Super Small Solar Phone Charger (only 4$)




About: Hi, I'm Tamas (Thomas), a 19 years old Hungarian guy. My hobby started more than 10 years ago. I learn electronics, physics, programming, IoT and I'm sharing my projects with you, hope you like it!

Maybe you see many solar chargers in online stores or in tech-shops, but their sizes and their prices are high. This instructable will show you how to make an ultra small solar charger from recycled components from an old garden light, and from a TIC-TAC container. This project will cost you about 4$. I think this is very cheap but if you have some solar garden lights at home the full expense will be less than 2$. The device is a little bit bigger than a TIC-TAC container so you can put almost everywhere: in your pocket, on your arm... The charger contains a built in rechargeable battery that can charge your phone anywhere. And it would be a perfect and useful beginner project. So let's start building.

Step 1: Gathering Tools and Materials


You will need for this project

  • a rotary tool
  • solder and soldering iron
  • glue gun
  • and electrical tape


  1. TIC-TAC container or any other small box
  2. 5v voltage step up circuit only 1$ (I've a homemade, if you want the tutorial for it click here)
  3. Solar panels from old garden light (this cost me free)
  4. You can choose your power supply that can be rechargeable button cell batteries or a AA reachargeable battery (it's cheaper but bigger). If've you choosed the button cell batteries (you can buy here) you will need a copper stick and wires to make a battery pack.
  5. and finally a germanium diode (you can find in the garden light)

If you ready go make the battery pack if you want to use them as power supply. Can't charge your phone to 100% but is smaller than the AA battery,or if you use AA battery holder you can replace the battery. If you want to use the AA battery skip the next step.

Step 2: Rechargeable Battery Pack

It's very easy to make one just simply connect them in paralell. For this I've used two copper sticks, wires and wrap with electrical tape. I think no need more description. You can see at the end of the instructable that how to insert this in the TIC-TAC container.

Step 3: Warm Up Your Soldering Iron

First solder your battery pack or the battery holder to the step up circuit input. Than connect your solar panels in paralell. After this solder the anaode of the diode to positive wire of the solar panel than the cathode to the positive input of the circuit. The diode blocks the current flows backward. If you don't understand something please comment. You can see the full circuit on the 5th image. Don't requires experience even a child can make. If you want to make the device better use 2 AAA batteries in series. This will give 2.4 volts, and the output current for the phone will be more than 500mA. This is the best way but I did't find AAA battery holder in the local stores. If your circuit works make the box.

Step 4: TIC-TAC Time

First clean your container and get make a small hole for the wires just like on the 1st picture (i've made the hole with my rotary tool). After this get your glue gun and fix the circuit to the container placket. You can see on the third image that the circuit is inside the box. Now glue the solar panels on the TIC-TAC container than glue the battery holder to the other side of the box. Can see on picture 5,6,7,8 the complete project with the AA battery. On the last two images is builded with the battery pack.

Step 5: UPGRADE and the END

I've added a switch between the battery pack and the circuit. This is not indispensable but is practical. If you've followed these steps your TIC-TAC solar charger is done. Now you make a keychain from it or connect to your clothes or to your bag like me and if the ''Sun touches'' the device the charging begins, and if the built in battery is charged up can charge your phone everywhere. Hope you liked please write your opinion and vote on me!



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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I have made it but the dc boost module shifts back every time while I try to plug in the usb. ...any suggestions please for what I can do to prevent it from going back...

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Get a glue gun, and fix your DC step up module there.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Really nice and cute, but I doubt any efficiency, there is not enough power and capacity! You could just use this for 1-3 LED´s but never really useful for a cell phone to charge.

    Or said in other words:

    How long shall it charge in the sun and how much shall a phone be charged?!


    4 years ago

    it's possible..
    output:230v; 50Hz;


    4 years ago

    I try it..


    Reply 4 years ago

    Hello. ...
    Imetomi Sir....this possible is
    please sow me...


    Reply 4 years ago

    I don't understand,.You want to make a voltage step up from 0.7v to 5v. Yes it's possible with MAX757.