How to Turn a 12-volt DC Into a 5- or 6-volt DC

Resistors wired in a series can create a voltage divider circuit.
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Many electronic devices -- such as cell-phones and portable music devices -- obtain power by means of a DC adapter cable. These devices require a way to convert a DC power source that is greater than the five or six volts needed to charge the device. One simple way to convert a 12-volt DC power supply into a 5-volt or 6-volt power supply without using a plug-in adapter is by using a voltage divider circuit in conjunction with a battery.

    Cut five pieces of wire, with each piece being at least six inches long. Strip off 1/2 inch of insulating material.

    Twist together one end of the first wire segment together with one end of the second wire segment, and with one of the leads from the first resistor. Crimp a ring terminal to the unoccupied end of the second wire, and label the ring terminal with an “N.”

    Twist together the loose lead from the first resistor with one of the leads from the second resistor. Twist together the loose lead from the second resistor together with one of the leads from the third resistor. Twist together the loose lead from the third resistor with one of the leads from the fourth resistor. Twist together the loose lead from the fourth resistor together with one of the leads from the fifth resistor.

    Twist together the loose lead from the fifth resistor together with one end of the third wire, and with one of the leads from the sixth resistor. Crimp a ring terminal to the unoccupied end of the third wire, and label the ring terminal with a “5.”

    Twist together the loose lead from the sixth resistor together with one end of the fourth wire, and with one of the leads from the seventh resistor. Crimp a ring terminal to the unoccupied end of the fourth wire, and label the ring terminal with a “6.”

    Twist together the loose lead from the seventh resistor with one of the leads from the eighth resistor. Continue twisting the remaining four loose leads together in the same sequential fashion mentioned in the previous sentence and Step 5.

    Twist together the free lead from the twelfth resistor with one end of the fifth wire. Attach the loose end of the first wire to the negative battery terminal. Attach the loose end of the fifth wire to the positive battery terminal.

    Things You'll Need

    • 12-volt battery
    • Electrical wire
    • Electrical pliers
    • 3 Crimp-type ring terminals
    • 12 10-ohm resistors
    • Permanent marker

    Tips

    • To obtain five volts of power, connect the ring terminal labeled with the “5” to the positive lead on the input device. Connect the ring terminal labeled with the “N” to the negative lead on the input device. To obtain six volts, connect the ring terminal labeled with the “6” to the positive lead on the input device, with the negative lead being connected to the ring terminal labeled with the “N.”

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