Introduction: DIY SOLAR LI ION/ LIPO BATTERY CHARGER

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Imagine you are a gadget lover or hobbyist /tinkerer or RC enthusiast and you are going for a camping or outing .Your smart phone/MP3 player battery run out,you have taken a RC Quad Copter,but not able to fly for a long time. So you definitely need a good charger to charge the battery. Am I right ? But where can you get a power source at that location ? Do not worry,this instructable is solutions for all of your problems.

Here's a full video tutorial and demo

Lithium Ion (Li Ion) and Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries are one type of rechargeable battery that provides high energy density and available in variety of shapes and sizes.Due to their light weight and compact size they are extensively used in various portable devices/gadgets like Smart Phone,Tablets,MP3,Radio-Controlled (RC) toys,Flash lights etc. I can assume in daily life we use at least one gadget/device which is powered by li ion /lipo battery.The main draw back of this type batteries are that they are highly sensitive and any mistakes in handling them may leads to explosion. LiPo batteries require special charging algorithm to charge it.Therefore, charging them correctly with a charger specifically designed for lithium chemistry is critical to both the life span of the battery pack, and of course your safety.

In this instructable I will show you how to make a cheap and powerful solar Li Ion/Lipo battery charger.

It can charge ICR ( LiCoO2 chemistry ) and IMR (LiMnO2 chemistry) battery type.

It supports variety of battery sizes ( 26650,25500,18650,18500,17670,17500 and many smaller sizes),only need a suitable battery holder according to the battery size.I made it for 18650 and Lipo battery.

Note : It can charge a single 3.7V Li Ion or LiPo cell.


Disclaimer: Please note that you are playing with Li Ion battery which contain highly reactive chemicals. I cannot be held responsible for any loss of property, damage, or loss of life if it comes to that. This tutorial was written for those who have knowledge on rechargeable lithium ion technology.Please do not attempt this if you are novice. Stay Safe

Step 1: PARTS REQUIRED :

PARTS:

1.TP4056 Module ( eBay )

2.Solar Panel ( eBay )

3. 10k Potentio Meter (eBay )

4.1.2k resistor

5.Volt-Amp Meter (eBay )

6.18650 Battery Holder ( eBay )

7.USB boost Converter ( eBay )

8. DC Jacks male and female ( eBay and eBay )

9. Diode ( IN4007 )

10. Switch ( eBay )

11.Enclosure

12.Wires

TOOLS :

1.Soldering Iron

2.Wire Cutter/Stripper

3.Hobby Knife/ Xacto Knife

4.Glue Gun

Step 2: Brief Description on TP3406

The charger is made by using a most popular IC TP4056.The TP4056 IC is a complete constant current/constant-voltage linear charger for single cell lithium-ion/Lithium Polymer (LiIon/LiPo) batteries. Its SOP-8 package and low external component count make the TP4056 ideally suited for portable applications.If you scare about the SMD soldering,don't worry.We are so lucky that ready to use TP4056 modules are easily available on eBay with very low price.TP4056 can work within USB and wall adapter. Other features include current monitor,under voltage lockout, automatic recharge, and two status pin to indicate charge termination and the presence of an input voltage.

The key point is that you can change the charging current up to 1000mA. If you closely look in to the schematic a 1.2K resistor ( R_PROG) is hook up to pin -2 of the TP4056 IC.The Charging current can be varied by changing this resistance value.The default resistance used in the module is 1.2K which set the charging current to 1000mA.

Step 3: Remove the Prog Resistor

First locate the position of the resistor Rprog (1K2).For easy identify, I have focused it in the picture shown above.

Then carefully remove it from the top of the PCB using a soldering iron.

Step 4: Solder the Potentiometer

Solder two small wires ( Red and Black wires in pics) from the solder pads of Rprog ( which is removed in the previous step).

Now we have to attach a variable resistor network to control the charging current.The variable resistor network is made by a 1.2K resistor and a 10K potentiometer.

Solder one leg of the 1.2K resistor to the middle pin of the potentiometer and other leg to the Red wire.Then solder the black wire to the another pin of the potentiometer.

Note : The two pin of the potentiometer is selected in such a way that clockwise rotation in knob decreases the resistance value.You can take a help of a multimeter to do this.

Now a variable resistor is connected in place of the original Rprog smd resistor.

