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I have a small solar panel that I would like to use for charging phones or other small devices.

Goal: 5v output

The panel has an Open circuit voltage of 1.8V, Short circuit amperage is 4A. (The amperage is closer to 4.5 but I don't remember the exact measurement)

Most of the off shelf converters I have found only get to 500 milliamps. I'd like to get, or make, a converter that could output 1000ma continuously.

Any thoughts are welcome.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ 1.8 V is quite low, but not entirely impossible. Just search for an off the shelf solution and stick with it. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 20, 2017 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ My guess is that this panel will be unable to deliver the 5 W (5 V, 1 A) of your requirement. I suggest you try an MT3608 based module, they're only a $1 on Ebay. But 1.8 V is on the edge, you'd get better performance using 2 panels in series. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 20, 2017 at 14:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ If 1.8V is really the Open Circuit voltage, expect 1.5V under load, which would rule out the TPS61032. But if you have the panel, make your own measurements. \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Jun 20, 2017 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


I have actually made something which required a chip similar to your needs. I ended up using the TPS61032 from TI for my project. You can find it HERE

If you want the evaluation board then you can find that HERE.

I found this to be a very decent little chip. I managed to get 1A out of it at 5V pretty easily from inputs ranging from 3V down to 1.8V. Give it a try and I hope this was helpful to you.

ADDED: Alternatively, you can go to places like digikey/farnell/mouser/RS etc and find their range of switching DC/DC converters and then narrow your search down by selecting the specs you want (min/max input voltage, output current, output voltage etc) and then finding a chip that way. You can then search google to see if that particular chip has an evaluation board somewhere too.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the input, it was a free display item. Just wanted to try putting it to use. I'll see what I can accomplish and let you know what comes of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tom Ryan
    Jun 20, 2017 at 18:03

You will need to investigate data sheets for different step ups. You may want to look at the Maxim MAX1524EUT+T. Although I believe you will have much better results using at least two of those panels in series. Trying to gain that much voltage while giving up suck a small amount of amperage is likely to be difficult if not impossible. In theory your panel (if givnig 1.5V at 4A) is developing 6 watts of power and you are only asking for 5 watts (5V at 1A), but that's asking for a lot of efficiency with low loss from your boost circuit.


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