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I have been searching for diagrams of a lithium-ion solar charger but can't find anything beyond (very expensive) components from TI. Should I just give up the search or does anyone think that I can build a (safe) charger for less than $5?
I use Linear LTC4054 chips. They are *so* simple and very safe - they use CC / CV with thermal limiting and even a 'pre charge' setting for deeply discharged cells. A cheap Chinese alternative is the TP4054 chip - very similar but 'looser' on the specs. I can happily send you a couple TP4054 chips if you are interested (just charge you postage - chip is free) or you can buy my 'ready made' USB charger ($17 incl postage) with a choice of current settings - you would need a USB socket on your solar panel or I can supply a suitable 500ma solar panel with USB socket on it for a further $17 incl postage.
Thanks for the suggestion. I had run across those products before but hadn't heard of anyone using them in a device. I still don't know if I be able to hook the up correctly given my limited experience but I will certainly give them a try.
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