Step 3: Building Part 2 - Soldering Leads to the Back Side

On the back side of the solar cells, the side not facing the sun, the soldering process was easier because there was no white coating to be scraped off.  Instead, there were small areas where leads are meant to be soldered to.

To solder leads to the back of the cells, I again applied solder to the solar cell ribbon wire, and then held it to the rectangular area where leads are meant to be soldered to, and pressed the wire down to the rectangle with the soldering iron.

I then snipped the solar cell ribbon wire short like the other lead, to be able to use less of the solar cell wire.

I finally soldered some wires to the solar cell wire attached to the cells, and put some hot glue over the space where the cell ends and the ribbon wire begins, to insulate and strengthen it.

I tested the output of each cell with a multimeter to see what I was getting.  I also connected some cells up to LEDs and a few small motors to test my output.  These tests were done to determine how I should combine the cells in series and parallel to get the right amount of volts and amperage for my application.  I ended up deciding to connect them all in series, as my output was fairly disappointing.

At this point in the process I started to have problems with cells breaking, as they are literally paper thin, and break very very easily.  I managed to put some back together, making sure to align all the thin white lines on the front side of the cells together and taping/hot gluing them in place.
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v.Nice!<br>I'm glad your project didn't start with &quot;Go to your county road crew and ask them for broken solar cells and tell them they're for your kid's science project&quot; I don't know where those people are, but they don't fall for that here. Solar cells are expensive and most road crew managers have hired people who know how to use a soldering gun. /rant off<br><br>Idea: In the same Instructables email that featured this, there was a link for folding cardboard blinds, I'd love to see the two projects merged into a blind for my windows that can also generate electricity!<br><br>Or how about those cardboard window shades you buy for your car? Might be enough to power a window mounted fan to help cool the interior...<br><br>thanks for the 'structable!<br>-
<p>flashj thanks for the interesting post re: blinds. I have thought about this for YEARS. Not being an inventor just someone who thinks it is a great idea. Actually there is an Austrian Company doing just this...here is the link to Nanergy Inc.</p><p><a href="http://www.nanergyinc.com/pvblinds.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.nanergyinc.com/pvblinds.html</a></p>
Thanks for commenting!! : ) <br> <br>I didn't know there was a chance of road crews giving me broken solar cells. I'm pretty tempted to try to find some now : ) <br> <br>The window blinds that generate electricity is an awesome idea!! Plus, that's something that anyone could put up in their house to cut electricity costs. <br> <br>Thanks again, This has been entered into the Green Living Contest by the way : )
The chance of getting broken solar cells from tour county road department first depends if they use portable signs solar power lighted signs during construction. Also there has be an accident to break the solar panel. In the event the solar panel is one that uses encapsulation of some type repair, or removing broken cells will be nearly impossible. I suspect many are quoting a tip from the book sunshine to dollars. While a good book with tips that are pretty much universal, it does contain tips that are relative. Relative to one's own location.
Good idea. Only issue that I can see is where the bends are. I have an idea for that but it would make the construction cost go up a bit. You could use the cells from old solar powered calculators. They are narrow enough to fit. <br><br>I have 20 or 30 solar powered garden lamps. Some work some don't. The lamp may not work but the solar cells still do. Join a local freecycle group and I bet you could get all the Non working solar powered garden lamps you need. I was into using the calculator solar cells for beambots awhile back. Old Non working pagers are a good source of motors too.<br>Good luck!<br>:0)
While the following isn't intended to be a reflection on the quality of this instructable, I have feel many including the instructable's author find the information interesting, if not helpful. Dan Rojas on his you tube channel greenpowerscience has a series of videos where he constructed a 45 Watt solar panel from broken solar cell for around a dollar a Watt. A somewhat intensive to be sure, and not for the timid DIYer, but the result is a very solid build.<br>
Perhaps you mentioned it, and I missed it, but did you install a blocking diode? Not necessary for your intended application, but necessary for those who duplicate your project intending to charge batteries.
I did not install a blocking diode, only because I did not need it for my application. Thanks for the comment!! : )
