Have you ever found yourself away from a power outlet with a dying phone? A solar panel phone charger can help keep your device powered in emergencies. With a few basic materials and some tinkering, you can build your own solar panel charger using random junk parts lying around your house.

What You Will Need

To build a basic DIY solar panel phone charger, you will need:

Solar Cells

The key component is the solar cell. This converts sunlight into electricity. You can salvage individual solar cells from broken solar powered garden lights or small panels. Aim for at least 6V output.


You need wiring to connect the solar cells together. Salvage hookup wire from old appliances or speaker wire will work well.


An old mint tin or other metallic case makes a good housing for the charger. This protects the interior components.

Voltage Regulator

A 6V voltage regulator takes the variable solar output and regulates it to a steady 5V for charging phones. You can often salvage these from old computer power supplies.

Barrel Jack

A 5.5mm x 2.1mm barrel jack lets you connect a phone charging cable to the solar panel outputs. You can often salvage these from old phone chargers.

Soldering Equipment

You'll need soldering gear like a soldering iron, solder, and wire strippers to connect the solar panel components together.

Epoxy or Hot Glue

Epoxy or hot glue allows you to adhere the solar cells to the charger case. This keeps everything in place.

Steps to Assemble the Solar Phone Charger

Building the solar panel charger involves basic soldering and circuit connecting:

1. Prepare the Solar Cells

Start by cleaning any dust or grime off the solar cells you salvaged. Cut and strip the positive and negative wires coming off each cell.

Tin the stripped wire ends with solder to prevent fraying.

2. Connect Solar Cells Together

** Lay out the solar cells in a pattern** that allows the positive and negative terminals to link up in a chain.

Solder the positive terminal from one cell to the negative terminal of the next cell. Connect all cells in this way so their voltages add together.

3. Glue Cells to Charger Case

Apply epoxy or hot glue to the back of the solar cells. Press them firmly down onto the metal case to form your solar panel.

Allow time for the glue to fully harden and hold the cells in position.

4. Wire in Voltage Regulator

Solder wires from the solar cell inputs to the voltage regulator's input terminals.

Attach output wires from the regulator to the barrel jack. This allows regulated 5V output.

5. Seal Components in Charger Case

Make sure all solder connections are solid. Place the voltage regulator and barrel jack inside the mint tin or case.

Seal the case shut to protect the interior components from weather or damage.

6. Connect Phone and Test

With the solar phone charger assembled, connect your phone's charging cable to the barrel jack.

Place the charger in direct sunlight and check your phone to see charging begin. Enjoy free solar power!

Tips for Improving Efficiency

To optimize the solar charger's performance, keep these tips in mind:

With some scavenged parts and basic soldering skills, you can build your own solar power phone charger. This handy renewable gadget will keep your devices juiced up when you're off the grid.