How to Make a Cheap USB Solar Charger

I am a huge fan of solar technology and I love to see it continue to progress, so imagine my surprise when I found a video on how to make a cheap, portable USB solar charger.

I really enjoyed this video, and would love to see more projects like this if anyone knows of any.

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26 Responses to How to Make a Cheap USB Solar Charger

  1. Grrr. Am I the only one who really hates it when people say “sodder” instead of solder?
    (I’d also have thrown in a cheap 5v regulator just incase the cells were putting out more than 5v on a sunny day, some USB stuff is rather sensitive.)

    • Because “sodder” is the proper pronunciation in English and in most other languages that have similar origin. Anyone who said sol-der would get laughed at in my circle as a newbie. Just check a dictionary before you write a comment disparaging someone else please.

      • Dude before you bag him as well, in the US its pronounced sodder in the UK and some other place including New Zealand where I am we say solder. Not saying hes right for bagging on someone either =D

      • I hate to rain on your parade, but “sodder” is NOT the proper pronunciation in English, the L isn’t silent. The correct pronunciation IS “solder”. And I checked the dictionary, before you mouth off. Not an American English dictionary. Real English.

  2. Grrr. Am I the only one who really hates it when people say "sodder" instead of solder?

    (I'd also have thrown in a cheap 5v regulator just incase the cells were putting out more than 5v on a sunny day, some USB stuff is rather sensitive.)

    • Because "sodder" is the proper pronunciation in English and in most other languages that have similar origin. Anyone who said sol-der would get laughed at in my circle as a newbie. Just check a dictionary before you write a comment disparaging someone else please.

      • Dude before you bag him as well, in the US its pronounced sodder in the UK and some other place including New Zealand where I am we say solder. Not saying hes right for bagging on someone either =D

      • I hate to rain on your parade, but "sodder" is NOT the proper pronunciation in English, the L isn't silent. The correct pronunciation IS "solder". And I checked the dictionary, before you mouth off. Not an American English dictionary. Real English.

      • That's what she said!!!

        sorry couldn't help it,

        I made one of these and works like a charm, now I can leave a light bulb on to charge my iPod instead of leaving the computer on all night

      • That’s what she said!!!
        sorry couldn’t help it,

        I made one of these and works like a charm, now I can leave a light bulb on to charge my iPod instead of leaving the computer on all night

  3. The only problem is that you have to have sorar panels that give the exact power that the battery requires to be charged according to its manual or else it will be destroyed after two-three times of being recharged that way.So it can be used only in case of emergency..

    Despite that i have to say that it's a brilliant idea.Keep on!

  4. The only problem is that you have to have sorar panels that give the exact power that the battery requires to be charged according to its manual or else it will be destroyed after two-three times of being recharged that way.So it can be used only in case of emergency..
    Despite that i have to say that it’s a brilliant idea.Keep on!

  5. Photovoltaic cells produce current proportional to illumination. The voltage is dependent on temperature, going up as it gets colder, but it’s a pretty shallow slope. So it won’t overvolt just because the sun is shining, in fact the voltage goes down because the cell gets hot.

    Adding a regulator to this thing is going to cut it’s production a lot. A 7805 regulator has two diode drops, i.e. if you want 5 V, you have to feed it 7.2 V. Maybe a 5 V zener across the output would be a better way to limit voltage, but at some point the current would blow it up.

    Whether a little extra voltage would matter depends on what you’re putting it into. Ordinary electronics won’t care. I accidentally ran my 2-AA CD player on 7.5 V for an extended time, and it didn’t care a bit. Ni-Cad’s and NiMH’s won’t mind being overcharged a little bit, either.

    Lithium ions are much more sensitive to overcharge, which is why they usually carry their own protection circuitry, so again a feeding it a little extra voltage won’t be a problem.

  6. Photovoltaic cells produce current proportional to illumination. The voltage is dependent on temperature, going up as it gets colder, but it's a pretty shallow slope. So it won't overvolt just because the sun is shining, in fact the voltage goes down because the cell gets hot.

    Adding a regulator to this thing is going to cut it's production a lot. A 7805 regulator has two diode drops, i.e. if you want 5 V, you have to feed it 7.2 V. Maybe a 5 V zener across the output would be a better way to limit voltage, but at some point the current would blow it up.

    Whether a little extra voltage would matter depends on what you're putting it into. Ordinary electronics won't care. I accidentally ran my 2-AA CD player on 7.5 V for an extended time, and it didn't care a bit. Ni-Cad's and NiMH's won't mind being overcharged a little bit, either.

    Lithium ions are much more sensitive to overcharge, which is why they usually carry their own protection circuitry, so again a feeding it a little extra voltage won't be a problem.

  7. A quick note:

    As most service technicians and engineers have noticed while playing with adapters for whatever unit is in question – using a little more current than necessary tends not to hurt most electronics – just make it run hot and possibly damage in the LONG run. Just watch your power voltage really.
    As hinted by pr, many electronic devices can handle certain amounts over, but I don’t recommend running as dramatically over as has been stated can get by, so to speak. Try to remain in a 10% ballpark.

  8. A quick note:

    As most service technicians and engineers have noticed while playing with adapters for whatever unit is in question – using a little more current than necessary tends not to hurt most electronics – just make it run hot and possibly damage in the LONG run. Just watch your power voltage really.

    As hinted by pr, many electronic devices can handle certain amounts over, but I don't recommend running as dramatically over as has been stated can get by, so to speak. Try to remain in a 10% ballpark.

  9. Is it possible that if something like this can be constructed, we might also be able to link together enough tiles to charge a laptop? I saw this video a couple of months ago and since then I have been thinking about this. I know its a stretch but I think eventually it could be something that could just be mounted to the backside of the laptop so that the computer would be fully reliant on the sun. Any thoughts?

  10. Is it possible that if something like this can be constructed, we might also be able to link together enough tiles to charge a laptop? I saw this video a couple of months ago and since then I have been thinking about this. I know its a stretch but I think eventually it could be something that could just be mounted to the backside of the laptop so that the computer would be fully reliant on the sun. Any thoughts?

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