Let’s play a little game. Imagine that you are sitting in your home watching the television. You and your family are enjoying the evening and you are all having a great time watching your favorite primetime program. Then, without warning, the power goes out. Your well lit home falls into a pitch-black abyss. The kids are worried and your spouse in none too happy. You think back through the bills and you realize that you have paid your power bill so this could have nothing to do with the sudden power failure. What are you going to do?
This is a common issue for many people in third world countries but it doesn’t usually occur here in the United States. The illustration above is typical of what happens in a black out. Blackouts occur for numerous reasons but they can be attributed to bad weather or a serious issue with the power company. When the power goes out, life can become much more difficult. Adding issues to this already chaotic situation is the fact that you have no way of contacting anyone in the outside world because you have no way to charge your cell phone.
Did you know that there is a way to charge your cell phone, or to simply use a small amount of electricity, even during a blackout situation? Take a look around your home. If you have a standard home phone then you have something that can be used to help you in a crisis like this. You have probably noticed that your home phone does not have to be plugged in to get a dial tone. This is because the power companies send all the power your phone needs directly through the phone line.
Typically, home phones have around 50 volts of electricity that run through them. When the phone is being used, the usage drops to around 7 volts. When the phone rings the power supply goes up to about 90 volts. The reason that a phone like this will still work in a blackout situation is because the phone companies typically have a backup generator that keeps power running at all times. So the real question here is how does this help you during a blackout?
It is possible to tap into the electricity in your phone line if you know what you are doing. Phone lines will have 2 wires inside. Typically the colors are red and black. In order to tap into this power for, say, the purposes of charging your cell phone, you will need to do a little work. You will first need to purchase a voltage regulator. This will lower the power in the phone line and make it useable for charging your phone. For this purpose you will need a 5-volt voltage regulator.
Next you are going to need a USB cord that will connect to your cell phone. Once you have all of the materials you will need to remove the rubber insulator that surrounds the wires. This can be done with a pair of wire strippers or with a pocketknife. Once the wires are exposed, you are ready to proceed.
The voltage regulator will have 3 prongs. One is for input, one is for output, and the middle is for grounding. Connect the red phone line to the outside prong of the regulator. Connect the black wire to the middle prong of the regulator. Then, using the stripped USB chord, connect the black wire to the middle prong as well. Finally, connect the red wire from the USB chord to the outside prong. Once you have connected all the wires you are ready to go. You can plug the USB chord into your phone and the phone will begin to charge.
Congratulations, you have successfully used a phone line to power your cellphone. The process of charging will take a few minutes but it can be a life saver in an emergency situation. Make sure you have supplies on hand to tap into this hidden power source in case of a blackout in your neighborhood!