Introduction: Solar Powered AA Battery Charger

Rechargable batteries are a great invention, but if you dont have an outlet nearby to charge them, they are usless. So I designed a solar powered battery charger, which allows you enough power to charge a single AA battery wherever the sun may shine.

I chose to do this project in two steps:
First I set it up to test that I generated the needed voltage (3-7).
Then I set it up to finalize, by using wire instead of alligator clips, this made it both look better and was easier to work with (8-10)

People have told me that 1 volt is not enough to charge a battery. I looked a rechargable battery and it said "charge: 1-2 volts." I would also like to add that I switched the tester to 2.5 volts and the meter moved to 50%. This tells me I do not only generate 1 volt, but 1.25 volts give or take...

Step 1: Materials

Here is a list of the Materials you will need to recreate the Battery charger I have made,
-Light socket attached to wood (with outlet plug)
-100 watt bulb
-Hot glue gun
-Two solar panels
-Wire
-Three alligator clips
-Rechargeable AA battery
-Board
-Voltage tester
-Battery holder

Once you gather your equipment, I suggest plugging in your Hot Glue Gun, so it is available to you once needed (Step 4)

Step 2: Step One

Take your wire and cut off two pieces that are about 4 to 5 inches long each. Once you have them cut, connect the wires to the battery holder, one wire to the postivie side, and the other to the negative side.

Step 3: Step Two

Connect one alligator clip to the negative on the Voltage tester, and the other alligator clip to the positive.

Step 4: Step Three

Set the Voltage tester to 1 volt (DC). Rechargeable AA batteries need 1-2 volts for them to charge, this will allow you to see that you generate at least 1 volt.

*Make sure that the voltage is on DC and NOT AC*

Step 5: Step Four

Take your Glue Gun and glue the two solar panels together, try to match them up so that the negative of on panel is adjacent to the positive of the other solar panel.

*See picture two if you find this confusing.*

Step 6: Step Five

Connect the negative of one panel to the positive of the other panel, and then connect the remaining positive to the positive on the voltage tester, and the remaining negative to the negative on the voltage tester.

Step 7: Step Six

Plug in and turn on the light. Test that the voltage given off by the solar panels gives you at least one Volt; this is enough to charge the AA battery.

*Once you have done this, you can remove the alligator clips from the tester and solar panels.*

Step 8: Step Seven

Connect ONE of the postives on one solar panel to the negative on the other solar panel using wire.

*Only connect ONE positive to ONE negative.*

Step 9: Step Eight

You should have one positive and one negative remaing, connect the negative on the battery holder to the remaining negative on the panel. Then connect the remainging (positive) wire on the battery holder to the positive on the remaining panel.

Step 10: Step Nine

Now glue your solar panels and your battery holder to the wooden board.

Congratulations, you have made your own solar powered battery charger!
Just make sure that unless you have sunlight and are charging a battery, do not have the Battery in the holder. Otherwise it may lose its charge.

Comments

author
aa013107 (author)2017-04-24

Very Helpful

author
AntonT27 (author)2017-03-12

Thank you!

author
ThatCrazyKidNextDoor. (author)2017-01-19

What type of solar panels were used for this?

author
Milwaukee Road (author)2009-03-22

Could this be expanded for more than one battery say like up to 10 of them?

author

You could charge more batteries, but they would have to be in parallel...HOWEVER it would take much longer to charge all ten of them with the current setup of the solar array...which means that you would have to add more solar panels to the array.

author
12V (author)Milwaukee Road2009-05-20

go and get a 12v solar panel (13x30cm approx) and a diode and then you can charge up to 10 at a time(only in direct sun) 500mah 180 min 600mah 200min 700mah 230min 800mah 270min 1000mah 370min+ 1300mah 430min 1700mah 500min 2000mah 630min 1.2ah drill battery(9.6or12v) 6-7hours

author
one_creative_criminal (author)2015-05-25

You should add a blocking diode between the solar array and the battery to prevent the battery from discharging in low light or when there is no light. Nice project nevertheless!

author
Schmidty16 (author)2012-10-08

how do u know when the battery is charged

author
degen S. (author)2012-02-16

Hey i just had two questions.
1. When the battery is charged will it over charge and kill the battery.
2. How many volts does both of your solar panels make.
please reply i really want to make this

author
808create (author)2009-09-22

Does this, or any of these solar battery chargers, work on (3.6v/3.7v) lithium-ions? With or without PCBs? Thx

author
DIY Dave (author)2009-08-05

Do the solar panels have built in diodes?

author
12V (author)2009-05-20

if you add a diode it will prevent battery from draining and going flat.

author
tecneeq (author)12V2009-06-13

Indeed, a simple diode would improve this a lot.

author
nickandcody (author)2009-05-08

what is this it needs more work

author
Tornado91 (author)2009-04-02

This project doesn't need diode??

author
Milwaukee Road (author)2009-03-22

oops!! also different sizes aaa-d?

author
lemonie (author)2009-03-05

1V is not enough to charge this type of cell, you need something more like 1.5V. Have you tested this and found it to work? L

author
Scott_Tx (author)lemonie2009-03-06

even more to overcome internal resistance

author
lemonie (author)Scott_Tx2009-03-06

No load my NiMH's are giving me 1.38V, so I'd say you need to be able to manage1.5V at least. Next time they need a charge I'll see what the charger is giving them. L

author
trialex (author)2009-03-05

No diode to prevent back flow? When your battery is charged AND the solar panel is in the dark, the battery will actually start discharging INTO the solar cell. Just put a simple diode like a 1N4001 between the +ve terminal of the solar cell and the +ve terminal of the battery - the cathode (white stripe end) of the diode towrds the battery.

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