Introduction: Easy 5 Minutes USB Solar Charger/Survival USB Charger

Picture of Easy 5 Minutes USB Solar Charger/Survival USB Charger

Hello guys! Today I just made (probably) the easiest usb solar panel charger! First off I’m sorry that I didn’t upload some instructable for you guys.. I got some exams in the past few months (not actually few maybe a week or so..). But here, I made a really simple project for you guys! Hope you liked the project!

And also my english is kinda crap, english is my 3rd language anyway. I hope you guys understands what I’m trying to say :D.

Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:

First of all, let me show you some materials needed to make the solar usb
charger.. I’ve made a list down below:


1) A Solar Panel

Here, I’m using a 5v 200mA Solar Panel which you can buy on Ebay for $4.19 - 5V 200mA 1W Mini Solar Panel

2) A USB Car Charger

You can get these car charger for a dollar but, if you can’t find it anywhere just buy it from ebay for $1 - USB Car Charger

3) A Box

Here, I got the box from an old flashdrive box. But, you can either use a tupperware container or a project box. I suggest to measure the box for around 12 x 8cm or about 4 and a half inches times 3 inches.

4) Double Sided Tape

You can use any brand of the double sided but I suggest to use the one which has a 5mm width.

5) Soldering Tin

I used an 0.8mm 60/40 flux cored tin.

6) Flux paste (optional)

I’m using a chepo 12grams of flux

7) Hot Glue sticks (also optional)

You can use the yellow one but I suggest to use the clear one or the white one.

8) Some Wire

You can use any kind of wire for this one.

Well, that’s all of the materials. Now, let’s move on to the tools that we’re gonna use in the project!

Step 2: Tools Needed:

Picture of Tools Needed:

1) A Utility Knife

2) A Plier

3) A Scissor

4) A Soldering iron

5) A Rotary tool with a 5mm bit

That was it! Lets go making it!

Step 3: Let's Build It!

Picture of Let's Build It!

*Note: Use your safety glasses because the plastic pieces may fly and hit your eyes.. Safety First! :)

Okay, let’s pry open and crack the usb car charger using the pliers. Next, you’ll get this pcb or a circuit from the charger. Remember, ground (-) is the negative and (+) is the positive lead of the circuit. So, the spring one will be the postive and the metal piece will be the negative. You can also see that there is a mark that shows which the ground is.

Step 4: Let’s Get Crafty!

Picture of Let’s Get Crafty!

Pick up a pencil, an eraser and a ruler.. And start marking where do you wanted to cut and drill the usb socket and the led indicator.

Once you’re done you just need to cut the drawn usb socket mark with a utiltiy knife. Then, drill a hole for the led indicator with the rotary tool. Also drill a hole near the bottom of the box for the wires to come out.

Once you drilled the hole just test fit the pcb/circuit to the box.

Step 5: Heat Things Up!

Picture of Heat Things Up!

Clip on the circuit with a helping hands and start cleaning it with an alcohol swabs or an alcohol dipped paper towel! Desolder the positive lead and the ground lead from the pcb and solder them with a new wires. Put the circuit on to the box and start heat the hot glue gun. After a minute or so, stick the circuit into the box with a glue gun. Then stick some double sided tape to the top of the box. Fix the solar panel on the top of the box, then run the wires from the circuit to a hole that we drilled before and solder them to the solar panel. Give some more of glue gun. And DONE!

Step 6: DONE!

Picture of DONE!

Check out if everything works well, Plug your phone and test it out!

That's it the easiest usb solar charger! Thank You all for supporting my instructable, please vote me on the renewable energy source contest! and once again, THANK YOU! You’re one of a kind, you’re awesome, Build More!

Step 7:


BobH160 (author)2017-07-17

Nicely done, would be a boon on a camping trip.

BobH160 (author)BobH1602017-07-17

One point, you can get small LED holders for holding them firm if making a hole, it finishes it off nicely too.

