Introduction: Create a Solar IPhone and USB Charger

In this video Robert Smith shows you how to put together a simple solar usb charger that is capable of charging devices like iPhones, iPods, cell phones, mp3 players, and other usb powered devices.

Robert also shows you other places where you can purchase or build your own portable usb solar charger.

For any questions, please visit and visit Robert's forums and open a new thread.


Chancellor1101 (author)2011-09-25

Hate to burst your bubble. But if a charger is designed to output its power via usb, then an Iphone/ipod can and will charge by it. Usb is designed with 5V, and approx. 500ma, the only way that it wouldn't charge is if it only puts out 150ma, which you wouldn't want to use it anyway.

Actually, I hate to bust YOUR bubble, but iPhones past iPhone generation 1 will not accept a charge from powered USB that doesn't supply a specific voltage across the data pins. You can plug away, but it will not charge!

First, a charger needs at least 1000mA to be the real deal. 500mA can charge a phone, but very slowly. And, about the iPhone charge, you can fix it as simple as it can be: just made a ''jumper'' between DATA+ and DATA- and any charger with 500mA or more will charge =)
Sorry for my English, I'm from Brazil.

mpmuebles (author)2014-10-21

thank you for th video. I will visit your webside for more info.

mueblesdejardin (author)2014-10-14

very interesting post, and very good presentation. Congratulations

billgeo (author)2012-07-05

Nice and simplistic.
But you paid too much $ for all the parts.
My advise to anyone wanting to build something like this
is to take a good look at eBay first.

jmar71n (author)2011-07-04

Is it OK to use a standard car USB adapter as the voltage from the solar panel will rarely be 12v?

mcarrell (author)jmar71n2011-11-23

You don't need 12 V to make a phone charger using USB work. All car chargers for phones using USB regulate the 12 V down to 5 V which is the standard power level for USB, thus, if you only had 10 V, or 8 V, or 6 V even, the charger should still work..... So don't worry too much about the voltage of the panel, unless it drops below 5V.

My experience is that panels sold for 12V purposes are actually anywhere from 16 to 21 V at maximum sun exposure so they do build in quite a bit of leeway to ensure that a 12 V panel will actually put out at least 12 V under most conditions including overcast.

kw343k (author)2011-06-24

Way cool video! Keep up the great work.

laserguy555 (author)2010-09-30

Brilient, though... why didn't you just hook up the charger with the aligator clips? You know what, I guess its easier that way. Well, thanks for the cool idea. Ill probably build it.

blackghost (author)2010-07-04

why didnt u just attach the alligator clips directly to the usb charger?

haunted_lady (author)2010-04-01

 Excellent presentation :) Good ideas. Just to let you know why people make their own stuff on has not a lot to do with price of items  and a lot to do with being a genius and being  independent of buying and practincing the ability  to make things. Anyone can buy stuff but being able to make things is what is amazing! Skillz can come in handy...
You are awesome at vide at presentation!
Better than tv! Waaaay better :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Robert Smith discovered the wonders of online content at an early age. He started out while in middle school using free web services to create ... More »
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