Creating a dual use powerbank and charger for fairphone batteries

@ jedie suggested in 🇩🇪 Faire PowerBank? Warum nicht mit Fairphone Akkus ?!? “Fair powerbank? Why not use Fairphone batteries” to create a powerbank with Fairphone batteries to get a at least partly fair powerbank.

There were some links mentioned I order them by my opinion:

Imho the first link to a PCB (elektronic board) seems to be a good option. Such a powerbank could also be used just as a charger.

At thingiverse I found:

Are there other persons interested? Can someone build a contruction for 3D printer?


Searching for powerbank at thingiverse gives some useful results:

A working battery in a smartphone is already a powerbank. Because a powerbank is nothing more than a battery with USB (A/micro/C) output and an indicator.

There’s some guides to make a powerbank out of a 18650 battery. These are commonly available. For example, on AliExpress you can buy a cover for such (which you can replace with a newer 18650 if old one is out of service).


Only issue with those covers is that they almost always are microUSB out with USB-A in. Whereas I prefer USB-C.

However it uses 18650 batteries which is a standardized format while smartphone batteries are not.

A key point in discussing Fairphone batteries for this is

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Proprietary/non-standard format isn’t fair in this context; a standard like 16850 is.


FP4 battery: thick: 6,44mm, 46,7 mm, 91,1mm, 91,5mm with nose bottom middle. On the battery: 1ICP 6/45/84

  • distance to the side: 9,57mm
  • distance to the side: 15,6mm (middle of the notch)
    Upper small side with pins: 1,35mm, 2,35mm, 2 mm, 1 mm. Sum: 6,7mm. Measured: 6,44 mm

I don’t mean to disrespect the original idea, but this seems like introducing a risk.
I’ve bought electronic items from AliExpress before and their build quality is hit and miss depending on the seller. Power control circuits are crucial with battery packs and that’s before we get into the housing and wiring.

I would advise caution ordering power circuits and Li-ion batteries from AliExpress. You can’t do due diligence with the supplier.


The best powerbank is the one you already own.

You can buy decent batteries from reputable brands (like for example Nitecore) or from reputable brands within EU stores if you prefer.

Because open standards are fair, and important. A device using an open standard can be easier repaired than one with all kind of unique and rare materials. You can see this in the VanMoof debacle, as well as the Baboe cargo bike one, and other e-bike mess we’re in.

I strongly support this as a concept.
But fair production is also fair, and important.

Am I missing something about 18650 batteries? Are they more fairly produced than Fairphone batteries?
Else I don’t see the point in going against this idea here so strongly.

I have a powerbank, which is working fine, I have no stakes in this either way anyway.

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My wife has a FP4 and a second battery. She needs a charger that doesn’t loose contat if it is moved. I guess that fits quite well the definition that @JeroenH supports.

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It is just a standard, like 14500, AA, AAA. A lot of powerbanks will actually contain standard batteries if you’d shuck them. Especially the thicker ones are gonna contain various (low quality) 18650.

Consider what a powerbank is. It is one or more batteries in a case with input and output various variants of USB.

The problem is that each smartphone battery is different. So you might be able to design one powerbank for specifically the Fairphone 4 battery. But then what about the Fairphone 5 battery? The Fairphone 3 battery? All the other batteries in smartphones? All the other batteries you own? They’re all non-standard. After the battery is done, the powerbank is done, unless if you got another battery which fits.

Why? Because smartphones hyper-optimize for size and weight.

The solution to that is that you can use a smartphone (almost any) to charge another device. Then you have a powerbank which requires no assembly, no additional materials, no effort, no extra money, nothing. It is the most fair powerbank you’ll ever own.

With one caveat: normally, if you do this with a normal smartphone, you cannot replace the battery later on. Whereas with a smartphone like a Fairphone, you can replace the battery. So I’d say: go ahead and use your Fairphone as a powerbank. Don’t be afraid.

My wife needs an additional charger for her 2. phone battery. If she takes another phone with her to charge the main phone she would need 2 phones. That doesn’t make sense to me. If she takes another phone type, e.g. FP2, she just has 500mA max to charge her phone and she looses the possiblility to swap the battery in her main phone.

Maybe we will be able to design a charger that can charge different types of batteries? Don’t think your limits are the limits of other persons.

There are already universal charger. Why don’t you talk about them in your considerations?

Would you keep old material and put it in the shelf? Don’t you know:

Even parts can be offered.

If a self assembled powerbank isn’t needed any more it can be offered in the market, too. It can be disassembled. Fairphone batteries set a standard in fairness. I bet you cannot beat this fairness with other batteries.

With such a special charger you can even reuse old Fairphone batteries you wouldn’t use in your phone any more.

You could only use it on the same battery, of that specific phone. So you design a thing, 3D print it, OK and then what? All in the name of environment friendly? Yet you did have to design it, get the PLA, solder it, get it shipped from China, etc.

My wife has a universal battery charger, and this charger supports all kind of standard rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, etc etc). But it does not support smartphone batteries. Or any other non-standard, proprietary format. To access those, they have a standard: USB-A, microUSB, and USB-C.

Also, if you want to save your battery life time, you’re better off disabling fast charging unless when you need it. Of course, it is enabled by default, cause of planned obsolescence.

This video also basically shows how Scott builds his own powerbanks. Just not with a beautiful case.

Where does the whole material come from? Maybe China? Does it make a difference?

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