Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger

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Introduction: Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger

Power you cell phone via the sun.

Step 1: Materials/Tools

You don't need much to get this project up and running. I actually bought everything I needed at Radio Shack, and will provide the SKUs for each item in case you want to do the same.

Solar Cell (I used a 6v 50mA one)
SKU: 277-1205
Project Box (I used a 5x2.5x2 and it fits perfectly but any small enclosed box that you can cut holes into will do fine)
SKU: 270-1803
12VDC Car Power Outlet Socket
SKU: 270-1556
Vecro (or your adhesive of choice)
SKU: 64-2345

You will also need a soldering iron (15 watt. SKU: 64-2051B), solder (62/36/2. SKU: 64-013), and something to cut 2 holes in the project box (I didn't have anything available designed specifically to cut holes, but I just used my CRKT knife and it worked fine)

Step 2: Cutting Holes

Remove the top of the project box. There are already 4 holes for the screws it comes with. Holding the top horizontally, cut a hole at either the left or right end in between the current holes. This will be used to put the solar cell's wires into the box.

The next hole will be cut in the bottom part of the project box. Standing the project box up vertically, the hole will be cut in the small square side that is facing up in the air. The hole needs to be big enough to have the 12VDC socket fit in, but small enough to keep it snug. Basically start small and keep testing to see if the socket fits. You can always make the hole bigger, but can't make it smaller...as easy.

Step 3: Assembly Before Soldering

Take your solar cell and pull the wires through the top of the project box. This should leave the solar cell resting on the top of it. Next take the 12VDC socket and pull the wires through the hole that you just made in the bottom of the project box and firmly push the socket into place.

Step 4: Time to Solder

With the wires through each hole, solder the red wire of the solar cell to the red wire of the 12VDC socket, and the black wire to the black wire.

Step 5:

Once this is done, place all the wires into the box and place the top on. Velcro the solar cell to the top of the box. And lastly screw the top of the box down.

I had to wait 2 days before the sun came out, but it was worth the wait. It charged my phone right up!

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104 Comments

please send this project with detailed explaination to my mail id - helen.merary@gmail.com

Great device! I'm curious about the input voltage from the solar panel - did you have to match it to the car charger or the phone?

I would guess that the car charger device would regulate the voltage for him.

Incorrect. The car port is just that. A port. All it does is allow power to flow through it to the charging device. It, itself is not electronic in any way, except having power flow through it.

Example:
If you have twenty-four instead of twelve watts run to it, it will output at twenty-four, not twelve.

Incorrect. The car charger itself has voltage regulation circuitry in it.

I realize I've a tad bit late here, but I meant that the car plug does not regulate voltage; the charging device plugged into it does.

However, looking back on this, I'm pretty sure that this would be a near useless device as 50mA isn't going to be enough power for any modern device to even keep its screen going.

kenshi, there still needs to be enough power for the charger to knock it down to the correct level

knuxz the PORT is just a contact, as you stated. there is nothing else there.

lloydrmc, you are right in the charger, but technically Knuxz is also right, as he specified the PORT, not the CHARGER. the charger would be expecting 12V at like 10 Watts (i am not sure on the wattage, if i am wrong, i appologize) the charger probably has a transformer in it set to about 2.4:1, so if 6 volts go in, you will not have the 5V the phone is expecting, or what every the phone wants. i am going off current phones which normally go straight from USB at 5V.

Hello! I recently attempted your project but ran into a problem :-/ I have a droid x I am trying to charge and when I plugged it in, the battery kept draining. I figured the panel in your instructions was not enough to charge it so I upgraded to a 6v 1w 236mA panel from radioshack and it still drains even though it says charging. Also, in direct, full, sunlight the battery icon goes red with a "!" with the upgraded panel. I am at a total loss at this point and any info would be appreciated. Thanks for the awesome project! Lots of fun to scavenge and build lol!

You can purchase a Diode to place in to the wiring. It will stop power from going in the reverse direction if the solar panel does not have enough amps/voltage. The local radio shack should have what you need for under $2.

Searching the internet on how to use the diode should give you plenty of examples.


Shon