Solar Stereo




About: "CAN'T can't do anything until TRY comes along and does it" -Grandpa

This instructable shows how to make a solar stereo, an ipod amplifier that's powered by the sun.

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Step 1: Why Solar?

I decided to make a solar stereo because I needed a stereo I could use around the house without AC power. Unlike portable stereos sold in stores, this stereo never requires new batteries. This is a great project because anyone with a basic knowledge of electronics could build one.

Step 2: The Amplifier

I first had the idea to use these computer speakers for a solar stereo when I noticed the voltage rating on the power adapter. It is rated 12 volts, the same number of volts as many rechargable batteries. 

Step 3: Initial Tests

As a test I connected the computer speakers to a 12 volt power adapter. Later I connected the speakers directly to a 12 volt battery with a fuse. Both test were a success.

Step 4: Wiring Diagram

Step 5: The Parts

Battery - - - - - $21.50 (Tractor Supply)
Solar panel - - - - - already owned
Computer speakers - - - - - already owned
Toolbox - - - - - $6 (Big-R)
Light-up switch - - - - - - $4 (Radio Shack)
12 volt jack - - - - - $2.50 (Big-R)
12 volt jack - - - - - $2.50 (Big-R)
1/8'' audio jack - - - - - $1.50 (Radio Shack)
Fuse holder - - - - - Salvaged from microwave
Fuse - - - - - $2.50 (Walmart)
Crimp connectors - - - - - $4 (Lowes)
Angle braces - - - - - $2.75 (Walmart)
Bolts - - - - - $1 (Lowes)

Total Cost - - - - - $48.25

Step 6: The Battery

The battery is a "sealed lead acid" battery similar to the kind used in cars. This one is made for motion sensor cameras that deer hunters use. It is rated 12 volts and 7 amp hours, which means it will run my stereo for about 7-12 hours depending on the volume of the music.

Step 7: Pre-Assembly

I used a compass to measure the speakers, and I moved that measurement to the toolbox. After that, I used a router bit on my rotary tool to cut the holes. I also used my rotary tool to cut the holes for the 12 volt jacks and the on/off switch.

Step 8: Assembly

I used metal corner brackets to hold the battery in place. Also I bolted the speakers into the pre-drilled holes.

Step 9: Wiring Inputs & Outputs

For the power input and the left speaker output, I found their solder connections on the circuit board and soldered wires onto them.

Step 10: Finishing the Wiring

Next, I finished making all the electrical connections with crimp connectors.

Step 11: Uses

Here are some pictures of what I use my solar stereo for.

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