Picture of Build It: DIY Juice Pouch
Today's messenger bag has become the urban pickup truck. Crammed with gadgets, gizmos, and paperwork; just open up the flap and toss in more electronic ephemera. Now it's time for your message bag to pay back for its wanton stuff gluttony and recharge your stashed goodies as you lug your battery-powered electronics around town.

Get your messenger bag up to speed and equip it with a photovoltaic-powered charging circuit. Not just any photovoltaic panel will do, however. It needs to be lightweight, flexible, weatherproof, and powerful. Likewise, the connector for this solar-powered recharging system needs to simple, foolproof, and compatible with the largest number of your electronic gadgets. The thin film plastic solar modules from PowerFilm (formerly Iowa Thin Film Technologies) coupled with a USB female connector are the perfect combination for transforming your overloaded dolt messenger bag into a messenger bag loaded with volts.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: How to Make Your Own Juice Pouch

2 hoursCost: $45.03Very Easy

Parts List

  • A Messenger Bag (FREE)
  • Iowa Thin Film Technologies PowerFilm WeatherPro Series P7.2-75 (Jameco #228161; $39.89)
  • USB 6' Cable w/Female Connector (Jameco #222068; $1.65)
  • 78M05 Voltage Regulator (Jameco #192233; .19)
  • 0.47mF 50V Electrolytic Capacitor (Jameco #330464; .04; substitutes are OK)
  • 0.1mF 50V Tantalum Capacitor (Jameco #545570; .31)
  • Salvaged Plastic Project Box (FREE)
  • Clear Vinyl Sheet (craft store; .50)
  • Large Eyelet Kit (craft store; $2.45)
  • Alligator Clips
  • Wire

NOTE: There are four distinct subassemblies which constitute our Juice Pouch: (1) modified messenger bag, (2) photovoltaic panel, (3) voltage regulator, and (4) USB connector.

Step 2: Mod Your Bag

Picture of Mod Your Bag
Depending upon the style of your messenger bag, you may or may not have to perform any or all of these modifications. Generally, the outside flap of the messenger bag should be equipped with a clear pocket for holding the photovoltaic panel. You can make your own clear pocket from vinyl sheet. Likewise, you will need several grommets or eyelets for routing your cables through the messenger bag. Add as many eyelets as necessary for connecting your charging "dock" with the voltage regulator and the photovoltaic panel.
1-40 of 59Next »
Wasagi5 years ago
Ohhh.... I thought that you filled a messenger bag with Apple Juice.... Good instructable none the less!!
me too...or something like that i thought he meant a pouch...for juice. Good idea though!
Haha aparently I'm not the only one who thought this refered to "juice" the beverage instead of electricity.. : )
maybe aquarium tubing hooked up to a juice bag in the bag?
Very true.
I feel like there is a lot of interest in this idea...

Super compilation?
raimen fozzy134 years ago
Just came up with a great idea.
Lets figures out a way to fill the messenger bag with juice, and then you can hang with your friends and be like, "Juice PARTY!!!" :D
We have unlimited juice? This party is gonna be off the hook!

-Buster, Arrested Development
Wasagi raimen4 years ago
 I was thinking the Exact same thing!!

We should get on this.
fozzy13 Wasagi4 years ago
Sorry, I'm kind of missing the humorous reference here : /
Wasagi fozzy134 years ago
 Well, "Juice"  was initially meant as battery power, but we misinterpreted it as the fruity drink.
fozzy13 Wasagi4 years ago
I understand the fruity drink part, as that's what I thought from the title too, I just don't get the "juice party!" reference.  At least, I thought that was in reference to a movie, so I didn't get it..
I thought he meant juice too :(
Teamwork! *High Five*
Whales Wasagi4 years ago
same, i was really hoping for something to drink.. oh well, water it is.
 It's as if everything you have can be modded to generate electricity these days...
i can mod a piece of wire to gemerate electricity...
you just need lots of wire and magnet (you know what it is)
rix_1014 years ago
i clicked thinking it would be literally a juice pocket. a poket for a juice box or something :D haha! but still very interesting
 Thats what I thought too!
kcls4 years ago
Nice job! This beats buying a pre-made bag for 3 times the amount this was made for! 5*'s!
roycetaft4 years ago
Dang! At first glance, I thought this was going to be about koolaid. I'm all thirsty now and haven't any pouches to fill with juice because this instructables is misleading.

