Got a Galaxy Note? Here’s a Useful Charging Tip


Galaxy Note (1st generation)I just purchased a Galaxy Note (last year's model) as a refurb from AT&T.  If you aren't dead-set on having the latest, cutting edge Samsung "Phablet" technology from the Galaxy Note II, grab one of these original Notes.  AT&T was selling them for just $29 on Black Friday (with 2 year contract), and they've been cropping up at $49 since. I've also seen them for Sprint at Costco for $49 new.  It's still a fantastic phone for someone that wants a massive, beautiful screen.

One quirk I've discovered, however, is that the Note cannot draw enough power through a USB or DC car connection to charge while it's in use.  While this is an inconvenience at best in terms of charging while plugged into your computer, it's a real downer for car use — how can you use it as a GPS or a mobile entertainment center if it can't stay charged?  Samsung obvously knows this is a problem because there is a warning message that pops up when the battery drains below 15% and it's plugged into a USB or DC connection telling you specifically that you need to plug into an AC outlet.  WOW!

Cheap AC power inverter from Newegg.comSurprised and frustrated by this limitation, I tried an experiment.  I have a small AC power inverter that I use in my car to charge up my laptop, so I plugged the note in with its USB to AC adapter.  Amazingly enough, this actually works!  I can't imagine why this would be better than a direct DC connection, but apparently the Note's charging circuitry is designed to work more efficiently with an AC power source.

You can pick up a low-load DC to AC inverter for $20-30 and office supply stores or online.  If you shop around, you can pick up a low voltage inverter cheap.  For example, here's one at for just $4.59 plus shipping.

Update: OK, so someone a bit more technical than me pointed out there are actually two charging voltages for Samsung devices, and and depending on what type of adapter you have, you can achieve better charging capacity.  So possibly having a higher-output DC adapter would also do the trick.  I guess I was spoiled with my iPhone becuase it could charge off of just about any source, USB, DC or AC.


  • Dave Hobley

    Nicely done Russ, sharing this with my daughter who now has my Note II. I am not enjoying the Note III! Keep up the great work my friend!