Solar USB Kit 1.0
Build your own solar powered gadget charger in minutes with this simple soldering kit! Centered around 2 rechargeable AA batteries this kit is a great solar powered activity to learn about soldering, solar power, and engineering. Plug in your favorite USB device and when you've depleted your battery power stick this charger in the sun to recharge
You'll need some simple soldering skills to build this kit. Overall there are 5 solder points with most of them being through hole to a circuit board. Build time is is between 20-45 minutes and will require a soldering iron, screw driver, and hot glue gun, though it isn't a bad idea to also have a wire cutter/ stripper around.
Rechargeable AA batteries are a very safe and inexpensive source energy storage, but they're not really great at recharging devices. Typically a full charge on the included 2 AA batteries will only charge up a modern phone 5-10%, with some phones using MORE power than the charger can output (meaning you won't see any percent change). If you're looking to build yourself a more powerful version our Solar USB 3.0 includes a lithium battery, we just don't recommend this for younger Makers.
The project does NOT come with an Altoids tin or enclosure. If you go this route please keep in mind that the tin edges are VERY sharp and can easily cut a finger open. It's also quite conductive so you'll need to properly insulate the tin with electrical tape or hot glue. We recommend using a $1 Store plastic food container instead.
Directions, Lesson Plans, and Videos
Follow our step by step directions or video found in our online Project Database. Directions available in English and Spanish.
This kit is often used in classrooms, camps, and after school programs to teach solar energy. If you have questions about running a large group activity with this kit feel free to email or call us. We have a lot of helpful tips and tricks on appropriate classroom management when soldering.