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Author Topic: How to build a solar powered USB charger  (Read 2195 times)
mbarnatl
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« on: March 06, 2011, 12:44:16 PM »

Found this video and thought it was useful.


http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-build-solar-powered-usb-charger-78846/

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atomic17
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 01:00:35 PM »

Im confused; where is the voltage regulator and cutouts?

what protects your device from the fluctuating power of a somewhat cloudy day, an under-voltage from an overcast sky or a surge? This seems like a good start, but he has got to refine it a little before id attach my expensive phone to it...

either add a 7805 or, much better option, add a low drop out 5v regulator (dont know the name by heart sorry) and a 300uf capacitor to block sudden spikes and lulls.

In any case below 4.8 volts or so this thing is gonna get buggy and erratic with the phone.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 05:46:45 PM »

Ive already been collecting then to make one
and i would think most electronic have a type of regulator built in. i use to in electronics was never very good at circuit design so if you have one that would work better do tell.
i was thinking of adding some diodes and a battery pack to help with fluctuations but don't know about the risk of over charging the batteries Huh?
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atomic17
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 06:36:35 PM »

Ive already been collecting then to make one
and i would think most electronic have a type of regulator built in. i use to in electronics was never very good at circuit design so if you have one that would work better do tell.
i was thinking of adding some diodes and a battery pack to help with fluctuations but don't know about the risk of over charging the batteries Huh?

1) to put it bluntly, do you want to risk a 150-200 dollar phone or ipod on the assumption some regulator is both built in and can handle the load? Keep in mind the usb power rail on a pc fluctuates in the 1/100 of a volt range, never exceeding 5.1 volts. And the regulator in your phone was never designed for heavy use, so it probably lacks a heatsink...

2) ill post a better way tomorrow if i remember... i would use a diode, a 7805 or lower dropout version and a capacitor...
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seekortry
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2011, 01:41:38 AM »

1) to put it bluntly, do you want to risk a 150-200 dollar phone or ipod on the assumption some regulator is both built in and can handle the load? Keep in mind the usb power rail on a pc fluctuates in the 1/100 of a volt range, never exceeding 5.1 volts. And the regulator in your phone was never designed for heavy use, so it probably lacks a heatsink...

2) ill post a better way tomorrow if i remember... i would use a diode, a 7805 or lower dropout version and a capacitor...


I have been looking into a solution like this as well. I would like to develop the technology that offers me the ability to be self-sufficient with respect to electricity and power. It means more changes then most people realize, though. Most of our devices cannot handle what this person did. Like you said, most devices were built to be charged a specific way. Without a means to rectify the voltage, they can be toast rather quickly. You also might need to construct your own ad hoc charging cables and rectifiers for each device.

I also think we should consider integrating *both* solar and crank generators into this solution. Dependence upon light is not exactly self-sufficient. Having both solar and mechanical methods of charging batteries and devices would do the trick.

Lastly, there is so much I have not kept up on with respect to battery technologies. I have a lot of new developments to work through in order to find the best batteries to keep. They need to be durable and offer the best compromise between length of charge and lifetime of use.
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seekortry
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 08:21:29 PM »

What do you guys think of this product?

http://www.etoncorp.com/product_card/?p_ProductDbId=1753607

It provides you with:

Altimeter
Barometer
Compass
Solar Panel
Direct USB Power Transfer


This one gives you a siren as well: http://www.etoncorp.com/product_card/?p_ProductDbId=915890



The main problem I am imagining here is that these products will not charge your devices nearly as effectively as a dedicated portable solar array. I have the FR160 and, while it does work pretty well, it doesn't outperform a basic portable solar charger.
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seekortry
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 11:25:33 PM »

Still looking around for items to achieve a more independent means of powering my gear. These headlamps look like they would save you quite a lot of money on batteries (I use a headlamp all the time just for reading alone). More critically.. with gear like this that can be charged via USB, you can use those simple eton radios to charge everything using solar and mechanical energy. You probably won't get sufficient lumens from these things to replace your primary lightsource but you can significantly extend your capabilities this way.

http://www.petzl.com/core
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mbarnatl
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2011, 05:48:28 AM »

Still looking around for items to achieve a more independent means of powering my gear. These headlamps look like they would save you quite a lot of money on batteries (I use a headlamp all the time just for reading alone). More critically.. with gear like this that can be charged via USB, you can use those simple eton radios to charge everything using solar and mechanical energy. You probably won't get sufficient lumens from these things to replace your primary lightsource but you can significantly extend your capabilities this way.



How about this system: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/preps/off-grid-charging-system-aaaaacd9v/ it would cost about the same as that raptor radio $150.
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"The ability for a person to prevail in a survival situation is based on three factors: survival knowledge, equipment, and will to survive. All are important, but the most important is the will to survive." -Greg Davenport

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