How to Charge a Microsoft Surface from an External Battery Pack

Microsoft Surface and Surface Pros use proprietary charging connectors, which make it difficult if you are trying to charge your Surface on the road, from an external battery pack, or from a Voltaic solar charger. Fortunately, we have an easy and lightweight solution to efficiently charge your Surface device on-the-go.

power bank for Microsoft Surface

External Battery Pack for Surface Laptops and Tablets

Since these Surface tablets require 12V to charge, you can use one of available Microsoft Surface Charger Cables (Surface 2 or Surface Pro/Book) to power your device from our V88 Laptop Battery. This external battery pack safely provide 12V of regulated power to your device whenever you need it. View our recommend these solar chargers for Surface 2, Pro 3, and Pro 4 devices.

Surface 2 DC Charger Cable

To charge the Surface 2 from a DC power supply there are official Microsoft car chargers that will work just fine with any car socket, including the one that comes with of our V88 Laptop Battery. But if you are looking for the best direct charging solution from an external battery pack, then we recommend our  Surface 2 Charger Cable. 

This cable will charge your Microsoft Surface 2 tablet directly from our V88 External Battery Pack at 12V.

Surface Pro & Surface Book DC Charger Cable

To charge your Surface Pro 3 or 4, simply use our Surface Pro/Book DC Charger Cable to connect directly to the 12V output of our V88 Laptop Battery Pack. Microsoft does not offer a DC option for these devices, so this is the best option for charging from an external battery pack.

Shop Solar for Microsoft Surface


External Battery Pack for Surface 3

For the Microsoft Surface 3, you can charge your device from any of our USB external battery packs as it does not require 12 Volts. Simply use your Surface USB Charging Cable and connect to the 5V USB port to charge. Due to the capacity of the Surface 3, we recommend our V88 Laptop Battery for best results.

More details on charge times can be found on our Solar Charger for Tablets Guide.

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53 Responses

  1. BB

    About the other wires:
    The white (/yellow) wire is for the white charge LED on the plug. The blue wire is used for charger detection. If you use the RT charger on the Surface Pro the Pro will detect the smaller RT charger and limit the current to 2A. If your external battery is able to provide the same current as the Pro charger (3.6A) the blue line seems to be unnecessary.

    • Valy-D

      My surface pro 4 adapter felt from a (relative) high altitude and stops working (my own mistake of course)

      Thanks to this post, I could create my own power supply.

      I’ve bought a USB 3.0 TO SATA/IDE 2.5/3.5/5.25-INCH Hard Drive Converter/Adapter that has its own pocket power supply.

      I’ve cut and use the male side of a computer power connector (the 4 pin side of this Amazon 6in 4 Pin Molex to SATA Power Cable Adapter – LP4 to SATA – 6in Molex to SATA Cable – 4 pin to SATA power)

      I’ve cut the cable from my Surface Pro 4 adapter (mine has only 3 wires. Red, Blue and Ground)

      The connection:
      Surface pro 4 wire Male 4 Pin Molex to SATA
      ________________ ________________________
      Red __________to___ Yellow (12V)
      Ground _______to___ Black (0V)
      Blue__________to___ Black (0V) this has to be connected otherwise it won’t work (in my case)

      My pocket Hard Drive power supply specs
      12V — 2A on the Yellow
      5V — 2A on the Red

      Hope it helps

  2. Henrik Johansson

    Hey you guys and Girls!
    Thanks a million for this post! I’ve sent you an RT-charger and will get help with this, I can’t tell you how greatful I am for this!
    I’ll send you some pics once I receive it back, I just got my V60-battery today, so I can’t wait to try this out on my Surface Pro! Thanks again and greets from Sweden! 😀

  3. Ryu Ran

    Cool! I bought Surface Pro Charger from HK for 30$, and I wonder if this method works for mine.
    It has no LED and is slightly different from the official one.

