Step 11: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

Now you're done. Enjoy the fact that you're being very green and clean.

Also, before someone chimes in... yes I do know batteries are not entirely green. If you want to be super green you should use some super capacitors for this project. They last forever, are super green, but are also quite expensive.

What I like about this project is that it's simple and handy. It makes for a nice gift.

If you need any parts you can always get them from my website, BrownDogGadgets.com. All the money I make goes to doggy treats and more projects.

Thanks for reading! *** Update: I've since retired this kit. It's not held up over time very well. I've done an updated version called Solar USB Kit 2.0 and a more rugged version called Lithium Heavy Duty 2.0. If you're looking for something pre made, especially for camping or emergencies, you should try out one of our Folding USB Solar Cells. They're inexpensive and much much more powerful than what you'll find here.


HI, great tutorial! I will try it for sure. Solar charger will be great for long trips in mountains or wherever else :) But, is it possible to connect LCD display to show how much power we have got or it will be too difficult?

Thanks in advance for answer :)

I will upload some picture when I did it!

Mr_Rep1 year ago

so...i need to see if this works, since he said that 6v is inneficent. i gutted a cheap cigarette lighter usb charger, and plan on linking up a 4x AA battery holder for power storage. i want to use a 6v .5W solar cell to receive power from the sun. Is this an unsmart way of going about this? if so, any suggestions? also, say i took 4 normal AA's and stuck them in to charge my device. what level charge will i get?

Mr_Rep Mr_Rep1 year ago

also, i am considering using a 7.2 volt Ni-Mh rechargable battery I yanked of a rather large RC helicopter. how well will this handle? more efficent than 2 or 4 AA's?

Quick question. I was able to salvage a DC to USB board from a car charger. I actually left the LED on the board for ease of checking if power was flowing or not. I can not seem to get it to light up unless my power source is 9v or greater. In your tutorial your using 2.4 volts of output to charge a device via batteries. I am running a 1watt 6volt panel and it wouldn't light it up either although I was only getting about 3.5 volts due to cloudy weather. Any thoughts?

swimfan24894 years ago
Great instructable! This has inspired me :)

I am looking to build a slightly different version of this instructable, but with supercapacitors instead, to make this "super-green". Do you know if it would be possible to just use supercapacitors to completely replace the batteries? Even if it would only work while in the sun, that would be fine with me... Any help would be great!
If you're worried about how "green" the components are, the NiMH battery is not the #1 candidate for concern: Unlike lead acid and NiCd cells, NiMH cells do not contain toxic heavy metals that need to be kept out of incinerators.

The biggest environmental impact will be the energy used to make the refined silicon for the solar cell, most likely from coal burnt in China. Switching to super caps would not resolve that.
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  swimfan24894 years ago
I don't see why not. You'd have to have solar panels to provide power, but I don't see why not.

The only downside is that super caps cost a lot of money compared to just using some AAs. Plus because of how little power this thing uses a set of AA batteries would last a very very long time.
What wires am i supposed to solder the USB cirquit ?
If I wanted to do this but use 1 or 2 of the cheap solar yard lights from Lowes as donor parts, what would I need to modify? Do those have the right diode in them between the solar panel and the battery pack? Or is that irrelevant due to the USB circuit?

The ones I bought for the yard claim to be 4x bright. What would be the proper way to determine if I need 1 or 2 solar cells of these? Just test output of the panel with a voltmeter?
JoshuaZimmerman (author)  MorNiLachnan3 years ago
The only thing you'd be taking out of the garden light would be the solar cell. (You could use the batteries, but they usually are low capacity and not worth their weight.)

You'd still need to get all the other parts. AA holder, 2 AAs, diode, wires, charging circuit.

Plus you should really use a multimeter to figure out what the voltage of your solar cells is. You need a combination that is greater the 3V. The bigger the better.
What wires am i supposed to solder the USB cirquit ?
didooo4 years ago