AA Solar Charger in Altoids Tin
Thus I decided to design a little battery recharger that was small, light weight, and cute. Ok, the cute part wasn't the original idea but who can argue with cute?
In this guide, I'll show you the way I make the Altoids Flashlights that I sell on my website and Etsy. They only cost a few dollars to make, and can be made in under twenty minutes. When you're finished you'll have a very professional and stylish flashlight that is actually useful. Plus they make great "guy gifts" for guys of any age.
It seems as if making an Altoids flashlight is a right of passage for newbie electronics enthusiasts. It was the first project I ever did, and I continue to use it as a "my first soldering project" with the students in my middle school science classroom. It's a low cost, low risk project that helps teach the fundamentals of soldering and electronics.
I really love making projects out of Altoids. Especially the new Altoids Smalls tins. They're so small and so very very cute.
I've seen a couple of Instructables on how to turn these small tins into flashlights, but I think that we can do a better job. Both in appearance and craftsmanship.
This little guide will show you how to make a flashlight out of an Altoids Smalls tin in a way that's both easy to do, and has a classy result.
Price: Less than $4
Mints eaten: 14
This a great project for beginners or kids.
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In honor of all my good friends still over in Japan I've decided to create an Instructable for a $3 Emergency Solar Radio. It's a great thing in case of tsunami, nuclear melt down, or zombie invasion. Plus it's really cute when put into an Altoids tin.
My plan is to send this as a (slightly) joke birthday gift to a good friend of mine living in California, who just so happens to be freaking out about possible nuclear clouds. This will also be really nice for her when she starts going camping again this summer.
The design is very simple and only takes about 45 minutes to put together, less if you know what you're doing.
If you'd rather not make one yourself, I'll probably be throwing up a couple completed ones as well as most of the parts over at my websiteBrownDogGadgets.com.
While I love making proof of concept solar projects, or solar projects that I might use if the world comes to an end, I prefer to make solar projects that are useful in my day to day life. (I love my solar FM radio, but I've never had the need to use it in an emergency situation)
This past summer my father had been complaining about installing a lighting system for the back of his yard. The big issue being that he hates running wire 100 yards just to get three lights to turn on at night. Plus, being the over achiever that he is, he decided to bury the wires so that he wouldn't run over them with the lawn mower. This is when I stepped in.
I decided to make a high powered solar lighting system so no wires would ever need to be run to the back of the yard. Ever.
Oh, and I'm not talking about a few little wussy LEDs inside of a jar, I'm talking some high powered 3 watt LEDs inside real metal lighting enclosures. Ones that will probably attract every moth for ten miles. (And in defense of LEDs in jars, I happen to have 12 of those on the deck of my apartment. A couple slowly pulsing in and out.)
So for your enjoyment, here is a quick, easy, and inexpensive guide to making a high powered solar lighting system.
(If you like my project, vote for it in the Off The Grid Contest here at instructables, I'm the first entry. Seriously. A vote for me will bring you instant karma and a warm fuzzy feeling. WARNING: Warm fuzzy feeling may in fact be low levels of radiation. Seek medical help.)
If you're looking to make a smaller solar project, check out our basic Solar USB 2.0 Kit or the more rugged Lithium Heavy Duty 2.0 Kit.