version, but at that point it’s no longer portable.


Sure, you can go with the conventional flat solar panels from Suntastics. The five-watt output charges your phone in two hours, and the manufacturer claims that you can run your device directly from the sun. For a less practical, but possibly more fun, solution, try the solar bikini by Solar Coterie. The, er, garment terminates in a USB port that allows you to plug in any device with an adapter. No word on how long it takes to charge your device and you may need to shop around. I counted four manufactures of solar bathing suits. One is designed to keep a beer cold. Very practical, and a great holiday gift.



The iFan charges its inventor’s iPhone, and its soft rubber frame doubles as a protective shell. Yes, it takes six hours to charge, but you could just hold it out your car window for a quick boost. Goofy as it looks, I would find comfort with the iFan on a long boat ride.

Mini Generator

The induction-powered iYo yo-yo charger for the iPhone produces electricity when you flick it to the ground like the toy. A small lithium ion battery stores power that’s  transferred by a conventional USB connection. The outside shell doesn’t rotate, but the guts spin hundreds of times a minute. The iYo looks sharp, as if Apple designed it.


The n-Power PEG converts mundane kinetic energy into electrical energy. It’s a back-up battery charger for handheld devices that slips into backpacks, purses, briefcases or anything with a rocking motion. The manufacturer calls it a hybrid charger in that it’s a battery backup that’s charged ahead of time and continues to replenish itself with motion.

Juice to Make Juice

And finally, if you’re stranded in an orange grove with no way out, you can use 2,380 orange slices, nails and wire to fully charge your iPhone. So says Jaffa Oranges and some engineers who have more time than most of us. The chemical reaction of two different metals in the fruit acts much like an over-the-counter battery, but with a tiny fraction of the output — hence 2,380 slices. Not 2,079, mind you. 2,380.