Project: S.P.R.E.E. (Solar Photovoltaic Renewable Electron Encapsulator), is an experiment in alternative energy and solar generated electricty.The impetus for construction was the desire to have my cellular phone and other small electronics run entirely from free* renewable solar energy.
The goal was to spend the least amount of money possible to design, construct, and maintain a portable, weather-proof, small-scale solar powered battery charger to re-charge any small electronics. Since I live in Southern California, with plenty of sun, the plan is to leave it charging on my balcony during the day, then charge my cellular phone at night. Note: Do not place on a balcony rail like I did, that was just for the picture.
My design was inspired from a do-it-yourself section I saw in Popular Science. The DIY section in Popular Science was a good start, but it lacked complete directions. I did like how article listed how much and where to purchase components.
After reading that article, I searched other corners of the internet and developed my own design. I then researched the project, and gathered the parts for about $160, including taxes and shipping costs. I have friends that own an auto shop, RPM Brakes who let me use their multimeter, soldering iron, and they had plenty of extra connectors around.
I have added several optional modifications in Step 5.
Step 1: Gather Components for S.P.R.E.E.
5-watt, 12-volt photovoltaic panel, $36, eBay, Solar Cynergy: PV-SC005J17
1/4" mono plug (2), $1, allelectronics.com, SPH
DC solar charge controller, $28, allelectronics.com, SCN-2
12-volt 12-AH rechargeable battery, $40, allelectronics.com, GC-1214
10-feet of 18-gauge wire, $3, allelectronics.com, WRB-18
cigarette lighter "Y" adapter, $4, allelectronics.com, CLP-Y
200-watt power inverter, $17, walmart.com, 001088173
plastic box with split folding lids, $5, target medium bin
wood/hardware for mounting, $4, lowe's, 1x3x4, screws
This leaves about $22 for random parts, upgrades, accessories, shipping fees and taxes.
Necessary tools: Power drill and creativity.