How To: Build a solar powered USB charger

Build a solar powered USB charger

Want to stop wasting energy charging your USB devices? Transform some cheap solar-powered garden lights into your very own solar USB charger. For step-by-step instructions on replicating this hack yourself, watch this video tutorial. Just watch to see how to build your own solar-powered USB charger with a few solar panels from those garden lights and some floppy disk wiring.

38 Comments

Very cool.

That's awesome, great idea! Good for emergency phones that are often kept in emergency kits for vehicles.

excellent

we need more solar stuff for sure... please guys!!!

doesn't it takes too long to charge ?
still nice tough
i'd like to give it a try

i wonder what the minimum amperage is... i get that the voltage needs to be around 5v but what about amperage?

yea it's very nice but these system needs to be controled in order to keep our stuff from taking over what it needs

kik asse

what if you got enough to power a lamp so that you could start the lamp to start using a plug in to power the solar panels then unplug from the wall and let the panels power the lamp forever ???is that possible it would be like amazing green energy
re using the energy

Think again. He needed a 110v 40w lamp to get 5v and probably not even 0.5w.

oh i see but maby wit a more evitiant set of pannels and better placement just a neat idea

The problem is that you need to get more energy out of the lamp than you put in, which will never happen. Much of the energy is for instance lost when it turns into heat.

HAHA!, good work what about to hook the solar ower set to a flash light, and youre phone immortal energi?

so this is sweet and all, but what if u strap like 10 together giving u like 25 volts and u plugged something that only needed 10, could it over power the iteam?

can this power up an iPhone??

but the question is, does this work?

can we take more solar cells and take a 5v regulator ?

im thinking about making this but i dad says that it might fry my ipod or my phone. is it true? have you chargered anything with it before?

I just made one, and yes they work, just make sure you keep the solar cells in direct sunlight away from any shade, and I found my solar cells for a dollar a piece at the Family Tree Dollar store. You have to get 4 of them, tear out the solar cell (I myself used heavy duty scissors to cut off the excess plastic around the cell, and made it square. Connect 2 individual ones in series for about 5.5 to 6 volts, in good sunlight, then do the other 2 cells the same way, then hook both up in parallel to increase the amperage, and again, if at first you don't succeed, follow the directions!

Assembled the charger as per instructions but with cells of somewhat higher voltage. Ended up with 7+ volts but no measurable amps. Added a voltage regulator to reduce volts to 5 V. Still no amps. In bright daylight connected to a MP3 device that lights up, but says unable to charge. My guess is that the amps are insufficient. Why no amps?. Any suggestions?

probably that voltage regulator drawing down amps to. Take it out, and use it without it, and make sure 2 cells are in series, with another 2 in series, wire them parallel as per instructions, and make sure your are getting good connections with good solder joints, and it should work, mine does, anyhow!

Did you bridge the four cells into two? That is how he increased the amps.

Yes, I did. Suspect you are correct even though I thought I followed the directions exactly. Next step is to start over again. Can practice my soldering. Thanks

Hey idiot, your mp3 player is not running off of the solar panels, it's running off of the battery while it's charging.

awsome because my car lighter just shorted out and i cant charge my phone from it, this is easier than trying to get under the dash to change the the lighter.

i built one that put out enough to charge my computer that requires 19v. just had to put a couple inline regulators for a couple bucks (one for 19v and one for 4.5v) so i could also step it down to 4.5v to charge usb devices. not really all that hard to do.

hey there nate, im interested in what you did for a laptop. id like to do this as well

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest