I wanted to take a solar path light and turn it into some sort of self charging portable battery pack.
With a little bit of work it was surprisingly simple.
You will need :
- Some solar path lights (get the ones that can be easily dis-assembled)
- Some small gauge wire
- An 'Altoids' tin
- A 1/4" mono audio connector
- A soldering iron and solder
- A brain
(Yes, we could probably use some hot melt glue, and shrink tubing and other fancy things, but lets be honest here, we're hacking something into an Altoids tin, this isn't rocket science.)
NOW, about that 1/4" connector...
I got a lot of comments from people asking about the connector and how it worked. Well here's the deal. It's just a plug. It isn't connected to an audio device, the pack doesn't send audio. it is just a nice shiny plug that has a +ive and a -ive part to it.
Most people are used to power going down a usb outlet, or some fancy 9V plug, or just a couple of alligator clips. What I wanted was something that was solid, robust and easy to handle.
My battery pack powers the lights on my bike (in fact I have 2 of them) so I need a plug that should withstand the weather, you could use while wearing gloves, didn't break easily etc. The 1/4" plug is all of these while also being easy to clean and has a large contact area which better handles bumps and dirt. the FEMALE connectors are also excptionally easy to keep clean (try getting dirt out of a USB plug...).
Step 1: Get an Altoids tin
These things are great, no screws required, and they keep your breath minty while you work.