Solar panel phone charging setup tutorial
Step by step guide to easily set up a solar panel system for charging phone. You can setup this safe and reliable solar charging station at cheap cost. Parts you need, how to choose the correct battery, solar charge controller & more.
This happened to me in 2018.
No electricity, no mobile network for 2 weeks.
It was one of the worst experience ever.
In 2018 flood in Kerala, we lost electricity for 2 weeks.
That is when I realized the importance of having an emergency kit in my home.
Part of my new emergency kit was a solar phone charging station.
Solar panel powered phone charging setup is perfect for travel, remote areas & as a power backup system.
These are also the best for emergency situations like long power outage because of a natural disaster or man-made disaster.
So far 2020 is being very bad with earthquakes, pandemics & floods.
Let’s hope for the best, but Now is the best time to prepare for any emergencies that might happen.
I decided to invest some money for a solar panel, battery and charge controller to create a phone charging setup after going through few weeks without power in my area.
Following is how I did it, step by step, so you can build one yourself.
Are solar-powered phone chargers worth it?
A solar panel along with a battery is very useful to charge a smartphone, and some lights.
The setup we build today can also be used for lighting an LED Bulb. But our main goal is to recharge a mobile phone.
In this post, we are going to buy parts and build the Cheapest, reliable, and efficient phone charging solar panel system.
Ready-made Solar mobile chargers are available to purchase online. But many of them are useless and are a waste of money. Below is a sample product
Some of these small ones might work, but since they are so small, produces insignificance charge.
So it will take a lot of time to charge the phone, and therefore is literally useless for practical use.
Another disadvantage of such products is that, you will end up putting your phone along with the panel, in the sun, because the cord is often short.
We are going to build a perfectly working and reliable solar phone charging system. It is very essential during times of disaster. So it should be something you can depend on during long blackouts.
Where to buy solar panel from?
Where to buy from - So I checked the price of both 10w solar panel and solar charge controller in all major Ecommerce stores(except those who deliver from Chinese warehouse because it takes a lot of time to reach).
Best price as of (5/05/2020) is available from loom solar website.
I found a cheap trick by loom solar - they offer 10% offer when using coupon code SUN10.
But what they do is just increase the price(of the solar controller in my case) and then reduce it when you apply coupons. They sell the same charge controller on Amazon at a lower price.
So if you decide to buy only solar panels from their website and controller from Amazon, the coupon code will not work. But still, ** I don’t expect a 10% discount on a product with such a low margin**.
At the time of writing this, I am not affiliated with loom solar. Maybe in the future, I will join their affiliate program.
Solar panel for charging mobile phone & Laptop.
Since we are going for the cheapest possible option here - we need a panel that can produce a minimum of .50 Amp to charge a 12v 4ah battery (All calculations are done with cost in mind).
You can of course go for a bigger solar panel(same control panel can be used for panels up to 100 watts but choose battery accordingly Eg 50 Amp battery for 100w panel)
Same panel but battery up to 10ah. But of course, it will take a lot more time to charge with a 10w panel.
What we are going to do in this setup is - 10-watt solar panel, 12v 7Amp battery, and 6 Amp charge control panel(you can go for a cheaper control panel with a lower amp rating, but we are choosing this because this one has a USB port, also it will be good if we want to add more solar panels to the system).
Here is a list of top 5 best 10W solar panels available online in India for uses like phone & laptop Charging.
Charge controller for Solar panel.
Solar charge controller manages, controls & regulates irregular current produced from solar panel to stable output to recharge the battery.
It also prevents overcharging. Many cheap solar controllers are available under 6 Amps.
But here we want one with a USB Port, so that, we can connect mobile phone USB charger directly to it. So we are going for the cheapest controller but with USB support.
Solar battery for charging mobile phone.
In this case, I chose a deep cycle lead-acid battery, 12v 7Amp battery for optimal charging time and performance with a 10-watt panel.
For better efficiency, you can also choose a lithium-ion battery. You can easily buy or build them rated at 12v and 3 Amps to 7 Amps.
Final setup i chose.
- Solar panel -Loom Solar Panel 10 watt - 12 volts for Mobile Charging
- Solar charge controller -Luminous Solar Charge Controller - 6 Amps, 12 volt
- Battery - I used an old bike battery. You can buy any 12v 4Ah-7Ah to 8ah deep cycle lead acid battery or li ion.
COST - solar phone charger price
- Solar panel -Rs 750
- Solar charge controller -Rs 500
- Battery -I used an old one.
Total COST - 1250
How to use solar phone charger.
It is really easy to connect the solar panel, controller, and battery. Following is a diagram that shows connection details for the setup.