In Focus: Making A Solar Boombox
With the gradual depletion of the natural energy resources, the world is looking forward to the non-conventional energy sources, mainly the solar-power. The power of the sun can be harnessed easily to produce useful electrical energy to power up different electrical or electronic devices and gadgets. All of us prefer a music system which is wireless and portable in nature. The conventional battery powered speaker boxes are OK. What if you can charge up the speaker batteries with solar power? Well it is obviously an excellent concept to “enjoy music off the grid”. Following are the steps to build up a solar powered audio boombox with some simple accessories and tools:
Moderately challenging (may require expertise in few areas)
The overall time required to make this project is about 2 days. It depends on the efficiency of the person involved.
- A small audio amplifier playable by a 12 V D.C. power source
- A pair of speakers (medium in size)
- Wooden plates (to make the cabinet)
- A 12 V D.C. rechargeable battery
- A solar power regulator
- Connecting cables (preferably copper cables)
- Wire stripper
- Hand saw
- Zipper ties
- A screwdriver
- Soldering Iron
- Electrical insulation tape
- Cable ties
The estimated cost involved in this project is about $100. It depends on the type of solar panel and quality of the amplifier-speaker set used.
- First of all make a sleek cabinet to mount the equipments. Use the hand saw, cut appropriate sizes and fix them together with the help of screws to build the cabinet. Cut two round shaped holes to place the speakers. Provide a strong metallic handle or a pair of handles to lift up or carry the system.
- Then, fix the solar panel on the top surface of the cabinet box with the help of screws and bolts and also make an additional hole for the cable entry from the panel to the components inside. You can also make an adjustable mounting for the solar panel so that you can change it’s angle so as to capture maximum sunlight.
- Mount the battery, the solar power regulator, speakers and the amplifier inside the wooden cabinet with the help of screws or zipper ties.
- Now lets get started with the electrical connections. Connect the two terminals of the battery to the solar power regulator.
- Next connect the solar power regulator with the two wires coming from the solar panel above the box. This is the one which collects the electrical power from the solar panel output and charges up the battery to store it. Once these connections are over, let us move on to the audio amplifier part.
- Connect the D.C. 12 V power source of the battery to the amplifier’s power input. Solder two wires to each of the speakers and connect them to the audio output sockets of the audio amplifier.
- You can take a test run of this system in order to check the correctness of the electrical circuitry.
- Once you have finished with the testing part, cover any naked wire terminals with electrical insulation tape. Properly dress the power cables with the help of cable ties.
- Connect the audio input cable of the amplifier and take out the other end from the hole you’ve already made for the solar panel cable.
- Connect this cable to any audio source such as Ipods, MP3 players or laptops and enjoy the music.
Frequently asked questions:
1. Is this device portable?
Yes, the design given above is completely portable. Well if you select small speakers then the solar panel required to feed the batteries will be smaller. That can reduce the overall size and weight of the boombox and make it easier to carry.
2. How long can I play the music off the grid?
This device is designed suitably to charge a battery unit which powers the speakers and the amplifiers. Depending upon the backup capacity of the battery, you can enjoy the music. Try to use batteries above the rating of 2500 mAH. You can also get an increased playtime by optimizing the volume level of the speakers.
- Make sure that all the electrical components are of the same voltage ratings that is 12 V D.C.
- Mount the speakers and other components tightly and properly to avoid any damage due to any vibration or while carrying the device from one place to another.
- Make use of high quality copper wires for the connections. It is because a poor quality wire will result in losses and discharge the battery quickly.
- Try to keep the volume level moderate to get extended battery backup.
Things to watch out for:
- Look out for cloudy weathers. In that case carry extra batteries if you are in a camp site or picnic because the solar charging system will not work in the absence of solar radiation.
- Never use a dead or leaking battery for such project. It may lead to the explosion of the battery as a result of repeated charging and discharging. Properly inspect the battery and check the outgoing voltage with the help of a multimeter before installing.
- Don’t make the cabinet box too heavy. Instead, try to keep it light and strong. That will prevent it from breaking up if it ever slipped from your hands and hit the ground.
'EcoFriend' is an environmental blog. The idea behind EcoFriend is simple: to inform and educate consumers who love to possess the latest gadgets and products available in the market and who are also concerned about the environment around them.
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