Introduction: Solar Rechargeable Battery Powered PSP Charger

Picture of Solar Rechargeable Battery Powered PSP Charger

My younger brother's a contract firefighter out in Iraq, and purchased a PSP to pass the downtime. Much more importantly, he also got it to make the 12 hour plane ride home seem a bit shorter. The part of the equation that didn't quite work out was the battery life of the PSP. As extra PSP batteries are a bit hard to find it seems, and ridiculously expensive, I figured I'd make him something to recharge the PSP portably. I also wanted to give it the ability to recharge itself with solar power.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

My materials list for the project included:
- 1 Altoids tin (or any suitable sized project box will do)
- 1 4xAA battery holder
- 4 Rechargeable AAs
- 1 Solar cell (cannibalized from an outdoor garden light)
- 1 DPDT Center-off switch
- 1 150 ohm resistor
- 1 Rectifying diode
- 1 power cord (cannibalized from an old cell phone charger)
- 1 PSP power adapter (Radio Shack part #274-1532)
- 1 Green LED in holder
- Electrical tape
- 1 12-pack of bee... soda
- Snack of choice (anything to warrant eating all those altoids!)

Tools Included:
- Solder iron, flux, and solder
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Trusty Dremel tool with small circular cutting attachment
- Power drill with drill bits
- Power sander

Step 2: Prep Time!

Picture of Prep Time!

First things first, you should lay out everything to make sure you have adequate space to fit everything in the box. The solar cell I hacked out of the garden light was just slightly too big for the tin, so I had to sand down the top and bottom edges to fit it in the lid. Even with it sanded down, I had to cut out part of the inside lip of the tin to accomodate it. Next step is to mark out where you want the switch, LED, and power cord situated. The switch and LED holder just take a nice drilled hole, and I just cut a slit down the side of the tin for the power cord. Another possibility (in hindsight) would be to drill a small hole for the cord before attaching the PSP adapter to the end of it. And that's it! We're prepped and ready to ASSEMBLE!!!

Step 3: Assemble the Parts

Picture of Assemble the Parts

I used the hot glue gun to secure the solar cell in the lid. Before putting it in, I covered all contacts on the underside with electrical tape. Next, I put the battery holder in the tin. I also covered the exposed contacts on the holder with electrical tape first. All in all, it's a very tight fit, but once it's under the lip of the main tin body, it's nice and snug! The switch, LED/holder, and power cord should be assembled into place after everything is wired together.

Step 4: Wire It UP!!!

Picture of Wire It UP!!!

Time to bust out the solder iron! I wired it according to the attached diagram. If you'd like to forego the solar recharging aspect of it, refer to the attached SPST diagram. Notice the wiring of the DPDT center-off switch is different than a normal DPDT switch. Also, I found wiring the adapter to the cord quite touchy. Take extra care to solder it as clean as possible, and not to use too much solder, as this will make it hard to screw the plastic sheath back over it...

Step 5: Finish Assembly and Test It Out!

Picture of Finish Assembly and Test It Out!

After everything is wired together, you can finish assembly. Just attach the switch and LED to the tin, run the power cord, and run the wires however you'd like. Once everything is situated, use hot glue to secure and protect it all.

Step 6: Flaunt Your 'Kal-El'esque Powers!

Picture of Flaunt Your 'Kal-El'esque Powers!

That's right! Let them know you'll never stop, as long as you have the power of the sun to give you strength! Bend steel with your bare hands, save Midgar from the evils of Shinra, light up some Helghast scum, get an albatross, defy the dark side, save the cheerleader, and SAVE THE WORLD!!! Enjoy your spoils, and happy gaming!


otmpp (author)2014-12-05

where can I get cheap solar panels in the uk anyone

YoChuck (author)otmpp2014-12-05

Not too sure... I'd recommend a thrift store or swap meet of some sort. Pretty much any place that has old junk you could grab the solar panel out of. I pulled this one from an old solar garden light that had broken off its stake.

9773776901 (author)2014-10-26

what is output voltage of solar cell

YoChuck (author)97737769012014-10-27

Most of the technical questions are addressed in the comments, but admittedly most from like 5 years ago, so probably worthwhile to repost this to bump it:

"I've gotten it to peak at a little under 4v in the sun. Then it goes down quite a bit in indoor lighting."

