Introduction: Power Your USB Devices With a 6-24V Power Source Like Solar Panels

Have you ever found yourself with a 6-24V power source, or solar panels wishing you could charge your phone or run any other 5V USB device? Well now you can!

This is a guide to encasing a $10 buck bonverter (also called a switching converter), so that you can use a wide array of voltages to charge your devices efficiently and inexpensively.

Step 1: Tools and Materials



If you're interested in charging your devices using this converter and solar panels, you should check out my other instructable on making solar panel.

If you're making this converter for the solar panel project:

If you are making this for general use you should:

  • Attach the thick wires to your 6-24V power source instead of using a case.
  • Only follow this guide up until step three.

Step 2: Solder Headers to Wires

Plug the headers into the header jack.

Cut red and black wire to about 2cm and strip both sides.

Solder 2cm long red and black wires to the appropriate pins.

Step 3: Solder the Usb Connector

Your USB connector will have a 5V pin (which is to be connected to the red wire) and a Ground pin (for the black wire.


Now solder each wire to the appropriate pin on the USB.

Step 4: Attach Copper Tape and Magnets to Case

Cut two lengths of copper tape, each 2 inches long.

Make sure your magnets are marked in the same way that they were marked in step 8 of the solar panel instructable.

You'll want to wrap the copper around the case like shown.

When appropriate, add the magnet in the magnet-sized-hole on the plastic case.

Magnets should be inserted with their marked side BOTH FACING UP.

Step 5: Solder Wires to Copper Tape

Solder the thick wires from the converter to copper tape as shown.

Make sure the red wire is on the left and the black wire is on the right when the arms are pointed upwards.

Step 6: Push USB Into the Case

Try pushing the USB in through the rectangular hole in the top of the case.
It's a tight fit, so be patient.

Step 7: Put Everything Together

Everything fits in the case as shown with enough tweaking.

The case then snaps closed, and should stay closed.

Step 8: Charging IDevices and Charging Things Quickly

If you want to charge an iPhone/iPod or charge things faster than 500mA, please read talk2bruce's excellent instructable on making a solar powered USB charger especially starting on step 7. You may want to short the data pins inside the converter to make things charge faster, or follow his instructions on building a apple device charging adapter.


GlenC21 (author)2017-05-03

Hello RCVPedersen. I teach an environmental science class for non-majors. We have two 24V solar panels in the classroom. I think they are something like 20W. I want to use your instructions to let students charge their phones using these solar panels. But I want more than one phone to charge on each panel. Should / can I use four UBECs in parallel on each solar panel? Or should I just wire four USB ports onto one UBEC for each solar panel? Thank you very much for your time. -glen