This instructable will teach you how to make a device that will charge your usb devices with solar power. This can be very handy on vacation or at school.

This is my first instructable. I am Dutch, so I'm sorry for the crappy grammar^^

I was looking all over the web and I found a lot of people how did make an usb charger with batteries and some people how made a solar usb charger without batteries. But I wanted to make an usb charger with both. So that it can charge itself when lying in the sun and charge my usb devices (mobile phone, Ipod touch) when I want to. I couldn't find anything like it on the web, so I made this instructable so you guys can make one too:)

I forgot to take a lot of pictures during the building process, so I apologize for that too.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

A list of the materials I used to make this usb charger:
- 4x solar garden lanterns (I used the one you can see on the picture)
- 4x rechargeable AA batteries
- a double usb port
- 4x 150k ohm resistor
- 4x 560k ohm resistor
- 1x diode (no LED)
- a little bit of plywood
- a little bit of some kind of strong wood
- some isolation tape
- a little bit of wire
- solder
- some green spray paint
- some white paint
- some hot glue

And here's a list of the tools I used:
- drill
- wood saw
- hacksaw
- soldering iron
- screwdrivers
- pincers
- a really small brush
- sanding paper/sander
- a hot glue gun
<p><strong>Do you have a circuit diagram for the connection of the double USB port.<br>the resistance part, i didn't comprehend that very well.<br>Also, additional resources would be great for the electronic circuit :)</strong></p>
<p>i have a plan to try this soo</p>
<p>so i have a 4 AA battery holder, and a 7.2V NiMh RC heli battery. which would be more effective with the use of a 6V solar cell?</p>
<p>My garden lights use Ni-Cd (1.2v rechargeable 2/3 AA 150mAh battery) batteries. Can I use those still? I have 8 garden lights at my disposal.</p>
<p>Depending on the desired voltage, etc.. buy the solar lights from the &quot;dollar store&quot; and a usb cable, thus spending $3 to $5 and do a little soldering.</p>
Hello again. So I've figured out the polarity of the solar panels yesterday so today I decided to try charge the batteries. I had them in the sun for 4 hours and used the battery tester in the picture every now and then. When I put a battery in the tester it shows up as good but then it starts to go back down to replace. I was trying to charge 4 NiMH rechargeable batteries standard charge 16 hours at 170mA. These weren't the ones out of the garden lights. The ones in the garden lights are NiMH 600mAh, will these work better, or have I just got real bad solar cells? What were the batteries you used?
I don't have a voltmeter but I know people that do so I will test it. I was pretty sure that white is + and black is - but it is always good to know for sure. Thanks for the help. :)
The solar panels I pulled apart for this had black and white wires. Does anyone know which is + and which is -
<p>Mostly the black wire is ground, meaning -. This means white should be +. I don't know this for sure, but if you have a voltmeter, you can test it. Yust connect the red wire of your voltmeter to the white wire of the solar panel and the black wire of the voltmeter to the black wire of the solar panel. If the voltmeter gives a positive reaction, this means white is + and black is -. If it gives a negative voltage, this means you 'swaped' + and - and black is + and white is -. But I think black is -.<br>Goodluck!</p>
Except those solar cells are probably going to only putting out a max if 40mA. MAX. <br> <br>So if you do the math on a 2,000mAh battery that would be more than 50 hours. <br> <br>(2,000 divided by 40 = 50 hours.) <br> <br>I've made chargers with those solar cells before. They really don't put off amperage.
I'm sorry. I am new to this kind of things, so correct me if I'm wrong. I calculated this using a battery capacity of 700 mA. 2000 mA is more usual indeed, but I am not sure what kind of batteries I used.<br>I recalculated it for you, so here is my calculation. Yes, some things could have been measured, but I am not going to break open the box, only to measure the amperage.<br>The solar gardenlanterns will fully charge in 8 hours, when using batteries with a battery capacity of 600 mAh (says the manufacture). This means: 8 = 1,2 x 600 / mA, so: mA = 600 x 1,2 / 8 = 90 mA<br>This means: hours = 1,2 x 2000 / 90 = 26 hours and 40 minutes.<br>With a battery capacity of 700 mAh this will be 1,2 x 700 / 90 = 9,3 hours. So the charging time really depends on what kind of batteries you're using.
Ahhh true that. I'm glad you know the math! I hate to see really cool projects with huge batteries using very wimpy solar cells. <br> <br>Very very cool. (Now how about you try using Lithium batteries? Those pack a huge punch.)
I am not sure Lithium batteries will work, because they will give of a voltage of 1,5V per unit, so three of them will give 4,5V. A normal usb port gives 5V. Is the usb charging device able to charge on a voltage of 4,5V? Or 6V when using 4 batteries?
<p>You're essentially charging two devices, the external backup battery and your phone, at the same time. This instructable explains what kind of charge controller and power is required to perform this task and give constant phone charge even under non-ideal conditions: <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Solarpad-Kit-Powerful-USB-Solar-Charger/step6/Power-Core-Final-Test/" rel="nofollow"> https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Solarpad-Kit-...</a></p>
Use a 3.7V lithium battery, a cheap charge controller for the battery, and a boosting circuit to boost up the voltage to 5V. Total cost $10-20 and you'll be able to charge up a phone nearly all the way from a full battery.
Where is the batterys
When the battery gives a lower voltage than 5V you can boost the voltage using a voltage-booster... http://dx.com/s/Boost+converter
thanks :P its working
a picture would be great :) .... where is it? or should i say where will it be? can u just attach the pic to a reply? <br>
That's strange. I uploaded the picture from my ipod to step 3 just before my previous reply... I just added it again, but this time from my laptop. It's at step 3.
sorta, so lets say hypotheticly i was to use one usb to make it less complicated for the momnet. As i read your text it appears that im supposed to solder all four (5v, +data, -data, and ground) together... i feel like thats not correct. Can u explain that a bit more please?
I just posted a drawing of the circuit of the usb port and it's resistors. It takes a while untill it is shown, but I hope it explains it a bit better. Otherwise don't be affraid to ask!
so what do u do with the + &amp; - data pins after your done attaching the 150K ohm resistors to them? <br>
First you need do solder a 560k ohms resistor to the ground pin and a 560k ohms resistor to the input/5V pin. (You might find it easier to solder the wires to these pins at the same moment you solder the resistors to them.) Then solder the sides of the resistors whitch are still free all together, so the 4 resistors will be connected to each other.<br><br>I hope it's clearer now:)
can this solar charge charge my samsung s3??? <br>please reply to me <br>my s3 battery is 3.8v 2100 mAh
The Samsung S3 normally charges by 5volt usb. This charger puts out 5volt through the usb ports. Therefore also a Samsung S3 can be charged by this charger:)
some panels i took apart had red and black wires, but some of the cells had red to + and black to - as you would think, but others had black to + and red to - so always check before you start.
Wow, that looks great !
Cool man, perfect instructable!
cool make it in altoids tin
You could do that, but I dont think 4 AA batteries, the circuit and this size solar panels will fit, so that would be an other circui, working on two AA batteries for instance.

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