Email Print

No image

Here are the build details and some photos from a DIY 'Build a Solar Phone Charger' workshop I ran at Nottingham Hackspace.

There were six participants and they all built a small phone charger which runs from solar power.

Full design details and instructions are available to download here.


The end result was a small solar array (total of around 1Wp) comprised of four smaller solar photovoltaic panels.

The design needed to recharge high-current smart phones. With the solar array only 1Wp this would not supply enough current to get the phone to charge, hence we needed to use a couple of rechargeable AA batteries. These are trickle charged by the solar cells, with a diode to stop any drain at night-time.

A DC-DC converter with a USB output steps-up the battery/solar panel voltage (around 3.4V maximum) to the 5V required to charge a phone. A small switch is used to stop the converter draining the battery when nothing is plugged in.

No Image

No Image

These had come from a previous project, hence they were second hand, but all of them were tested and working well.

The participants both took home a working solar phone charger, just in case they need to survive the apocalypse.

No Image

No Image

No Image

No Image

No Image

Here are the instructions for the kit. This was the first time I had run this workshop, so there were a few adjustments including:

Here is the design file for the laser cut parts. It is also available as a .dxf here.