T³: Building a battery backup Pokédex for Pokémon Go!

Catching 'Em All can drain your smartphone battery; let's see if we can fix it in style!

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You’re three miles from the trailhead, you didn’t plan on walking three miles for lunch, but while you were re-stocking at the PokéStop you spotted a nearby Ninetails. You’ve been tracking it for an hour now and you’re finally face to face with the magnificent beast. Pokéball number one misses by a mile; what are you doing??? Pokéball number two flies over Ninetails as it lunges for you. Poor timing. Finally, a third pokéball arcs beautifully into the air and comes to land directly on Ninetails’s head. Your heartbeat quickens as Ninetails disappears and the fateful pokéball falls to the ground. Ninetails is nearly yours and then… nothing. A black screen: Your smartphone battery is dead flat. Not only is Ninetails gone, along with any hope of catching ‘em all… but you’re in the middle of nowhere with no phone or GPS.

…for a Pokémon.

…again.

Pokémon Go seems to have been engineered specifically to test the limits of smartphone performance. To play the game you need to have GPS, mobile data and the LCD screen running pretty much full blast. On top of that, the processor is constantly updating and rendering a live map and trying to keep track of your items and effects. Add to that the camera and image processing that happens during a Pokémon battle and your battery life can start looking really dismal.

Many Pokémon trainers have resorted to carrying mobile charging packs, which is smart, but not particularly stylish. Besides that, the cord can get in your way when you’re really putting your wrist into catching a CP240 Golbat. If you’re gonna be the very best, like no one ever was, you’re going to need to look the part. So I present to you: The Battery Pack Pokédex.

Smartphone charging in the Pokedex

Not only does it make your boring smartphone look like a sweet Kanto Pokédex, but it also augments your battery with an extra 2600mAh! The case itself is 3D-printed from ABS in classic Pokédex red and acetone polished to a high sheen. Check out the pictures below see the build process:

Click the arrows to flip through the gallery

The electrical portion of the project is pretty minimalist: A 18650 lithium cell supplies backup power for your cell phone through a USB microB Plug Breakout mounted in the bottom of the Pokédex. To charge your smartphone, the 3.7v output of the 18650 needs to be boosted to 5v, which is where the SparkFun Power Cell comes in. Since you already have a battery in this cell phone case, you might as well add some LEDs, right? The original Kanto Pokédex had three LEDs: red, yellow and green. A few resistors prevent the LEDs from overcurrent. Finally, I added a power switch to the battery input. There is an “enable” pin on the Power Cell board but even with the board disabled, it can slowly drain your battery. Here’s a diagram that might help:

Pokedex wiring diagram

I left some room in the backside of the Pokédex model to jam the electronic components into. There isn’t really a particular place for any of the components besides the USB plug and the LEDs, so I just stuck everything down with heavy duty doublestick foam tape. Make sure the power switch and the USB charging port for the Power Cell are accessible once everything is mounted:

A view into the back of the pokedex

There’s a little room leftover because I’m hoping to add cooling fans and extra batteries to the next revision, but this version should get you through a few levels of Pokémon training (and make you the coolest person at the PokéStop).

photo of the completed Pokédex from the frontphoto of the completed Pokédex open without a phone

photo of the completed Pokédex in use

Sorry about my cracked phone screen… It gets real at the Pokémon Gym

photo of the completed Pokédex charging a phone

Here you can see the Pokédex charging my super dead phone

Of course since this is my Pokédex, I decided to add a little flavor to make it my own (thanks to Shawn for the idea of taping a Pokémon type table to the inside cover)

Photo of the customized pokedex

Photo of the customized pokedex showing inside cover

So that’s it! The model could use a few tweaks and it’s designed to work with my (practically ancient) Samsung Galaxy S4… but you’re more than welcome to download the files and print or modify it yourself! If you build your own Pokédex please send us a picture, I’d love to see it! Until next time, happy hacking and good luck in all your Pokémon battles!

Update 7/18/16

We’re super excited about the response that we’ve gotten from this project! Thank you all! Remember to watch the GitHub repository for new 3D models, links, contact info and possibly resin molding designs! Happy hunting!


Comments 56 comments

  • This is a really fun project, but I believe you are a bit off about the capacity here…

    The battery itself is 2600mAh at 3.7V - a total capacity of 9.62Wh. You need the circuit to boost this to 5V to charge your phone, and even if you could get a 100% efficient voltage conversion, that’s still only about 1900mAh at 5V.

