Build a Solar Charger for Your Cell Build a Solar Charger for Your Cell
The ability to use the sun to provide a solar charger to power everyday electronics like cell phones is available. This project requires some technical ability but can provide you with a solar powered unit that can be used to charge your cell phone.
This project is an adaptation of a kit used to charge iPods and other USB connector devices. You will need to obtain a Minty Boost battery powered charger in order to make the changes necessary to convert it into a solar charger. Once you have obtained this unit, follow the steps below.
This charger works with cell phones that use a USB connector port for charging. Compatible devices that work with this project, includes Nokia, iPhone, and Blackberry.
Step 1 – Connect the Solar Cell
Replace the JST connector in the Minty Boost charger with a replacement JST connector. The connector should be marked “5v” on the charging circuit. After this has been completed, affix the solar cell with the JST connector to the Altoids tin, using some of the adhesive Velcro strip. Remove the adhesive backing and affix to the solar cell and the back of the Altoids tin.
If you are truly technically savvy, you may choose to build your own Minty Boost battery-powered USB charger. You may however find it as easy and less labor intensive to order a completed unit.
Step 2 – Charge the Unit
Once you have secured the solar cell to the Minty Boost charger, set it in the sun to charge. The unit is ready to use when you see the LED indicator light turn red. This indicates that the unit is ready to charge your cell phone.
Please note: You may choose to replace the AA batteries with rechargeable 3.7v 2000mAh lithium batteries. If that is the case, it would be better for you to build the Minty Boost unit from scratch. The advantage here is that you won’t have to constantly change out disposable batteries as there will be a conduit for you to plug the storage unit into a lithium polymer batter charger to charge the batteries. Use clear packing tape to wrap the lithium batteries. This will help to keep them protected.