I recently made an instructable on how to make a solar rechargeable tv remote so that led to this, I figured why not recharge all my double A devices using the big ball of energy we call the sun? This is a perfect going green project and with its simplicity brings fun :) There are a two things I would like to say before we begin one; I am not responsible for any damage done to your controller or anything else and two, the batteries need to be rechargeable batteries, I used nimh batteries. It is also important to know the rating of your batteries, mine are 1.2 volts each, and since they are going to be running in series that means the charge rate needs to be 2.4 volts. This might differ for you depending on what batteries you use and the charge rate.
also I would like to point out that the controller I used is one I modded, I whent full out when I modded this controller It has dual rapid fire, two 7 color leds with color selection, several white leds that turn on and off when the controller rumbles and a quick knife button. If you would like to see this controller in all its glory copy and paste this link in your browser and you will be directed to a youtube video of it in action. here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wz15eLoZp4
also I might be giving away this controller on my facebook page so if you would like follow this link to my facebook page and hit like, heres the link https://www.facebook.com/Electricreations . on my page me and my friend share our projects and interesting topics, so like it of you want. :) ok lets begin!
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Step 1: Things Needed
For this build we are going to need:
solar panel (i used a 5 volt one)
resistor (optional, I used one to drop the current a little bit. Might differ in your case)
3.3 voltage regulator
one spdt slide switch
and some wire.
you could use a on off switch if youd like but it isnt needed. I didnt use one for this.
the componets might differ in your situation. It all depends on your solar panel output and the desired charge rating.
Step 2: The Schematic.
Ok, so lets talk about what we see here. first off I would like to explain the role of the spdt switch, This switch has two positions, one posistion allows for the five volts to run to the 3.3 voltage regulator(adjust the voltage according to your battery ratings) , that position should be used to charge the batteries in direct sunlight and the other position is what I like to call a bypass, it simply skips the regulator and goes right to the batteries, this position shouldnt be used in direct sunlight because the 5 volts will go straight to the batteries which in some cases might not be good. this positons allows the batteries to charge in a well lit room where there wont be as much voltage output. For example you can possibly charge the batteries while in the normal lighting of your home, my panel outputs two to 3 volts when under normal lighting which is perfect for a non direct sun light chagre, I do recommend testing the various outputs before putting everything together. the spdt isnt really needed but i like it because it offers a bit of variety. Now let me explain the diodes role, it plays a rather important role, it doesnt let the batteries discharge back into the solar panel which could be damaging to the panel, I suppose you could go with out but I highly recommend using one. Now let me explain the resistor (i noticed i spelled it wrong in the schematic sorry about that), the resistor might not be needed in your case but for me I felt it was needed because my batteries in series are 2.4 volts (1.2 by them selves) and I wanted to get as close as I could to that rating and with the resistor it brought the voltage down to 2.7 volts which is near perfect. so the resistor dropped 3.3 to 2.7. The resistor might not be needed in your case, it all depends on your battery ratings which you should know before starting this.
Step 3: Making the Circuit.
For the sake of saving room I made the circuit on the back of the solar panel. You could however make the circuit inside of the controller with a small pcb but that might take more time and it is a little harder to do so. In my case I had no room inside of the controller to spare because I modded it and added a lot of extra circuitry so space was very limited and I was forced to work outside of the controller. after assembling the circuit make sure there are no shorts and test the outputs with a multimeter.
Step 4: Adding the Panel to Your Controller
This is a rather easy step, I chose to mount my panel on the back of a battery pack. why? It remains out of the way and is easy to switch to other controllers.
Step 5: Connecting the Panel to the Controller.
After the circuit is built and mounted on the back of the battery pack it is time to run the wires to the controllers battery connections. now some of you might ask why the controller and not the batteries? Glad you asked! well if you connect it this way you would never have to remove your battery pack to charge the batteries, you simply just flip the controller upside down and let it charge and once youre ready to play you turn it right side up (basicaly turning off the solar panel) and play!
So in order to connect this properly you have to know the polarity of the battery connections on the controller, when the controller is upside down or back wards the postive is on the left and negative on the right. The polarity is marked on the controllers circuit board so it shouldnt be too hard to connect it properly.
There are a few ways of connecting the panel to the controller, I just soldered the wires (+ to + and - to -) to the battery connections on the controller. You could just squezze the wires into the springs or even use a plug connection. what ever works for you :)
Step 6: Finished!
Now you just put your rechargeable batteries into the battery pack and charge or play :) the charge time does vary depending on the battery ratings. I place mine on my window sill when i go to sleep and when i wake up and go through daily routines by the time I get back home they will have charged quite a bit,. Hope you liked this :) if you have any questions just ask.
in the second picture you will see my tv remote I did. for the instructable on that just visit my page (instructables page) :)