Taking your cellphone off the grid

Can you run your cell phone off the grid?

I find that when travelling there is often challenging times when it comes to keeping cell phones and laptops going. I’ve been using car chargers and 120V chargers. I’ve gone as far as extending my laptop battery by about 50%, carrying an extra camera battery and so forth but there are still blackouts.

So I though it would be a fun project to start with the cell phone since it’s a fairly small device. All these things still don’t work for the main electrical grid but cell phones are small enough that I think citizen electricity is a real option.


I just did some googling and found that there are lots of solar systems in ebay for 20 bucks. The one in the picture is over 100 bucks.  I think solar is not a reliable recourse and it’s hard to get enough juice without carrying too much weight. On the lighter side some of these devices seem to be coupled with batteries and have other charge systems such as 12 and 120V. So it is also a battery backup. I think it would be fun to try this. I will poke around and see if I should buy one or try and make one. I so happen to have some solar cells and other parts lying around so this could get interesting.


These seem all over the place in ebay and the internet and look very inexpensive. Often much under 10 bucks. I think it would be disruptive to be cranking your phone while using it. Also, for longer charge periods of course there will eventually be tennis elbow. 🙂 Actually, I think it probably qualifies as an emergency system.

Battery backup:

Bringing extra batteries is another bit of food for thought. If you have a convenient way to charge them, this can prevent blackout on some occasion. I’ve been doing this with my camera which came with a convenient and lightweight charger and this has worked very well.