The construction of this solar iPhone charger is very simple and cheap(only $50) . You don’t need to have any familiarity with electronics or prior circuit knowledge. It can be used to charge any device via USB, with the proper connector.
For the beginning, as i say in the title you need just $50 to built it, that doesn’t include the cost for tools and a few of the materials that were salvaged, but if you spend enough time on eBay you should be able to build yours for the same amount, if not less.
The tools you need are: Needle Nose Pliers, MultiMeter, Wire Cutters/Stripper, Soldering Iron w/ Solder and Flux. Beside these tools you need the fallowing materials:
– 10 Watt Solar Panel – $41.45 w/ shipping (eBay)
– Red/Black small-guage wire – free (On Hand)
– Small Zip Tie – free (On Hand)
– 7805 5Volt Regulator – $1.59 (RadioShack)
– a cable for device
– Electrical Tape – free (On Hand)
– USB Extension Cable – $3.00 w/ shipping (eBay)
I found the 10W solar panel made by LaVie Solar for just $41.4, their eBay user ID is lavie-inc. The panel is pretty good, having an aluminum frame, a really sturdy build quality and is entirely weatherized. So you won’t have any problem leaving it out in the rain. It has an output rating of 62Amps (Short Circuit) and 21.6 Volts (Open Circuit). This can be your opinion because you can use a larger solar panel, meaning that there will be more current flowing even when there’s not a lot of sun.
After gathering all these materials, you can start to work. As I said in the beginning, the construction is very simple. Now you must to cut 2 pieces of red wire and 2 pieces of black wire, with lengths of around 5-6 inches.
Then, cut a little bit less than an inch off both ends of each wire. With the red and black wires ready, cut your USB extension cable in half and strip the cut half of the female end to expose all of the individual wires. In all USB cables there are 4 wires: red, black, white and green. So you don’t need the Green and White wires, because these are for data, leaving only the Black and Red wires coming out about an inch and a half from the USB cable. Since the 5V regulator only has one ground pin, use the two black wires that you cut initially, to make the soldering a little bit easier. Take both of your black wires, along with the black wire coming from the USB extension, and twist them all together securely and carefully. Put some solder on that connection to make sure all the wires stay together.
Then, to keep things safe, you must to cover the 3-way connection with electrical tape. Once all of the wiring is prepped, put the 5V regulator into the equation. Soldering wires onto the tiny pins from the 5V regulator can be a task. Use a small Zip Tie to hold your wires to the 5V regulator to make things much easier. It will help you a lot. Just make sure you know that if your 5V regulator is laying flat, the input pin is on the bottom, and the output pin is on the top!
Once you finished soldering your 5V regulator, you must connect the red wire from the output pin on the regulator – to the red wire coming from the USB extension cable. Now, you only have 2 wire ends left: a black wire connecting to the regulator’s ground pin, a red wire connecting to the input pin on my 5V regulator, and and your USB extension cable.
Now, in the next step you must connect the circuit to the solar panel. If you will buy a LaVie Solar Panel, it has a pretty simple connection panel, being very easy to put red and black wires to the right screws on the panel. Now you can measure the input voltage that will be going into your 5.00V regulator (it will have to be around 20V) and the output voltage that comes from your regulator. The last thing that you must do is to cover all your open wires with electrical tape. That’s all, I hope that your brand-new solar iPhone charger will work.