When my older brother left on his mission for 2 years, he left something for me: His prized solar panel. As a fellow electronics enthusiast, he told me to "make something super cool with it." After a while, I realized I hadn't used it for anything super cool. After a few days of planning during English and History classes, I came up with the Solar Battery Charger. It's pretty easy to make, and after it's built you can charge batteries literally anywhere under the Sun! It's great for camping and backpacking as it's fairly portable. Well, enough talking. Let's go and make something super cool!
Step 1: Materials & Tools
The total cost for this project is about $40, if you have the tools. The parts are fairly common, though, so dive right in and start buying the materials!
- (1) Waterproof Solar Panel
- (1) 1N4001 Micro Diode
- (1) 8 AA Battery Holder
- (1) Breadboard PCB
- (9.5''x6''x3.75'') Wood
- (1) Red 22-Gauge Solid Core Wire
- (1) Black 22-Gauge Solid Core Wire
- (4) 1'' Wood Screws
- (2) Mini Alligator Clips
- (1) Battery Snap
- (1) Zip Tie
- Soldering Iron w/ Solder
- Hot Glue Gun w/ Hot Melt Glue
- Jigsaw/Circular Saw/Table Saw/Hand Saw/Band Saw/Portable Band Saw/Wire Saw/Reciprocating Saw/Chop Saw
Step 2: Body
The body is made from 3/4'' plywood. Cut it with pretty much any type of saw to the size of 9.5''x6''. There's not too much pressure to make the cut be extra straight, so don't worry!
Step 3: Wiring
The circuit isn't too complicated. Just solder the components and wires right in! First, cut the PCB down to about 1.5''x0.5''. Then insert the components and solder them in! Also solder the leads to the alligator clips and battery snap. Make sure not to mix up the polarity!
Step 4: Putting Body Together
Unscrew the legs from the Solar Panel and put them somewhere else, along with their screws. Then, using the screws, screw the Solar Panel onto exactly one side of the body through the four holes on the corners of the panel. Use hot glue to attach the battery holder to the opposite side of the body, making sure it's laying on its side so you can put in the batteries being charged! You'll have noticed that the wires from the solar panel are mighty long, so tie them up with a zip tie!
Step 5: Putting Electronics Together
Snap the battery connector onto the battery holder. Then, hot glue the PCB solder joint side down just above the battery holder. Attach the alligator clips to the solar panel's clips as shown.
Step 6: Charge!
To charge your batteries, just put them in and wait! They should be charged after about 1 hour, depending on how much sunlight there is.
Thanks for reading my Instructable! I hope you enjoyed it. If you ever build this, let me know! However, please remember to only charge rechargeable batteries. I'd love to see someone other than me make their own. Thanks for making it this far!