Introduction: Solar Powered Boombox & Power Bank


Today we're building a boombox but not just any boombox. it's a solar powered, power bank boombox. I'm combining elements from some of the items I've had around the shop for some time and the idea for this has taken several months to solidify in my head. I've got to say, that it's been a work in process and I burned up some of original components but, moving on, I replaced them and finished the project. Let's go!


Those of you who follow me know that I try to build functionality and versatility into my instructabels and this one is no different. Maybe this is a little over the top. I'm combining elements from 6 different items and a few electronic parts to create my "Boomzilla" boombox. Please keep in mind that I'm not providing stadium level audio or powering a small city, only something that I can keep in the shop for some tunes, charge my mobile devices at the park or take it to a job site to charge my cordless tool batteries.

Step 1: Main Components

Main Components-

I'm combining elements from 6 different items as well as some replacement electronic parts. The main components are:

• "Orient" brand aluminum camera case from the 1970's.

• Battery and solar panel from a Goal Zero escape 150 version 1 power bank.

• Speakers from a pair of ADS model 300 bookshelf speakers.

• "BOSS" brand 400 watt digital car radio.

• Wheels from a Kingston contour roller case.

• One leg from a "Rollei" brand travel tripod for the solar panel stand.

Step 2: Additional Components

Additional Components-

• Battery charge controller protection switch from Clean Power.

• Sunjoyco 4 in 1 Dual USB socket charger, LED voltmeter, 12V power outlet and ON-Off toggle switch.

• Foval 150W Car Power Inverter 12V DC to 110V AC Converter with 3.1A Dual USB Car Charger.

• DROK blue back-light LCD battery capacity monitor.

• ARTGEAR 4 Way car standard blade fuse holder box.

• RuiLing US standard water-proof power outlet 3-Hole Socket AC 15A 125V panel mount female plug power connector.

• Various electronic assembly parts including wire, wire connector, shrink wrap, wire mounts, zip ties and more.

Please keep in mind that most of these items I bought on Amazon or had in my shop and the same principle of combination would apply to your items provided they are of similar configuration and specification.

Step 3: The Case

The Case-

With the expansion of my photo gear over the years, I've outgrown this case and it's been collection dust for years. It's at the core of this design as the case, but this or any case needs to fit all the components. After measuring and visually laying out the components, it was time to make some holes and slots in the case. I realized that since the lid on this case is a little deep, I could re-purpose it to hold cables and accessories. The lid tray is made from stiff foam board hot glued together and hinged in the back. After holes and slots were cut, I lined the case with high density foam to absorb vibrations.

Step 4: External Features

External Features-

Left Side: The left side houses the USB/12dc/volt meter panel and the main keyed power switch.

Front: On the front are the power meter, digital am/fm radio, keyed radio power switch (to conserve battery power once the radio is off), and the woofer and tweeter speakers.

Right Side: The right side houses the 110vac outlet and it's power switch.

Back: The back has the charging port, internal exhaust fan, 2 auxiliary speaker connectors, wheels from the roller case and the mount for the roll-around handle/solar panel mount.

Top: I used a collapsible road case handle as it would carry all the weight and added tie down points for gear if needed. I cut out the center section of the handle and glued in some screen for ventilation.

Pull Handle: I used one of the legs from a travel tripod to make an extendable handle to wheel "Boomzilla" around. The case and all components weighs about 25 pounds.1/4" thread is epoxied in both ends and attached via a mount at the base of the back, while the camera mount fits on the other end. The handle collapses and clicks into mounts on the back for storage via a half piece of PVC pipe and a hook eye.

Solar Panel: I repurposed the panel from the Goal Zero power bank and mounted it on the extendable pull handle. It has an adjustable camera mount to position it for maximum charge.

Paint /Graphics: I wanted a tactical look so I chose dessert tan, black trim and added some futuristic graphics to mimic a piece of futuristic space cargo.

Step 5: Assembly-Internal Components

Internal Components-

Photo #1: Shows the layout of the components (the radio was removed to see the rest of the layout and wiring).

From left to right, left side USB/12v panel, key switch, charge controller, main bus panel, internal fan, 110vac converter, right side 110v outlet/switch and then the fuse block. It's obvious that's its a tight fit and I had to remount several of the components to make room for the battery, radio and speakers.

Photo #2: Left side: USB/12vdc power outlets.

Photo #3: Left side: Main power switch (keyed).

Photo #4: Back: Charge controller.

Photo #5: Back: Main power bus.

Photo #6: Back: 110vac converter.

Photo #7: Right side: Fuse block.

Photo #8: 12vdc 14ah lead-acid battery.

Photo #9: Closeup of the woofer speakers.

Photo #10: The radio rests on these rails that also help to stiffen the case (not the handle though).

I drew a wiring schematic to map out the connections. One is included at the end of this instructable. I tested every connection prior to mounting with test leads to ensure everything was working. Originally I was going to use all of the components from the "Goal Zero" power bank but as fate would have it, I fried some of the electronics with my big hands using tiny tools. Dooh!! I managed to save the battery but had to replace the power meter, fuse block, charge controller and the 110vac converter. Oh well!

Step 6: Testing-Results


After complete assembly I started testing-

1. Charging- "Boomzilla" charges from either, 110vac wall charger, 12vdc car adapter or via the solar panel mounted on the pull handle.

2. Power Outputs- I can charge several phones/tablets at the same time from the USB connections. I can run or charge a car accessory or work light from the 12vdc connection. I can charge a laptop, small appliances or charge my cordless batteries one at a time from the 110vac connection up to 150 watts.

3. Audio Output- Surprisingly good sound from the radio, Bluetooth connected device or auxiliary connected MP3 player via USB and a remote to handle the audio.


Overall I'm pleased with the results even-though it took me longer that I had planned and I had to replace some of the parts. It was a challenge but very satisfying and kept my mind active and engaged. I would recommend this project to any DIY'ers with advanced skills and patience.

On a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 9 or 10 (for me).

Step 7: Wiring Diagrams & Graphics

I've included 2 pdf files for your review:

The first one includes a wiring diagram for the power system and the audio system.

The second one is a sample of the external graphics I designed to complete a futuristic space cargo theme.

Please keep in mind that these are from my design and configuration and provided with no guarantee of success with your project and that your results may vary. Hopefully they will help you design and build your own "Boomzilla"

Please follow good common sense safety rules and test all your connections twice so you don't burn up components like I did.

Good luck and happy tinkering.