PeterA18 (author)2016-07-19

no no got it all wrong...a very good instructable indeed....jst an extra cause of measure...cause mobiles phones cost a fortune these days lol

Builders Shed (author)PeterA182016-07-24

ill install a fuse later as some nice ppl recommended me to do so, and so the current will burn up the fuse if the current jumps so the phone is safe but itll need a new fuse replacement ?

So is the phone Safe right now without a fuse?

it is safe but, if you wanna get safer, i'd recommend ya to use a fuse.

choiria1 (author)2016-09-19

I used 2 X 6 volt, 200 mA solar panel and it's work properly under the sun.
May be using powerbank module will make it useful for daily life

WannaDuino (author)choiria12016-10-09

exact look at mine i posted here

a 5v wil never work on the 12v car chrger, it wil never go on

Builders Shed (author)choiria12016-09-27

Wow, great one mate, it's really useful for me because my phone's battery always drains quickly! :D

WannaDuino (author)2016-10-09

maybe this will interest you

WannaDuino (author)WannaDuino2016-10-09

i forgot to point out

that i have the same 12v car charger in my circuit. (the blue USB voltage tester

and the display above is the battery state voltage

and the oteher project is an 4000mAh lipo powerbank converted to also a portable solar (6V 200mAh on top) with an aditional conector to put the larger 5V 800mAh solsr panel on to, for outside our FAST CHARGE 2 hours FULL

WannaDuino (author)2016-10-09


first of all.

its a 12V car charger (so a 12V input, so the charging circuit wil not go on with a panel of 5V. its becous its turning 12V into 5V (LM7805 diode)

so if i ask you to make a video, i am realy want to see this. in this setup you tell.

olvegrn made it! (author)2016-08-19

very simple, but probably needs more power to get everything to work right. would a 7.2v panel work better?

olvegrn (author)olvegrn2016-08-19

honestly, a little shade makes it turn off because it's not getting the 5v it needs to turn the whole circuit on. just my thinking. I don't mind the slow charge at all, I just want it to at least charge. haha

Builders Shed (author)olvegrn2016-09-27

I know that it's not the best but i hope you like it :)

Builders Shed (author)olvegrn2016-09-27

it should be works better than the 5v solar panel but it has an enough juice for my phone so i bought the 5v solar panel because it's cheaper than the 7v solar panel :D

PaulH290 (author)2016-07-28


Would using a car charger not cause a problem in that the power output from a car is 12v and the charger would be expecting 12v and therefore not power the usb side correctly?

jimvandamme (author)PaulH2902016-08-14

The regulator chip inside takes the 12V (more like 13.8 when the car's running) and regulates
it down to 5V. If you feed it less than 12V it just dissipates less
power, so that's good.

Jugfet (author)2016-07-29

Perhaps using a old VHS case would provide a more rugged construction.

Builders Shed (author)Jugfet2016-08-08

i'm fine with this one :)

paramzzthakkarzz (author)2016-07-27

There's no gnd terminal or (-) terminal in the usb car charger I brought.. What next to do?

just unsolder the metal clip and the metal clip is the negative lead. the spring one is the positive lead. just remember that ;) sorry for the late reply, just having a new school and got some more tests in the past few weeks :)

paramzzthakkarzz (author)2016-07-26

I bought a 5.5v 250ma 2w solar panel and a small car charger. Smaller than the one you showed in the pictures. Will it work?

a friend of mine had the same panel that you mentioned and he solder 2 of the panel in series. it works just fine, but itll affect the impedance for sure.

nvelankar (author)2016-07-24

Thanks for the instructable. It's helpful for me....

But I think 5v, 200mA solar panel will be not enough for todays smartphones...

Can we use more than 5v, 200mA Solar panel ?

Builders Shed (author)nvelankar2016-07-25

Yea you could use another solar panel which has a higher amps :)

nvelankar (author)Builders Shed2016-07-30


splodgie (author)2016-07-17

If you like to learn and play with electronics look up this guy on YT: Bigclivedotcom .

