1. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Disclaimer: This guide is for EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT purposes only and was written for fun among other things.

    Introduction
    --------------------------------------

    With the disclaimer out of the way, let me start. This post was inspired by a small privacy incident involving the Twitter app covertly detecting what brand of WiFi routers my university uses and giving me promotional ad tweets for said brand on my timeline, which is a HUGE privacy violation. Our gadgets today are amazing devices, and the future might look bright if everything stays as-is. But thanks to recent developments regarding privacy issues, I think there is a high chance that at some point the very same technology we use today might be turned against us by a governing entity. I have nothing against the government or any other mainstream authority figure, but if things go rotten in the future and we end up in a world where there is surveillance on every corner we will have to use what will at that time be older and safer devices (such as ones that are presently available, which spy on us much less than devices produced for a fully digitally surveilled society would). The thing is that our "safe" devices are not immortal, and charging devices in a tech dystopia is also a huge security risk.

    Part 1: replacing batteries on "safe" devices
    --------------------------------------------------
    So you've been holding on to your precious pre-dystopia phone as a little portable offline digital sanctuary for all you private stuff. Then one day you start experiencing short battery life, flickering display and random shutdowns when launching you favorite demanding games and apps. Maybe your pre-dystopia laptop won't hold a charge anymore and the battery is proprietary. Now you may think replacing the cells of your laptop's battery pack or the battery cell in your phone is doable with any li-ion battery? There are multiple types of lithium-ion batteries. First you have the oldschool 3.6v and 3.7v ones that use a charge voltage of 4.2v and the more modern (but less popular) ones that are 3.8v nominal and charge at 4.3v. Once you get your hands on a properly specced cell with no protection circuitry (dystopia-era protection circuitry might us DC powerline communication or something similar to steal your data and then radio transmit it to a surveillance agency), CAREFULLY remove the protection circuitry from your existing battery (this is extremely dangerous and should only be done with extreme care a fully discharged battery to prevent a fire in case anything goes wrong) and connect it to the new cell. As for laptops, find some unprotected cells (assuming the control board in your battery pack has protections, otherwise you are out of luck), ensure they are approximately the same voltage and connect them in place of the old cells in your battery pack (I will not go into details about laptop batteries as this is a cellphone/tablet forum).

    Part 2: Safe and private charging
    ---------------------------------------
    So you just kludged a new battery into your device and your device happily booted up, only to show you a low battery percentage. Now using pre-dystopia chargers that will not steal your data is the obvious solution. But what if those are all dead and you have to use a potentially spy-compromised charger. The first way to protect yourself is to ensure there is no possibility of AC powerline communication as this might be one of the ways the charger would send your data to a surveillance agency. A little known fact is that your typical switch mode power supply (such as a cellphone charger) will actually run from both AC and DC. Not many people know about this so the chargers are probably incapable of DC powerline communication to the outside world. All you need to turn your AC supply into DC is a full-bridge rectifier (https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/diode/diode_6.html ) that consists of four diodes (rated your supply voltage and preferably a bit higher than the rated input current draw of your charger) and a proper capacitor rated for at least a slightly higher voltage than the voltage your are dealing with. Once you've protected the power line, use either trusted USB cables with your charger or cut the data lines in a non-trustworthy cable. If you'd like, put the whole charging setup (or as much of it as possible) in a faraday cage for extra radio shielding.

    This is far from a complete guide, and I am assuming that if you are unfortunate to be in a situation where you need to follow the above steps you probably dealt with the device-side security shenanigans already and ensured it was fully safe to use. Also, old devices might need other repairs to get them working such as reballing of solder joints between the chips and the motherboard, etc...

    Now I hope the world doesn't degrade to the point where this guide must be used to kludge an ancient "safe" device into working order, but the first part of this guide is useful if you do need to fix a really old device for any number of reasons and cannot get a replacement battery designed for said device for whatever reason (the only difference being is that you should use protected cells if there is no tech surveillance dystopia in sight).
    belodion likes this.
    11-15-2019 04:11 AM
  2. Tim1954's Avatar
    Chuckles! :-D
    milleniumdroid likes this.
    11-15-2019 09:10 PM

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