In this Instructable I will show you how I constructed small solar panels for use in my larger Solar Hydrogen Generation project that I will post later. This Instructable will focus solely on how I assembled cells purchased online into functional panels.
The steps in this Instructable will include the following:
- Step 1 - Materials
- Step 2 - Building Part 1 - Soldering Leads to the Front Side
- Step 3 - Building Part 2 - Soldering Leads to the Back Side
- Step 4 - Building Part 3 - Final Assembly
- Step 5 - Conclusion
Thanks to everyone who voted for me, and the judges of the 2011 Green Living and Technology Contest!! I am honored to have won second prize, thanks!!
Step 1: Materials Needed
Solar Cells - I purchased mine from Electronic Goldmine. They often have sales on different cells. I chose some cells that were about 4"x4" (4 inches wide by 4 inches tall) that give off about 0.5 volts. I don't remember the amperage of the cells, but I remember it being fairly high, which is why I chose them, as electrolysis works well with low voltage and high current.
The Electronic Goldmine site is here: http://www.goldmine-elec.com/
- Solar Cell Ribbon. I also bought this from Electronic Goldmine. It is very thin, flat wire that is great for soldering to the solar cells. You can get away with using thin wire though.
- Picture Frames - I bought the biggest ones available at the dollar store, which held 8.5"x11" pictures, the size of copy paper. I used two for this project to fit all my cells.
- Foam Rubber Sheet - I bought this at the craft store to use in various projects. It is available in multiple thicknesses for less than a dollar for a decent sized sheet. I meant for this to help keep moisture away from the cells, which you will see later.
- Plywood - I am using thin, 1/8" (one-eighth of an inch) thick plywood that I salvaged from some wooden pallets.
- Matching Nuts and Bolts - I am using stainless steel nuts and bolts that can be found at any home improvement store. I chose to use stainless steel because they will be out in potentially rough weather, and I want them to hold up.
You will also need some tools, as following:
- Soldering Iron and Solder
- Jigsaw or other tool to cut plywood
- Dremel rotary tool - optional but helpful
- Sharp knife, screw drivers, various hand tools