Have some great projects that would make good Ible's

Builders Shed (author)splodgie2016-07-24

I've seen that guy on YT for some times, i agree that his projects are awesome!

splodgie (author)Builders Shed2016-07-24

Have a look at this one by BC. You could use this idea in your project

Builders Shed (author)splodgie2016-07-25

I've seen that project before but i'm still thinking about some more projects :D

GabrielD62 (author)2016-07-17

The down side is that 5v, 200mA won't make enough juice to charge a modern smartphone.

The alternatives are 1. To charge a power bank instead (also slow)
2. To add at-least 4 more solar panels and connect in parallel to get 1000mA which will be pretty modest in terms of smartphone charging.

Builders Shed (author)GabrielD622016-07-24

i know it charge solws but at least it gives you some juice when you'reon a survival situations :D

kriemer (author)GabrielD622016-07-17

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the bank of parallel solar panels need only be wired into one voltage regulator (car charger, ic7805, or whatever).

norbjohn (author)2016-07-17

How about a 4.5 watt 12 volt panel using the 12 volt socket converter to 5 volts. that would give you an output of 10.8 watts, the equivalent of 2 Amps at 5 volts. Setting up a series of 8 rechargeable batteries (AA or AAA) to equate to 12 volts would also give you a more consistent energy flow for charging a cell phone or tablet.

Builders Shed (author)norbjohn2016-07-24

great idea, i'll probably add a ni-mh battery later on my solar charger!

jerry.ericsson2 (author)2016-07-17

This looks like a fun project. I found a backpack solar panal used on Ebay for ten bucks some years ago and it works wonders. Last winter we were snowbirding it in Arizona and came upon the most bueatiful place on the planet (at least to me, and I have been many places!) called the Organ Pipe National Monument. We stayed there a week in our Class A motor home. The park had no water or power for campers, so I tried that little solar panel and it worked wonders, keeping both our cell phones and tablets charged daily. We were allowed to run our generators for 2 hours per day, once in morning and once in afternoon to charge our 12 volt systems so this was a great aid when our cells needed attention during the "off" hours.

Whoa! that's such a cool solar panel! ill probably make that later :)

josephchrzempiec (author)2016-07-17

Awsome project. I build 2 in the past they help alot. Thanks for the share.

Np, i really enjoyed making instructables tho

sue.donim.144 (author)2016-07-17

i wonder if a clear box might better to prevent from getting hot and decreasing the life of the components ? maybe even have it light colored or put foil on outside ?

good idea, ill probably do that on my solar charger

BryanB7 (author)2016-07-17

So cool I have to do this for a friend thank you.

Builders Shed (author)BryanB72016-07-24

Thanks i'm sure ur friend will love it! :D

Abe Sam (author)2016-07-17

Your English exceeds greatly the instructions one gets with many types of kits. Well done!

Builders Shed (author)Abe Sam2016-07-24

Thanks mate! i appreciate it :)

1Artsygirl (author)2016-07-17

I've never done anything with a circuit pannel.. But am excited about your solar charger and want to try to make it. Can you tell me where exactly on the circuit board do I solder the wires? In your photo, I can see that they are in 2 seperate places that are not next to each other. I'm worried that I will ruien the circuit board by putting the wires in the wrong place.

Builders Shed (author)1Artsygirl2016-07-24

Sorry for the late reply.. find where the spring and the metal piece cables going to, and just unsolder them and give a new cables.. :)

morsed2 (author)2016-07-17

Great instructable.
As for your English, it is perfect, no problems there.
As for the negative comments below, ignore them. Some have merit.

Builders Shed (author)morsed22016-07-24

Thank you so much mate! i appreciate it :D

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, i'm farhan. i'm 13 years old and i'm interested in Electronics,LifeHacks,Survival,Outdoor,Woodworking and Photography! If you like my ... More »
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