DIY projects seem to be all the rage these days with people trying their hand at creating functional and artistic objects. While not all the results we’ve seen are laudable, a few stand out for their style and innovation. John Wilson is one such individual who made a name for himself with his cigar box-based Stella Amp, a battery-powered guitar amplifier that uses a TBA820M for the back end and a rail-to-rail op-amp for the front. Now, he’s tweaked his creation to produce a solar-powered amplifier called Solar Stella that operates using sunlight.
For his earlier creation, Wilson developed the amp at home and worked late into the night. The best part about Stella is that it sounds pretty good even at low volumes. According to Wilson, he fixed the device early on in the developmental stage to make it sound good. As for the solar-powered version, the cigar box is a Romeo and Julieta package that he bought at a thrift store. It took a while for Wilson to work on it as he didn’t want to mar the pretty artwork. However, he went ahead anyway and attached a solar panel on the lid.
The sound quality is pretty remarkable for a self-built device. It sounds impressive at both low and high volumes and we can imagine the time taken to tweak the amp to make it just right. The amp kit sells for $35 and can be purchased off Wilson’s website.
There’ve been several DIYers who’ve tinkered around with the idea of a solar amp. However, most have been rather large and bulky and can’t match Wilson’s small and artsy amplifiers. The fact that they’re portable makes them especially appealing as most amps are known to be too heavy to lug around. The choice of cigar boxes is also novel as it adds to the aesthetics.