DIY Solar Garden Light Hack – Solar Battery Charger

Make a solar battery charger using some dollar store path lights. Using 4 cheap dollar store garden lights you can make a very good solar AA or AAA battery charger for one or two batteries.

This is a simple solar garden light hack which gives you a decent solar charger worth about $20 if you were to buy it retail.

43 thoughts on “DIY Solar Garden Light Hack – Solar Battery Charger

    1. 57unicorn

      Yes. It was so frustrating watching him work…I thought the same thing,
      and then stopped watching coz it was annoying me so much…the no
      screwdriver and the way he just chucked things on the table. Not pleasant
      to watch.

  1. nbookie

    please do not do this!!! he removed all the voltage control circuits. over
    charging is now guaranteed!!! When lithium rechargeable batteries
    overcharge explosive things begin to happen. Nickel-cadmium a little less
    but they will still pop and explode. At minimum you destroy a perfectly
    good battery. Please do not do this unless you plan to keep the control
    circuit in place.

    1. nbookie

      +Dana Rider yep, you know it all. I know nothing. all the manufacturer’s
      who build dump circuits, voltage regulators in their charger controllers
      are just stupid people trying to rip you off. over charging, over
      discharging and exceeding the designed C rate are just marketing gimmicks
      to make you spend more for fancy do nothing electronics.

      maybe I could sell all the dead, exploded and swollen batteries as “did
      project batteries”, sounds like their is a whole market out there that
      thinks they are perfectly good. come by our store front (texas solar
      outfitters) and we will hook you up.

      now I’m off to watch all the “fake” over charging video’s on you tube.

    2. Dana Rider

      +The Do It Yourself World +nbookie must work for energizer. he is a
      conditioned instruction manual idiot never finds anything out for himself..

    3. Dana Rider

      +nbookie I been working with batteries my whole life never have I seen one
      explode, you have to be a real idiot to make a battery explode. don’t
      believe all the crap they say about batteries so that you keep returning to
      the stores like a good conditioned sheep. do your own experiments and you
      will quickly find out all the marketing and warnings they tell you are
      complete BS and batteries have more potential than what is fed to the
      public. A battery will get very hot to the touch before it gets anywhere
      close to fizzing out not exploding…unless you hook 120 up to a 1.5 volt
      battery…

    4. The Do It Yourself World

      +nbookie The control circuit of a solar LED lamp is very basic. It simply
      turns the light on or off depending if the sun is shining or not. And it
      drives the LED at night. Not much more than that. These solar cells are so
      low on current that they are very gentle. You could leave the circuit in
      place if you like though. I never harmed a battery doing this. Never.

  2. Siskin's Bits and Bobs

    My only thought is that it could do with a diode to protect the solar cells
    when it gets dark. Batteries feeding power to a solar cell that is in dark
    is not so good. I expect the omitted circuitry had diode protection built
    in.

  3. joe sweet

    ya i did the same thing but i mad a 4 much bigger ones that now help run my
    power in the basement of my house but i am using them to charge my
    batteries so ya it works nice

  4. Albert Vds

    You don’t check battery by just sticking a voltmeter to it. It needs to be
    under load to actually see if it still can produce the required voltage.
    It’s like saying that you can pull a fully loaded cart at 5km/h when the
    only test you’ve done is pulling an empty cart.

  5. ian wallace

    if you put enough of them together would this compete with bigger solar
    panels or would it just defeat the purpose at some point would you
    eventually be paying more for these than you would for buying a larger
    solar panel because my idea is to put 20 in a circle all filling the circle
    and make it hang-able by a hook or lay it on a roof would that work or
    would i be spending more money for less mAh / voltage someone answer plz

  6. Ello Oku

    I have three small solar panels but not from garden light. Do I put a diode
    at the positive side after running a pararell connection or do I put the
    diode on each of the panels? Which one works best?

  7. Ryan Walsh

    Hi man.
    I bought like 200 of these cells. I want to connect them all and have some
    fun

    So… here is my delima. I test these cells under 500w industrial lamp. One
    cell maxs out at 2.60Volts.
    Now when I connect two of them together. They both read 2.30V
    Why is that?
    Arnt I suppose to get 5.2V?

    help pls.. I need answers lol

    1. Stephen Vieira (MultiRotorManiac)

      +Ryan Walsh Yes, if you connect each indivisual one in series you just
      multiply the voltage by the number of panels. The panels will be fine and
      you can use small gauge wiring since the current will be so low.

    2. Stephen Vieira (MultiRotorManiac)

      Well, it all depends on what your application is. With 200 of them, you can
      wire them in parralel and in series to get the desired voltage and amperage
      needed for your application, for example if you wired each set of 100 in
      parralel and then connected the two sets together in series, you would then
      have an output of around 5.5v at ~5 amps (depending on light source and
      efficiency of the panels). Have fun tinkering!

    3. Ryan Walsh

      +Stephen Vieira (MultiRotorManiac) I dont really care about amps with these
      cells because they do not produce that much amps. But this is really great
      info. Thank you.

  8. Jay H

    $0.99 shipped.

    I am not sure if these are better than the ones you got from the dollar
    store, I bought some online, here is the description and link. If your
    solar panels are a better deal, please let me know, so I can buy some while
    they are in stock locally.

    “6V 0.6W Solar Panel Module DIY Small Cell Charger For Light Phone
    Portable”

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5575137642&toolid=10001&campid=5337742584&customid=&icep_item=301884476406&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg

    * 0.6W Solar panel Polycrystalline DIY small cell charger
    * Polysilicon solar panel 0.6W-0.7W
    * Transfer efficiency not less than 17%
    * Clear solder joint of positive and negative pole
    * Packed with anti deformation PCB , resistant to corrosion e UV, high
    transmission EPOXY
    – Specifications:
    * working voltage: 6V
    * Dimension: 80*55*2.5mm

    1. nbookie

      +Dana Rider so, the battery says “stop I’m full”? it simple doesn’t charge
      anymore. that’s hilarious!!!! please, keep educating us!!!

    2. Dana Rider

      +nbookie lol it simply doesn’t charge anymore, nbookie you are a idiot you
      dont need a computer to hold your hand for everything in life.

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