MECHOL (author)2012-08-25

Awesome thanks

dangerD (author)2012-02-28

Could you adapt this with a usb port for an ipod?

MadScience#1 (author)2009-03-27

Yes! now I can use my psp when the zombies take over the world!

Tomychuken (author)MadScience#12010-12-08

Yo i was thinking exactlly the same as resident evil 3
no energy just solar power
thats why i enter instuctable on solar secton i have solar windows cooool hu

Krayzi99 (author)Tomychuken2011-08-16

notice how zombie movies like never have sunlight?

k_man93 (author)MadScience#12009-08-04

dude! i was thinking the same thing as i read this :P

YoChuck (author)MadScience#12009-03-27

Absolutely! And if you reinforce the cord, you could use it as a weapon if they invade the mall store you happen to be hiding out in! :D

Krayzi99 (author)2011-08-16

thanks for the wiring. im adapting this to a rechargeable massager in an altoids tin. i will post a link to the ible when its done.

mlegazpi (author)2011-07-29

hey FAST!, wat type of diode is?
1N4004 Micro 1-Amp Rectifier Diode???

P1NCH0 (author)2011-07-03

Great ible!
I have a couple of questions:
1) You said in one of your answers that it takes very long for the batteries to copletely recharge... would adding a second solar cell shorten this time? Would it cause any problem?
2)This charger will only supply power whe it is "ON", isn't it? But it will charge the batteries even if it s "OFF"?


Tizaro (author)2011-05-13

i messed up and bought a SPST center off switch.
is there anyway i can still incorporate the solar panel?

noah472 (author)2011-05-12

i am kind of new to solar cells and i was wondering. say i wanted to add six rechargeable batteries at 1.2 volts each i would get 7.2 volts and i connect that to the switch just like you set up but i put a 5v regulator in it. would i be able to just get a 9v solar cell to charge my batteries. would that work or would i need add something. please help thank you

Evilman (author)2011-05-06

Can i use a zener diode instead of the rectifying diode?

Tizaro (author)2011-04-30

looks as though this can also just be used as a solar battery re-charger.
which is great.
charge batteries for your camera, and your PSP

Delta25 (author)2011-04-21

hey, if the batteries charge with the solar panel there isnt any overload or overvolting protection, isnt it? if not how can we add it?

eamc317 (author)Delta252011-04-24

As long as the solar panel isn't too large compared the battery (putting out about 10% of the battery's total capacity(a good rule for most rechargable batteries)) then your pretty safe. Its known as trickle charging, and keeps from too much electricty going into the battery. Still, you shouldn't leave it unattended in the sun for long periods of time, like months, since it can still be over charged. You can add protection for it if you wish. There are many articals on Instructables about these. Hope this helps! :)

greencat1477 (author)2011-02-27

where and how do you put the thing that connects/charges your PSP?

xDilaznx (author)2011-02-04

where did yo get the solar cell

Chris Lamerichs (author)2011-01-31

Also works with a PSP GO?

PSP101 (author)2010-12-11

How do you add a 5 volt regulator because i wanted to use usb? And can the 5 volt regulator up the voltage to 5v or can it only drop the voltage if it is above 5v?

Please Reply ASAP!

kusadama (author)2010-11-11

Where would i put the 5v regulator? would i put it between the wire connecting the switch and the psp?

yousef 94 (author)2010-06-22

Can you modify it to charge another device???

It seems easy enough to do with a little tinkering.

ixataca (author)2010-10-10

It looks alarming for the airport security

kusadama (author)2010-07-14

if it is a solar charger, then why are there batteries?

asval (author)kusadama2010-07-15

to store the power generated by the solar charger. you can have a solar charger by itself, but it would only work while in the sun. Which is why any solar system has batteries so you can use it whenever you want.

impulsegordon (author)2010-05-19

mwahahahaha kal-el has got nothing on me!! kara kent now, thats another story, i'll wrestle her any day!!

