Step 11: Finished!

Everything fits into the Altoids tin and it easily shuts. Now I have a little radio that's solar charged and has a little LED. That wasn't so bad. It even gets a signal through the Altoids tin.

Plus in a pinch you can swap out the AAA batteries for regular ones OR use the solar cells to charge up other dead NiMh AAA Batteries you have.

Other Ideas that would be easy to do if you're willing to put in the time and parts.

1) Use a rechargeable 3V coin cell or ultra capacitor to save space.

2) Put solar cells on the outside, and speakers inside.

3) Work in some retractable headphones or some speakers.

4) Drill a hole for the LED to stick out the front and also have a button on the outside to work the LED. (if your radio has an LED like mine does. Or heck, wire in your own LED into the circuit.)

Support Me By Buying Some Parts...

If you can't find solar cells or cheap AAA batteries, I have quite a few on my website BrownDogGadgets.com. The same solar cells I use to make my Solar Cockroach would work great for this project. You could also slap on a bigger, more powerful cell onto the outside of the tin.

I also have some AAA battery holders and very cheap AAA batteries for sale that have a much higher capacity than the ones you'd find in your average solar light.

I also have a wide range fun fun little kits you can put together if you need a little weekend project.

<p>Rage quit</p>
<p>I used the same radio, but the wires connecting to the battery came off the plastic case as I was removing the housing, and now I can't get them back on. How are these little wires affixed originally when the radio comes from the store, with glue? Or am I just better off buying another little radio to start again?</p>
<p>This is a beautifully elegant little radio. You have done very well to make it for so little money, I am very impressed!</p>
<p>If it's powered by the Sun do you need the batteries?</p>
<p>Where did you get that one type of radio? I looked everywhere, and the only place I found it was Alibaba, but it was only in 5000 piece bulk package. I am in North Carolina, if there are any specific stores that have it here.</p>
<p>Hey nice instructable, i have a few questions though.</p><p>First, can i use a solar cell from a calculator?</p><p>Second, does it have to be a specific diode?</p><p>Third, can i use normal batteries instead of those used for solar cells?</p><p>Fourth, whats the diode for?</p>
<p>1) No, not strong enough by a mile.</p><p>2) 1N914 is the standard and super common one to use.</p><p>3) No, you need rechargeables so they can recharge. Regular batteries will... possibly leak or explode.</p>
<p> I could (almost) make one of these following these instructions. I even have everything I need already. I was going to say except for the diode, but odds are there are some floating around here somewhere...</p><p>Just one question: Why do you have to throw the solar cell away if you break off the solder point? Can't you just re-solder it? I know this was already asked, but I don't see an answer, and I was wondering the same thing. </p>
<p>With these type of cells if you break off the solder point, then there is no way to make a connection. If you use better solar cells you'll have an easier time. I was just using super cheap recycled $1 Store solar cells. Spending $5 on a better solar cell will make life a lot better.</p>
<p>Ah... I see. Thank you for your reply. I know nothing about these kinds of things and it just seemed like it was wasteful to throw it away. </p>
<p>Would a Digitally Tuned radio work??</p><p>(see this one I found - http://www.dollargeneral.com/product/index.jsp?pro...</p>
<p>Probably. </p>
<p>Super well done!</p>
<p>i made it!!!!!! hahaa. its easy enough</p>
<p>Cool,could you shou me another picture about it?</p>
why do you have to drill on step 7????? <br>
<p>To make a hole for an earphone jack</p>
<p>Oh,my radio is the same as yours.</p>
<p>In China it is about 7RMB[about 1 dollar] for a radio like this one.By the way,Could you teach me Engish?</p>
<p>Just FYI, the reason that this works and receives a signal through the Altoids tin is because the headphones are the antenna. If you use speakers, you might need a separate FM antenna. Hope this helps.</p>
<p>If you break off the solder point from the solar cell, couldn't you just solder it back on?</p>
<p>you misspelt goggles</p>
found 2 separate lights around the house. one has a 2/3 aa battery and its panel puts out 1.2v and the other has a AA battery and its panel puts out .95-.97 volts sitting under 40w bulb(it was night out). which panel do i use and how many. also do i need the diode?
Quick tip:<br>When buying solar powered lights for this, look for blue solar panels.<br>They are usually higher quality than the dark brown ones.
