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Picture of MP4 player with built-in Solar Cell.
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I bought this MP4 player, cheap, off ebay some time back. It didn't use an internal built in battery but a removeable cellphone-style battery. So, I removed the battery, and soldered two wires to its contacts. The standard colors, red for positive and black for negative. The solar cell will have to be attached to its back as there is no space for it on the front.

Step 1:

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I then soldered a blocking diode to the positive side of a solar cell I had salvaged from a garden light I bought at a dollar store. To make sure it would still work I connected it to a green LED and held it up to a light bulb, and the LED lit up. I have done tests with various-sized solar cells connected to lithium batteries and this one worked the best. I have also tried solar cells taken from solar powered calculators and those that powered solar powered toys and determined that the smaller cells take wayyyyy to long to recharge the battery.
 
Cool, how long does it take to charge? And how do you protect it from overcharging?
arthurdent (author)  audreyobscura2 years ago
This solar cell was taken from a dollar store garden light and charged a standard 1.2 volt battery, so it is not likely to overcharge the 3.7 volt lithium battery. In fact, the way I tested this was by connecting this battery to 2 solar cells and an LED and leaving it on the windowsill for two weeks. The solar cells would charge the battery, making the LED light up as well. As for the charge time, this only takes a few hours in sunlight, or next to a lamp, to charge it.