Combine a small, energy efficient digital amplifier, cheap bookshelf speakers, batteries, a small solar panel, and your MP3 player as a source.
Fasten everything together, add a handle, and take it on the road!
This project makes for a fun, easy solar project, that will help you learn about how solar panel, and audio systems operate.
Assembly has been simplified as much as possible, with a very high quality product as the end result.
- iPod or Mp3 amplifier
- "Off grid" remote or cabin audiophile system
- Third world use
- Eco friendly sound system for outdoor events
- Science fair or educational project
- Jobsite radio and tool battery charger
- Laptop amplifier for music and movies
It is capable of driving most home stereo speakers, so feel free to try it with any speakers you may have on hand. The results may surprise you!
Some speakers are more efficient than others and will play louder given the same input.
*Sonic Impact fans note*
A Sonic Impact amplifier ($30) will run directly off of a single Harbor Freight car charging solar panel($10-20) without a battery.
I offer no guarantees here, but in July Wisconsin sun, an unmodified SI amp was connected directly to the solar panel (a stock SINGLE Harbor Freight unit) and speakers. I did this repeatedly with no problems, other than that the music stops when clouds interfere, or the panel is shaded.
THIS MAKES A GREAT DEMONSTRATION!
The reason this is remarkable is that the voltage of the panel is over the maximum the amp is supposed to take. The load presented by the amp, draws the voltage down before the amp is damaged.
I have tested this extensively, but you try this at your own risk!
A more powerful panel, such as the double unit we use on the DelSol will be more likely to produce enough current to damage the amp.
I later modified the amplifier to improve the bass, and it required more current than the single panel provided.
Add a battery, and you have a more functional simple system.
See ELECTROVOX.COM for more info, links, and advanced systems.
Step 1: Parts, Sources and Tools
Amplifier options -
Dayton amp - $45
(This amp should be functionally identical to the Sonic Impact amp mentioned throughout this instructable)
An alternative amplifier is sold on Ebay by a seller in China. Shipping will take a while, but the basic amp board is only $25 shipped. Using this amp is a slightly more advanced project, and may require some additional parts. Go to http://stores.ebay.com/Sure-Electronics and search for TA2024
Parts express now carries this amplifier as well-
http://www.harborfreight.com/15-watt-solar-battery-charger-44768.html -$10-19 Your Local Harbor Freight will match website sale prices if you print out the web page and take it into the store.
White indoor/outdoor speakers shown on intro page - $24
I Highly recommend recycling some old speakers here. Car speakers can be used if you provide an enclosure. Use high quality bookshelf speakers if you're an audiophile.
DC Plug - $2.79/2
plug from Parts Express two needed
DC jack - $2.79/1
DC jack option 1 from Parts Express
DC jack option 2 from Parts Express
or extract similar parts from broken electronics. /free
5.0 Ah battery from parts express
Battery - 12 Volt battery SLA (sealed lead acid) get a 2.5-12 Ah capacity one, pay $13-25.00 Shipped
I recommend using a 2.5-5 Ah SLA battery for most people. A 12 Ah battery is quite large and heavy.
bag phone battery charging clip
bag phone battery These can be found for a lot less sometimes.
Cordless drills can be a battery source if the voltage is under 13.6 volts
Optional-get 8-10 AA NIMH 2400mAh or larger. Eight fit in the SI amp, but building 10 into a custom pack will play louder than even the lead acid batttery!
I don't provide instructions for these options yet, however.
Wire is mostly recycled, but silicone wire is recommended for connecting the battery to its plug. Cheapskates can try lamp cord here, but please be careful. and read the warnings on the next pages.
Industrial Strength Velcro,
glue,and screws to fasten the necessary parts together.
electrical tape or heat shrink tubing
Some kind of handle. Preferably folding.
Sound source such as MP3 player
Harbor Freight has digital multimeters for $3 - 10.00 that are very useful, but optional.