Solar panel uses??

Hey guys I'm needing the expert opinions of everyone here in the tech section. See I just mounted this 0.5 watt solar panel outside on a L bracket today (not just a couple tiny ones I pulled out of solar lanterns (does anyone want to see what it looks like mounted outside? I didn't think to take pictures until I got inside).

Anyways, I've mounted it, ran the wire along the ground and in through my window (drilled a small hole below the window). Connectivity checks out good and I get about 20-21v and the full sun hasn't even hit it yet. The only thing is here though, this solar panel is meant as a trickle charging panel for car batteries and whatnot, and as such I only seem to be getting about 10-15ma (seriously wtf).

I just resoldered this charging board from a solar lantern I had laying around, however I have a couple questions.

I'm not entirely sure if this little board will handle the current/voltage (however it should as it's fairly low current from the solar panel)

I've rigged up the board mostly like it was inside the solar lantern except longer/stronger wires. I have a switch on the positive line of the batt+ to the board. I soldered some thicker wires to the SOL connections on the board. Now I've seen a few of these and some are rather simplistic control boards and some actually have a bit of circuitry to them. This one appears to have resistors to current limit the LED (would be good so I don't blow it), however after following the traces on the board the led get's it's positive from that black transistor thing with 5 legs on it (what is that a power regulator?)

The idea behind all of this here is that I can maybe charge up my cell with it or usb devices for example, but to have that come from a battery pack of AA's (to work as a buffer sorta-speak like a capacitor bank). I am a little miffled as how to make this work right the way I want it to. I would assume that once I get the battery pack situated I can disconnect the LED and use that connection for a charging cable, but then it would only provide power when theres no sunlight out (when you turn it on it turns the led on if there is no current coming from the solar panel).

How can I do this guys I'm sorry to ask such stupid questions as I know to some of you's it's probably fairly mediocre but I'm a bit dumb.

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pbates1237 years ago
 Sorry for the second post ran out of space to put in the following references so you can learn how to change the circuit to fit your desires.
Punkguyta (author)  pbates1237 years ago
 Oh thank you! And yeah I think I need to get me a couple LM317's
 You might want to find a less power consuming controller than the LM317,ACTIVE COMPONENTS and ELECTROSONIC Inc. both have sites with cross referencing of semiconductors.They also have kits they will ship to you.   
Ceiling cat7 years ago
That black dealy looks like a rectifier. It turns AC into DC.  And yes, you do need  it.
But the solar cell provides DC...
That's  what I thought, too.  I don't know.  That's just what it looked like to me.
Punkguyta (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
 Yeah but what if the polarity reversed on the input?
Swap the wires over...?
That's what I thought too.  I was wondering, I see an inductor in there, is it possible is a small IC that acts like a joule thief or Minty Boost?  I thought it may be a transistor or two packaged together, because I do not see a LDR or Photocell, I thought the last leg may be connected to the Solar panel and used to turn the Joule Thief Circuit on only when its dark.
Another thought, it probably is a transistor, I have seen transistors that has 4 pins, usually a Collector / Emitter / Base1 / Base2, but I don't see why it needs another base pin...

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