Picture of DIY iPhone 5s Solar Charger with CAD

The purpose of this project is to make a solar charger for any phone or any device that supports USB charging The charger is fully dependable on solar energy as the only power source. The main objective is to create it using affordable materials and make to whole process easy enough to understand and reproduce for other people around the world.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

Black (negative) and Red (positive) wires
4 “AA” Battery Holder (RadioShack) $3
4 AA Batteries
PARALLAX Solar Panel 6V@1W,125x63mm (eBay from China) - $13
Wire terminal 
PLA Filament for 3D Printer (optional)
Altoid Tin (optional)


Soldering Iron
Super Glue
3D Printer (optional)

There are two version that you can make depending on wether you own a 3D home printer such as Maker Bot. If you do, you can either download my design and print it or design you own. If you don't have 3D printer and want to go more low-budget, you can use Altoid Tin or anything else as the main structure for this charger. 

Step 2: Wire Terminal

Picture of Wire Terminal
Screen shot 2013-05-23 at 7.46.08 PM.png
Photo May 20, 10 25 58 AM.jpg
Wire terminal is basically the brain of this charger. It is necessary to bring energy from the sun to the batteries and then from batteries to the actual device. The wire terminal can be easily purchased either in Radio Shack or anywhere else online. I have personally used one from IKEA SUNNAN LED table lamp because of the reverse-engineering process. After you get your wire terminal, you have to solder and connect the wires to solar-input, battery-input and energy-output as indicated on a chart above. 

Step 3: Pick the Right Batteries

Picture of Pick the Right Batteries
We will need some rechargeable batteries that are reliable and can provide enough current to charge a phone. I have decided to use Dantona "AA" 1.2V/1000mAh Ni-Cd Batteries, which provide enough current and are also very cheap and reliable and you can get them in any Radio Shack store.
cpharper5 months ago

Thanks for the great idea! I was just curious if you need a wire terminal with an On/Off switch to allow manual separation of the time spent charging the battery and the time spent charging the iPhone? Or does the wire terminal do this on its own by incorporating a higher resistivity to the wires that lead to the iPhone, to avoid a trickle charge effect directly from the solar cell?

issa.kawar5 months ago

I decided to build the circuit with only the solar panel, a USB port, and a transformer. It might help you Jaren.peplinksi

Hi Andrea, I have the same question as issa.kawar. What other types of wire terminals could I use? I am new to this, and I am currently shopping online for parts for this project. Please get back to me as soon as possible with some kind of direction for me, if you could! Thank you!

issa.kawar6 months ago

do we need the wire terminal? I don't have one and there is no way i can get it

Liamthe1st10 months ago

excellent quite easy to follow and visualise . Just thinking of putting a stick on panel on the back of my I phone. Just to keep it topped up.

that's nice! thanks for sharing!