But is very awesome. I might build one myself so I can Juice my Gadgets.
If you upped the complexity a notch, I think you could get the other items to charge reliably even in dark conditions!

Basically, you'ld need a charging circuit for a super or ultra capacitor, and a joule theif/ DC to DC upconverter to keep consistent juice flowing in "waves"

Should work, and may only add about $10 to the project if you source your supplies correctly.

Pretty neat!   Even if I did wonder "why would you make your messenger bag into a juice box? do you have any idea how hard that would be to clean???" ;)
everything about this is awesome, even the cello!
moclov5555 years ago
They might give you some funny looks at airport security if you sent this thing through the xray... but great idea.
Adum245 years ago
I thought you were moding a mail bag to hold liquids. huh! (scratching head) i wuz waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy off.
fonix7 years ago
I have a panel that outputs 15.4v at 50ma... would that be overvoltage for this regulator? It's the same dimensions, and I could get a second one to up it to 100ma. I thought that this might help with some of the charging issues, as the panel will not get up to 7.4 volts unless its in perfect conditions, while a 15.4 volt panel will get up there rather easily. Any ideas? If this isn't a good regulator for this, is there a 1A regulator that would do the same thing? I am looking to build this into the lid of my cross-country backpack, with some really solid waterproofing. Awesome Instructable!
where did you get the 15.4v panel?
verence fonix7 years ago
15.4V should be okay for a 78M05. Maximum input voltage is around 20..25V, depending on the manufacturer, check data sheet. But 10.4V will be regulated away (i.e. lost as heat). So you will get only 33% of the input power on the output. The 7.4V/100mA panel is the better option, as only 2.4V will be lost, so you will get around 60% efficiency. On the other hand, 2.4V difference might be not enough. You might have to look for a Low-Drop-Regulator. The 7805 is kind of the working horse for voltage regulation, although not always a good choice when efficiency is the prime issue. Sorry, I have no part numbers available, just check some data sheets. For best efficiency (though you probably won't get much better than 90% if at all), you might want to use a switching voltage regulator. But these normally doesn't come as a single part.
Elektricity6 years ago
This Link is to a schematic of this exact circuit, but with the addition of 4 Rechargeable AA batteries. I'm fairly confident it would work, any thoughts?
could you make it simpler im only 13 and geting into electronics and soldering
what's a "project box"?
i'm sorry I can't stop laughing because your question matches your profile picture right now. A project box is a little black box that has a screw-on lid that you put your electronics projects in. You can get them at radioshack or the source or really cheap online.
ohhhhh, ok. thank you........ im so dumb..
ok I didn't mean too insult you or anything, I was just telling what a project box was...
and thank you for telling me what it is.
rusty spork6 years ago
Is it possible to trickle charge a notebook with solar panel (or is this more for charging small electronic devices)? Something else would probably have to be done because I don't think you can charge a laptop by usb, unless the panel charged an inverter (I think there are a few usb chargeable laptop batteries/inverters). Is there any other way this can be done (such as components that would allow the laptop battery to be trickle charged directly from the panel?
blacknkhak6 years ago
thanks .
rolobio7 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
it is "0.47UF 50V electrolytic Capacitor Jameco #610589" 0.47mF 50V Electrolytic Capacitor is a HUGE capacitor the size of a little car standing up.
warlord rolobio7 years ago
The large cap is just to ensure a more constant power for the regulator to do it's job. That's why substitutions are ok. A large variety of capacitors will work fine in this situation.
nelsnelson6 years ago
Great Instructable! I am very keen to start this project myself. I have been looking at some commercial solar bags, like Noon's, which incorporates a small battery into the solar panel wiring. Would this be hard to do? Would it allow the same size solar panel to charge larger electronics? another instructable? :) thanks heaps
1-40 of 59Next »