DIY Solar Bottle Bulb and Mobile Charger




Introduction: DIY Solar Bottle Bulb and Mobile Charger

I Make Instructables on Science,Engineering & Technology

Hello everyone,

This instructable is about 'DIY Solar Bottle bulb and Mobile charger' in which we can build our own solar bottle light bulb and a mobile phone charger. This Instructable is helpful were there is no electricity or electricity cost is very high.

I made this instructable to provide awareness about renewable source of energy and how people from developing areas where electricity isn't available can make their own solar power light bulb using waste plastic bottle.

I had included many images and video in simple language so that it is easy to understand.

Favorite this instructable if you Liked it :)

1. Introduction

1.1 Importance of solar energy

We all know importance of Solar Energy in today life. It is ultra clean, natural and sustainable source of energy that can be utilize in use of making solar electricity, solar heating appliances, solar lighting appliances and many more.

In developing countries there isn't much source of electricity.Hence to use solar as largest source of energy one can build own solar based light bulb without any electricity cost.

1.2 Electricity in developing countries

Many people do not have access to light or cannot cover the cost for electricity. Thus, they do not have light in their homes, even during the day

1.3 About project

DIY Solar based bulb and Mobile charger project uses solar panel, a circuit that convert voltage from solar panel to charge rechargeable battery, 1 watt high power led light fitted inside waste plastic bottle and mobile charging circuit to charge mobile phone via USB cable.

This project is very helpful in rural areas where electricity source are less.

1.4 Inspiration

My inspiration behind project is Liter of Light .

Little bit information: Liter of Light is a global open source movement with the aim to provide an ecologically sustainable and free-of-cost source of interior light to rooms in simple dwellings with a thin roof

Step 1: Working Method-1

There are two working method of this project

2.1 Working method-1

This is the simplest of all method in which only a plastic bottle is directly installed at the roof top as shown in figure. Fill the bottle with water and add few drop of bleach (bleach help to make water clear and pure).

Plastic bottles are installed in the roofs of houses as a source of indoor light

The plastic bottle is filled with only water and bleach. The liquid inside the bottle harnesses the light from the sun, capturing and diffracting the light to all parts of the room. It is equivalent to a 55 watt light bulb. The average lifetime of a solar bottle is estimated to be between 4-5 years

What’s the technology?

It consists of a 1.5l PET bottle filled with purified water and bleach (10 ml). A special glue is used to bond and seal the bottle to the roof. Adding the bleach to the water makes sure that the water stays clean and transparent without algae growing inside and turning the water green.

The working of this setup is –Dispersion of light

  • Daylight beam reach the top part of the bottle
  • The water filed bottle disperse the light beams
  • The dispersed light equals 55 W- even with cloudy sky
  • The solar bottle improves quality of beneficiaries

Advantage: Simple, No electricity cost, inexpensive

Disadvantage: This method only work during day time

Step 2: Working Method-2

3.1 Working method-2 : This methods uses solar panel to charge a rechargeable battery. Hence during day time solar panel provide power to charge battery and if required light can be turned ON.

The working of this setup is –

  • The working is simple during day time the rechargeable battery get charge . Whenever we need to turn on the light switch is turned .
  • Additional this project can also be used as mobile charge.
  • Initially LED is connected inside plastic bottles as it reflect more light.
  • Inside bottle sometime water is added with some drop of bleach , bleach help in making water clean for several year and LED is covered with waterproof coating.
  • Even during night time as there will be less voltage from solar panel, battery will provide necessary power to turn ON led light.

Advantage: Can be use both during day and night time, mobile can be charged.

Disadvantages: Little bit expensive then previous one, require maintenance

Step 3: Block Diagram

Brief Idea about project:

  1. In the block diagram we see solar panel as source of energy. We can use a single solar panel board or small solar panel connected in series.
  2. There are many circuit to convert variable voltage from solar panel to constant voltage of 5volts. In this instructable only two circuit are mentioned
  3. Rechargeable battery charge during day time and provide power to bright light and 5 volt for mobile charging.
  4. Solar bottle is fixed at roof top with sealed led with water and few drops of bleach.

Step 4: Let’s Get Started : Circuit-1

To start our own DIY Solar night bulb and Mobile charger section is divided into three parts

1. Circuit diagram

A.Circuit using voltage regulators

There are many circuit that uses solar panel as light bulb and mobile charger, but in this instructable I have included two circuit diagram that are low cost and components are easily available.

