Dreamed of making a cheap and "EXTREMELY RELIABLE" portable USB solar charger? Here's a quick tutorial, revealing how I made mine with a budget less than $20!
I have so many uses for it. When we travel and go camping, it serves us an unlimited supply of charging power for our handheld devices, such as iPhones, iPads, Speakers and Android Devices. It can charge anything! Anytime, anywhere! When an outrageous storm comes in, blackouts are inevitable, it's a good thing to have a solar charger!

By the help of of our trusty USB powerbank, charging during night time is possible, it acts as a battery reservoir, and charges during day.
It only takes 40-120 minutes to fully charge your powerbank, and it also comes with a 4 bar battery indicator!
It's a sustainable + reliable source of energy, ideal for charging USB devices.

- 10 Volt 3W Solar Panel (Water Proof - Shock Resistant)
- 2800mAh PowerBank (2A Output - iPhone 5 compatible)
-  Self-sustainable - Close to Unlimited USB Power :D

Also, please support and visit my site: ASCAS.ph (incompatible with IE -Under Renovation)
Enjoy Reading :D Cheers!

Step 1: Tool & Materials

It's recommended to use a solar panel rated at least 3W-10W at 6-10 volts. This is done to shorten your charging time. My parts and materials cost me 725php ($17/ USD). The links below are just alternatives. In the next page, I gave a list of cheap, quality powerbanks from DealExtreme.com products w/free shipping". The price is up to you, try to hunt down clearance sales.

