Ben Schapiro, a Chicago-land customer, took our 16 Watt solar panel and a classic tackle box and made a pretty cool and versatile solar charger. The solar panel charges a deep-cycle lead acid battery plus our V15 and V39 USB Batteries. “So far this has easily charged, iPhone, iPad, USB bike lights and cyclocomputer and NiMH AA batteries.”

solar toolbox

Parts List
– 12volt 20amp hour deep-cycle battery (available at Lowe’s or your local marine store)
Velleman SOL4UXN2 solar DC charge controller 5A max input. Switched 12/6/3 volt output. Input for two panels.
Blue Sea Systems Dual USB Charger Socket (x2)
– Bicycle headset spacers 32mm, metal as standoffs and heat sinks for USB chargers
Voltaic 16.8 watt 18 volt panel
– 24 year old Plano tackle box (check eBay!)
– Various odds and ends from the parts box

According to our Ben, “the lead acid battery just fit in the tool box with two strips of aluminum angle riveted to the bottom to keep the battery centered. The charge controller, V39 battery/V11/V15, adaptors and USB chargers fit in to cutouts in the upper tray partitions with the battery and charger cables exiting the bottom of the tray.

The Velleman SOL4UNX2 has switched 12/6/3 volt power outlets using 1/4″ and two 1/8″ audio jacks. The plan is to connect the Fuse 10W to the second input to increase the incoming current.

Designed for damp environments, the two Blue Sea Systems USB chargers will charge one device at 2.1 amps or two devices each at 1 amp. A green LED confirms power at the chargers with a 15mA parasitic current.

iPads, iPhones, any USB device can be charged from this set up as long as the total current draw is kept at or below 4A.

The weight, not including solar panel is 17.4 lbs. Not exactly bike portable, but good for car camping.”

Thanks to Ben for sharing the project.

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