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Solar Cellphone Charger (DIY)

This was a recent project organized by Yeshua Institute of Technology for the first year green energy engineering students. Students were taught how to make cellphone chargers for themselves. The students initially thought the project was going to be a difficult one, but later somewhere along the line realized how easy it was. This project ended successfully with each and every student building for themselves a new cellphone charger.

Follow the easy step-by-step guide below to build one for yourself- Charge your cellphone with free energy from the sun … Lets go green πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  1. Silicon sealant
  2. Wire for connecting out terminals
  3. Soldering iron, lead for soldering
  4. Small piece of cardboard
  5. Solar cells
  6. Polystyrene
  7. Photo frame (5×7)
  8. Multi meter (or voltmeter)
  9. Scissors
  10. Diamond disc(cutters)
  11. Some old newspapers

materials needed


1.Create a pattern for cutting the solar cells using a cardboard. Measure and cut out the dimension of your solar cell from cardboard (solar cells used by students had a dimension of 15cm x 8cm). Divide the cardboard into two (name it A and B). Divide β€œA” into two on the longer side as shown in the image below.
pattern for cutting solar cells
2. It’s now time to do some cutting. Use the diamond cutter to divide the solar cells into four with the aid of the patterns created (as shown in the diagram below). Solar cells are very thin and fragile and therefore should be handled with care. Cut slow and steady with gentle strokes using the diamond disc cutter. Cutting should be done on the newspapers ( this reduces the chance of cells breaking). Try as much as you can to precise with your cuttings.cutting of solar cells
students cutting solar cells for their cellphone chargersThis is what you get with a full cell, that is, if you cut it right πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ . Cut out 12 smaller cells for your solar cellphone cell divided into four

3. Connect the cells together with the soldering iron and some lead. You need to connect solar cells in series in order to get a high output voltage. Connect the negative terminal of one cell to the positive terminal of the other.
series connection of solar cellsNOTE– Make sure the ribbon strip on the top of one solar cell does not touch the ribbon at the bottom of the same cell. Soldering is fun and easy… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
soldering of solar cells
4. Use the multi meter to check the voltage of four connected cells in a row. You should expect 2V and above in bright sunlight. If less or nothing at all, check your connection and make sure your series connection is right. Each single cell would give a voltage of 0.5V.
checking output voltage of 4 cells in a row

5. Apply silicon sealant on the board of the photo frame.
applying silicon sealantFix solar cells onto silicon sealant on the board as shown in the diagram below.

fixing solar cells on silicon sealant

Do the same for the rest of the solar cells
fixing solar cells on silicon sealant1

6. Place the cut pieces of polystyrene between the solar cells (each row) with the aid of some silicon sealant (as shown in the image below). This is done to create gab between the board and the glass to be attached. (It helps reduce chances of solar cells breaking when pressure is applied on the glass)
applying silicon sealant between cells

7. Connecting all 12 solar cells together. Connect solar cells in row 1 to row 2 and row 2 to row 3 using the soldering iron. Connection must be in series, that is, the negative ribbon strip from cells in row 1 should be connected to the positive ribbon strip from cells in row 2 and the negative ribbon strip from cells in row 2 should be connected to the positive ribbon strip from cells in row 3.
connecting all twelve cells

8. Place some cut pieces of polysterene at the edge of the board with the aid of some silicon sealant (as shown in the diagram below).
applying silicon sealant-edges

9. Extend the two main terminals to be brought out with a conductor (wires). Pass the conductor (wire) through a hole made at a corner on the board. Make sure you distinguish the positive terminal from the negative terminal (perhaps by marking the wire). Use the multi meter to check the output voltage of all 12 cells together . You should expect an output voltage of 6V or above in a bright day sunlight. Your solar cellphone charger is almost ready πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ :-).
connecting wires
Leave your solar cellphone charger for a few hours or a day (which is usually the best) before covering the surface with glass. This is to ensure that fumes from silicon sealant diffuse out without being collected on the surface of the glass.

10. Cover the surface of your solar cellphone charger with the glass and pace it in the photo frame. Use braces at the back of the photo frame to lock it in position as shown in the image below.
placing solar cells and glass in photo frame

All you have you to do next is to connect the wires to a usb port or your cellphone charger directly. The next post from Storm Energy will give you details on how to do both connections.

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