Homemade Mobile Device Charging Station

Lifehacker pointed out this mobile device recharging station, available in the US. As it happens, I’ve been working on a homemade solution here in the UK since last June, but only now have I got the photos.

I have various devices that need recharging regularly, and I got a bit sick of the Kabelsalat that resulted from plugging them all in seperately. So here’s what I came up with…

Station with PDA and phone in charging positions

Instructions after the jump…


  • A4 box file, with spring lock paper holder (see your local office supply store for examples, or grab one out of the trash as I did (spot the coffee stains!)). This is just useful as a cheap ready-made housing with a hinged lid.
  • 4-way power strip (try 6-way if it will fit in the box)
  • cable clips
  • cable ties
  • small bolts with nuts and washers


  • Drill
  • Stanley knife
  • erm…


  1. Place box file with lid hinge facing you.
  2. Put 4-way power strip into box.
  3. Cut a notch in the side of the box for the power strip cable, to allow box to close.

    Cut a notch in the edge of the box for the power strip cable.

  4. Run cable out via slot, fix with tape.
  5. Close box lid.
  6. Put gadgets (phone, iPod, PDA, MD recorder etc) in a row on lid of box.
  7. Draw round gadgets in pencil.
  8. Remove gadgets.
  9. Open box, and plug gadget chargers into sockets in the same order as the gadgets were on the lid.
  10. It might be worth removing the power strip for the next step.
  11. Drill holes in the lid, for the charging cables to emerge from. Make the holes as small as possible, while still being able to get the charging connector through. NB the iPod will be a pain in the arse, with it’s great 30 pin monster. Figure something out – a slot? Drilling in cardboard gives a poor result.
  12. Replace power strip in box, with chargers attached.
  13. Run each charger cable through its hole in the lid.
  14. You now have a basic charging station, with all the wires hidden. Now here are the clever bits.
  15. Attach charging connectors to the lid using cable clips, held on with bolts and some ingenuity. This is so you can just place your device on the charger so it’s connected easily. Ideally you want to be able to simply remove a charger if you are travelling and don’t want to take the whole lot.

    Connector holder, and hole for cable

    Inner side of lid, with hole and bolt holding connector holder

    Connector held in place by cable clip and bolt. This one is for the PDA, and the connector plugged straight into the device.

    Phone on connector. This one needed a bit of folded card to bring it to the right level.

  16. Why did we draw round the gadgets in pencil? I’m working on that. I’m trying to make slots for the gadgets, so I can simply slide the gadget on, and it will connect. Or even just drop it in a slot? This is easier with connectors that don’t clip on, like Nokia phones, and my PDA. Click connectors like the iPod and Motorola phones need you to press something to detach the cable. Possible to use cardboard for this? Strips of wood? LEGO?
  17. Another idea – adapt the spring-loaded paper holder in the box file, so that it holds the lid of the box up at an angle, allowing you to slot your gadgets on and have them stay there.

    Right side of box with support strut held in slot

  18. Another idea – try to make it less pig-ugly, so it can sit out a shelf, rather than having to be hidden. Rather defeats the object. This is where a nice polished wood box with red velvet lining would be good.

Station with PDA and phone in charging positions

That’s all I’ve got so far, and it’s a bit scrappy looking, but it works well, and it’s one stop to charge everything. Plus I keep my battery charger and batteries in the box, and any other chargers I have lying around.