DIY Portable USB Solar Charger ($20 - 4 Ports)





Introduction: DIY Portable USB Solar Charger ($20 - 4 Ports)

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

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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 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)

Step 2: Choosing Your PowerBank (Optional Step)

Here's a variety of powerbanks I recommend. Products derived from "" + free shipping
You can chrage your powerbank even if devices are plugged to it. You can skip this step, if you already have a powerbank :D

The Price List:
1.) 2600mAh External Battery Mobile Power Bank ($6.30)
2.) Compact 3000mAh Portable Rechargeable Power Bank w/ LED Indicator ($9.20)
3.) Power Bank Aluminum Alloy Housing Case w/ Protective Board ($10.40)
4.) Ultrathin External 4000mAh Power Battery Charger w/ Touch Control ($14.30)
5.) Ultrathin External 4000mAh Power Battery Charger w/ Touch Control (Black Edition $14.30)

Step 3: Soldering the 7805 Regulator

Since my solar panel produces 10 volts (3W), while the powerbank needs to be fed with 5V of USB power, a regulator must be added in order to charge the powerbank. Without the 7805 regulator, the powerbank's internals might get damaged due to over-voltage.

1st.) Follow the simplified schematic diagram above, read them carefully!
2nd.) Solder the micro USB plug first, to the 7805
3rd.) Solder two wires on your 7805, to be connected to your solar panel (+ & - )
4th.) Use a small droplet of superglue to mount the regulator in your solar panel's terminal block.
6th.) Trim the heat-sink mount of your 7805 chip if necessary. 
5th.) Solder the two wires of your 7805 to the solar panel. Observe polarity! (+ & - )

FYI, The switching regulator, gets more juice from your solar panel!
Since the 7805 is limited to 1 Ampere, you might want to buy a HIGH-EFFICIENCY 5v Switching Regulator from for only ($3.80 + Free Shipping)!

OPTIONAL: You can now charge your device directly from the panel, even without the powerbank! 

Step 4: Mounting Your Devices

It's now time to mount your devices. I used a heavy double-sided adhesive to mount the powerbank and the USB hub behind the solar panel. If you plan to mount these devices permanently, it's ideal to use hot-glue or epoxy, for them to stay still. 

1st.) Mount The PowerBank
2nd.) Connect the charging cable of the solar panel to the powerbank's charge-input.
3rd.) Plug-in your USB Hub/Port to your powerbank's output.
4th.) It's now time to charge your devices! Just plug them in you USB Hub!

Step 5: Unleash 4 Ports of USB POWER! It's Ready :D

Plug your devices and your done! Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for more projects!
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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.

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

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

i dont think boost circuits are easily found in my country , so im planning to make my own :P

the whole reason that im doing this is to learn :D more than battery problems :P

Hey man, how far you with the project of building your own boost circuit?

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?

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

its a nice cheap and clean way to manage your charges......