Step 5: Making the Circuit

Solder two wires to the input terminals of the Boost converter( Red to the IN+ and white to the IN-) .Red and black wires are preferable for easy polarity identification.But I used red and white wire as during making this project I didn't have black wire in stock.

Join the red wires from volt-amp meter ( thick red ), battery holder and boost converter.

Join the black wire from volt-amp meter ( thick black) and white wire of boost converter.

Connect the volt-amp meter blue wire and battery holder black wire.

Now solder the red joints (node ) to the BAT+ and black joints ( node ) to the BAT - of the TP4056 charging board.

Note : Later I installed a switch to operate the Boost converter.Just cut the red wire of Boost Converter in the middle and solder the switch.

Step 6: Connect the DC Jack

The input power for TP4056 charging board can be provided directly to the mini USB port by a USB cable.

But we need to charge by a solar panel.So a DC jack is connected at in put.

First solder two wires ( red and white ) to the DC jack.Then solder the red wire to the IN+ and white wire to the IN- respectively.

Step 7: Solder the Power Wires of Volt Amp Meter to the Boost Converter

The power required for Volt-Amp meter is taken from the boost converter out put ( 5V)

At the back side of the boost converter you will see 4 soldering points of USB port.Out of four, we need only two ( 5V and Gnd ) .I marked 5V as + and Gnd as - .

Solder the Volt-Amp meter thin red wire to the plus (+) and thin black wire to the minus ( -).

Note : As per the seller instruction on TP4056, ampere meter can only be connected to 5v input end of the module. But I connected at the out put.I need some suggestion and feedback regarding the connection.

Step 8: Test the Circuit

After making the circuit we need to test it.

Insert a 18650 Li-Ion battery to the battery holder.Now you will see the battery voltage and charging current on meter display.Rotate the potentiometer knob slowly to adjust the charging current.

Now the circuit works perfectly,so we can move to make a suitable enclosure for this.

Step 9:

Measure all the components size by a vernier calliper.

Mark it on the enclosure.

Then cut out the marked portion by a hobby knife or a Dremel. Make holes by drill.

Step 10: Fix the Circuit in to the Enclosure

Insert all the components one by one to the suitable place.

Then apply hot glue around it.

To fix the boost converter I place small plastic below it.It gives more strength to it.

Step 11: Decorate the Enclosure

To look the Enclosure attractive I stick yellow coloured paper all around.

Cut the Paper strip according the size of the enclosure height.

Then cut out the rectangular portion according to the component outline size.I use my Exacto Knife to do this.

After that apply glue to the back side of the paper and stick to the enclosure carefully.

Finally I glue a rectangular strip of paper to the top of the enclosure.

The final outcome is really nice and I am really happy with this little budget.

Step 12: Make the Solar Panel Circuit

Connect the Male DC jack to the wires.The red wire is positive and black is negative.

Solder the diode (IN4007) positive to the solar panel positive terminal.Then solder the negative terminal of the diode to the red wire.

Solder the black wire to the negative terminal of the solar panel.

Step 13: Ready to Use !!!

After making the enclosure I test all the functionality.

First I check charging through solar panel and then through USB Cable.

Operate the Switch to check the out put.When the switch is ON,the boost converter blue light turn on.

To check the output voltage I plug in my Charger Doctor.It shows around 4.97V .

Move knob slowly to change the charging current.It is displayed in Volt-Amp meter.

Now plug in your gadget to the USB port (boost converter).I tested it by plug in my Nexus 7 tablet.

It can be used for various other purposes.When I go for outing I use my Xiaomi USB LED for lighting and USB fan for keep myself cool.

Hope my tutorial is helpful.If you like it,vote for me.
Subscribe for more DIY projects. Thank You.

