The DIY Solar Charger: 7 Plans

diy solar charger

Looking for a solar charger for your phone, your laptop, or even for a back-up generator for your home. You can find products for all three of these needs, but expect to shell out: even smallest solar battery charger runs $30-40. A diy battery charger, on the other hand, can cost you as little as $4-5, and even make use materials you already have on hand.

After a visit to some prepper boards on Pinterest (it’s not all weddings and wish lists over there), I discovered that homemade solar chargers are pretty popular with that crowd, and run the gamut from really cheap models that can power up small rechargeable batteries to full-scale generators that will cost you several hundred dollars to build. But if you’ve got a dead phone battery on a camping trip, or the power’s out after a storm, you’ll be glad to have one of these on hand.

DIY Solar Charger Projects: From the Petite to the Household Workhorse

1. The Super-Cheap $4 Solar Charger: From Instructables, this project is the cheapest of the bunch… and project publisher JoshuaZimmerman gives a nice overview of solar power and batteries. You need to know how to solder for this one… via Lifehacker.

2. Another $4 Solar Charger for Rechargeable Batteries: You know those cheapy solar path lights you can buy at the discount store? You can hack those into a charger for AA or AAA batteries. The video below from The DIY World shows you how.

3. And Yet Another Cheap DIY Solar Charger from a Path Light: This one differs from the previous project in that you only use one path light, and put it all back together after modifying it to charge batteries. This one looks a bit simpler than some others.

4. The $20 Solar Phone Charger with USB Ports: This one’s a little more complicated (more soldering), but since it includes a powerbank, it allows for nighttime charging. via Survival Life

5. The Altoids Tin Solar Charger: JoshuaZimmerman from Instructables in back, and, this time, his solar charger is neatly housed in a used Altoids tin. via Inhabitat

6. The DIY Solar Charger and Power Supply Unit: This one’s unique in that it allows you not just to charge your batteries, but can also function as a battery (aka power supply unit) on its own.

7. The Solar Generator: Speaking of power supply units, this project from Bright Enlightenment (video below) allows you to power much larger systems than your phone or laptop. Yes, it’s definitely more expensive than the other projects here, but if you’re powerless for a few days after severe weather, it’ll pay for itself in peace of mind. The video for the power pack is here.

Know of other diy solar charger project plans? Got one of your own? Share it in the comments…

Image credit: reverbca via photopin cc

  1. megha

    hi all…
    The power bank is a small, compact and handy to carry anywhere and everywhere. It is featured with the dual USB port for charging two devices simultaneously. It enables two efficient charging solutions includes the concept of solar energy and the power
    supply. So if in case, in the season of monsoon you can get your phone charged
    with the power supply.
    solar mobile charger

  2. Anthony Johnson

    Hi Jeff McIntire, I appreciate your work for getting this info at one place, and yes there is no doubt that solar chargers are one of the great ways to power up all our phones and other digital devices. And your DIY idea for Solar Panel Phone Chargers is worth-full to all those smartphone and digital device user those want a charger to power up their devices at an affordable range. Thanks again Jeff McIntire for sharing this valuable info and Keep on sharing !!!

  3. Prakash Yerra

    well its highly impossible for any ordinary man to build home made solar charger. one must have lots of technicality in mind before getting in it .

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