Make A Cheap & Easy Solar USB Charger With An Altoids Tin
Photos by Joshua Zimmerman The craftster behind the very popular $3 solar-powered emergency radio is back with a new awesome project: a cheap solar battery charger with a USB plug. Zimmerman wrote, saying that he saw a lot of small solar powered chargers being talked about over Earth Day, but there was a big problem: "They're all quite nice, but also quite expensive. I don't think I've seen any for less than $60, and I've not seen one that really suits my style." So, he came up with his own, using one of our favorite reusable items -- the ever wonderful Altoids tin. In looking for the cheapest way to accomplish the task, Zimmerman found that he could build a USB solar charger for under $30 (or $10 if be buys parts in bulk, though it's not likely you'll be buying bulk solar cells and DC-to-USB converter circuits). Zimmerman states, "The central brain of our project is a DC to USB converter circuit.