Introduction: SOLAR GADGET BOX

About: I like to design and build things while being myself.

This project of mine wich I'd like to call my "SOLAR GADGET BOX" is basicly a USB solar charger and a 12v power scourse.

The good thing about this box is that it can charge with the sun (SOLAR PANEL)

The box has a shoulder carry strap.

When I came up with this whole USB solar charging thing,I thought but why not make a box to store my gadgets in and combine it with the solar charging.

That is where I came up with this idea.

The awesome thing about this box is that you can take it with you on the go.

I didn't plan on putting my project on Instructables so didn't take photos while I was building it,but I will explain a few things instead.

I used 6mm MARINE PLYWOOD for the box wich I glued together with normal wood glue.

The edges of the box is fitted with aluminium angles wich I glued on with silicon.

On the inside I used black felt to cover the wood and I also used normal wood glue.

The electronical info wich most people such as me are interested in:

The solar panel is a 5W 300MA 21.5V panel.
The charge controller is a SR15-12 model for 12v systems.
The battery inside is a 12V 4.5AH valve regualated battery.

Most solar chargers have like 1200mah,1600mah or 2000mah batterys inside of them wich is not much.I cranked up the anty to 4500mah,so I have a lot of power.

Under this is a few pics that will show you how my box works.I will also give a small description of each picture.


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    12 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. But a short on description and building steps. I wanted to make something similar (I still do) but instead I ended up building the BLUEBOX generator. We're in the same contest. Good luck!.

    I have been looking to do something similar to this, but I am bit confused with your logic for "cranking up the anty" with a 4500mAh battery. Don't get me wrong, you did an awesome job with this project and I wish I had been able to do this kind of stuff at your age, but I have a few things you might want to consider if you ever do something like this again.

    What is essentially happening with this kind of system is that the solar panel will charge the storage battery using the charge controller, and it is the storage battery that actually discharges into your various devices. Some professional systems will not even begin to charge any connected device until the storage battery is completely charged.

    The mAh rating on a battery gives an estimate of how long it will last but not necessarily how powerful the battery is. For example, a 10Ah battery should theoretically be able to provide 10 Amps for 1 Hour, or 1 Amp for 10 hours, but it also means that it would take 10 hours to charge it at 1 Amp. This number is not how much amperage (and therefore power) can be supplied at any given time. For a car battery, this is the CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) value, and can be well over 1000 on a 100Ah battery, although typical cars are need 650 CCA.

    Since your solar panel is rated 300mA, at it's peak performance it will only be able to supply 300mA. To charge your 4.5Ah storage battery, this will take a minimum of [ 4.5Ah / 300mA ] = 15 hours, and again, that is charging in perfect conditions (direct sunlight, low operating temperature, etc). Your charge controller will regulate the solar panel voltage level to around 12V for the battery, but it will not be able to increase the maximum current. In fact, it will consume some of the current itself, so your true charge rate will be more like 270mA in perfect conditions.

    The good news for you is that once your 4.5Ah storage battery is charged, it will last a lot longer than a 1200mAh battery, but it will not supply any more power than one because few (if any) devices will be charged at a rate of more than 1 Amp. For example, the charger for my Droid RAZR is rated at 850mA.

    I am also assuming you either have some other converter to drop the 12V storage battery to a 5V level for USB devices or are using automotive adapters to do it.

    I understand the charge controller you used is designed for a lead acid battery, so using the valve regulated batteries is expected, but doesn't it weigh a lot? I would think it more fitting to use a lightweight NiMH or even Lithium battery and matching high frequency switching DC - DC converter/charger to be a lot more efficient and charge the storage battery much faster.

    All in all, you did an awesome job. Keep it up, and I hope you take some of my notes into consideration.

    Jody Franken
    Jody Franken

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hey thank u very much for the advice and I would just want to add to the charging of the battery that I can charge my batterys with a 12v transformer just in case it runs flat. The dc socket is on the left outside the box and thats where I plug the transformer into.And yes I built a circuit board to act as a converter wich supplys 5v 500ma to the usb port.

    I just want to say that I have been using this box for 2 months while charging with solar in sunny,cloudy and rainy days. and I only used my backup transformer once and that was when the weather was 1 sunny day,1 rainy day,another rainy day and cloudy day.

    And the batterys do not weigh that much and the reason I choosed to go for valve regualated batterys is that they have a longer life span.

    Thankx again



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool box. My son wants to make one.. Nice job..


    7 years ago on Introduction

    It looks nice. You should share the details on how you build it so that others can make and enjoy the project.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    It looks nice but a little information on what materials you used and how you created your project would be helpful.