    • admin

      Hi Ryu,

      We’ve done tests with the knock-off ones and they did work fine (though no LED as you say). The quality of workmanship on them weren’t very good so we aren’t going to strongly recommend them, but we think you can probably go ahead and make the adapter. /jeff

  4. rankit


    Is there anyways I can buy it from you. appreciate as I am having issues with my surface pro charging I am out. Thanks


    • admin

      Hi Rankit,

      We don’t have a supply of Surface cables. If you send us a Surface Pro cable, we can hack it for you and send it back to you. Send an email to and we can let you know the delivery address. Thanks, Jeff

  5. Aaron

    I cut up an extra Surface Pro Charger cord and found the Red Wire, Blue and white and there were two grounds neither of which were in a black shielding? One ground was small and located in the center of all the wires and the other was wrapped around all the wires. I connected all the grounds (small and large) to the black on the Voltaic wire and the red to the red on the voltaic wire (left the blue and white loose) when plugged in got the charging symbol on my Surface Pro. I think the Surface Pro cable is different from the RT. I hope combining the two grounds does not mess anything up?

    • tommy

      That is interesting – we’ve only seen the RT chargers so far, so we can’t say we’ve seen what you’re describing. If it works, that’s certainly a good sign, but we’re not sure what each of those two conductors may be.

      • westxtsew

        Isn’t this because of the USB port, built inline with the Pro’s cable for the separate 5V supply listed on the transformers body.

  6. Esteriel

    This may be a bit off topic, but you seem to know your way around the Surface Pro battery charging components, so I hope you can help. I charged the Pro with no problems when I bought it a week ago, but now the battery needs recharging and I can’t make it work. There is power getting to the transformer and 12V power getting from there to the magnetic connector, but that seems to be where it stops. I have no LED lighting up, and the battery has now run out completely and the Pro is dead. The contacts don’t seem damaged, loose or dirty and I don’t know what else to try. Can you suggest anything else, or will I have to try to get support from Microsoft? I don’t mind buying another charger, but I’m not sure that is where the problem is.

    • admin

      I would go to Microsoft. Based on what you’re saying it is either an issue with the connection inside the Surface itself or potentially there is something off in the Voltage of the pin configuration. We can look at this tomorrow as we don’t have one on hand right now, but are getting one shortly.

  7. Joseph


    Do you charge for the modification?
    Also, what batteries would be safe to use with this modification? Will any external battery work, or do I need specific ratings?



    Here is charging attachment for Surface which is already constructed properly to work from
    dc outlet in power bank.
    Go to EBay and search for charger cable for
    Surface and you will find it. I have one ordered from Honk Kong. It will plug into your
    surface and the other end will plug into any DC outlet from Power Supply.

  9. Justin

    I assume you could use a standard 12V lead-acid car battery, unregulated? But if the battery is charging (so the voltage across the terminals is more like 13V) then it would be best to have a regulator?

    • RJ

      OMG don’t hook a car battery you will fry it with that many amps. A battery from a rc race car and is lithium would be nice!

  10. Ray

    Any chance to hack this with a USB cable so you can charge via USB? Or does the difference in voltage prevent it from working?

    The scenario I have in mind is then being able to charge the Surface with one of those portable external batteries (often have two USB outputs: 5V/1A and 5V/2A)

    • admin

      You need a boost circuit to take the 5V up to 12V. The output of the 5V/2A port is 10 Watts. If you boost that up to 12V, there is some loss, lets say 15% so you end up with maybe 12V and 8.5 Watts. The question is whether the Surface will charge off this 700mA current. You could try it with this – and let us know how it works.

      • Ray

        Assuming everything is put together properly, is there any chance of damaging the Surface with the different voltage/current? Or will it just not charge?

      • admin

        If its put together properly and you connect to a 12V source in the 2-4A range, you aren’t going to damage the Surface. Note that there are a lot of car chargers for the Surface available on eBay these days that will connect into our Car Charger Socket / CLA. Just search “Microsoft Surface Car Charger” on eBay.

      • admin

        You can combine the outputs of two battery packs in parallel pretty easily (double the amperage), but if you put them in series it typically doesn’t work. You can certainly build a cable to test it, but it would probably be easier and more consistent performance to get a battery that outputs 12V.

  11. Adam Hiner

    I am trying to do this with the Turcom M9000. The rated outputs are DC 15V-4A/16V-4A/18V&18.5V-3.3A/19V&19.5V-3.16A/20V-3A/USB 5V-1A.

    Will this work with the microsoft pro? There is no 12V listed. Will this still work? Will it damage the Surface Pro because of the extra voltage?

    • admin

      My guess would be that it probably wouldn’t damage the Microsoft Pro when you use the 15V setting, although it simply may not work. We haven’t tested it though and it would certainly be safer to use a battery with a 12V output.

