A while ago I’ve talked about a Solar Recharger for iPodTouch that could be used to recharge an iPhone or an iPodTouch with great success. Now, if you have other devices that can be charged using a USB port and you enjoy the idea of using solar energy, you might wanna try this Solar USB Charger. It is a fairly simple do-it-yourself project that can pretty much charge anything using USB.
For this project you will need an USB extension A/A cable, a diode, a solar panel to transform solar energy into electrical energy and, of course, tools for soldering and drilling. The solar panel used here is a 6V one, and although normal USB voltage is 5V everything should be ok with 6V too.
Now to the build steps. First, you have to cut and clear the extension cable to the bigger side, having easy access to the two wires. Then, you need to solder the diode to the red wire from the solar panel and the red wire from the extension cable to the diode. The black wires from the panel and the extension cable must also be soldered together. Don’t forget to isolate the soldered parts with electrical tape.
The last part is putting it all together and drilling holes for the cables to pass through, one for the panel and another for the USB cable (assuming you also have a box to put all this into). Everything has to be glued to stay in one piece and it is complete, you have a functional Solar USB Charger ready to go (you can find a demonstration of the solar charger recharging a Blackberry in the link below).
Extremely handy in trips where electrical plugs may be scarce, not to mention being environmentally friendly, easy to use and quite cheap to make, the Solar USB Charger is a simple yet very useful device to have with you.