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Picture of How to make a Solar USB charger! (simple!)
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Welcome! I will show you how to make a solar usb charger that out puts about 6v and is perfect for charging anthing that uses USB. This is perfect for someone new to soldering! Here is the finished product:

Step 1: Parts

You need the following:
1x USB extension a/a cable http://www.monoprice.com (That's where I got mine.)
1x Any Diode (RadioShack #: 276-563)
1x 6v Solar panel (RadioShack #: 277-1205 )
Soldering iron(RadioShack #: 64-2051)
Solder
1x Project box (Radioshack #: 270-1803) I would maybe chose a smaller on, I had a bigger one laying around.
Electrical Tape
Glue Gun or tape to hold the peices in place.
Drill

Thats it!
 
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angier_allen3 months ago

Just made it w/ 2 6V 3W panels and a 5V regulator

Works great, thanks!

AnthonyW132 months ago

well hopefully this time my post will go thru...I like the idea of a solar powered cell charger, but one thing is which direction does the diode go? Is the negative side towards the panel or the output USB side? Please let me know because I just hooked it up and the sun is still bright in the sky and I get full power directly off the panel, but I get zero from the output! Now, I may not have the correct cable because I pulled it from another charger and the cable is a lot thinner that the wires I soldered to the panel so that may be my issue but is should still give me voltage either way and it's not! Please let me know and thank you.

dabomb1022 (author)  AnthonyW132 months ago

I would suggest measuring the voltage from the solar panel, see if it's getting anything, then connect the diode and check again, at each step checking if there's current

shubhamk2 years ago
Hey i bought a 6v and 100mA solar panel and a zener diode of 12 v and 1 watt and connected all as shown. Wen i expose the solar panel in sun it shows me charging on my phone but i waited for long time still my battery is same and not charging!! Please help as soon as possible...
Probably because 100mA isn't even enough to put a dent in the charge of a cell phone. Could power an led or something but phones use a lot of energy.
AnthonyT6 getamap3 months ago

100mA is basically the amount provided by the a computer USB. A zener diode clamps the voltage when the voltage exceeds its rating. I would look at the zener it is probably reducing power.

if you use a regulator it will boost the power from 100ma to 500ma or 1 amp and will keep a stedy rate at 5 volts

BUT how can regulator can boost power from 100 ma to 500ma?

So is there any solution to it??? Except buying a new solar panel! May be by adding anything like a diode or something in the circuit??
Put the panel out in the sun and use a multimeter to make sure everything is set up and working properly. If it's all working right then a bigger panel is probably what you need. If you have an iphone or ipod check out http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-get-your-iPod-to-charge-with-your-homemade-/#step1 and see if that helps at all.

use a regulator

GroutN shubhamk9 months ago
You need to raise the current it needs to reach at least 500mA

don't use 12 volts its too much power and it will damage the battery please use a 5 volt regulator with 1 amp of power

shane.lareau10 months ago

If I have a 5V solar cell at 500mA, would I really need to worry about installing the diode at all?

The diode is used as a dc blocker, meaning it blocks the DC from returning to the solar panel. depending on the diode, you will lose a bit of voltage, but if the right one is chosen, you may only lose .3V Solar panels are NOT exact, or at least I have never found one that is. I have a 6V solar that outputs 6.9VDC full sun, no load, and another 6.2VDC full sun, no load. Measure the voltage and chose the diode accordingly. It also has a voltage drop when forward biased.

you can go without the diode but make sure you only use it on a completely sunny day

Sure you do. If you don't, there's a chance the flow of current will reverse and blow your solar cell.

AnthonyT63 months ago

A voltage regulator as stated uses voltage. This means you have to compensate for this loss, even as a current regulator instead of a voltage regulator. You cannot get more power than what is put in, meaning the LM317 will work up to its rated current if available at input. It cannot supply anymore power than what it receives, and you certainly wouldn't get the full power at input.