thanks good to know
Very true. Those CIS are dark brown and very high quality...
This has got to be one of the single most coolest things on instructables!
what kind of tap do I use o step 8???
I just began making this when I realized I'm out of diodes. Will it still function without one?
Cool project! I think I have all that I need to make this laying around so I'll definitely do it.
What diode do I use?
Thank you for these awesome tips! I was wondering if you had any other suggestions on <a href="http://www.solarsystemsusa.net" rel="nofollow">solar energy systems</a> that you would like to share?
i suggest a schematic diagram for the project. please to make things simple
Whatat does the diode do in the circuit? Just curious
awesome idea and well written, i can buy cheap radio with a scan button and a return one
Just because I'm a teacher doesn't mean that I'm not human.<br><br>With feelings to be hurt...<br><br>Sniff...
teachers are awesome c:
Altoid tins are neat, but maybe an easier more practical project would be to just add the charging panels directly to the radio case? Or, maybe the panels glued to a plastic pocket-shaped sheet and connected by a sturdy wire to the radio battery compartment. Then you would have a solar charging case for the radio.
Probably, but this is rather bare bones. Plus cute. You gotta factor in the cute aspect.
What type of diode did you use?
&nbsp;The current carrying capability, the voltage rating and the voltage drop across the diode are considerations. Too much current can harm the diode, too much over voltage drop, the batteries may not fully charge. Nominal figures; for the silicon diode used here is .7 V, for the Schottky diode it's .2 V. In most solar application the Schottky is preferred, but one can't walk into radio shack and buy one. In low powered projects like this, it's easier to add an extra salvage solar cell, and used the more readily available silicone diode. No precision is required on the voltage rating here as long as it's higher than the battery voltage, the voltage rating is important if the diode will see a reverse bias as part as normal desired operation.
1N914. Very common. You can find them everywhere.
Thanks for the great instructables!<br>quick question<br>Are there any differences if you use a 1n914, a 1n4005 or a 1n5819?
1N914 us just really really common and has a low voltage drop. It's very handy for low voltage low current systems like in this one.<br><br>Google the other diodes and check the voltage drop. They probably would work fine for this kind of setup.
if you were to use capacitors instead, which one would you use?
Well you'd want some super capacitors. Ones that have 1F or more of power at around 3V. <br> <br>Actually the best approach would be to get a couple of 1F 5V super caps and hook them up in Parallel. (5V so that you don't overcharge the caps, and can then use a 4V or 4.5V solar cell with the project.) <br> <br>But you'd need several of them to be on the safe side. Really 3 or 4 if you want to use the radio out of the sun.
This reply is directed more to those that will read the comment made by the author than it is to the author. As science teacher none of the following shouldn't be new to him. <strong>F</strong> <em>Farad</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farad" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farad</a> is not a unit of power.&nbsp; A capacitor can't be overcharged, but is susceptible to damage from over voltage.&nbsp; Following the author's suggestions here&nbsp; the capacitors wouldn't see a voltage over their rating. In my experience, there will be those who would read this and think they could wire lower voltage capacitors in parallel and they would be safe too hook up to a higher voltage source. However wiring the in series&nbsp; can allow them to be used with a higher voltage source, but the total capacitance will be reduced.&nbsp; Knowing how capacitors wired in parallel or series behave allows you make use of what you have in the junk box or otherwise can attain readily to come up with what you need.&nbsp; For more details read <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farad" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farad</a> .&nbsp; Given the low current provided by the suggested salvage solar cells, I'd suggest doing the initial charge of a high capacitance bank from other power source. After that initial charge the solar cells should able to restore the charge in&nbsp; available time of sunshine.

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Bio: I used to teach middle school science, but now I run my own online educational science website. I spend my days designing new projects for ... More »
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