Cheap Portable Laptop Power – Matt, Andy

Matt Swarts and Andy Quitmeyer came up with a way to cheaply power laptops and other high-voltage devices off cheap powerpacks! Difficulty: Medium-easy. We cha

The Problem

Laptops demand lots of power. They also usually need to charge from voltage source that is much higher than the 5 volts you can get out of cheap cell-phone charging powerpacks.  This means that usually you have to get a really expensive power-pack (like this one for $100) that can output the 12-20 volts that your computer needs. These power-packs also need a higher-voltage themselves to start charging, so they are much harder to get charging from my solar panels than other cheap 5V packs.

19V power source (costs $100)

The Solution

Instead you can now use something cheap like this 5V power supply that only costs $16.

and all you need is one extra simple part that can boost the voltage for only $4!

How to Build

Materials Needed:


  • Wire Strippers
  • Alligator clips (or soldering iron)
  • Multimeter

Schematics for Hooking up device

Just connect the positive and Ground from the power-pack to the “IN” ports of the booster. Then connect the + and – ┬áports on the “out” side to the laptop charging cable (you can get cheap “repair” cables that have nice leads already pre-taken out.

Set the Voltage!

Now before you rush off to plug this thing into your laptop you need to set the voltage booster to the correct voltage. Some voltage boosters have a built-in display that lets you know what they are set to, but others you will need to connect a multi-meter.

Find the original charger for the laptop and make a note of the voltage that your device requires. Rotate the small flat-head screw on the top of the booster until you get the correct voltage. Boom, any of the even moderately hard parts of this how-to are done!

Now for jut $24, I have a slim power pack that can recharge my laptop TWICE!