Introduction: DIY Solar Phone Charger ($5 Battery Free - UPDATED!)
Here's a real quick and easy tutorial on making a "Portable Solar Phone Charger", it only took me 5 minutes to make one! It's powered by PURE solar energy. The device is designed to fit right into your pocket, it also comes with a built-in stand! Works with apple devices (tested on iPod Touch and Quadcore Android Phone)
How Does It Work?
- Solar powered chargers and powerbanks are pretty common these days. These devices usually have battery reservoirs inside them, to cut it short they are not 100% solar powered so as being eco-friendly. These products are gimmicks, they defeat the purpose of being 100% green and eco-friendly. My DIY tutorial will teach you how to make a "100% PURE Solar Phone Charger". Feel free to be independent from the power grid :D
My Review: (Pure Solar vs. Solar+Battery)
100% Pure Solar: (Pros) 100% Pure Solar: (Cons)
- 100% eco-friendly - Can only charge devices during day
- No need for charging internal bat. - May Not Work with TABLETS (High Amp. Devices)
- Independent From The Power Grid - Ideal for outdoor use (where sunlight is present)
Solar Power Bank (w/battery): (Pros) Solar Power Bank (w/battery): (Cons)
- Can charge high power devices anywhere - Conatains Lion Batteries (limited lifespan 1-2 years)
- Doesn't need sunlight (internal battery) - Not Completely Eco-friendly
- Takes a long time to charge internal battery
Step 1: Tools & Materials
The links below are just alternatives since the stores where I bought my parts where just available localy in the Philippines. When converted into PHP to USD the price of my spendings would become $5! It's real cheap. The solar panel only cost me $3.
Materials: (Click on the link to see where to buy)
- 6V Mini Solar Panel
- 5V Step-Up/ Inverter USB Charger Circuit ($3 @dx.com)
- Your Smartphone (for testing)
- Your Phone's Charger Cable (Interchangable)
- Flexible and Foldable Plastic Card (for stand)
- Hot Glue Gun
- 30W Soldering Iron
- Leatherman Multitool
Step 2: Choosing Your Charger Module (UPDATED!)
The USB charger circuit came from a cheap old iPod USB charger. The main chip is similar to the well known MAXIM inverter chip. The circuit is a step-up/ step-down regulator, meaning when the power supply is underpowered it tends to boost the voltage but when the power supply is overpowered it limits the output voltage. It's ideal for solar powered purposes.
1st.) Dissemble a 12V High Power USB Charger.
2nd.) Cut the wires, short enough to be mounted on the solar panel.
3rd.) Solder the charger circuit to the solar panel (Adding a switch is optional).
4th.) Use a hot glue gun to mount the charger to the solar panel.
5th.) Be sure that the USB port is not protruding and the circuit should not touch any other leads on the panel.
Step 4: Adding the Foldable Stand (optional)
I recycled an old gaming prepaid card and bent it with a ruler. I also hot glued it to the right side of the solar panel.
Step 5: You're Done!
Now enjoy being completely independent from the power grid. I forgot to tell you that I have an interchangeable USB charger cable for Apple 30 pin, Micro USB, Mini USB, Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia, you can find one in your local dollar store.
You can now carry your own personal solar powered charger anywhere. It's also a perfect survival kit since sunlight never runs out :)))) Have fun! :D