  12. Martin Foss

    G’day, THANK-YOU SO MUCH I threw a coat on the charger. It overheated and died. I rumbled through my ‘stuff’ and found a 12v power supply. I used the RED wire as “+” and I used, what looked like a shield, for “-“. I was stuffed w/o a charger and now it I got a back-up until I get a new one.

    Thanks Heaps,

  13. Shane

    Can’t I just use the voltaic female car charger adapter with the male car charger adapter that microsoft makes. It’s might be a little more expensive but it won’t require hacking.

  14. Chris

    Thanks for this very helpful post.
    What, if I want to charge my Surface Pro on a battery with 2A max? How to connect the blue cable? Any idea?

  15. Ram

    I hv my new surface rt. whenever I connect with charger, surface could on and the blue LED is on in the charger end. The battery is not charging at all thought the power is flowing and the Blue led is on. The moment I remove the charger the surface goes dead…. I feel like the charging is not happening or the battery is dead…. Can anyone guide how to have full charge of my rt or keep external battery to on and work with surface….

  16. SK

    Can I just connect the red and black wire directly to a car battery? It is 12V and has enough amps to charge the Pro…Do I need a resistor in between?

  17. Paul Dean

    I’m interested in buying one of your battery packs to recharge my surface pro. I’ve read all the stuff about hacking cables on your site!! However, I did find a power adapter cable for the surface pro on ebay @
    If I get this cable do you think it will work with your battery pack?

    • volta

      It has a 5.5×2.5mm plug on the other end so it would connect to the output on our battery pack. I haven’t tested it, so no guarantees, but it would likely work on a Surface 2 (Surface 3 has a different cable).

  18. Ian Tuck

    Do you have any solutions for the original Surface Pro? Am about to climb Kilimanjaro, and would love to be able to recharge my laptop to blog the experience.

  19. Seth

    Dont know if you already covered this, I bought the Mophie XL battery pack, it charges through the MINI usb port and comes with two usb charging ports. Is there anything out there on ebay or that you guys can make that has a surface pro 2 charging strip on one end of the cable and a usb for charging via battery on the other?

    • Voltaic Systems

      The Surface Pro 2 charges at 12V whereas USB output is 5V. There are “boost circuits” on eBay that take 5V up to 12V, but the total Wattage and performance for charging a Surface Pro will be poor.

  20. Boussand

    thanks for this post.
    I opened my Surface Pro 3 power cord today in order to make it “car powered”. To my surprise, I only see 2 insulated wires: thick red and thin blue. In addition there is shield. No yellow, no black wire. Did the wiring change since your post?
    Many thanks!!!
    Guy from France

  21. MH

    Those extra wires are there to detect when to reduce or cut voltage briefly when the computer inside the battery indicates disproportion in distribution of charge across the cell. You might getaway with it for a few charges, but eventually, you’re going to start an explosive fire, and since the battery is internal, all the gases will include arsenic and a dozen other poisons as well. The safety mechanisms are not there just to annoy everyone.

    Youtube “lithium battery fire” and see what I mean.

    If it were safe to do this, do you think the battery would contain a computer at all? Would the entire battery industry be disregarding such a huge market for something so easy to build?

    Be careful. You’ll live longer, and your kids will get to have parents.

  22. Emmanuel Plata

    I´ve actually modified a surface pro original adapter, because I got one of those with a broken cable, right from the transformer output. I saw thas it´s different, but it works in the same way, the red cable is thicker and is the 12v +, the blue and yellow are also present, and works the same way (charger detection and LED), but instead of a black cable, the metal shield of the cable is the ground. For the surface pro 3 i supose that you only have to use the red one and the shield for making your “car powered” charger.

  23. Karl

    Is this sort of hack useable with a male USB end. Has anyone tried and tested such a thing?

    I travel a fair amount for work, being on planes all the time they generally have a USB charging/media port.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • Tony Kauffmann

      It won’t work with a 5V USB cable because it needs 12V to charge, not only 5V.

  24. Chrys

    My surface pro charger finally blew up rather spectacularly with pops and white flashes at the point where the low voltage cable comes out of the unit. I salvaged the cable, and am going to put a connector on it. So glad it’s 12 volts! I’m going to modify several different power sources to supply it as the occasion warrants: 12v 4A power supply, a small car battery, a solar panel. Thanks for the wiring color code!


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