Thank you so very much for this instructable. I purchsased the exact same solar cells from Electronic Goldmine but I found the instructions to be a little too minimal. When I tried to scrape off the coating I ended up breaking the cells also. But never having soldered I could not get them soldered to the little ribbons. I was also unsure whether the back or front was the anode side. <br>With your instructable I will try again. Electronic Goldmine should link the sale page for these cells to your instructable; it is very well made. Thank You!
Thanks!! It means a lot to think that I'm helping someone really complete their project. Good luck, and make sure to post pictures or something on Instructables when you're done!! <br>Thanks for commenting!! : ) <br> <br>This has been entered into the Green Living Contest by the way : )
I was fortunate. Found a Target store selling solar powered lights for $1.00 ea. <br>I dis-sembled a few to get at the solar array which conveniently had the cells already wired and protected. then connected them in series - black wire to red wire ,etc. This set gave me as follows: 6v at 100ma. very low cost............
That sounds excellent!! I wish I had been able to come across cheap panels like that. Thanks for commenting!! : ) This has been entered into the Green Living Contest by the way : )
Hey There!!<br><br>Awesome green project!! I`ve seen solar panels like these at my University!!<br><br>Also, congrats on the feature!! =D I`ve received this link on the newsletter via E-mail and man! I feel kinda proud of knowing you for your other past projects! xD
Thanks!! It's an honor to be featured in the newsletter. I've actually been working pretty hard on improving the quality of my Instructables, so when I got the email saying that I was featured I was really excited. <br> <br>Thanks for commenting, this has been entered in the Green Living Contest as well, so remember to vote! (hopefully for me) : )
How much money and time did you spend in all? I am excited to build my own solar panels, just trying to budget.
The cells themselves were the most expensive part. For this project alone, I think I spent around $40 for the cells? The picture frames, wires, and foam sheets were only a few dollars total. It didn't take me too long to assemble it all either, call it 2-4 hours? <br> <br>Thanks for commenting!! : ) <br> <br>This has been entered into the Green Living Contest by the way : )
Hi - been considering this sort of thing for a while, both for home (suburban melbourne) and my fathers country property.<br><br><br>the biggest concern I have is Hail and similar nasty weather... so I would like to armour the panel with strong glass - so - does anyone know what glass would be suitable?
Fibreglass would be the best<br>
but it is unlikely to be transparent...<br><br>the glass goes in front of the cells.<br><br>it must be thick enough and tough enough to withstand the elements and protect the cells from damage.<br><br>Ideally it must let as much solar radiation of interest through as possible.<br><br>Most window glass - Borax glass - absorb significant amounts of UV. Pure silica glass is very expensive - perhaps Lime glass would work as a compromise...<br><br>what do they use in commercial panels?
You seem to know more about glass than I do, but if I were you I might look into automotive glass, like that used for the windshields of cars. Considering car windshields can take a lot of damage it might not be a bad idea. <br> <br>Thanks for commenting!! : ) <br> <br>This has been entered into the Green Living Contest by the way : )
They use a 1/4 inch glass. and then they seal the cells with a clear flexible epoxy like the dow 6100 Solar cell Encapsulant and then they cover the back with a layer of heat shrink plastic like TPE or EVA.
Hellow sir!<br>The class that would be suitable for your project would be 1/4 inch glass. Professional company's use 1/4 glass in all of their solar panels. You can also use 1/4 inch plexi glass and that will never brake but just be cautioned about warping in the great heat :D<br><br>
Super cool! I'm almost finished with my project for the Green Living and Technology Challenge. By the way how many of these do you have at your house?
Thanks!! That's great, I'd love to see your entry : ). I have two panels like the one shown here at my house, and then I have another small panel that I made from glass-covered cells. <br>Thanks for commenting! : )
Nice job! Just curious, what was the output on this device?
Thanks! The final output was roughly 4 volts at 100 mA. If I had not broken so many cells in the process, my output could have been much better, but it was good to go through the building process nonetheless. <br> <br>Thanks for commenting! : ) By the way, this has been entered into the Green Living and Technology Challenge.

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Bio: I am currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Toledo, and the founder of the University of Toledo Maker Society. I have a ... More »
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