DIY Solar Power Cell Phone Charger

Lead Image
  • 2-3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 30-80
What You'll Need
6 volt solar cell battery
Small metal box, about 5x2 inches
12 volt cell phone charger
Electrical tape
Voltage meter
Velcro with adhesive backing
Soldering iron (at least 15 watts)
Small paint brush

DIY solar power is surprisingly easy to apply in making your own solar powered cell phone charger. With the increasing popularity of alternate energy sources, solar powered phone chargers are a good option for green living. Commercial solar cell phone chargers can be expensive, so this DIY project is an economical money-saving option. You can easily put together this type of DIY charger with common items found around the house and at the local hardware store.

Step 1 - Prepare Solar Cell Battery

If you run into difficulty finding the correct solar cell battery, you can easily recycle one from a small LED light. Be sure to remove all plastic backing from the battery if you choose to go this route. Check the solar cell battery with the voltage meter for positive and negative polarity, and mark each + and - with a small piece of tape.

It is important to accurately gauge the voltage with this meter to avoid shorting out your cell phone. If you are unsure how to use your voltage meter, ask your hardware retailer for a demonstration, and be sure to read all the meter instructions. Also mark the positive battery wire with another piece of tape, and then cut this wire in half so that one end can be fitted to the cell phone charger.

Step 2 - Prepare Metal Box

A small metal box that works perfectly for this project is an Altoids tin. Cover the inside of the tin with strips of electrical tape to prevent possible shorts. Carefully solder the charger wires to the solar cell; attaching positive to positive and negative to negative. Since these you are working with electrical components, using lead based solder is a commonly accepted practice. Be sure you brush the wires with a good flux before soldering as well.

Step 3 - Attach Solar Cell Battery

Use the Velcro pieces to attach the solar cell battery to the top of the tin lid. Stick one piece of Velcro to the center of the lid and one piece to the center of the solar cell. The Velcro pieces allow for easy replacement if the solar cell battery ever needs it. Be sure to cover any exposed wires and contact points with more electrical tape. Velcro your solar cell battery and tin box lid together and plug in your cell phone at the other end. Leave it to charge in a sunlit area for several hours.

An advantage of this solar powered charger is that it is easily portable and will fit into a purse or bag right along with your cell phone. This solar powered charger has even been found to work under strong indoor light. In case of a power failure, you will still have cell phone power and won't be cut off from friends and family due to a dead phone that cannot be charged from an electrical outlet.