Home > Cool Tech > Weekend Workshop: Keep on rocking off the grid…

Weekend Workshop: Keep on rocking off the grid with a DIY solar Bluetooth speaker

Need something to keep you busy this weekend? We’ve got you covered. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column in which we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage. It’s time to start building!

There are few things as discouraging as packing up your car for a weekend spent roughing it, only to later find out, in that dark patch of dirt, that the batteries you expect to power your portable speaker are all out of precious juice. If you’re escaping the hubbub of city life, it’s unlikely there’s Safeway, Radio Shack, or Mom ‘n Pop shop anywhere nearby.

To help solve this problem, an Instructables user by the name of Khaleel123 built what’s perhaps the single best camping companion short of a tent: a solar-powered, Bluetooth-capable radio. By making use of a couple solar cells, a radio module, and some small speakers, Khaleel123 fashioned a unique speakerbox out of some leftover wood flooring, which allows him to pump up his favorite jams with a little help from the sun. The best part? Building one yourself shouldn’t take much longer than a productive weekend.

Since we have a good feeling you’re already salivating at the opportunity to piece one of these contraptions together for yourself, we’ve gone ahead and sifted through Khaleel123’s walkthrough to find an exact build list. As is the case with any Weekend Workshop project calling for the use of a table saw, hand saw, soldering iron, or any combination of such tools, it’s absolutely paramount you have a complete understanding of how to use these before beginning. If you don’t feel comfortable using any of the tools yourself, we recommend asking for help or sitting this one out altogether. With that said, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Tools:

  • Table saw
  • Hand saw
  • Hole saw
  • Sand paper (any grit)
  • Router and jig
  • Chisel
  • Soldering iron
  • Hot glue gun (with glue)

Materials:

  • Wood glue
  • 6V solar cells (2)
  • Small Bluetooth and MP3-capable radio module
  • Rechargeable 5.8V AA batteries (4)
  • Diode
  • Small PC speakers (2)
  • Wire
  • Wood (flooring, scraps, whatever you like)

After gathering the necessary materials required for the build, it’s now time to start constructing this innovative solar-powered and Bluetooth-enabled radio. Simply follow Khaleel123’s comprehensive Instructables walkthrough and before the weekend is up, you’ll be rocking out to your favorite tunes wherever the sun shines — and where it isn’t shining, for that matter, assuming your solar arrays are still packing a bit of juice. Happy building!

The entire walkthrough for building this Bluetooth and MP3-capable solar-powered radio can be found over at Instructables.