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Build a charger for your iPod or MP3 player

Charge your iPOD without connecting it to a computer!

By John Clarke

Using the USB port on your computer to charge your player’s batteries is not always practical. What if you do not have a computer available at the time or if you do not want to power up a computer just for charging? Or what if you are travelling?

Chargers for iPODs and MP3 players are available but they are expensive and you need separate models for charging at home and in the car. SILICON CHIP’s new charger can be used virtually anywhere.

While we call the unit a charger, it really is nothing more than a 5V supply that has a USB outlet. The actual charging circuit is incorporated within the iPOD or MP3 player itself, which only requires a 5V supply.

As well as charging, this supply can run USB-powered accessories such as reading lights, fans and chargers, particularly for mobile phones.

The supply is housed in a small plastic case with a DC input socket at one end and a USB type "A" outlet at the other end, for connecting to an iPOD or MP3 player when charging. A LED shows when power is available at the USB socket.

Maximum current output is 660mA, more than adequate to run any USB-powered accessory. (The specification for the computer USB 2.0 port requires the USB port to deliver up to 500mA at an output voltage between 5.25V and 4.375V).

Specifications
Output voltage5V
Output current660mA maximum for 5V out
Input voltage range9.5V to 15V DC
Input current requirement500mA for 9V in, 350mA for >12V input
Input current with output shorted120mA at 9V in, 80mA at 15V in
Output ripple14mV (from no load to 660mA)
Load regulation25mV (from no load to 660mA)
Line regulation20mV change at full load from 9 to 18V input
No load input current20mA

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