Hey i have a lenovo p70 smart phone !! My mobile charger is written on its output : 5.2v = 2.0 A so what should i use for the solar panel ?
tim.payne.3364 months ago

im going to make the same design but im going to use a 2.5 W, 5 volt 500 ma solar panel and a 5 volt voltage regulater

Keep in mind that most regulators have a dropout voltage of 2V. That means that if you want a 5 volt output, the input would be 7 volt.

Learn more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dropout_voltage

i desided on not using the voltage regulator

tim.payne.336 made it!4 months ago

I used a 5v/500mah solar cell, soldered micro usb cable and connected it to a small power bank and now i have free, unlimited power from the sun, FYI i did not use a diode because it created too low of a voltage to work

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SantoshR9 months ago

Hi.. i have successfully made the above.. also by adding a pair of rechargeable batteries inbetween.. to save some for the night charging .. but im trying to show a 5 or 6 led indicator [ indicating % power left in the battery ] or something like that.. could you help me out with that.

Bauke SantoshR4 months ago

You should connect a resistor with a specific amount of ohms to each led. If you want to know more details, ask me.

siddheshb9 months ago

will it cause any damage to my phone..please reply fast

Bauke siddheshb4 months ago

No it would not. As long as the voltage and current are high enough it will charge your device. If not, most devices won't even charge.

SophiaL37 months ago

I used this for my science experiment, and it works very well! It does not cause any damage to a Samsung GALAXY S5, but I am not sure about other devices.

Are you sure it does not do damage to a Samsung Galaxy s5? No criticism, I have an s5, and I want to make sure I don't break another one (the first one fell out of my pocket into a campfire {woops}). I intend to build one of these, but I would like sure that I don't overcharge it and have another one catch on fire.

reply plsss ...

reply plsss ...

reply plsss ...

what is the scope and limitations of this solar charger ..?

reply fast plsssss ..

hey, guys im a researcher student, and i want to make this as an our study, but I have a question.If will it cause any damaged to my phone?If it's safe?plss. reply fast. thank you :)

Sheen Amon8 months ago

good one guys but make sure you always connect a 1k pot with a 4.7 -5.1v zener's in series between your out put, this is simply because a solar panel which is rated at 12v would be 15v or 16 to reduce the effect caused by change in whether or whatevr you call it in my own opinion i also suggest a capacitor to be connected in parallel with the solar panel to act as a tank cos solar voltage is never constant.

Sheen Amon8 months ago

good one guys but make sure you always connect a 1k pot with a 4.7 -5.1v zener's in series between your out put, this is simply because a solar panel which is rated at 12v would be 15v or 16 to reduce the effect caused by change in whether or whatevr you call it in my own opinion i also suggest a capacitor to be connected in parallel with the solar panel to act as a tank cos solar voltage is never constant.

Sheen Amon8 months ago

good one guys but make sure you always connect a 1k pot with a 4.7 -5.1v zener's in series between your out put, this is simply because a solar panel which is rated at 12v would be 15v or 16 to reduce the effect caused by change in whether or whatevr you call it in my own opinion i also suggest a capacitor to be connected in parallel with the solar panel to act as a tank cos solar voltage is never constant.

Sheen Amon8 months ago

good one guys but make sure you always connect a 1k pot with a 4.7 -5.1v zener's in series between your out put, this is simply because a solar panel which is rated at 12v would be 15v or 16 to reduce the effect caused by change in whether or whatevr you call it in my own opinion i also suggest a capacitor to be connected in parallel with the solar panel to act as a tank cos solar voltage is never constant.

Sheen Amon8 months ago

good one guys but make sure you always connect a 1k pot with a 4.7 -5.1v zener's in series between your out put, this is simply because a solar panel which is rated at 12v would be 15v or 16 to reduce the effect caused by change in whether or whatevr you call it in my own opinion i also suggest a capacitor to be connected in parallel with the solar panel to act as a tank cos solar voltage is never constant.

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