This is a quick and cheap project I did to use up some things I had laying around and make something very useful for myself. When you finish this intstructable you will have learned how to make a pretty handy little solar light to have when the lights go out or for camping! I will be making one for my girlfriend in a few days so I will update with better pics then.
Step 1: Get It Together Man!!!
OK these are the things you will need. I want to first off encourage you to use things you have laying around. I don't follow other peoples instructables exactly and I don't expect you to do it with mine. You can probably come up with something a whole lot cooler. Ok here we go.......
1. dremel or something like it. (tin snips may work)
2. soldering stuff
3. electrical tape (i would have used hot glue for a lot of it but i dont have a gun :0(
4. metal file would be nice
1. solar light from dollar general, cost me $2.50
2. led flash light with a try me button in the package $2 at the general as well
3. altoids mini tin $1
4. AAA rechargeable battery
Step 2: Time to Strip... Your Solar Light
Ok, this is the fun part :0) strip that solar light. Mine was pretty simple, I didnt have any screws or anything like that, it just pulled apart. Yours may be different. I think there is an instructable on how to take them apart so you can search for that if you want.
1. twist off top
2. take out battery and save for another project
3. pop the botton off
4. pull out the electronics
Step 3: Cutting Up the Altoids Tin
This is probably the toughest part of this project. Do yourself a favor and put on some goggles. Metal WILL fly and you don't want to shoot your eye out. You could glue it to the top but i wanted it to look slick so I cut a square out so the solar panel will fit in nice and snug. Once you get it cut out you can file the edges smooth. I myself got went the slack route and just used some electrical tape. You also need to cut a notch for the LED and the button wires to go through. Then test fit everything so its nice and snug.
Step 4: Add a Button (optional)
Do you remember the flashlight on the materials list? Well all that you need from that is the TRY ME button from the package. The light itself is not needed. You do not have to put a button on it but I wanted a button so the light would not come on every night when the lights went out. To add the button you cut one of the legs of the LED and just solder the button in line with the cut. I will have better pictures of this soon b/c it may be hard to visualize.
Step 5: Add the Battery
I soldered my battery in place because I did not have a AAA battery holder. I then wrapped it and everything else that would be going in the tin with electrical tape so nothing would short out. You can use hot glue for this if you want. This is a good time to check and see if it works. It doesn't?! Don't FREAK out, the solar light circuit tells the LED not to come on if it has light shinning on it. Go into a dark room to test or put your hand over the solar panel.
Step 6: Stuff It (your Done)
Place all of your hard work into the tin. Everything should fit nice and tight. Pull the button through the LED hole and tape it to the bottom of the tin. Next close the tin. Congrats you have now made yourself a handy dandy solar flashlight. Just sit it out in the sun and know that when the sun goes down you will have a light whenever you want. Hope you enjoy it!!!