Today I found myself out-of-town with my Kindle almost out of battery life, no Kindle charger, and a long plane flight tomorrow. Passing a Radio Shack, I went in, with the intention of buying yet another charger for it (I knew from a similar experience that I needed 5 volts with an "A" plug). But I knew my charger was at home, and was hesitant to pay $20-30 for what would after today be an extra.
So I bought the following:
- The cheapest USB cable I could find
- An "A" plug
- A short wire Radio Shack sells with a socket for the plug on one end and bare wires on the other (both the last two of these are located in the store near the replacement transformers)
- A small roll of black electrical tape
I realized something key: I already had a 5v power supply, in my computer, with a handy outlet, called "USB." All I had to do was get all the plugs to match.
I borrowed some scissors and cut the USB cable about 8 inches from the flat end, throwing the rest away. I stripped off the insulation, and found the red and black wires - these are the 5V and ground wires (just search the Internet for USB pinouts if you want to be sure). I then twisted one wire from the plug wire to the red and the other to the black, and taped the whole thing up (a bit of soldering would have been better, but I forgot my handy MacGyver construction kit).
And what do you know, I now have a USB charger for my Kindle (When I first plugged it in, the charge light did not go on, but I reversed the plug in its socket and that did the trick). This will now charge my Kindle on the road from my laptop or when I am driving from my 12V car charger that has a USB connection.
I think this is a pretty handy accessory, and a quick Internet search did not show anyone currently selling one.
Update: OK, someone else already thought of this, and has pictures of the procedure. He notes that the supplied Kindle usb cable will not charge the device as well (the Kindle cable goes from USB to a special miniature USB port, like the ones on a camera -- my cable goes from USB to the power inlet). My homegrown version charged it very quickly.