I own loads of rechargeable NiMH AA and AAA batteries, but most always seem to be dead when I need them. So, I wanted a cheap and fast way to make battery chargers that I can keep on my desk, so that I could have an armada of charged batteries at all times. I didn't want to take up more outlets and have more wire spaghetti with plug-in chargers, so I settled on a solar charger. I'm in the solar business so I had stacks of small pieces of raw lasercut PV silicon cells (solettes) laying around, and I first made a simple battery charger with a few business cards as a backing. Then I found that playing cards were a more stable backing -- and besides, they looked neat.
This instructable details my efforts to make a simple solar battery charger made out of a playing card, some solettes, some magnets and super glue -- if anyone has ideas on how to make this simpler and more effective, please let me know in the comments.No soldering is required for this project.
It should take about 10-15 minutes.
First, check out this video. There are two playing-card solar projects detailed in here -- one for a AA charger, and another for an arduino charge card (described in more detail here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-powered-arduino-on-the-back-of-a-playing-car/
p.s. Where can you get the small bits of solar cells -- the solettes -- needed for these Instructables? Well, it's a pain right now. You can track these puppies down from suppliers in China, but they aren't easy to pin down: http://manilamantis.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-dark-side-2/
So, to make this easier, my buddies and I are launching a Kickstarter campaign (Aug 15 - Sept 14) for all your solar DIY needs: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alex9000/the-solar-pocket-factory-an-invention-adventure