Image contain all components required for circuit-1

1. Solar panel: We will require 3Volts panel

2. Voltage regulator: 7805, 78015

3. Diode: 1N4001

4. Resistor: 1k, 4.7k, 0.5ohm, 6.8ohm

5. Capacitor: 1000uf, 470uf

6. Rechargeable battery

7. Bright LED: 1watt

8. Plastic bottle

9. USB connector

10. Connecting wires

Some of other item required are:

PCB board, permanent marker, soldering iron, Lead wire.

REMEMBER: You can make any one circuit as suitable to you. I explained description of both circuit with components and PCB making

Step 5: Let’s Get Started : Circuit-2

B. Circuit using IC MC34063A

Circuit 2 Components required are as follows

1. IC MC 34063: It is a monolithic control circuit containing the primary functions required for DC−to−DC converters. It is Step s up/down/ inverting Switching Regulators

2. Resistors- 1k, 39k, 10k, 1ohm

3. LEDS- Two (green and red)

4. Capacitors: 22uf, 330pf, 100uf

5. Inductor: 22uH

6. switch

7. USB port

8. connecting wires,

9. Rechargeable battery

10. Diode: 1N5019, 1N4148, 1N4001

11. Zener diode 4v7

Some of other item required are:
PCB board, permanent marker, soldering iron, Lead wire.

NOTE: Since I explained two circuit for this project you can use either circuit-1 or circuit-2 for your project as suitable to you:)

Step 6: PCB Making and Soldering Components

Creating PCB layout of your circuit

This is usually done by converting your circuit's schematic diagram into a PCB layout using PCB layout software.

There are many open source software packages for PCB layout creation and design.

Some are listed here to give you a head-start:

1. Cadsoft Eagle

2. PCBWizard

Note :In Eagle: File> Export>Image Be sure to set DPIG to 1200 for better quality

I designed my circuit schematic in Cadsoft Eagle for circuit-1 voltage regulator

To show some little bit difference for circuit-2 using IC MC34063A instead oif using PCB copper board I used perf board and soldered components according to circuit diagram.

Tip: If you want to make your own PCB of circuit at home without any special material, checkout my previous Instructable on :-

Step 7: Solar Panels Connections

Solar panel connection and variable voltage depending on intensity of light

1. We can use either readymade solar panel from electronic store which give 12 to 15 volts or In figure you can see I connected solar panel in series.

2. Figure also demonstrate that according to intensity of light we get variable voltage. Hence we use voltage regulator IC to get constant 5Volt

Step 8: Led Inside Plastic Bottle

Follow simply this steps:

  1. Connect long conducting wire to positive and negative terminal of LED.
  2. We will require plastic tube. Insert this LED to hollow plastic as shown in figure.
  3. Drill hole on bottle cap & mount cap inside bottle.
  4. Seal the clear bottom part of the led light with clear epoxy.

Note: Make sure to test led light is ON condition before sealing bottom part of plastic tube.

Step 9: Solar Bottle & Mobile Charging Demonstration

After all step are performed check working of project. Although even I got more than 15 to 20 attempt to work project

Note to remember:

1. Check proper connection

2. Solder component properly

3. Sometime if seal is not proper LED inside bottle get wet and LED is damaged. If you are making it for hobby purpose you can continue without water inside plastic bottle.

Step 10: Application

  • In the Indian metropolis of Mumbai 6.5 million people live in slums, which represents 54.1% of the total inhabitants. Mumbai is home to the biggest slum in Asia.
  • Solar night bulb is useful in typhoon hit areas.
  • Solar power street light.
  • Providing access to clean energy to rural community.
  • The electrical power supply in the slums is often tapped and unsafe.
  • Whenever the electric system is overloaded, which happens several times a day, the city administration cuts-off the supply for the area where the slums are. Those circumstances make it hard for people and businesses in the slums to have a constant source of light.
  • Controlling Green house environment.
  • This project is indeed helpful to most of people who live in slum area were there is no electricity.

Step 11: Project Video Demonstration & Conclusion

I had uploaded DIY Solar bottle & Mobile charger video. Bear with quality and some mistake if found in the video. I tried extremely hard to make this Instructable as simple as possible with images and videos.

Hope you will find it useful :)

Favourite this instructable if you liked it and even VOTE for me :)

If you like this Instructable, checkout my previous instructable :-

How to make PCB at Home

Thanks alot and Cheers!!

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    Question 3 years ago on Step 4

    I want to do this for my school project. But I’m not really sure how to do this if I only want to do the rechargeable bottle bulb. I don’t need to do the mobile charger as I have limited amount of time to do this. Please help me.


    6 years ago

    Nice project.

    Being in a developped country, i find these "3rd-world projects" facsinating.

    Keep up the great work!


