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Homemade Solar Powered Radio

If your like me and spend plenty of time outside, you probably have a radio nearby. I like to unwind in the evening with some music while indulging in my favorite hobby. I’m sure you can tell my favorite hobby is Dutch oven and Outdoor Cooking along with camping.

After being outside for a long weekend I would find myself looking for batteries or the rechargeable batteries were dead. That’s why I started thinking about an alternative.

“A Solar Powered Radio”

The solar panel charges the battery, the battery runs the radio. The solar charge controller stops the solar panel from overcharging the battery. Simple!

Everything you need to build this project can be found on the internet or the local home improvement store.

What you will need for this project:

Old AM/FM Radio – Free!
12 Volt Solar Panel – About $40
12V Solar Panel Charge Controller – About $20
12 Volt Motorcycle Battery – from $35 and up, mine was Free!
Wire and Connectors Kit – in the toolbox
Soldering Iron and Solder – in the toolbox

Start by opening up the back of the Radio. Find the positive and negative connections. Solder 6 inches of wire to each, 1 (red) positive and 1 (black) negative each. Locate where you want the wires to exit the radio and drill a small hole. Measure and mark wire the wires where they will exit radio. Tie a knot in the wire at that point, the knot should be right on the hole inside the radio. The knot will keep the wires from being pulled out and break the connection. The radio is still capable of playing with batteries is why we bypassed the battery holder.

The Solar Panel came with the swivel base. Mount the panel on a small board as shown. Mount the solar charge controller under it. The panel will shade the charge controller when centered underneath. At this point the solar panel can be connected directly to the radio for a test. The only problem here is when a cloud rolls over the radio stops playing.

We are almost done, add connectors to the radio and solar panel charger wires. Make up four wires 12” long with connectors to match for use as extensions. I screwed the solar panel and charge controller wires to the board and the 12” extensions have alligator clips. This makes it simple, just clip them the screws. Find a nice sunny spot and face the panel towards to sun, set the battery on the ground under the table out of the sunlight.

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See the wiring diagram for the final assembly and you now have a solar radio.

You could have a radio like this for under a hundred bucks. I figured mine was paid for in one summer, at about $10 for batteries every other weekend. Think of all the batteries you will save, not to mention money. “Going Green to Save Green”

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How do we know when its done?
We use the smell test.
When it smells done, its done.
When it smells burnt, its burnt
When you can't smell it,
its not done.
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