Gallery: DIY: How To Turn a Playing Card Into a Solar-Powered Battery C...


A few weeks ago we shared Instructable‘s handy DIY guide to building your own solar-powered USB charger. Now, the website has provided a guide to creating a solar-powered charger for rechargeable NiMH AA and AAA batteries with a twist – it’s made from a playing card!

This cheap and easy project only takes 10-15 minutes to do, however you will need a couple of PV silicon cells. Other than that, they only parts you really need are a playing card, some solettes, some magnets and super glue. Solettes can be purchased from suppliers in China, such as these.

The complete material list is: copper tape with adhesive backing, super glue, a couple of playing cards, 4 NdFeB magnets between 1/4″ – 1/2″ diameter, 1/32″  – 1/8″ thick, 4-8 solettes (depending on what type of additional indicators or dark-current blocking diodes you add to the basic charger) and a few AA rechargeable batteries.

Optional extras include a schottky diode, an indicator LED and some form of rigid backing such as a scrap piece of 1/8″ thick acrylic. Once you’ve assembled all those parts, you’re good to go!

Click here to download a PDF of the complete instructions or alternatively, watch the below video.

+ Instructables


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  1. lbeachmike July 10, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I understand the argument about solar power having its imperfections in the manufacturing process, and then the point in the previous comment about the energy required to get it delivered, etc. but I think this is true of just about all products. All of the manufacturing processes and delivery processes likely have similar imperfections, so doesn’t that part of it become a wash?

  2. ojwake November 30, 2012 at 6:59 am

    I\’ve been using a solar powered battery charger for a while now and it is great in a practical and convenient sense but to be honest I don\’t think that the amount of power I save by using the sun is really very big. I imagine the solar panel itself used more energy to make, package and ship than it will ever create for my Iphone..

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