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Thoughts, observations and experimentation on interaction by: Smart Design

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Here at Smart Design we use a lot of Flips.  They are great for recording process, user research, field study, just about anything where one might need video documentation.  However, using all these Flips also mean we use a lot of batteries.  So what would every eco-friendly and sustainability-minded smartie do? Make their own USB-powered batteries of course.

Note: before we started we tested that Flips could take 5V with a bench-top power supply.  You should too if you don’t want your consumer electronic device turning into a brick.

The first order of business is to find a dowel with comparable diameter to AA batteries. Luckily we found this plastic dowel in our shop that was perfect for the job. After cutting and trimming them to battery size, its time to insert some screws as the cap for batteries.  This is also where we will connect the actual power and ground to the USB jack.  You could just use a power drill to drill a hole, but since we have a lathe in our shop we’ll use that instead.  If you have one of those Heli-Coil set handy you should definitely use it to set the threads for the screw.

Next thing we need to do is get the power and ground out of the USB.   We cut through a USB cord and soldered the power and ground to wires, but you could also solder onto usb receptor if you happen to have one.  Check here if you’re not sure which one is power and ground on the usb connector.  After some glue and heat shrink, tighten the wires onto the battery, put the batteries in your flip, and power on!

Posted by: Carla Diana

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