Friday, November 8, 2013

How to make a Fitbit One charger cable

Homemade Fitbit One Charger Cable

How to make a Fitbit One charger cable

People love their Fitbits but it's very easy to lose the charger cable and a replacement will cost you at least $20 -- if you can find one. Here is how I made my own with a few cheap parts I had laying around.

Parts list:
1 spare USB cable
1 red alligator clip
1 black alligator clip

1. Cut the small end off of the USB cable. (this is the end that does NOT plug into your computer). 

2. On the cut end carefully strip back the insulation about 2 inches, revealing the wires inside.

3. Keep the red and black wires and cut the rest off. You won't need them. The red and black wires will supply the +5v DC you need to power your Fitbit.

4. Attach the red alligator clip to the red wire and the black alligator clip to the black wire.


I "tinned" the wires with a soldering iron before attaching them with solder to the alligator clips. This is not absolutely necessary but it will make a more secure connection.

I added some heavier extensions to the very small wires coming from the USB cable, so that repeated use of the alligator clips wouldn't break the thin wires. You can see the transition in the photo above. It is the area that is taped with black electrical tape.

Note the location of the charging terminals on the Fitbit One:

  Fitbit One
The scratches you see were made by using larger alligator clips. After I downsized the clips they stopped damaging the case. Also note that I have marked the positive terminal with a permanent marker.

When you are ready to charge your Fitbit, attach the red and black alligator clips to the proper terminals. The red clip goes to the terminal marked with the + and the black goes to the unmarked terminal.
 Homemade Fitbit One Charger Cable

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do not allow the metal parts of the alligator clips to touch each other or you will short out your USB port! The alligator clip covers can touch but not the metal parts. Most computers can recover from a USB short by shutting down the port, but if you are very careful you won't have to worry about it.

Once you've connect the alligator clips to the Fitbit and are certain there are no metal parts touching each other, set the Fitbit down in a place where it will not move around and plug in the USB connector into a USB port on your computer. If you have everything hooked up correctly, you will see the display on the Fitbit turn on for a few seconds.

To prevent an accidental short, always connect the alligator clips to the Fitbit first and then connect the USB. When removing, always unplug the USB from the computer first before removing the alligator clips from the Fitbit.