Picture of Make a Solar DS
The Nintendo DS Lite seems like it was made to have solar cells put on it. It has a large amount of surface area on the top and bottom that both face upward when the DS is opened. The top and bottom faces each have exactly the right amount of room for two 60x60mm solar cells side by side (four total). Each one has a maximum power output of 3 volts at 40 ma. The top two are connected in series and so are the bottom two. These two sets are wired in parallel to get a total of 6 volts at 80 ma, perfect for trickle-charging the battery.

Note: A newer version has been posted and is better than this one. Go to: http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-DS-quotLightquot-Redone-and-Greatly-Impr/ for a better version. If you want to make a solar powered DS the easy way, you can still use this one.

If you have a question, don't hesitate to ask!

By the way, this is my first Instructable!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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You will need:

  • 4x - 60x60 mm solar cell
  • 2x - Diodes (Preferably schottky, they have a lower forward voltage)
  • Some wire, almost any kind will work (the thinner the better)
  • Scotch tape


  • Multimeter
  • Mire stripper / cutter
  • Soldering iron with solder
  • Helping hands tool (not necessary, but helpful)
  • Hot glue gun with glue
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qquuiinn2 years ago
Hm. How fast will this charge?
dark sponge (author)  qquuiinn2 years ago
Fairly slowly. It puts out a fraction of the power that the charger could provide.
qquuiinn2 years ago
Hm. How fast will this charge?
qquuiinn2 years ago
Hm. How fast will this charge?
oldmechanic3 years ago
imgarret4 years ago
Can this be adapted to work on a DSi using the charging port? I'm wondering if you can cut a charging cable to plug into it, instead of running wires directly to the battery?

dark sponge (author)  imgarret4 years ago
Yes. Go to the updated Instructable (http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-DS-quotLightquot-Redone-and-Greatly-Impr/) and look at step 17. Have fun!
calalbe5 years ago
 Did you hear about the larger DS XL coming out? Maybe this means we can tack on more panels?

Is there anyway i could make this for my DSi or PSP???
dark sponge (author)  Zetta master6 years ago
Look in the comments at the updated version: http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-DS-quotLightquot-Redone-and-Greatly-Impr/. If you can't find what you need, post another comment and I'll be happy to help.
PATALIM6 years ago
This is really nice, except that I can't play the Nintendo DS Lite outdoors as I'm having trouble seeing the screen especially when it is too bright.
dark sponge (author)  PATALIM6 years ago
I don't play it outdoors. I don't even charge it outdoors. I play it indoors and when i'm done I set it by a window to charge.
Oh!, anyway I think in doing so will shorten the life of your LCD screen as heat will degrade the screen (not to mention other parts such as the casing) as I have proven it to myself with my other LCD devices such as: Wristwatches, Calculators, 2-Way radios, Original Game Boy, GB pocket, Caller ID, etc. that was placed/stored in a warm to hot room or directly being exposed to sunlight and the degree of degradation depends on the quality of the LCD. e.g My Casio watches LCD degrades a little vs my Timex watches and other noname calculator vs branded ones. Hope that the LCD of the Nintendo DS Lite is far superior than its predecessor. (So, now I learned my lesson I'm keeping all my LCD'd devices in a cool place). By the way I from a tropical country.
dark sponge (author)  PATALIM6 years ago
Oh, ok! Unfortunately, I don't know how to fix that problem...
I used heat sheilding similar to what they use on the space shuttles and i can leave the DS out all day without any damage.
dark sponge (author)  smtgr146 years ago
Cool! Any pictures?
Sorry but no, i dropped the D@#$ thing and it broke itself and my toe.
dark sponge (author)  smtgr146 years ago
Will rebuild eventuall and post pics. also my toe is better now
well, for one, the screen is facing down while chargeing solar.
luka11846 years ago
Hi i need to know how to make a DS charger, out of my DS Lite Car Charger it would be for a Lite, cause i got the new Deltora Quest DS Game and its japanese. I need a charger because all my chargers always got stoled or i really dont know if i just trew it out somehwere and cant find it. I want to make it so the volt is circa maching cause to not torching the ds or the cable. ANd i need to cover the wries so i not get torched or gets an electrical shock. (Can i buy a DS Lite Charger in Fona??? If you know what that is, or in Expert if you know what that is, or where else could i buy a brand new one Nintendo DS Lite Charger Dark Sponge????????? (PS: I lives in the country Denmark)
get a normal input and cu it in halft strip the red and black wire then cut the car charger in half and strip the wires then put the red with red and black with black solder or e-tape u need to make sure its the same voltage
dark sponge (author)  luka11846 years ago
jakesllama6 years ago
so cool i have experimented with solar panels and made a generator that goes on to your arm so while you move your arm you charge your ds but the problem i had was the ds had charged up in flicks so it would flick on flick off and i ended up damaging my battery lol not very effiicent when the light on the ds go on when charging wasting electric
OUSooner6 years ago
How comfortable is it to hold? How strong are the solar panels? Do I need to worry about breaking them if I drop it? Thanks and awesome idea!
Woshmistro6 years ago
is it possible to connect the solar panels to the charging slot at the back of the ds so it uses the ds' own cutoff chip and you can see wether the ds is charging with its indicator light?
oh soz i should of read through the comments before i posted, anyways... this is a great idea, could save alot of money in the longterm
dark sponge (author)  Woshmistro6 years ago
Actually, this isn't going to save you any money unless you pay waaaaaay too much for electricity. The solar panels are mainly for the convenience of not having to carry a charger with you.
HAL 90006 years ago
Hey, i like this! i just got an msi WIND about a month ago, so now im thinking about how to mount solar panels on top. i've been looking around the WIND forums and i have yet to see anyone with a solar trickle charger mounted to theirs.
dark sponge (author)  HAL 90006 years ago
That would be awesome! I would be a litte careful around the battery, though. Those laptop batteries can be pretty violent. You would probably need a cutoff chip and a charging circuit (unless it is built into the battery).
how long does it take to completely charge? does it hold its charge? anyone you know ruin their DS?
dark sponge (author)  beauwalker236 years ago
I don't know how long it takes to completely charge because I have no indicator for when it is done. It can hold its charge just as long as the unmodified ds can. It would be pretty hard to ruin your ds doing this unless your solar cells put out too high a voltage. This project doesn't open up the ds and put the stuff inside at risk, so it is safe.
sahervey6 years ago
How durable are the solar panels? I have three kids with DS's and would like to try this. Would the suffer the abuse of a 4, 6, and 8 year old? I am thinking I might be better off simply going with a separate charging pack like the one you have drawn. Will a 9v battery completely charge the DS?
there are solar panels available that are not made of glass and that are almost indestructible. they're flexible, and i think you may even be able to cut them out with scissors to fit. the only downside is that they are a bit more expensive, but they will look pretty slick, since they're paper thin.
Where can you get said solar panels?
dark sponge (author)  sahervey6 years ago
Sorry, but the solar panels I used are made of glass. They are very sturdy, but I can tell one or two drops on a hard floor would shatter the panels. For your second question, a full 9v battery would not fully charge a DS, but 6 AAs should.
unknown246 years ago
oooooh. interesting...
budsiskos6 years ago
sweet. i plan on doing this soon.
dark sponge (author)  budsiskos6 years ago
is this safe? =( i dont want to ruin my ds =( and how do i solder the wires?
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