  • Is there any way you could post the mesh file in a format that is a little easier to use? I’m looking to modify this for my iPhone 6S but none of my software will open the .amf file and I can’t convert it myself. An .stl format would be much easier to use! Thank You!

  • So I bought the new HTC 10 earlier and i would love to get my hands on this little gadget but i think my phone is a little too big. is there anyway you could design one for my phone?? I would greatly appreciate it!!!

  • I have an iPhone 5, if anyone can print this out and not put the valor logo, please message me, I’ll pay. Really want to have this. Or the files so I can make it smaller for the iPhone 5

  • If you plan on selling pokedex cases…please let me know where I can buy this. I own a Samsung A3 Great idea by the way

  • This is AWESOME and FUN !!! I believe it would lead the trend around the world. how about cooperating together ? I am from Taiwan. If you finish your improved version, let me be your import commission agent to Taiwan ? If interested, please email me. thx :D email: night4business@gmail.com

  • While I really like the concept. I feel I’d run into a few issues with my phone. First off, I’ve got a Nexus 6P which is a lot larger, though scaling up the design doesn’t seem too difficult. My main issue is that the 6P uses USB-C for charging. I thought about maybe grabbing a 90-degree USB-C to USB-A cable and replacing the MicroB breakout for a female USB-A breakout. Any thoughts?

  • Amazing. It would be great if you make a video on youtube, showing the entire construction process.

  • Hello, This is an amazing idea! Ever since I saw it I have been trying to figure out how to do it! I have an iPhone 5 and my fathers 3D printer is not big enough to print the blueprints you have available. I would pay you to make me one almost identical to the one pictured here but for iPhone 5. I am also team valor and would really appreciate it. Please let me know if that’s a possibility

  • I like the idea. Neat concept. A little concerned about heat though. If I play for more than 30 min while a battery pack is plugged into my phone the combined heat makes my phone really warm. In the early days of Ingress (the predecessor of Pokemon Go), heat was always a problem for many phones. Luckily phones have gotten better and Ingress scanner app got more efficient. But I’d be concerned about frying your phone while using this long term. Just a concern and maybe some consideration should be put it into putting vent holes in the case.

    Otherwise, props for a neat design!

  • So coooooool !Can you do it for the Sony Xperia z3 compact please, i’m not very greated with the 3d….😁 😂 😀 I’m french, and i don’t speak english very well, so, sorry for my bad english 😁.

  • I’d hope I could buy this from you if you made it for the S7 Active. I know nothing about electrical wiring, nor do I have a 3d printer. This looks awesome!

  • Im gonna print the Pokedex with my FT- 5. I need to modify the hinges and the case in order to do so. I am puzzled how the case and lid was printed without bridges and support. But the print looks great! Great work!

  • I have never needed anything in my life as much as this. Any way you could make one for a Galaxy note? Team instinct, and a bit slimmer.

  • Hi!!! I had the EXACT same idea when pokemonGO came out and I have been trying to find a way to make a prototype (Entrepreneur…not so much an engineer). I would love to chat with you your thoughts I had about this and maybe help get this to production.

    Would you be interested in chatting with me? my email is miller.c@live.ca. I am huge fan of pokemon and this would be a dream to use my profession to bring something like this to market :D

  • Would you be able to make a zte prestige & Galaxy J7 versions. I would be eternally grateful, also I would compensate you for your hard work. Get back to me please thank you

  • Hello! I had a question as to how you insert/remove the phone and if the side buttons are accessible?

    Thanks!

  • If you ever get around to selling these, I will purchase a model for the Galaxy Note 5. Love the design, and would be willing to pay whatever you felt was appropriate for it.

  • I’d like to buy a cover! Could you make them for me?♥️ You have only to tell me the price!

  • I would really, really love to buy one of these for my iPhone 5s!! :D If you ever do produce these, I suggest that the inside of the pokedex (where you have the types) be like a wallet. But I do also love the types idea if you plan on printing it on the case. Either way I’d still buy it!!! P.S. Brilliant work!!! This is by far the best pokedex case I’ve ever seen! :D :D

  • Any plans to make this for a Galaxy s6? And how much would you sell it for?

  • Is there any plans on making one for the Samsung Galaxy S5 ?

