$3 Emergency Solar-Powered Radio Made With an Altoids Tin

solar radio project photo
Joshua Zimmerman

Joshua Zimmerman has a great project up on Instructables for turning an Altoids tin into a compact solar radio. All said, the entire project cost a whole $3. It seems like a project coming at a time when everyone is ultra aware of emergency situations, so it is both a fun and practical weekend tinkering project. It even comes complete with plug-in headphones.
Joshua writes, "In honor of all my good friends still over in Japan I've decided to create an Instructable for a $3 Emergency Solar Radio. It's a great thing in case of tsunami, nuclear melt down, or zombie invasion. Plus it's really cute when put into an Altoids tin."

And he's right. I have a soft spot for Altoids tin projects. Everything looks better in them.

With a project time of just under an hour, it's ideal for testing out your DIY skills on a weekend. The tools and materials look simple enough:

solar radio project photo
solar radio project photo

Joshua lists parts and tools as:
an FM Radio, two Solar Garden Lights, 1 Diode ($1 for 100 of them online, or take one out of any random junk pile), and a few basic tools like a soldering iron, drill, some wire and wire strippers, a headset or the speakers from a set of earbuds, and of course, the Altoids tin.

The full instructions are on Instructables, so you can get the details for putting this together yourself -- the steps don't look daunting, and it's a great learning project.

solar radio project photo

Here is a beefed up version Joshua created that he says still only cost about $6 to complete.

solar radio project photo

Joshua runs a site called Brown Dog Gadgets and he has a bunch of different solar cells and various you can use for creating this tiny radio yourself -- or a few completed radios (so you can just buy them and say you made it yourself). It's a great site for gadget geeks so definitely check it out for parts and supplies.

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