My Parts - (w/ Alternative Links):
1.) Solar Panel (mine= 10V 400mAh | 3W)
2.) USB PowerBank (2800 mAh - w/ battery indicator)
3.) 4 Port USB Hub
5.) 7805 Regulator Chip
6.) Micro USB Cable (A stripped end)
7.) Leatherman Multitool (from: Instructable Prize)
8.) A short length of stranded wire.
9.) Superglue (Gorilla or MightyBond)
that's really useful!
What is the powerbank for they are really expensive when your trying to make multiples of these things. Could I still make one of these with a 6v solar panel without a power bank.
Yes you could! But a power bank acts as your battery reservoir, when there is an absence of sunlight, the powerbank serves as your powersource. <br> <br>I don't think it's practical to build your own powerbank, since AA battery packs are really inefficient + takes longer time to charge. Second, why make one if you could buy one for only $6
Some of the items are out of stock and possibly will not be resupplied/restocked. Are these parts easily interchangable or replaceable
If you're using an L7805, wouldn't you need a solar panel with a minimum output voltage of 7 W due to the 2 V dropout voltage of the L7805?
<p>nice guide :) im planning to use lipo instead of the powerbank, but also, that way i will need a lipo charger+ a boost circuit that makes 3.7 to 5v and a charger to charge the battery from solar :D</p><p>i dont think boost circuits are easily found in my country , so im planning to make my own :P</p><p>the whole reason that im doing this is to learn :D more than battery problems :P</p>
also if I was using a battery pack that held 4 AAs and they were rechargeable would that be capable to replace the powerbank and if I used a 6v solar panel and the usb port from a car charger to hook up to the regulator and all <br>
its a nice cheap and clean way to manage your charges......
It's true! Now my parents will have a peace in mind, now that I don't have to charge my devices on the outlet 24/7. Instead, all of them are being charge 24/7 on the panel with a $0 bill :)) Cheers!
I'm going to vote for you! I love this, not just because it's useful (and cheap) but also because it's very doable. Even I can put this together. Thank you!
Thank you very much! It's a good thing, I didn't stick to my original plan, which was assembling the whole setup from bare parts.
Awesome idea! Going to look into doing this! Favoured and voted!
Thank you very much! Well appreciated. I'm planning to make a site with a independent domain, I tried weebly, but it wont let me upload my own codes. I'l give wordpress a try =D
Also, it seems your domain is available for purchase! Might wasn't to look into that. Or just start a free blog on WordPress.com.
Great job and instructable - well done.
Very thorough and well written instructable! Great job! <br>Possibly dumb question, do you need a diode to prevent power from draining into the solar panel from the powerbank when it is dark?
Thanks! Well its not dumb at all :D, actually most powerbanks have a built in diode. Adding an extra one might cost some powerloss, specially when the proper specs are not observed. <br> <br>The 1N4007 series is only limited to 1 ampere, while the 1N5402 can reach up to 3 amperes. So to be sure its good to add one. The Voltage &amp; Ampere rating of your diode must be higher than your solar panel's rating. Thanks for the positive feedback! :))
Perfection. You may intend this to be used as a charger, but it would be ideal for powering embedded projects using the ras pi or arduino
<p>Just to note - you can use car harger as regulator. It may give you 2 amps usb port.</p><p>Be aware most of them are very unnefective and may lost a lot of power. Some are effective.</p>
<p>how is it possible to charge the powerbank &amp; your phone (connected to the powebank) at the same time? I bodth a Xiaomi 10400mA power bank supporting pass through functionality ( charging the powebank &amp; your phone at the same time), but it needs a strong amperage (I.e charge from the power outlet) to function. </p>
<p>do we have to do wiring to connect the solar panel and the usb port</p>
<p>I am going to be making this for a physics project, can anyone tell me if a 12v solar panel would work the same without having to change any of this equipment? thank you</p>
<p>Easy to build and handy! I really like these clean energy instructables. We should all start investing in clean energy even if it's something small like charging the cellphone. Thanks for sharing! </p>
<p>Thanks for the great guide! I made mine with an 7805 chip. But the 10.000 mah powerbank takes a long time to load. Is it better to use a swithcing regulator? Do you have any tips?</p>
Love ur tips. It could be nice for me in Indonesia
<p>Awesome! That would be great if you could add in the tuto different charging time under different weather conditions, for different devices. Thanks for sharing this!</p>
<p>this looks awesome but I think I would mess up some how. Can you make me one I'd pay for materials and shipping. I'm in the U.S upstate NY</p>
<p>I just bought a folding solar panel with USB output and a 20,000mah battery bank. No fuss no muss</p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J2OC2B0?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J2OC2B0?psc=1&amp;...</a></p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OHZVN5U?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OHZVN5U?psc=1&amp;...</a></p><p>Not as cheap... but the battery pack is huge and the panels are portable and produce a ton of power.</p>
<p>Maybe someone can help me. I chose this instructable because it was the most simple and straightforward one and I've never done this kind of thing before.<br><br>I have a 5v/3w panel, the 7805 regulator, a 10,000mAh powerbank, and a 4-port usb hub.</p><p>I charged the powerbank via wall outlet prior to putting together the panel, and then discharged it with my phone to see how many charges I could get out of it. Worked fine.<br><br>But now that I've put together the panel (I've triple checked all connections) the powerbank lights up like it's charging, but it's stuck at 2 of 4 bars. It will sit in the sun for days and not budge. Just does the charging blink and nothing else. I would hope it's not discharging back into the panel (I assume blocking diodes would be built into the powerbank making it unnecessary to have one coming from the panel) but I can't be 100% sure.</p><p>Is it because I have a smaller panel but a larger powerbank (capacity-wise)? The input for the powerbank is 5v, and I understand that panels won't always output their exact voltage, but even in direct noon sun it doesn't charge. I don't have a multimeter to measure output.<br><br>I don't know which would be better: Buying another identical panel and wiring them in series, or buying a smaller powerbank.</p>
<p>it could be because you have a 5v @ 3 watts. That equals aboutg .6amps of charging power. Assuming the 5v is without a load. Once under a load the output of your panel could drop down to 3.8v -ish. It is always better to get a higher voltage panel and regulate it down. This way you can get good charging current even with a lower light condition. I bought a 12V 10W panel. It's about 1'x1' in size. Tied it to a regulator with a USB output @ 2 amps. This keeps a 20,000mah battery pack charged very well. All in all about 40 bucks, but plenty of power for anything I want to charge or run. </p><p>I use it to power USB light bulbs while camping, cellphone/tablet charging, flashlight charging. It is very handy. </p>
I got a 6V 3W solar panel <br>So do I need to add a regulator chip to charge the power bank <br>And can it charge a 10000 mAh power bank<br>Thank you
Hi <br>Very nice project <br>But I have a little problem
<p>Works great, except I got a power pack that is unable to charge at the same time as discharging. Thanks for the good info on the regulator. I have added the 5v output but also another plug so I can also use the 12v output if required. Thanks.</p>
<p>im going to make this except im going to use a universal usb connection and a 2.5 w, 5 v/500 ma solar panel</p>
<p>Very usefull inforamtion,I will try to apply this</p>
<p>Hi All...</p><p>The charger is highly compatible with every digital device <br>that works under 5 v and battery capacity of 10000 mAh. It supports almost all <br>digital devices, including smart phones, laptop, tablet, iphone and ipad. It supports <br>to every device to charge anytime and anywhere. </p><p>...........................................</p><p>&lt;a <br>href=&quot;http://feyeshoppy.com/solar-mobile-charger&quot;&gt; solar mobile <br>charger &lt;/a&gt;</p>

About This Instructable


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Bio: Hi I'm Angelo! I am a 17 y/o Physics Major at the DLSU and I use my course as an inspiration for making ... More »
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