Instructables
Picture of Folding Solar Panel ; Foldapan
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Foldapan is for outdoor enthusiasts who want to charge their electronic gadgets on the move.
The folding panel is powerful enough to run a small mp3 player-speaker under direct sunlight.
It can also charge phones and other instrument which can be charged thry usb port.

project is done by using 4 solar panels, 2 usb sockets, a 7805 regulator and 4 1N5819 schottky diods.

each panel is able to generate around 8.5V open circuit voltage and 200ma short circuit current. Though they are connected in parallel in this project, the total current obtained is around 800mA when shorted. more than enough to play my mini mp3 player all day long.

First i've sketched it on paper and later transferred the design into a 3d solidworks model to decide parts' dimensions and simulate to make sure it would fold properly when finished
 
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Step 1: Preparing parts

Picture of Preparing parts
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The folding panel consists of 4 nearly identical plywood panels of 3-4mm thickness with the dimensions below. My solar panels has got a 139mm diameter so I've made the dimensons of these plywood parts to suit the panels. If you use different panels then you may need to alter the the dimensons for plywood parts.

at two of the plywood parts there are slots for the usb sockets. the other two ply parts lack these slots. There is a folding usb hub sold on the market, the usb sockets salvaged from it can do the job or you may use any other usb socket at hand.

cut the plywood parts and place them as shown in the photos, place other parts onto them to make sure they fit properly. 

notice the extra plywood layer glued under the hinges which will enable the panel to be flat when folded.
cepi851 year ago
Nice girl! :P

And project! :D
Orngrimm1 year ago
May i ask you in what CAD you made those drawings? They look GOOD!
hobbyman (author)  Orngrimm1 year ago
I've used solidworks 2013. Not only a modeling tool but it also simulates the workings of mechanisms. I like it.
EmcySquare1 year ago
So Cool !!
Just one thing: the round solar pannel are so nice it makes me want them, still the "useful" part of those seems to be only the rectangle inside it... am I right? In that case wouldn't it be more "travel/pocket-friendly" to have it simply round? Looks like half of the space is 'wasted', so to speak...
You can always divert from the salvaged round cells from solar lamps to "real" rectangle cells ancased or not. With this rectangular form you can use almost all of the available space.

Like:
- Encased, 1W, 2.10$/pc @ http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5-5V-180mA-1W-Mini-Solar-Panels-Small-Solar-Power-3-6V-Battery-Charge-Solar-Led/1003719812.html
- Encased, 3.8W, 5.54$/pc @ http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5pcs-lot-6V-0-6A-3-5W-mini-solar-panels-small-solar-power-3-6v-battery/943969548.html
- NOT encased, around 3.8W, ca 2$/pc @ http://www.aliexpress.com/item/3-4-2W-solar-cell-80pcs-Monocrystalline-silicon-poloy/930383254.html

With such cells (I used them in the pas myself) you can tinker quite nicely.
Just go to http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=solar+cell and look around.

hobbyman (author)  EmcySquare1 year ago
Sure yes, there are modules on the market with the interior semiconductor wafer is also round. You may get 4 of those to make a similar project or change dimensions, get 4 square ones and make the thing square in shape. Anything is possible. I alreadyh had these round ones so didn't bother to look for new ones.