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Charging iPod with solar energy:
Technical Issues Support(*)

How to make the EA6 USB adaptor, New Option Lite, work charging (recharging) your iPod shuffle 1GB or 2GB and iPod nano 2GB , 4GB, or 8GB

On April 17, 2008, an advanced and experienced hiker, JP, asked us in an e-mail to clarify for her, how to charge/recharge  her iPod nano 4GB, using the EL8 Headlamp, Solar Panel combination, and the EA1 12 volt converter, both made by New Lite Option, (available in our website too, Products). 

This iPod charging method-assembly using solar power-energy, requires an iPod's 12 car socket charger, plus the EL8 Headlamp, and EA1 12 volt converter (see video following link above).

JP told us she didn't own an iPod's car charger (most people don't; it's easier to use the USB cable and plug it to the computer or wall charger). She really needed to keep weight to a very minimum, because she was going for a month solo hiking trip to the High Sierra: she also really needed a light weight flashlight or headlamp, like the EL8 Solar Powered Headlamp - Solar Panel, not to mess with batteries, and her iPod to be charge/recharged for the month hiking!!! Tough requirements, but not impossible.

New Option Light have an accessory  USB adapter (EA6), that plugged into the EL8 headlamp, converts the EL8 ~3.7V to an very close USB power voltage, a little higher than the standard USB 5V.

We did some research on the New Lite Option's EA6 USB adapter, and found that with a very small circuit modification, it could work charging iPods, using the iPod's USB cable instead of the heavier and bulkier iPod's car charger.

We also found some You Tube videos showing how to make an iPod charger, using a cell wall charger and an USB extension cable. The idea is brilliant, just some important information was missing. It could lead to the damage of your iPod.

iPods use the computer's USB port to transfer data and recharge. To duplicate just the "USB power port" you have to reproduce the same conditions found in a computer's USB port, when no data is being transferred, that means to have the same voltages on ALL USB female connector.

And those voltages are:

Pin Name Cable color Description Voltage
to charge
1 VCC Red +5 VDC 4.8V to 5.2V
2 D- White Data - ~2.7V
3 D+ Green Data + ~1.8V
4 GND Black Ground 0V

It is very easy to get the D+ and D- voltages from a passive resistor voltage divider, like the shown in the following diagram:

Where the rectangles in the middle represent the USB connector pins


We made the modification on the EA6 USB adapter, and tested thoroughly. The results of those tests with several iPods nano are shown in this page: Charging iPods with solar energy.

We are the only website that offers EA6 USB adapters that work charging iPods, used in combination with the EL8 headlamp.

Related article: Important Notice from New Lite Option:

"The USB Converter examples that you are seeing in the QuickTime video has been modified to make them work with iPods. EA6 was not designed to charge/recharge iPods yet. We've contacted the manufacturer, New Option Lighting (  They are now in the process of manufacturing a new version which will charge/recharge iPods without any problems. The new EA6 USB Converter for iPods will be available in December, 2008."

If you are a DIY (Do It Yourself) we will show you how to modify your EA6 USB adapter in the following movie.

But do not despair if you can not do it!!! You do not need to have the skills to do it your self! We can do it for you. (We'll post information soon, to help you to get your EA6 USB adapter modified to work on charging iPods)

This is a 5 minutes movie, that shows step by step, how to modify the EA6 USB adapter, to make it suitable to charge/recharge iPods.

This video is self explanatory. If you need any more help, or you have a special device you want to charge using the EL8 Headlamp when you are outdoors, please let us know by filing in the comments form below.

Elements and Materials needed:

  1. EA6 USB adapter
  2. 30 K resistor, preferable 1/4 W, or even better 1/8 W
  3. Soldering iron and solder
  4. Nipper, cutter, or micro cutter
  5. If you are young and you vision is good, this is all you need. I find very helpful to use a "helping hands" with a magnifying glass.
The 30 K resistor needs to be solder in parallel with R3, surface mounting resistor, on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board)

Whole procedure takes about 5 minutes or less for experienced electronic/electrical technicians/handy man.

Related Links

EL8 Charging Uses / Jobsite Headlamp / Ordering Products / Charging iPods / EL8 Headlamp Specifications

Charging iPhone with Solar Energy / Charge iPod 80/160/GB with Solar Energy

Please, feel free to send your comments, ideas, and suggestions about the articles you read in our site.





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