My younger brother's a contract firefighter out in Iraq, and purchased a PSP to pass the downtime. Much more importantly, he also got it to make the 12 hour plane ride home seem a bit shorter. The part of the equation that didn't quite work out was the battery life of the PSP. As extra PSP batteries are a bit hard to find it seems, and ridiculously expensive, I figured I'd make him something to recharge the PSP portably. I also wanted to give it the ability to recharge itself with solar power.
Step 1: Gather Materials
My materials list for the project included:
- 1 Altoids tin (or any suitable sized project box will do)
- 1 4xAA battery holder
- 4 Rechargeable AAs
- 1 Solar cell (cannibalized from an outdoor garden light)
- 1 DPDT Center-off switch
- 1 150 ohm resistor
- 1 Rectifying diode
- 1 power cord (cannibalized from an old cell phone charger)
- 1 PSP power adapter (Radio Shack part #274-1532)
- 1 Green LED in holder
- Electrical tape
- 1 12-pack of bee... soda
- Snack of choice (anything to warrant eating all those altoids!)
- Solder iron, flux, and solder
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Trusty Dremel tool with small circular cutting attachment
- Power drill with drill bits
- Power sander
Step 2: Prep Time!
First things first, you should lay out everything to make sure you have adequate space to fit everything in the box. The solar cell I hacked out of the garden light was just slightly too big for the tin, so I had to sand down the top and bottom edges to fit it in the lid. Even with it sanded down, I had to cut out part of the inside lip of the tin to accomodate it. Next step is to mark out where you want the switch, LED, and power cord situated. The switch and LED holder just take a nice drilled hole, and I just cut a slit down the side of the tin for the power cord. Another possibility (in hindsight) would be to drill a small hole for the cord before attaching the PSP adapter to the end of it. And that's it! We're prepped and ready to ASSEMBLE!!!
Step 3: Assemble the Parts
I used the hot glue gun to secure the solar cell in the lid. Before putting it in, I covered all contacts on the underside with electrical tape. Next, I put the battery holder in the tin. I also covered the exposed contacts on the holder with electrical tape first. All in all, it's a very tight fit, but once it's under the lip of the main tin body, it's nice and snug! The switch, LED/holder, and power cord should be assembled into place after everything is wired together.
Step 4: Wire It UP!!!
Time to bust out the solder iron! I wired it according to the attached diagram. If you'd like to forego the solar recharging aspect of it, refer to the attached SPST diagram. Notice the wiring of the DPDT center-off switch is different than a normal DPDT switch. Also, I found wiring the adapter to the cord quite touchy. Take extra care to solder it as clean as possible, and not to use too much solder, as this will make it hard to screw the plastic sheath back over it...
Step 5: Finish Assembly and Test It Out!
After everything is wired together, you can finish assembly. Just attach the switch and LED to the tin, run the power cord, and run the wires however you'd like. Once everything is situated, use hot glue to secure and protect it all.
Step 6: Flaunt Your 'Kal-El'esque Powers!
That's right! Let them know you'll never stop, as long as you have the power of the sun to give you strength! Bend steel with your bare hands, save Midgar from the evils of Shinra, light up some Helghast scum, get an albatross, defy the dark side, save the cheerleader, and SAVE THE WORLD!!! Enjoy your spoils, and happy gaming!
First Prize in the
SANYO eneloop Battery Powered Contest