  • As someone who owns a galaxys4 with a fried battery that they refused to replace.. This would be great and by any chance are you selling this one or could make the exact one for mystic??

  • This is a really great project and everyone knows the struggles of trying to catch a Pokemon and your phone pops up with a battery warning.

    NPoole, I was curious if you have considered having a partner in creating this project for a range of phones? I would be very interested in working with you and designing a variety of cases for a variety of phones. I have a background in both 3D printing as well as CAD design and believe working together would be a great opportunity. If you are interested just let me know.

  • I have a suggestion for iphone MFI workaround. Use an iphone compatible wireless charging receiver circuit. Can be found for ~$2, is very compact, and will have the necessary MFI circuitry. Just rewire to run on 5VDC instead of the wireless coil’s AC voltage.

  • Please for Galaxy Core 2!!

  • If anyone is making these I’d like a red team valor case for the LG G Stylo… Ready to pay as this is a wonderful idea

  • Wow i want one! I just want the case and i will keep using my 20000 mah battery bank i think i can just do a little hole At bottom for fit the hire so.. Pelase iphone 6 compatible case!!😫😫😫 i would Pay for it !!

  • I modified the file today just by scaling it up (4% on the X axis and 7.6% on the Y axis) in order to fit my Nexus 5X. The whole pokedex is probably going to be huge because of that, but it’s my first print! It should be done by tomorrow morning so we’ll see how it looks after that. Thanks for putting in the time to design all of this, oh the nostalgia!

  • Please for Galaxy s7 flat :) please

  • Hey! I’m very interested in your case, but unfortunately, I have an iPhone 5s. I’m not the best at 3D software (wasting how many classes at school?? ughh me), so I have a few questions!

    First one: What are the dimensions of the side sections where you fit the battery? I would want to install the Anker PowerCore 5000 into the case, but I’m afraid it won’t fit. Question two: I’ve seen you’re working on an iPhone 6s model. Do you plan to make an iPhone 5s version as well? If not, I am completely willing to commission you to do so. Please shoot me an email at vincent.hall.anm@gmail.com if this sounds appealing to you. I’d be more than happy to pay you for an iPhone 5s version

    Thank you for your time! I look forward to hearing back!

  • i would definitely pay for one of these for my htc desire. \m/

  • first, thank you for exist and make this beautiful project. second, it has a model for the Moto G4 PLUS? here in Brazil many people have the moto g4 plus.

  • Have you tired a HTC M9? I would really love one of those come Halloween time. It would be the perfect accessory for my Brock customer.

  • Hello! I’d like to ask you some general questions about this and if you’d like to start selling them. Feel free to email me at PokeTrends@gmail.com if you want to find out more :-)

  • Is there a way you could make this for an iPhone SE/5S/5?

    • I’m currently working on iPhone compatibility, but a big roadblock to that is Apple’s MFi Authentication Coprocessor. Apple requires manufacturer’s of iPhone/iPad/iPod products to register in order to receive authentication hardware required to make things like charging cables work. This is my understanding so far anyway. I’m working on a workaround that uses an MFi certified (or knockoff MFi compatible) cable as a connector to do the authentication.

      Watch the Github repo README for updates!

  • Any way we could get one designed for the Iphone 6 plus? 6.22 inches long 3.06 inches width .28 inch high http://www.apple.com/iphone-6/specs/

    :)

    If you have time.. I am sure you are getting a lot of requests..

  • A backup battery with only 1900mAh?? Much better to make a slider that can hold a proper backup battery like 10000 or 16000mAh. And add a fan, because playing in the sun on a hot day will cause your phone to start killing processes to keep it from burning up.

    • Yes, but given this was a one-day build, I kinda worked with what I had handy. I did mention that a version with cooling is coming. Keep an eye on the repo :)

  • I cannot open the Sketchup models from your github. I am getting an error that states, “This does not appear to be a SketchUp model!”. I am using SketchUp 2016.

  • I have a Galaxy J3, would it be difficult to modify for that model? Also, how much did the electronic components cost

    • I will put together a short tutorial on how to modify the models in sketchup and assemble the electronics in the next week or so :)

  • Is there any way I could order one from you? I also have a Galaxy S4

  • impressive

  • it was really awesome man, good work guys. you can download and play pokemon go on pc now, know how to do that.

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