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You could get a much more impressive arc with a bigger capacitor and a car ignition coil.
but a USB charger from eBay that takes disposable or rechargeable AA batteries is only about $2. This costs way more in parts!
I've been working on something solar but put my money into a deep cycle SLA battery that cost way too much money. Those lawnmower batteries are very cheap and very tempting. How many ah do you get from it?
What I'd like to see is a development of this idea.Something that could take power from a 5W solar panel for charging (up to 24v despite being a nominal 12v) for charging.Then to have the capacity to charge a phone, MiFi pad and a tablet several times.I'm building a motorhome and such a device would totally eliminate any need for batteries or generators and I'm at the stage where I don't yet have an internal electrical system.