Introduction: Solar Backup for HP Mini

This is a solar charged battery backup for My HP mini 1032NR. The solar panel is quite small so charging is less than fast, I have not tested it yet but I assume it will take in the neighborhood of a week or so. It's all OK, the entire thing cost less than $50. For a comparable manufactured product you will be spending well over $300.00 according to my research. A quick note on the Life PO4 batteries "wally world" has them in a pack of 4 for $10.00 you will need 2 packs. They can be quite fickle so be careful with your connections. Nobody wants these things to start a fire. If you like this instructable let me know via comment I wiil post some more of my gadgets. For gods sake use a miltimeter and know the voltage of your pc. This project can be applied to any laptop not to mention a large assortment of portable devices IF YOU KNOW THY VOLTAGE!

Step 1: Get Your Stuff Together

You will need:

1 set solar Christmas lights (a solar garden light will work too)
Wire
Shrink Tube
Battery Holder(s) equal to 6 AA size
Project Box
Switch
Multi Meter
Male adapter (Size of laptop power input)
Male adapter (your choice)
Female adapter (matching your choice male)
Hot Glue!!!

Step 2: Open Your Solar Panel

I used the xmas lights because all the little stuff was there I didn't need to worry about crap like resistors or diodes. You can use any solar cell just know what you are doing Life PO4's are nasty little things when they start a fire. Open the back remove the battery. Drill hole for power cord. Run your cord and knot the end. Use a soldering iron to disconnect the wires to the battery terminals. Now solder the terminal wires to the power cord. Take your male plug and solder to the other end of the power cord. Seal it all up and your set. Keep your + and - straight it's important stuff.

Step 3: Battery Box

Remove the lid to your battery box and glue the battery holder to the lid. I used "Monkey Glue" and then hot glued it to make things go a little quicker. Who has 24 hours to wait for "monkey glue" to set. Cut yor holes for cords, switches, etc.. Pay close attention to your + and - with the female adapter and connect it to the battery cords. My battery packs came with a concealed - wire on the bottom do a check for it if you miss it you risk frying yourself and your batteries. Add a 6" + wire and a 6"- wire to your battery pack. Hot glue the bateries in place, now your lid is done.

Step 4: Prep Your Power Box

Cut your holes for the switch, power cord, and DC input. Add switch, power cord, and DC input

Step 5: Wiring Diagram

Self explanitory. I am no pro but you can figure it out easy nuff.

Step 6: Review Connections and Test With Multi Meter

Check your voltage one last time. Check all connections. Test switch. Test charge. Seal 'er up your done enjoy!

Step 7: Additional Notes

The plug for this was the most difficult item to find I had to get one from a universal adapter and mod it. Thank you HP you can never trust them to make your life easy. See the pic for example cut the lip off the base of the plug you will be good to go. A note on batteries the ones from "wally world" do not work too well I would recommend going to battery wherehouse they will run you about 10 bucks a battery but are well worth it.

Comments

author
astral_mage made it! (author)2013-11-03

try using flexible solar panels. like the 1s from powerfilm.com . 15v 50ma. they are around 10 inchs long by 3 - 4 inches wide an go 4 abut 20-30 bucks + / - shipping depending on where u live.

author
Dsk001 made it! (author)2010-03-05

I would like to know how long, or how much charge that can give the netbook.

author
cocodlicious made it! (author)cocodlicious2010-03-08

Well...It can run mine for an hour give or take. Charge time on the other hand is a damn nightmare, you only get a 1/2 watt per day of solar charge. The whole thing is still conceptual a little time and tweeking I'll make it rock. Keep in mind I was working with stuff that was lying around the house.

author
Dr.Bill made it! (author)Dr.Bill2012-01-12

I have that same Christmas light assembly. I took the LED's off and separated them. I measured the output from that same as yours solar cell and I find it puts out only 6.8 volts. The cell is charging a 3V 230mAh AA battery. Only 1 battery at 3V.

I don't see how you can plug it into the 19+volt power plug on your laptop and get it to work.

Mus Be Magic~

author
ironsmiter made it! (author)ironsmiter2010-03-07

as built, it's 6x600mAh @3.6volt

my acer aspireOne takes 19Volt input @2A.
That would give between 10 min, and 1/2 hour.
Better(aka bigger capacity) batteries, MORE batteries, lower power netbook, etc...will all increase the useful run-time you can get.

Not so much useful as-is, but a pretty good proof of concept.
At least for laptops. This would work really well for a cellphone, mp3 player, pda, or such. Even a portable dvd player(my portable takes a miserly 9Volt, at less than 1A).

author
cocodlicious made it! (author)cocodlicious2010-03-08

Your right the up time sucks. see previous response for charge time (laughable). It's all good there is always a learning curve. I consider it quite a success even with it's short comings. Hell, I beat Edison this one works the first round even if it is less than desirable. By the end of summer I hope to have 2.0 roll out with some bigger cojones. Keep checking back.

author
agent harmsy made it! (author)agent harmsy2011-02-22

Having got my first laptop (a hp pavilion dv6), and just starting uni, I've been looking at cheap extra power solutions for my laptop. I did physics in yr 12, but this has me stumped... "as built, it's 6x600mAh @3.6volt" - how do you draw 19V from that? Or is each battery 600mAh and it's overvolting the laptop slightly?

author
ironsmiter made it! (author)ironsmiter2011-02-23

You nailed it.
It is 6 batteries in series, for an AVERAGE of 21Volt(25v high to 18v low).

The internal charging circuitry of your laptop is designed to handle a healthy range of voltages. Some makes and models more than others.

For instance, I have an old IBM pent2 laptop that can easily handle from 15V through 24V input. My fathers modern IBM can only handle 18V to 20V.

author
police098 made it! (author)police0982011-11-13

hers some thing for you to think about i had a laptop start up with just using i think 5v from a usb wire from a different laptop and you can use that power and with some twiks you can charge your own laptop but i had to be carful i dident short out the out let for the usb cable

author
police098 made it! (author)police0982011-10-31

tray a lower mAh batterys

author
ironsmiter made it! (author)ironsmiter2011-11-02

lower mAh won't do squat for the voltage issue.
All THAT will do is reduce your available power.

you COULD change the battery chemistry.
but then you'd need to change the charging circuit also.
16 AA NiMH cells would get you RIGHT AT 19.2 volt when fully charged(close enough for ANY general power circuit).

You would need a new charging circuit between the batteries and solar cells, and you're going to be charging for DAYS, if not longer. The up side would be a much improved run time(2600mAh@19.2V vs 600mAh@21.6V using the cells I have in my spares box) and slightly increased safety(LiFePO4 cells are pretty darn safe, as far as li-ion goes). Downsides include the afore mentioned long charge times, vastly increased size and weight,

author
police098 made it! (author)police0982011-11-13

your to write when i think about it nice work

author
police098 made it! (author)2011-11-02

i canot say too much about this yet but i have made a devise for a laptop that runs by its own power without having to plug it in its the one am using now i have had it running fore two days now and the battery is still at 96% all i need to do is get the wiring and bored manufacturd into a small box which will be a fan cooler too and the idear was from a woman and is in the middle of being Patent –legal

author
pirateaboard made it! (author)2010-03-14

Your diagram isn't clear as to how the switch works (3 prong so SPDT?), but ground should not go to the switch in any way. 

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