Solar Charging for the iPhone
When you are out and about, camping on on the bike and what not, its a pain when your iPhone dies. There was the Minty Boost which was a great invention by Adafruit Industries (as I recall) and then someone decided to mod this and add a solar panel to it. I thought I'd have a go at this, using parts I'd sourced myself from various places. This Guide over on Instructables covers the basics. This project was more about what not to do, and that can be quite useful.
As you can see, my Minty boost is extra steam punk! There is quite a large inductor on there which is quite overkill. The problem here is Lady Ada likes skinny-ass parts that don't seem to be standard or at least they aren't standard for Farnell. That is certainly an issue. There is a different set of packaging it seems, at least for the resistors and inductor. Magically it works. I found the USB connectors cheaper on eBay.
The Lithium Polymer battery was looted from my parent's misc drawer. You know, the one EVERYONE has in their kitchen. It appears to work but I'll certainly give it time before I'm totally sure. I had a stack of Lipolys that came out of a macbook battery. Linking these into the system actually burnt out my lipoly charger board! It was mad! Actual fire and burning! I don't know what was in these batteries because it attacked the previous owner as well! Madness!
The Solar panel came from eBay and I can't remember what I actually bought! It had two small contacts on the back. Soldering a USB cable to it worked fine. It is plugged into the otherside of the sparkfun charger. All in all, a successful conclusion so far. I need to craft a case to hold it all, but thats for another time! :)