Minty Boost

The Minty Boost is a small, make-it-yourself, battery-powered charger for USB devices, built into an Altoids gum tin. The tin is not absolutely necessary to the device’s operations, but it protects the works, makes the charger portable, and looks great. Minty Boost runs on common AA batteries (I use rechargeables), so it’s easy to use on the road. I enjoy that I can boost the charge on my iPod without having to surrender a USB port on my laptop. According to inventor, Limor Fried (aka “Lady Ada”), a MintyBoost will run an iPod 2.5 times longer than a 9V USB charger. Minty Boost is well-known in the world of open-source, DIY technology, but obscure in the mainstream, because Fried does not sell them pre-assembled. Instead she offers fairly-priced kits, as well as free parts lists and DIY instructions on her web site ladyada.net. Sometimes you can find assembled Minty Boosts for sale on the site’s forums for a slight markup. I was lucky enough to receive mine as a gift from my boyfriend, whose soldering skills far surpass my own.

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-- Emily Gertz  

MintyBoost – kit
$20
Available from Adafruit

MintyBoost – premade
~$30
Available via Etsy

DIY resources available via ladyada.net