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To date, most of our Weekend Projects, by design, have been battery-powered, save our inaugural project, the USB Webcam Microscope, which uses a USB cable (5V) as its power supply. In our Floating Glow Display project, the battery clip even provided a sculptural element, doubling as the base for our display. Our latest project still uses batteries, only now, you’ll never need to swap them out for fresh power! The Solar TV Remote project will teach you first and foremost how to fabricate a solar power pack capable of supplying two rechargeable AA batteries with 3V of renewable energy goodness!

My question – or challenge rather – for you Weekend Project modders out there is this: What else can you power with the sun? If your answer is lots of things, I say prove it! We still have a few Maker’s Notebooks available for our Weekend Projects Challenge, and I’d love to see someone mod this solar power pack into, say, a circuit-bent toy! And if you’re unsure about where to insert the rectifier diode or where to solder your power pack’s leads on a different device, don’t forget you can always email us your questions (or your tips and tricks!).

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More:
See all of the RadioShack Weekend Projects posts (to date)

Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!


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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I really don’t go through remote control batteries at a rate that would cause me to sonsider  the solar recharging route. However id do I’d consider  making a drop in charger. With charge control circuitry, because it doesn’t make sense going from swapping out dead batteries to swapping out batteries ruined by over charging.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Of course the batteries only charge when the solar panels are put out in direct sunlight; they won’t charge wedged in the cushions of your couch! So I think the ‘over charging’ notion is a bit overkill, so to say. Also NiMH batteries these days are much much better at politely discharging than first-gen ‘rechargeable’ batteries – also that’s what the rectifier diode is for! But the drop in charger is also a great idea, and I’d love to see photos of that mod!

  2. Spammy McSpam says:

    Voltage is not  a measure of power. C’mon Make.

    1. Anonymous says:

      That’s like saying coffee isn’t a measure of power – of course it is! Also, the solar cell is 50 mAh if that’s what you want. C’mon Spammy!

    2. Anonymous says:

      That’s like saying coffee isn’t a measure of power – of course it is! Also, the solar cell is 50 mAh if that’s what you want. C’mon Spammy!

    3. Anonymous says:

      That’s like saying coffee isn’t a measure of power – of course it is! Also, the solar cell is 50 mAh if that’s what you want. C’mon Spammy!

      1. Spammy McSpam says:

        No, that’s not what I want either.

        Wattage is a measure of power. P = I x V.

        3V means nothing in terms of power unless you know what type of current you can source.  

        1. Anonymous says:

          and what type of current can YOU source? C’mon Spammy!

          1. Spammy McSpam says:

            3 V across a 1 ohm load when sourcing 1 A of current means the load is dissipating 3 watts of power. If you can only source 1 mA then you only dissipate 1 mW. You can still generate 3 V across the load in either case, but your power consumption is off three orders of magnitude. 

          2. Spammy McSpam says:

            3 V across a 1 ohm load when sourcing 1 A of current means the load is dissipating 3 watts of power. If you can only source 1 mA then you only dissipate 1 mW. You can still generate 3 V across the load in either case, but your power consumption is off three orders of magnitude. 

          3. Anonymous says:

            Well why didn’t you say so at the beginning! Thanks Spammy, it’s been fun!

          4. Spammy McSpam says:

            3 V across a 1 ohm load when sourcing 1 A of current means the load is dissipating 3 watts of power. If you can only source 1 mA then you only dissipate 1 mW. You can still generate 3 V across the load in either case, but your power consumption is off three orders of magnitude. 

          5. Spammy McSpam says:

            3 V across a 1 ohm load when sourcing 1 A of current means the load is dissipating 3 watts of power. If you can only source 1 mA then you only dissipate 1 mW. You can still generate 3 V across the load in either case, but your power consumption is off three orders of magnitude. 

      2. Spammy McSpam says:

        No, that’s not what I want either.

        Wattage is a measure of power. P = I x V.

        3V means nothing in terms of power unless you know what type of current you can source.  

      3. Spammy McSpam says:

        No, that’s not what I want either.

        Wattage is a measure of power. P = I x V.

        3V means nothing in terms of power unless you know what type of current you can source.  

      4. Spammy McSpam says:

        No, that’s not what I want either.

        Wattage is a measure of power. P = I x V.

        3V means nothing in terms of power unless you know what type of current you can source.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    can make it on larger scale to supply more than 3 Volts ????

    http://www.autohex.com/

    1. Anonymous says:

      hi Roman,
      It’s very possible. Keep in mind however that these projects are intended for beginners, and so we don’t want to complicate the projects. 5V is very easy, for USB devices; and I’ve seen 6V and 12V and 20V mods as well. How many volts you need? ;)

    2. Anonymous says:

      hi Roman,
      It’s very possible. Keep in mind however that these projects are intended for beginners, and so we don’t want to complicate the projects. 5V is very easy, for USB devices; and I’ve seen 6V and 12V and 20V mods as well. How many volts you need? ;)

    3. Anonymous says:

      hi Roman,
      It’s very possible. Keep in mind however that these projects are intended for beginners, and so we don’t want to complicate the projects. 5V is very easy, for USB devices; and I’ve seen 6V and 12V and 20V mods as well. How many volts you need? ;)

    4. Anonymous says:

      hi Roman,
      It’s very possible. Keep in mind however that these projects are intended for beginners, and so we don’t want to complicate the projects. 5V is very easy, for USB devices; and I’ve seen 6V and 12V and 20V mods as well. How many volts you need? ;)

    5. Anonymous says:

      hi Roman,
      It’s very possible. Keep in mind however that these projects are intended for beginners, and so we don’t want to complicate the projects. 5V is very easy, for USB devices; and I’ve seen 6V and 12V and 20V mods as well. How many volts you need? ;)