How-To Geek

Always Find a Charging Cord’s Right-Side-Up by Adding a Tactile Pad

It’s late, the lights are already out, and you realize you didn’t plug in your phone to charge. Avoid in-the-dark fumbling by using felt to give your charging cord a tactile right-side-up marker.

Some charging cords have distinct markings you can feel with your fingers–the USB symbol on the top side of many cords, for example, is imprinted deep enough to easily feel–other cords have no marking or markings that are so light as to be difficult to feel in the dark. Electronics and DIY blog Unpluggd shares a simple hack: attach a little felt disk, used for protecting tables tops from the bottom of decorative items, to the side that goes up. In the middle of the night you can feel the correct side and plug it in without a problem.

If you’re not a fan of putting a little fuzzy felt disk on the charger you could always substitute in something else that is equally as tactile, say, a triangle of skateboard grip tape. Hit up the link below for more photos.

Charging in the Dark: Right Side Up For Cell Chargers [ApartmentTherapy]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/7/11

Comments (6)

  1. DiAnne

    I love simple little tips like this.

    The frustration ensues, though, with devices that can’t decide which way is up. My cell phone uses a micro-USB charger that is “face up” while my Nook ereader uses a micro-USB charger that is “face down.” Grrr. I know that not all USB chargers are created equal, but I have found that I can use both of these devices with either cord, which makes charging at my bedside convenient. I put a sticker on one side of the cord and now I just have to remember that the sticker side is down for Nook and up for cell phone. At the end of the day, that’s about the extent of my brainpower.

    I think having non-proprietary plugs is awesome. Now if only devices could be standard concerning orientation, the world would be one step closer to utopia.

  2. john3347

    I have been been marking the “top” side of plugs with White-Out for years. Of course you cannot see the mark if it is really, really pitch dark; but maybe you should turn on some kind of a night light if it is that dark anyway. Someone has already mentioned the hazard of knocking that glass of water over fumbling around in total darkness.

  3. larryi8

    At the hardware store one can purchase some clear glow-in-the-dark coating. Put it on the top side of the plug and you’ll be able to see it in the dark. If applied thick enough one might get tactile feedback.

  4. Victor

    I am actually going to apply this tip to another in-the-dark problem: we just got a car which has two different buttons on the remote, one to lock and one to unlock. And when you’re walking back to the car in the dark you can’t see the tiny graphic identifying which is which… Big Thanks!!

  5. Logically

    I have applied the advice of this article with great success!

    thank you :)

  6. JANET

    As they say necessity is the mother of invention. So simply…

    Is there an equally simple way to find out what USB cable belongs to what gadget??? I seem to have far too many. I’m afraid to throw them out…

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