If you’re out and about and your smartphone battery dies, it’s easy enough to recharge it using one of those cheap little USB power banks. But, what about your laptop? Unless you have an outlet nearby, you’re probably out of luck. But, GreatScottLab has a solution, and you can follow his tutorial to build your own laptop power bank.
You might think that you could just plug the laptop’s charger into some sort of battery. But, unfortunately, that won’t work. The charger takes mains AC voltage and converts it into a stable DC voltage to charge the laptop battery. For that setup to work, you’d need an inverter between your portable battery and the charger. That means you’d start with DC, convert it AC, convert it back to DC, and then charge the laptop with that — a bulky, heavy, and absurd workaround.
GreatScottLab’s solution is far more practical. It’s a LiPo battery back that has a buck converter and boost converter all packed into a single 3D-printed case. The buck converter takes the relatively high battery voltage, and brings it down to a level appropriate for charging your laptop. The boost converter takes the charger voltage and pushes it up to a level that’s good for recharging your DIY power bank. GreatScottLab reports that this power bank can keep his laptop going for an extra three hours, so it’s definitely worth considering if you often find yourself without any power outlets around.