Modifying a Pip-Boy: Worth it, and if so, how?

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New Member
Hi all!

So I decided to reinstall Fallout 4 today, and as I retrieved my Pip-Boy from its case, I began to recall some of the problems that made me stop using it in the first place - namely, you can't charge your phone while you're using the thing, and the various buttons and dials, while still pretty cool, are unfortunately non-functional.

I briefly considered modifying the Pip-Boy to try and solve these problems, but when I brought it up with a friend, he reminded me that despite its shortcomings, it still is a collector's item, and told me that if he were in my shoes, he'd leave it be.

He made a valid point, which brings me to my question: Is it worth it to modify the Pip-Boy that comes with Fallout 4's Pip-Boy edition, and if so, what/how should I do it? On one hand, I'd hate to tamper with a collector's item, but on the other, I've seen other people do some rather inventive things with their Pip-Boys, such as one owner who managed to conceal a charging cable inside the Pip-Boy's adapter plug (

Thanks in advance for any and all replies/opinions ^^

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Active Member
Ah the old “Collectors Item” dilemma. I’ve dealt with this a bunch of times, and here’s how I view it. Can you see yourself parting with it? Sure collectors items inherently have value to other people too, and if you plan on parting with them in the future, then definitely leave them as they are. This way you can make sure that when you sell it, it’s in the best ‘original’ condition it can be in.

On the other side of the coin, if you LOVE the item in question and couldn’t ever see yourself parting with it, then it comes down to what would make YOU happier with. Would you like it more if it did all kinds of cool stuff too (I.e. working knobs, charging station etc.)? If the answer is yes, and you feel confident in your ability to execute your idea to a degree that you’ll be happy with, then go for it!

At the end of the day, if you’re going to keep it, then do whatever will get you the most joy out of it. Just my two cents.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


New Member
Thank you very much for the advice, Adam. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever thought of it that way, and i'm glad that you've helped me turn over a new leaf in this manner.

That being said (and knowing how much I love my Pip-Boy) I think I will begin to modify the thing - unfortunately, I have minimal knowledge of electronics, and am not sure where to start. I would like to incorporate a means of charging my phone while it's inside the Pip-Boy but have no clue what the best approach to doing so would be...

In any case, thank you for the help! Now, what to do, what to do...


Sr Member
How about buying a Pip Boy kit?

You get to keep your collectors item intact and you get to have a second Pip-Boy, of whatever design, to do with as you will. Also, you can buy them in a lot of different finish-levels like a raw kit where you do everything, or a partially finished kit where you just paint it, or a finished item. So it's a great opportunity to learn a lot of skills involved in this hobby like how to smooth out a 3D print or painting and weathering items.

Not sure if anyone here is making kits. But you can check in the 'classifieds' area. They can also be found at places like Etsy.

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New Member
Oooh, these are both good points. However, that magnetic cable concerns me because I'm not sure how I would embed it inside the Pip-Boy without it being visible from the outside. I noticed that there's a small gap in the cavity for the phone that's located just about where my phone's charging port is, and I was planning on maybe enlarging that slightly and using a right angle MicroUSB cable (do those exist?) to charge the phone while it's inside.

I was also thinking of concealing the USB end of the cable within the Pip-Boy's adapter plug, as seen in the video that I linked in the first reply.

Is this a good idea, or is there a better/more efficient way to do it? Furthermore, I was also considering making the buttons and dials functional; obviously i'd need to add some sort of rotational sensor or something to the dials themselves, but i'm not sure how I would get my phone to recognize the movements.

I do have an Arduino Uno lying about - would I be able to configure that to work with my phone so that the movements of the dials would register as swipes on the screen?

Edit: I consulted Amazon's inventory a few seconds after posting and it turns out that right-angle cables do indeed exist, but it seems that some careful drill/dremel work will be needed to conceal the cable within the Pip-Boy's housing as the head angles to the left or right rather than straight down as I had hoped.

As for the suggestion about the kits, that's something I still need to look into, haha

Edit 2: I managed to locate a right-angle Micro USB cable that angled downward rather than left or right, so that's one thing settled. I still need to figure out the process of routing the cable through the Pip-Boy itself, though.

If I were to use an Arduino Uno to act as some sort of peripheral device for my phone, would I be able to charge my phone using the same cable?
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