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5v solar usb charger

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by muziak, Jan 28, 2014.

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  1. muziak


    Jan 28, 2014
    Hi, I'm new to these forums so sorry if this is a duplicate thread. I've searched around the web a bit and on here as well, but can't seem to find a specific solution to my problem.

    Basically, I'd like to make a handy solar powered charged to charge my iphone and a small set of usb-charged speakers cause I spend alot of time out camping or fishing etc. Problem is, I have limited/zero knowledge of electronics. I always pulled things apart as a kid, I understand the basics, but this one is a little complicated for me. If somebody would be able to take some time to help me draw the circuit it would be hugely appreciated.

    I have 8 small solar panels from an old high school DT project, which were used to power a boat. It was so long ago that I don't remember the exact output so I know straight away that makes this hard.. They're 4x7.5cm in surface area if that's helpful. All I remember is that you wire in series or parallel to regulate the amps and volts but that's about it. I also have a bunch of big LEDs a friend nicked from physics class at one stage, and I'd like to throw one into the circuit as an indicator of whether it has power. I know it won't blow because I used to hook them up to 12v batteries because I'm simple and small things like that easily entertain me for hours :)

    So all in all, I have 8 solar panels, a female usb port ripped out of an old laptop, and an LED. I get that it might not be possible to draw the circuit if you don't know the output, and I know I'll probably have to go out and buy one of those power regulating things (I don't know what it's called hahaha) and maybe some other bits and pieces, so that's all good.

    But yeah, if it is possible to help me draw up a little circuit that would be unreal.. I'm cool with reading the schematic and soldering it all together, I just don't get the technical stuff haha. If you need clarification I'll be keeping an eye on the thread.

    Thanks for reading, and again, I hugely appreciate your time :)
  2. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    Nov 17, 2011
    Welcome hre.

    I found these step-by-step instructions, Googling these keywords.

    You will have to find out the data for your panels (volts, amperes). Do they have any marking that could help identify them? If not you could still measure the voltage/current characteristic on a sunny day using a multimeter and some resistors for load.
  3. muziak


    Jan 28, 2014
    Thanks for that. I've already had a look at some of those, and I'm wondering - how would I wire in multiple panels. Series or parrallel? I don't have a multimeter, and they don't have markings.. I'll have to try and wing it and see what works haha. Thanks :)
  4. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    Get a multimeter. It will be far cheaper than blowing out your phone or speakers by "winging" it.

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