Solar Minty Boost Mark2

19-10-2011

Solar Mk 2

I've had this project on the go for a while. I'm a believer in greener energy, especially when it's also convenient. The original solar minty boost was a lash-up between a Minty Boost a Sparkfun Lipoly Charger and a solar panel I bought from eBay on a whim. The problem was it wouldn't charge the lipoly battery fully, because and I could be wrong here the average voltage was not enough to actually charge the lipoly. The solar panel doesn't always kick out enough volts to charge the battery, especially in the UK.

The wonderful Lady Ada has released a new Solar LiPoly Charger which I figured would suit my needs perfectly. It has a whopping great capacitor on it which figures. Lashing this together with the existing parts resulted in the Mark2

solar mk 2

The issue I had was in the housing. I thought about project boxes but couldn't find any. I thought about using the laser cutter to make one but again, it was too bulky and too complicated. I was getting stressed until a chap called Chris at London Hackspace came up with the idea to use an Altoids tin. Classic - It works really well with a few holes cut into it and it looks the part. I added some sugru around the usb socket and nuts to hold things in place, and also, for the geek cred!

solar mk2

This project has cost too much and taken too much time but I've learnt one important lesson - Dont get too blinkered. I stuck it out but if it hadn't been for the suggestion from a friend, I'd have never finished and gotten upset. Sometimes, it's important to take a step back and relax.

Time for a field trial!