Comments

author
KOTSOS5 (author)2016-02-07

Hi deba! If we get 2 batteries with same voltage can we connect them in parallel with the TP4056 module, this way with have bigger capacity, or we might have a problem? I should mention again these batteries have both been charged and are at the same voltage.

author
deba168 (author)KOTSOS52016-02-07

TP4056 is suitable for single cell. So I will not suggest to do this.

author
SamuelT78 (author)deba1682017-03-24

would you be able to suggest a setup to use more than one battery as i have lots of good Li-po cells but im only a novice when it comes to this.

author
ShardulS4 (author)2017-03-17

The Solar panel gives out a very low current then how can it satisfy our current requirements?Do we need to boost the current??

author
robyc_01 (author)2017-03-09

The purpose of the DC Converter is for the use of the Amp-Volt meter, correct? So if I were to not use the potentiometer and go with the on board resistor of the T4056 module (since I will be charging a 3800mAH cell), then I would not need to use the DC Converter, Amp-Volt meter, and potentiomter, correct?

author
Louwtak (author)2017-02-08

Hello, great work here!

I want to ask you what module I have to use to charge multiple Li-po batteries?

author
ShardulS4 (author)2016-12-29

can we use a microcontroller to display how much is the rechargable battery charged?if yes,which microcontroller will be suitable?

author
diy_bloke (author)ShardulS42017-01-29

ofcourse u can. many uControllers are suitable, but arduino might be easiest

author
OrusA (author)2016-12-26

What size hookup wire did you use for inside the kit. and what size and where can i get wire for the outisde for solar panel very long wire?

author
AhmedF93 (author)2016-08-16

Can you use 3.7v 2500mAH batteries with this? Or would you need something other than TP4056 as a charger?

author
ttbnz (author)AhmedF932016-12-03

iI have successfully used ~2850 mAh batteries with similar circuit, works like a charm.

author
dbake5206 (author)2016-11-27

Great instructable! I'm not a engineer or electrical guy, but trying to learn. Can I use this charger for the smaller voltage AA and AAA batteries? If so, I would guess more than one at a time, right?

thanks,

DB

author
ttbnz (author)dbake52062016-12-03

Hi,

You would not be able to charge any batteries with this circuit except lithium. Attempting to charge other batteries would probably end in fireworks :) Lithium batteries are relatively easy to get hold of, I just asked my mates if they had any old cellphones they didn't want.

author
bptjr (author)2016-09-20

bptjr how low will this adjust current to . can it adjust to twenty (20) ma ? I am trying to charge lir2032 coin cell battery

author
gokou (author)2016-05-30

can someone please help me decide which module can i use. Are these modules good enough ??. i am from india. i have not found this in my local market, hence looking it online....

1. 5V Micro USB 1A Lithium Battery Charging Module Board TP4056 @ here http://www.ebay.in/itm/5V-Micro-USB-1A-Lithium-Bat...

2. DC 100V 10A Voltmeter Ammeter Blue + Red LED Amp Dual Digital Volt Meter Gauge @ here http://www.ebay.in/itm/DC-100V-10A-Voltmeter-Ammet...

3. XL6009 DC-DC step up module, better than LM2577, with adjustable booster power supply module @ herehttp://www.amazon.in/XL6009-module-adjustable-boos... (this modules does not have a USB port.) "VS" this one http://www.banggood.com/3V-To-5V-1A-USB-Charger-DC...

i have rest of the items with me already.

thanks.

author
knut (author)2016-04-26

An ampere meter on the charging side will make a tiny fall in voltage to the battery.

How big this fall is depend on the shunt In the meter. On the input this doesn't matter, But to the battery it vil reduce the charging voltage.

author
kcraske (author)2016-02-03

I see some comments about leaving out the diode as the inclusion of this results in a 0.7 v drop across the diode. I would suggest not leaving out the diode but it's the 0.7 v drop is a problem then you could use a schottky diode instead which would only have about 0.45v drop.

author
panigrc (author)2016-01-26

Hi, thanx for the instructable.

I still dont' get why you added the potentiometer to the rprog.

Also, can I add more batteries in parallel (with or without adding more tp4056 modules)

author
deba168 (author)panigrc2016-01-27

The default charging current delivered by the TP4056 board is 1000mA.But you can change the charging current by changing the Rprog value.The default value is 1.2K.

So the potentiometer is used to change the charging current.

