I’m not an electrician, have no formal education whatsoever, and if you try this you and nobody else is responsible for whatever happens. This was created in a moment of despair 😉
I lost the charger to my FitBit One. Surprise. Also, I lost the Bluetooth device, but I never log in anyway. The charger I however need. So what do I do? Well, I didn’t want to fork out for 30$ for a new one, I wanted it charged *NOW*. The wait sucks more than the money.
And I have a thing for DIY. One of my most popular posts is actually a DIY, it’s this one:
So here is an (ugly?) hack. My first attempt, the prototype- was a very nasty hack (but worked). Images for that one is at the end of the post, please choose method one 😉
I wanted to make a charger I could reuse and make out of what I had at home. I used a USB cord and electrical tape, although I have that at home I purchased the items to check the price, it cost me 10USD. Used:
- Electrical tape (two colors, but you can use a marker for color)
- Standard USB cable
I also recommend using a USB charger and not the USB port on your computer in case you blow the port. A portable charger is pretty sweet as well, and those can be quite cheap to purchase and make a good travel companion for the FitBit.
The FitBit One uses a standard Micro USB charger, those chargers delivers 5V. The FitBit One has two connector points. On the right the one that needs to be supplied with power, to the left the ground connector is.
If you split a USB cable you will see four tiny cables:
Red: Power +5V DC
Green: Data –
White: Data +
We need to connect the red cable to the + connector on the FitBit One, and ground- to well, ground. The two cables should not make contact, and they have to both be connected before we plug the charger in whatever will deliver the power.
First we make a strip that will be the charger itself. The strip has to be taped in place for charging. We also want to mark the strip and the FitBit for the cables, and red is for power (phase conductor), while green and yellow combo conductor is for ground (North US and Europe as far as I know).
Since its important that we have both the conductors attached at the same time we need to find a way to place them right. The FitBit has a dent close to the metal connections, and we’ll make a small bump on our strip that can fit the dent.
Then we peel back the cable and cut of the data wires a little bit longer than the FitBit (the thick cable is too bulky to fit on the strip), the green and white. The next step is to remove the insulation on the top part of the red and black cable. I don’t have a clipper for this, so I simply used a box cutter and made an ever so small cut/dent around the cable and used my teeth to pull of the cable (yes my teeth) carefully. Then loop the wires that are exposes, to make two round patches that will be used to connect to the FitBit connectors.
The two cables are taped on top of the strip, going through a top hole just after the bump and are taped into place with tiny tape strips on the underside of the tape. Use the bump placed on the FitBit dent to measure where they should be before taping into place.
Here is a not-so-perfect drawing I made in Illustrator. I’m not very good with Illustrator so pardon the poor attempt.
Tape the end of the strip and the thick end of the cable to have a smooth trasition from strip to cable,
And you are done!
To charge first tape the strip down in the middle, then overlay some tape at the end of the strip to secure the strip to the FitBit, making sure the bump rests in the dent and the two wires are connected with the metal connectors.
Always have both wires connected before plugin in the charger. So once they are secured into place, plug it into whatever you want to charge it with. Again, I would not recommend your PC, and make sure that you unplug before removing FitBit from the charger. Do not leave connected without you being there, 30 mins should be enough for a full charge.
Sometimes you need to reset a FitBit that is completely emptied for batteries, this is done by holding down the button a few seconds untill charging icon is shown.
Here are my prototype photos, it was 2AM and I had no tape, but I did have an MVP sticker 😀 Not a very safe or reusable model 😉