    6 years ago

    I need it for android
    Please help me


    6 years ago

    I need it for android
    Please help me


    6 years ago

    Hlo can u suggest me a software to make PCB layout


    7 years ago

    Very nicely done. Keep it up. I am very happy to see your project For India this type of project is very useful. I am also working on solar power to help rural people.
    What is the wattage of LED used ?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you @deba168. I followed many of our project and I liked it very much :)

    I had used simple 1W bright LED for this project


    Great work. I would suggest to put a plexiglass rod down that bottle. then there is no need to submerge the LED.I also would use glass bottles as the life span on plastic is not that great. If you need help I can send you a Plexiglass rod.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very well done. I really appreciate how much work you put into your design and your presentation. Very nice work.


    Reply 7 years ago

    Really thank you very much from my deep of the heart for appreciation @ptdecker :)
    I m glad my hardwork paidoff.
    This comment really boosted my confidence.
    In next Instructable I will try even better.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Well done! Its great to see people more aware of whats going on in the rest of the world. I am a Canadian shop teacher serving in Rwanda, East Africa. I will be here until July if anyone wants input on this kind of idea... Most people in the villages are without electricity at all but solar cell sales are all over the place in Kigali, much more than in Canada! I would be happy to give more info...more than can be shared in the comment section of an 'ible. check out and drop me an email.


    7 years ago

    Great idea. I'm studying renewable energy engineering in college so this project is right up my alley. I read about the solar bottle light some time ago and have always wondered if the theorem could be applied to make solar cells gather more light. I've been working on starting a Christian Mission group within my college focused on teaching people how to freecycle to improve their physical needs. Sanitation, housing, electricity, clean water, etc...
    Again, good work and keep turning trash to something useful!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome post @Engg_suraj! @jsawyer13: I've wondered the same and have pondered potential benefits from using another or a different material in the water that would provide the best transmittance for the specific solar cell radiation/wavelength absorbance range. With the newer cells that are multi-junction, there is a wider range of solar radiation converted to energy. There are good Google images that detail the wavelength and section of the solar cell that absorb which wavelengths. The solution in the bottle is the only novel idea I have pondered that I have not read about on the web or anywhere. Maybe a potential research subject for whomever.

    You definitely would get a better performance if the cell can handle the temperature and intensity at the bottom of the bottle. Technically, you would think if making a layer of bottles on top of the solar cell, you could concentrate more energy if there is no losses in the desired range. In a way the bottle layer would act like a Fresnel lens. The lids though would block energy too and that would have to be added to solar losses. If more total surface area is directing the absorbed light to a focus on the surface of the solar cells in the desired wavelength range than would be if just the flat solar cell surface then we may be on to something. Granted the solar cells life span would decrease if temp and solar intensity are not considered and solar cells are overloaded during usage cycle. Huh, interesting brainstorming and potential for experimentation. Thanks gentlemen!


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Hi, interesting 'Ible.

    Isn't your LED charge indicator the wrong way round? I probably wouldn't bother with it anyway. It is only using a little solar juice, but it doesn't really show anything except that the solar cell is powered up. The sun is usually a good enough indicator for that. It doesn't actually show that the voltage on the cell is high enough to charge the battery. You could put an appropriate zener in series with it so it only switches on when the voltage reaches a certain level, but I'm not sure it is much use even then in practical terms.

    I'm not sure you actually need the 78015 regulator. It depends on the maximum current the solar cell provides. Feeding the solar cell directly into the battery means you are not wasting any energy in the voltage regulator. The 78xx series are not particularly energy efficient, they effectively act as a dropper resistor to lose the excess voltage and as such waste that proportion of the energy from the solar cell. You shouldn't need to regulate the solar cell voltage as the battery will effectively soak up all the current the solar panel provides and in this case the solar panel is acting as a current source and the battery as a voltage regulator. Unless the solar cell is capable of providing significantly much more current than the battery needs, it is superfluous. In a large solar array/battery system it is necessary, but in this it probably isn't. You just need a single blocking diode to stop the battery discharging through the solar cell at night.

    On your diagram 1 there also seem to be some other issues as it stands with respect to the list of components:

    1) On the diagram the battery is 12v, on the list 6-9v.

    2) The solar cell is given as a 3v panel, which isn't enough to charge a 6-9v battery.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you @wobbler for suggestion. I will make necessary changes.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Glad to help. Let me know when you've made the changes and I'll remove my comments so they're not cluttering up your replies with unnecessary comments.

    Very Interesting will play w ith it.

    Living in freezing country,can I use bleach in Antifreeze water ?With a led.

    Any bad reaction?


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