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A very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger




Yesterday, I built a very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger for my TP-link 10400mAh USB Power Bank. All I needed was a 6V/3.5W solar panel and the TD1410-based 5V buck converter module. I bought both of them on Aliexpress for less than $8.

A very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger

Simplest DIY solar-powered USB charger

It was one of the easiest projects I built. All I needed to do was to connect the input of the 5V step-down buck converter to the output of the solar panel using two wires.

Connections between the 5V buck converter and solar panel

Connections between the 5V buck converter and solar panel

From TD1410 datasheet,

The TD1410 is a 380 KHz fixed frequency monolithic step down switch mode regulator with a built in internal Power MOSFET. It achieves 2A continuous output current over a wide input supply range with excellent load and line regulation. The device includes a voltage reference, oscillation circuit, error amplifier, internal PMOS and etc.

For 5V output from TD1410, the input voltage can range from 5.5V to 20V (from the datasheet). I measured the solar panel open-circuit voltage under sunny conditions to be ~ 6.5V. Under the load of 200 mA, the solar panel output voltage was reduced to ~6.0V. The TD1410-based 5V buck converter module that I purchased on Aliexpress already has a diode at its input for polarity protection. So I didn’t need any extra diode for the solar panel output as it directly goes to the input of the buck converter. The nice thing about this buck converter is it has a USB-A female port for output, which is same as found in standard USB chargers. It also comes with a plastic enclosure (see pictures below).

For more detail: A very simple DIY solar-powered USB charger

 

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