Discharged AA alkaline battery
Small USB flash drive the smaller and thinner, the
better. I used a Kingston Data Traveler 1GB.
Inkjet-printable clear sticker film or sticker paper
USB Mini B socket desoldered from an old camera
or USB hub
Thin, insulated wires from an old network cable
Small rare earth magnets ( 2)
Rapid-setting epoxy glue
AG13 button cell battery
USB A to USB Mini B cable
Countersink or drill with 12mm bit
Screwdriver or probe set
Metal file if you need to trim the flash drive a bit
Soldering iron and solder
Computer and printer
1. REMOVE THE AA BATTERY’S
Cut off the plastic wrapper that covers the dead
AA battery, taking care not to score the metal
underneath. Depending on the brand, you might
need to clean glue from the battery case using
a label remover.
4. REMOVE THE CARBON LINING.
Hold the battery in a cloth and use either a drill or
a countersink to carefully and slowly grind out the
carbon. A 12mm bit should fit inside the battery
quite neatly (Figure C, following page). Stop every
now and again to empty the carbon dust out of the
battery casing (Figure D).
2. SCORE THE BATTERY AROUND
THE BOTTOM END CAP.
Some batteries (Duracell, for example) have a small
indent in the case near the negative terminal; make
cuts here with your hacksaw. Don’t cut through the
battery with a single cut. Just pierce the outer case,
then rotate the battery, making a series of small
cuts (Figure A).
CAUTION: If you drill too fast, the casing will get oo hot to hold, or the drill will clog with dust and
snatch the casing from your hand.
When the casing is empty, wash it again and clean
it with a piece of cloth on a screwdriver. Carbon dust
is electrically conductive, so you don’t want to leave
any in there to short out the USB circuitry.
5. CRACK OPEN YOUR
Photography by Andrew Lewis
The plastic case on most USB thumb drives is
clipped together and can be opened fairly easily by
3. EMPTY THE BATTERY. levering around the seams with a knife (Figure E).
Remove the end cap of the battery, using pliers if The space inside the battery is tight, so you may
necessary, and save it for later (Figure B). The inside need to file the edges of the USB circuit board and
is filled with chemical mush. Scoop this out and gently flex the metal casing to get it to fit. Just be
dispose of it safely. Wash the battery in cold water careful not to knock any components off. Also look
to get rid of any remaining mush. out for any “through-the-board” links, and make
sure that you don’t grind them away (Figure F).
CAUTION: Wear gloves and goggles when cutting
and emptying the AA alkaline battery.