Instructables

Programmable solar charger

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Picture of programmable solar charger
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I had a solar charger, but wit the years the complex electronics supporting it gave up. But when I took it apart I noticed that the panels them selfs were still working. Wanting to reuse them I came up with this. A programmable solar charger.

by a simple shorting block and headers you can 'program' it so the output is:
  • only from a single panel (left or right)
  • the solar cells are in series
  • the solar cells are in parallel.
I will try to explain here how you can make this yourself.
 
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Step 1: What you will need.

  • A wooden plank (or a project box) to put it in.
  • A soldering iron (and solder of course)
  • Wires in different colors (just one color will work just as well, but can be very confusing)
  • A shorting block and headers (or something else you see fit for the job, if you have enough switches, they should do the job just as well)
  • The most important: solar cells.
  • Triangular piece of wood (optional: it only serves to make the protecting case)
  • Some way to make a variable outfit. I got a gadget key chain at a festival which should charge your phone. It had a cable where you could fit multiple outfit plugs in. but multiple cables should work as well.
  • A hot glue gun
  • A saw
  • A drill
  • Sanding paper

Step 2: Step 1: thinking it all through

Picture of step 1: thinking it all through
plan out your lay-out, the scheme, the way you're making the box.
I did a bit of thinking here, but you're free to add or leave certain things as you like.
Schmidty162 years ago
ok i like this very much and have u thought anout using lighter wood or even plastic that looks like wood i like ur project voted for
jakobus9 (author)  Schmidty162 years ago
this instructable is originally an entry in the green contest, but now only the hurricane laser contest is in the header :(
thank you very much for your vote!
ok
jakobus9 (author)  Schmidty162 years ago
Thank you very much!
I have considered other materials, but I really like working with wood. Only the board where the electronics are glued on is a quite dense wood (from a wine case) the protective box is much thinner and lighter. The box parts came from left overs from making a house model. I try to reuse as much as possible.
plastic for the cover could work, but plastics ain't green ;-)
ok but it looks good
sepakbola2 years ago
i wonder where i can buy solar panel like that
jakobus9 (author)  sepakbola2 years ago
As soon as I posted this a few of my friends wanted that I made one for them, so I'm searching for some panels as well.
Just google "buy solar cell" or "buy solar panel" that brought me to this: http://sunboy2011.en.made-in-china.com/product/fbUQBlKHnOck/China-5V230mA-Small-Epoxy-Resin-Mono-Solar-Cell.html
but I'm going to the local electronics store to ask their opinion where I could buy solar panels.

ps: The panels in this project are actually barely strong enough to charge my phone but they cant charge iPods or smart phones so you might want to take this into account when buying new ones ;)
canucksgirl2 years ago
Very nice project. Thanks for sharing. :-)
jakobus9 (author)  canucksgirl2 years ago
No problem at all. ;)
If I don't do something productive in vacations I go nuts, so this is really fun to do for me.