Keep your gadgets powered even when you’re off the grid.
By The Big Book Of Hacks
January 18, 2013
Two 1-inch (2.5 cm) wood slats
5-watt, 12-volt solar panel
Soldering iron and solder ¼-inch (6.35-mm) plastic mono plug
Cigarette-lighter Y adapter
12-volt 12AH rechargeable battery
Solar DC charger controller
4 feet (1.2 m) of 18-gauge wire
15-amp DC panel meter
Two female terminal disconnects
Check online to discover your home's latitude. This is the angle at which you'll mount your solar panel.
Cut six pieces of plywood for the box. The lid should be slightly larger than the solar panel. Trim the top edges of the side, front, and back pieces to the appropriate angle. Cut the bottom to fit.
Drill a hole in each side panel for airflow: one in the back panel for the controller and battery cords, and one in the lid for the solar panel's cord. Then nail the wooden slats to the lid and mount the solar panel to it. Assemble the box with a hinge for the lid.
Place the station in the sun with the solar panel pointed south (north if you're in the southern hemisphere). Plug something in!
This project was excerpted from The Big Book Of Hacks: 264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects, a compendium of ingenious and hilarious projects for aspiring makers. Buy it here. And for more amazing hacks, go here.