EinonGMroft (author)2010-03-24

in the parts list he took a solar cell from one of those cheap outdoor lights you stick in the ground... I will make a walmart run to see which ones are the best or if they are all the same...

hi111 (author)2009-12-12

 Please reply ASAP  approximately how much did this cost

YoChuck (author)hi1112009-12-12

I'm not sure to be exact, as I had a lot of the materials already.  I wouldn't guess it would be over $20 or so to get all the components you need.  The big parts are going to be the solar cell and the set of rechargeables...

hi111 (author)YoChuck2009-12-14

 thanks thats what i thought

hi111 (author)hi1112009-12-19

 I just bought my materials and will start soon

The Landon (author)hi1112010-03-04

it cost me about 12 with extra material

joearkay (author)2010-02-28

Hi one question. What is the voltage of the solar cell?

466267 (author)2009-05-02

=( I tried to make the psp charger that jacob s. made and it didnt work...
i wired everything to his diagram correctly..i tested the usb port with a usb cord that was stripped to the red and black wires and nothing zip nope 0 voltage...
im really disssapointed .. i even have the 4 rechargable energizer batteries...
I think im going to try ur solar power charger and see if that works...
Im just wondering if i have to have the 6 prong switch that goes with the solar chrager? cuz i only have the 3 prong.
Reply bak to me asap

YoChuck (author)4662672009-05-03

Yeah, it sounds like it could be the switch. The switch you're using sounds like it might be a SPDT (?) I'd recommend getting a DPDT switch with center-off, and wiring it up. As long as you have the battery pack going to the USB port, I'd think it would be fine. Just double check all of your connections once you get everything together. If you know for sure that the batteries have plenty of juice, it shouldn't be too hard to trace the problem. Best of luck!

466267 (author)YoChuck2009-05-03

The switch im using is the DPDT switch (not center off ) having 3 prongs and just goes on and off.... the middle prong is connected to the (+) of the led and then the (-) going to the (-) wires twisted together ... i just dont know whats wrong.. i did all the connections right but when i flip the switch on and test the voltage from the output of switch... i get nothing. but without the switch and led i get 5v .=/ just pains me to see that my hard work ends in dissapointment...ill keep trying something and hopefully somethnig works.

Thanks for replying to me.. its been very helpful

69ballsmahoney (author)4662672010-01-14

Your going to have to get the exact same switch that he has

YoChuck (author)4662672009-05-03

Still sounds to me like it's an SPDT switch. Even a DPDT switch without center off should have 6 prongs. I might be mistaken. I'd try wiring the positive from the battery pack to the center prong. From one of the side prongs, run both positives for the LED and the USB port with separate wires (making sure to put your resistor in line before the LED). I can't remember if you said you're doing the solar cell, but the positive lead for that can go on the other side prong (with the rectifier in line). Send all negative wires back to the negative battery lead, and I'd think it would be good... Be sure to test everything thoroughly before powering up and connecting though... Best of luck!

466267 (author)YoChuck2009-05-16

Hey Yochuck I was wondering.. My solar panel from a garden light only produces like 1-2v max...... Should i even use a solar panel for the charger?

YoChuck (author)4662672009-05-18

The solar panel on this project is pretty much a novelty. It will get the job done, but takes a LONG time to charge the batteries fully. If you're simply planning on using this as an 'on-the-go' portable charger, I'd recommend forgoing the solar panel and using a wall charger to recharge the batteries.

466267 (author)YoChuck2009-05-19

Forgot one more thing... Can i just use a dpdt center off switch with the diagram without the panel?... because i dont have a 2 prong slide switch? Sry thanks for the help I hope this project works

YoChuck (author)4662672009-05-20

Absolutely. You can just wire it up according to the diagram with the panel, but just leave that part out. You should also be able to wire jumpers from the tabs on one side to the other, that way it will turn on regardless of which way you switch it. Best of luck!

466267 (author)YoChuck2009-05-21

Hey chuck Im also wondering about the output voltage of the battery... When i check the output of the battery pack which has 4 energizer rechargable's producing around 6volts alone without being wired to other parts... How is the voltage reduced to 5v and if im wrong plz correct me ty

YoChuck (author)4662672009-05-22

4 AA rechargeables at 1/2v per battery will give you 4.8v total. A normal alkaline AA is rated at 1.5v, so 4 of those would give you 6v. If the setup you're using is running over 5v, you can use a 5v regulator to bring it down to the proper voltage.

dylanwinn (author)YoChuck2009-11-24

The PSP isn't picky, and will charge with anything between 4.5-5.0 volts. The iPhone, on the other hand, will only accept 5.5 volts. (good luck finding a 5.5 volt voltage regulator)

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