Introduction: Solar Phone Charger

These step by step instructions will teach you how to create your very own solar portable phone charger. Depending on what materials you buy and use this project should cost between $15-$30. The solar portable phone charger is the perfect way to keep your phone charged all day long whether you are out on a camping trip, at a sports game or fishing trip. The solar phone charger can be used time and time again and is a great way to both save energy and money.

Being that this project does require the ability to be able to solder it is recommended that this project should be done by advance middle school students or high school students.

Energy has showed lot of promise as one of the best forms as alternative energy and there is much promise in solar energy. Scientist claim that every hour enough photons travel from the sun to the enough that are sufficient enough to supply the earth of all its power for a year. The International Energy Agency reported in 2017 that solar energy is now the world's fastest-growing source of power. That being said solar energy only accounts for 1/2 of 1% of all of the United States' power usage.

This instructables is the perfect project for the Standards for Technological Literary as it covers the Standard 16 "Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use energy and power technologies". The project specifically focus on benchmark A. -Energy comes in many forms, B-Energy should not be wasted, and J. - Energy cannot be created nor destroy; however, it can be converted from one form to another.

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, these cells take in sunlight and convert it into power used for electricity. Photovoltaic cells are made up mostly of silicon. They are made up of a positive layer and a negative layer, which together create an electric field, just as a battery does. When photons, hit a solar cell, they cause the electrons to separate. Since there are conductors on the positive and negative side of the cell this creates a circuit. When electrons flow through a circuit like this, electricity is generated. Solar panels can be wired together to create more electricity, the more panels wired together the more energy and the greater the power.

Solar energy while still not perfected, has the potential to be a very resourceful use of energy. Solar power homes have become very popular, but the installation is still expensive and the homes cannot 100% rely on solar power just yet. While the charger will not work as well as a traditional portable power, it is only amount of time until the panels become much more efficient. Solar power generators, solar panel stoplights and much more are very possible in the near future and will hopefully take over conventional power systems.

Step 1: What Do You Need?


-4-6V Mini Solar Panel

-USB Phone Charge Cord

-USB Charging Circuit

-AA Battery Holder

-1N914 Diode


-Soldering Iron


-Flat head screw driver

-Wire Cutters

Step 2: Get the USB Circuit

Take apart either an old car charger, or some other USB charging device that can be easily taken apart to get the USB charging circuit. The charger (like the one scene above) should come come apart rather easy. Inside the charger you will find a simple USB circuit like the one shown above. Amazon also has them available for purchase if you do not want to take apart an old charger.

Step 3: Choose Your Solar Panel

Using AA batteries that put out 2.4 volts you will need to use at least a 4 volt solar panel to charge the phone. Of course the higher the voltage solar panel, the less light required to charge the cell. The bigger the cell the more power is produced as well, but for a small phone charger that is meant to be portable is is best to use a small panel. Panels can be found on amazon or a local electronic stores for a small price.

Step 4: Find the Right Wire Length

Cut the wires to the correct amount so that they are short enough to be mounted to the solar panel and not in the way. It is important to not have the wires too long to the point where they become a mess, but they also need to be long enough to reach the battery pack and solar panel.

Step 5: Solder Away

Now it's time to solder everything together.

Connect the 1n914 diode directly to the positive solar tab on the panel. The black bar on the diode must be facing in the opposite direction as the solar cell as it is negative. Solder the diode's positive side to the positive solder point on the cell. Solder a red wire to the other end of the diode. Then solder a black wire to the negative solder point on the cell.

Battery Pack

Solder the wires from the solar panels to the wires from the battery back. Solder the red (positive) wires together and the black (negative) wires together

Charging Circuit

Solder the two red wires to the positive part on the charging circuit board and the negative wires to the negative point. The circuit is complete

Step 6: Battery Up!

Now that the circuit is complete all you need now is two rechargeable AA batteries. These batteries will not last forever so make sure to replace them every now and then. For best use of the portable charger, all the batteries to fully charge (about 8 hours of direct sunlight) before the first use.

Step 7: Create a Carrying Case (Optional)

To make transportation of your solar cell phone charger easier a carrying case is or a stand is quite useful. A small box, or case can be a very useful way to keep your charger safe and secure whenever traveling with it. We simply used a small plastic container tucked the wires and batteries in it and put the solar panels on top. Congratulations you just made your very own solar portable phone charger!