USB Shaver Charger
I hacked together my own USB shaver charger using a cheap DC-DC converter I bought on eBay, so fewer worries (and things to carry) next time I’m travelling.
I use an electric shaver most days, and I travel a fair bit. Usually the battery is enough to get me through a trip, but if I’m away for weeks then I need to recharge.
The charger that came with my shaver (in the UK) is a European type like this:
If I had a US charger, I’d be fine, because most places in Europe have both types. Sadly the reverse isn’t true, so it’s less common to find European sockets in the US.
To make things worse the European shaver plug looks like a Swiss style plug, but actually has larger prongs, so it doesn’t just fit into a multinational adaptor. Here’s the hideous jury rig I had to put together on my most recent trip to get a charge:
That photo has a European shaver charger, a euro to UK adaptor (from my wife’s GHDs), a Swiss World Travel adaptor, and an elastic hair band.
I’ve thought in the past that it would be a good idea if somebody like iGo did shaver tips for their travel chargers, but that hasn’t happened. Of course most smaller devices these days use USB for charging.
They do exist, but they don’t look great. I’ll stick with my Braun.
Why not USB?
It’s a mystery to me why the shaver manufacturers like Braun, Philips etc. haven’t shifted to using 5v for charging and supplying a USB charger. I guess they’re stuck in the same place the mobile phone makers were a decade ago (before the European commission mandated microUSB).
My shaver charger is 12v at 400mA. I got a MC34063A based DC-DC converter module from eBay for £1.68. It’s claimed to be 78% efficient and can output up to 1.5A (though it’s recommended that it’s only pushed to 800mA).
Crunching the numbers:
12v * 400mA = 4.8W
4.8W output/ 78% efficiency = 6.15W input
6.15W/5V = 1.23A
1.23A is well inside the capabilities of a typical USB travel charger for something like a tablet, and even a more mundane 1A charger is likely to be sufficient – worst case the shaver will charge fractionally slower.
The voltage converter came already set up for 12v, so it was simply a matter of dismembering an existing charger cable, and a spare USB cable, followed by a quick bit of soldering and heat shrinking. The picture at the top of the post shows the finished article (with the coiled shaver cable wrapped around the USB charger cable to keep things tidy).
At the moment both cables come out of the same side of the converter, and it would be better if it was just a bump in the wire; and that bump could be more elegant than a lump of heat shrink encased electronics.
I’m probably not going to bother polishing this thing any further myself. It works, and I’m happy with it.
Maybe some enterprising Chinese manufacturer will come up with something properly designed, with variants (or even interchangeable plugs) for different shaver types.
Filed under: making | 2 Comments
Tags: adaptor, Braun, cable, charger, DC-DC, hack, MC34063A, shaver, USB