If you are charging battery with capacity more than 2000mAh then 1000mA charging current is safe but it is not advisable for a smaller capacity battery .eg 500mAh lipo.

author
deba168 (author)deba1682016-01-27

For each cell you have to use a separate TP4056 board.

author
panigrc (author)deba1682016-01-27

I thought that too ;)

author
panigrc (author)deba1682016-01-27

Oh ok thanx !

author
s_suradh (author)2015-09-13

Great instructable Deba.. I have a small query. Can we attach a load (like Arduino) with the system? Thanks..

author
deba168 (author)s_suradh2015-09-16

Yes you can use it for arduino or Raspberry pi :)

author
gearup500 (author)deba1682015-12-17

That's great, because all I have is an Arduino. Thanks for posting!

author
SUBOLG (author)2015-12-04

Is your project similar to this one motherboard?
http://tinyonestore.com/products/lipo-rider-pro-li...
A far as I understand that linked motherboard it's charging the battery and in the meantime it's powering the 5V device. And when there is no sun power the battery gives the power to the plugged device. Does your project have the same availability?

author
deba168 (author)SUBOLG2015-12-07

This board is different from the board I used here.

Though both are for charging.The board in the link have boost Converter so you don't need a separate boost Converter like me.

The main point is that the board I have used is cheaper ( less than $2 )

author
RealWedge (author)2015-11-30

Hi I've been reading some of your projects, it gives me hope for my project. Have you ever designed an LiFePO4 charger? I'm trying to design a charger for a large pack.

author
deba168 (author)RealWedge2015-12-02

Still now I have not designed.But in future I will try.

author
-AFS- (author)2015-12-01

Nice project!

author
deba168 (author)-AFS-2015-12-02

Thank You.

author
Gyalu1 (author)2015-11-29

Hi deba168!

Thank you for this instructable. I am now building my solar battery charger and I will charge two mobile phone batteries.

I would like to ask you about the diode you connected to the solar panel.

- Why do we need it?

- Will I destroy the solar panel if I eliminate this diode?

As I know well the forward voltage drop of the diode decreases the voltage it passes through by ~0.7V. So a 5V solar panel (what I bought) can only source ~4.3V through the diode which isn't enough for the TP4056 (its input range is 4.5 - 5.5V).

Could you please suggest any solution?

author
deba168 (author)Gyalu12015-11-29

Hello,

The diode is used to avoid reverse power flow during night,( Battery to Panel).

So solution is, disconnect the panel when you are not charging the battery.

It will work good.Good Luck :)

author
Gyalu1 (author)deba1682015-11-29

OK, it is clean.

My charger modul doesn't source back anything. I measured 0V on its input during on its output is 4.2V from the battery. So I think I don't need the diode.

Thanks!

author
rsam00 (author)2015-11-15

Thank you for the instructable, Deba.

What would you recommend I modify in order to charge a 5v li-ion battery pack?

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)2015-08-19

As always great work from you!

author
deba168 (author)Mjtrinihobby2015-08-20

Glad you like all of my works.It really give some more energy for the future project.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)deba1682015-08-20

We engineers (and innovative minds) need to support each other. Regardless, you got serious advanced skills so kudos to you. Can't wait to read for your next project.

author
deba168 (author)Mjtrinihobby2015-08-21

Thanks for your valuable words..

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)2015-08-19

You got my votes!

author
deba168 (author)Mjtrinihobby2015-08-20

Thank you friend :)

author
bvsmanya (author)2015-08-15

Sir,
Is it possible to charge 18650 cell with inbuilt protection circuit?

author
deba168 (author)bvsmanya2015-08-15

Yes you can charge it.If you need to charge only 18650 with capacity more than 2000mah, then no need to remove the Rprog.

author
bvsmanya (author)2015-08-04

Good instructable

author
deba168 (author)bvsmanya2015-08-13

Thank You ..

author
smandal13 (author)2015-08-12

Very nice project deba168. Can you please specify the minimum voltage and current and also the maximum voltage ratings of solar panel required to run with this circuit?

author
deba168 (author)smandal132015-08-13

Thanks smandal13

Input Voltage : 4.5V to 5.5V as per seller instruction.I will recommend to use a solar panel with voltage in between 5V to 6V.

Current rating : 200 to 350mA You may use slightly higher also.

author
laith mohamed (author)2015-08-09

Nice solar project

author
deba168 (author)laith mohamed2015-08-09

Glad you like my work.Thanks

author
vhugo3 (author)2015-08-04

Great work. The recharge is really useful.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am an Electrical Engineer.I love to harvest Solar Energy and make things by recycling old stuffs. I believe ""IF YOU TRY YOU MIGHT ... More »
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