Solar Notebook Charger

[20190619] Instructions for building version NB4WG1 Solar Notebook + Whirlygig  This configurations includes 1 motor, 1 2″dia yellow wheel, velcro, pipe cleaners, energy beads, wire, & alligator clips for the whirlygig.   The autosocket is removed, so that one must solder wires directly to the USB car charger.  Plus the ingredients of the Solar Notebook NB4.

[20170716] Instructions for building version NB42+E123 Solar Notebook + Emergency.  This configurations includes 1 Power Bank, 1 USB LED Light Bulb, 1 USB LED Light Stick, pencil pouch, plus the ingredients of the Solar Notebook NB42.

[20170716] Instructions for building version NB4 and NB42 of the Solar Notebook Family. These configuration use the new 8v*400mA solar module, and coroplast (repurposed campaign signs) as the foundation.  NB4 uses 1 solar module, while NB42 uses 2 modules in parallel to increase charging power. Solder and solder-free options are included.

[20170608] Instructions for building version NB3B of the Solar Notebook Family. This configuration utilizes paper cardboard as the ‘notebook’ materials, includes 1 Solar Module, and includes options for either soldering or a solder-free solution.

Solar Notebook Charger (v. NB3B) shown charging a powerbank.

Solar Notebook Charger (v. NB3B) shown charging a powerbank.

[20170125] version of Solar Notebook Charger 2.0.  the new version was inspired by the fact that we ran out of the solar laminates we had for the first version. So we’ve custom fabricated 6v*500mA solar modules for the new edition, and are inspired to repurpose corrugated plastic campaign signs for a waterproof and durable notebook material.  We’ve created 2 options – 2S = soldering required. 2NS = soldering NOT required.   For the soldering option, students will solder solar modules directly to the USB charger, eliminating the need and cost for an autosocket.SolarNotebook2_WM3

Download instructions here for NB2S (PDF). (soldering required) (posted Jan. 25, 2017) 


The ‘Notebook’ (version 1) is similar to the Zipcharger, but uses 4 solar laminates to increase current required by newer phones (eg. iPhone 4 & 5). Instead of a zippered wallet, you get creative and build a ‘notebook’ made of cardboard and duct tape to house and protect the solar laminates. Make sure to extend your creativity to designing the cover – make a collage from magazines (solar, nature, eco) to develop a cool design with a message.

Instructions for building the Solar Notebook Charger V1 [pdf, updated on June 18, 2014]

Teacher tips for Making a Solar Cell Phone Charging Station as part of Intro to Engineering High School course.  [shared by Daniel Karbousky of Sonoma Academy,  Fall 2014]

Daniel Karbousky and his Intro to Engineering class (Fall 2014) with their Solar Charging Station

Daniel Karbousky and his Intro to Engineering class (Fall 2014) with their Solar Charging Station

[August 23, 2014] Sacramento Teachers build Solar Notebook Chargers at Solar Primer Workshop
Thirty teachers gathered in Sacramento at SMUD Energy Technology Center on recent Saturday to learn how to integrate solar energy lessons into their classrooms.  They also built solar cell phone/mp3 chargers using cardboard, duct tape, and solar cells.  The Notebook chargers provide a practical application for solar electricity – charging the battery on your mobile device using only the energy of the sun.  Educators also built a small motor-driven whirlygig – a kinetic sculpture – that when powered by the solar notebook, demonstrates how solar cells work.   Solar Notebook Charger Kits are available from Solar Schoolhouse (Rahus Institute).

Images [below] for assembling a kinetic sculpture (whirlygig) powered by the solar cells of the Solar Notebook Charger.  the 12v dc motor on this project matches the 12v power supply of the Notebook.

Skip to toolbar