This is a very simple instructable. Really, it's more of an informable than instructable since it's pretty self-explanatory. I know there have been many other solar battery chargers, but this one was already made and sitting under my nose.
I posted this instructable the day I made it, so the jury is still out on how well it will actually work. I'm hoping for at least "kinda works, eventually."
Get cheap solar light.
Remove LED light from circuit (cutting it works fine).
Use existing rechargeable battery in system, or modify AA battery holder to hold AAA battery.
Hungry for more details? Read on...
Step 1: The Backstory
This project started last Christmas when I found a pack of 6 solar powered LED Luminaries at Ollies (a discount close-out store similar to Big Lots, no telling what they might have, but it's gonna be cheap!) for $6. Yes, they were $1 each. When I opened them up, I found they were a solar panel connected to a rechargeable AA battery and a flickering LED. I was thinking about using them for the sun jar project and away into the garage they went.
A few months went by and I bought some cheap mp3 players for myself and the kids (also at Ollie's). Under $10 each, so no bells or whistle and they work fine. However, they run on AAA batteries. Regular AAA . Batteries get expensive fast, so I figured a rechargeable battery would be the way to go. Even better would be a solar powered recharger. Off to the garage to find the materials.
Yeah, I'm a cheapskate. In fact, I'm so cheap I didn't even put a picture on this step!
Step 2: Materials Needed
What you need -
Solar powered light
Rechargeable batteries (if the battery in it doesn't fit your device.)
Small tools - screw driver, snips, etc (not pictured)
Step 3: Do It to It
This was incredibly simple. Other lights are probably put together much better. This one pops apart to reveal the inner workings - solar panel, circuit board, battery holder. Since I don't want the battery drained at night to run the LED, I cut it out of the circuit. I'm sure I could have de-soldered it and saved it for another project, but I didn't.
To make the AAA battery fit the AA holder, I added a small nut to the positive end of the holder to increase the spring pressure. It's going to fall out every time I use it, but I can live with that.
Step 4: Finished Product
Since the panel and board were already mounted nicely, I left them alone. The board doesn't look like there's anything on there that will be affected by weather, so I'm not concerned about leaving it outside.* It would probably work just as well in a sunny room indoors. Doesn't look bad for a $1 charger.
*Based on my experience with the zombie radio, some electronic equipment is unstoppable. This radio has been outside through 2 winters, through rain, snow and everything else and still works!