Build | Fix | Re-use

Makeshift Electrical Generator

Learn how to make a 40 Watt Electrical Generator from a cordless drill and a few household items. With this makeshift generator you can charge a phone, illuminate small lights, and make electricity. This DIY project is brought to you by The King Of Random.


Note: This project is intended to be a “bare-bones” approach to generating electricity in a tight situation. There are no voltage regulators, no diodes and no capacitors to smooth the current. There may a risk of overheating and damaging equipment when operating electrical devices without a proper circuit recommended by the manufacturer.



Step One : Household Items


1. A cordless drill
2. Anything you can find to help secure it in place and spin it by hand such as…

* A piece of wood 2″x4″
* Some yarn
* 1 mixing beater
* 1 salad fork
* A piece of aluminum foil
* Some Scotch tape


Step Two : USB Charge Cable


Inside the cable you should see 4 wires. White, Green, Red and Black. The Red and Black ones are the only ones we’ll need for this project.

Note: For this project I used an old Blackberry Pearl. If you are using a smart phone, the white and green wires may need to be shorted out or connected to a “dummy load” to get a successful result. (I haven’t tested this method yet but have had feedback from other viewers suggesting this is the case)


Step 3 : Making the Hand-Crank Generator


1: Remove the battery from the cordless drill and look up inside. You should see 2 terminals where the battery provides power to the drill.

2: Use the aluminum foil to fashion make-shift wires that connect to the terminals. (Salvaged copper wire is even better if you can find some).

3: Secure your drill to a surface like a piece of 2″x4″ with the trigger pressed “on”. I used plenty of yarn to hold it down tight.

Note: The trigger needs to be on, and the torque setting at it’s highest.

4: Insert the mixing beater into the drill chuck and make sure it’s tightened so the beater won’t come out.

5: Add the salad fork through the mixing beater to act as a crank handle, and hook up your charger cable. Hook the red wire to the positive lead, and the black wire to the negative lead.

Note: Polarity DOES matter! If your battery isn’t charging, you’ve probably got the polarity reversed. You can either switch the cables, or set your drill to reverse and crank the opposite direction. This will reverse the polarity you generate and should fix the problem.


Step 4 : You’ve got power


Visit the The King of Random instructable page here.


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