9 Fantastic DIY Projects Made With Old Phones
Just got a smartphone upgrade? Congrats! But before you sell or ditch your old phone in the darkest corner of your old junk drawer, consider putting it to good use by repurposing it. No idea where to start? Worry not, because here are nine fantastic DIY projects made with old phones to inspire you.
1. Make a Smartwatch From an Old Cell Phone
Always wanted a smartwatch but not willing to splurge on one? Turn your old cell phone into one and skip the hefty costs. Get a perfboard, a Bluetooth module, Arduino Uno, resistors, USB charging board, Li-ion battery, vibrating motor, slide and momentary switches, and soldering equipment. Then put it all together as illustrated in this video.
2. DIY Old Phone to Security Camera
Instead of trashing your old smartphone, DIY it into a security camera and keep an eye on your home or office from wherever you might be. The best part is that this project doesn’t have to be manual. Simply download an app like IP Webcam, generate an IP address, input it into your laptop or computer, and your DIY security cam is ready.
All you need to do now is place it where you’d like surveillance and set it rolling. There’s so much you can do with such an app, from motion detection and data logging, to customizing the interface and enhancing the night vision.
3. Make a Power Bank With Old Phone
Even your new smartphone will run out of charge. And when it does while you are on the go, having a power bank will make all the difference since you don’t need to look for power outlets or sit around and wait for it to recharge.
That said, another excellent DIY project using an old phone is to turn it into a power bank. Remove your old phone’s back frame, create a charging outlet, hook up a power bank circuit, and assemble it, as shown in this step-by-step tutorial, to create a fully functional power bank. Note that you can even use a damaged phone for this project.
4. Make a Music Player From Old Phone
Now that you’ve got a new smartphone, it means your old phone can be freed from the bunch of apps you’d downloaded before to create space for your favorite music. You can even add a microSD card to make more room for your all-time favorite hits.
Turning your old phone into a dedicated music player means you can download as many playlists as you want and skip using data to stream music. You also won’t have to worry about draining your current smartphone’s battery life. Check out this easy-to-follow video tutorial to turn your old phone into a music player.
5. LED Projector From Old Phone
Turn your movie nights at home into a theater-like experience by converting your old phone into a projector. Besides your old phone, you only need an LED chip and the lens of an old camera. If you don’t own a lens, you can quickly get an affordable set from sites like Amazon or eBay.
Once the project is complete, remember to keep the phone’s brightness at maximum for better clarity.
6. Old Phone to Action Camera
Action cams like the GoPro cost an arm and a leg, but a DIY one will cost you little to nothing. If your old phone’s camera is in good working condition, carefully glue a wide-angled (fisheye) lens to the center of its camera lens and your DIY action camera will be ready.
You can either glue a hook and loop fastener to the back of the phone and strap it to your chest during bike rides or mount it to your car phone holder and use it as an action dashcam/GPS device.
Check out these other DIY projects that can immediately upgrade your car.
7. Night Vision Camera From Old Phone
Another excellent way to put an old phone with an excellent camera to great use is by turning it into a night vision camera. The process is quite straightforward too.
Simply disassemble your phone, pop out the camera, carefully remove or break the IR filter, and then assemble everything as it was before. Removing the filter allows IR light to reach the camera sensor for better night vision.
8. Transform Old Phone Batteries Into Power Banks
Fancy cordless power banks? It turns out you only need your old phone’s battery, a 5V convertor, a Li-ion charging and protection board, Arduino, a paper clamp, a switch, and some screws to make one.
For your working tools, you’ll only need a wire cutter, a soldering iron, a hot glue gun, and a drill. The process is quite straightforward, as illustrated in the step-by-step video tutorial above.
9. Vintage Phone Wall Art
Now that you’ve just turned your old phone’s battery into a power bank, what are you to do with its shell? Turn it into vintage wall art. If done right, it will complement your décor and, at the same time, create a good icebreaker for when guests come over. Start by making a frame, glue the phone inside, and then set it up as wall art wherever you want in your home or at the office.
If you have several old phones sitting around, you can make a slightly bigger frame to accommodate all of them and create an incredibly unique yet techy piece of art for your space.
Reuse Your Old Phone
When they upgrade, most people trash their old phone, stash it into their growing collection of old gadgets, give it away for recycling or, if it’s still in working condition, pass it on to kids or friends who need one.
But, as shown in the nine fantastic DIY projects made with old phones here, you don’t have to do any of the above. You can easily repurpose yours into something valuable, whether it’s still working or wholly damaged. Plus, you may use any phone, from Android to iPhone. You can even use a burner phone for some of the projects listed above.