Introduction: DIY: Illuminated House Number Powered by Solar Panels

This time I made illuminated house number powered by solar panels.

How I made it - you can check by looking DIY video or you can follow up instructions bellow.
For this build you will need:

Materials:

6 solar garden lights

1 AAA rechargeable battery

a piece of plastic board

some wires and isolating materials

L shape aluminium profile

Tools:

Soldering iron

Drill and bits

Screw driver

Rotary tool (for example Dremel)


Step 1: Solar Garden Lights

The power source for this project will be solar garden lights. They are super cheap and simple construction. In day time, they collecting solar power and store it in one AAA battery. When solar cell can't detect light any more - internal circuit turn LED On. For this project I'll use 6 of them.

Step 2: Preparing Materials

Like I said - there's solar panel, simple circuit and battery. From 6 solar garden lights I'll use all LEDs, all solar panels, one circuit and one battery. Let's take them a part and desolder necessary parts.

Step 3: Making One Big Solar Panel

To hold all solar panels in one place I made a simple holder by drilling 6 holes in piece of plastic.

Drilled small holes for wires and soldered them together.

All panels was connected in parallel and soldered to operating circuit board. Soldered two wires to connect LEDs later.

Step 4: Working on Panel

Those solar garden light came with one AAA 600mAh battery inside. I tested the real capacity of them - and got only about 50mah of capacity. So I'll change that crappy battery with Panasonic Eneloop with 750mAh of capacity.

Assembled everything back.

Sanded holder surface and painted in black. All panels fitted very snugly, so there's no need any additional glueing.

Step 5: Engraving Acrylic Plate

A number plate was made from 8mm acrylic. I have possibility to use a friends engraving laser machine. All engraving process took about 15 minutes.

Acrylic plate dimensions is 21 by 17 centimeters.

By cutting with laser it leaves very nice edge. It looks like been polished.
Laser engraved about few parts of millimeter in acrylic surface. Top quality job.

I left protection film on back of plate, until I'll finish fabrication process. So that's why acrylic is looking a little bit blue.

Step 6: Engraving Option With Rotary Tool

Engraving process could be done with any rotary tool and engraving bit. Here is a quick example. This is really time consuming process, but with some patience you could get very good results.

Step 7: Soldering LEDs

Drilled 6 holes to fit LEDs inside.
Before start soldering - I want to remind you, that LEDs are sensitive for polarity. There is the negative and opposite side the positive terminal.

All 6 LEDs will be soldered in parallel. I measured a good place for soldering point and marked it by pressing with nail. With electric wire striping pliers prepared surface for soldering, twisted wire on LED leg, soldered and isolated with shrinking tubes. In same technique was soldered all of rest LEDs and connector too.

Step 8: Mounting Bracket

Mounting bracket for acrylic plate was made from L shape aluminium profile. Drilled few fixing holes. Screwed bracket in place and glued connector. To make good joint I sanded both surfaces.

Step 9: Testing...

Ok let's peel off protective film of and take a look at final result.
Solar panels are detecting light, so LEDs are off. When lightning source was turn off - at the same moment LEDs will kick in and numbers starts glowing.

As you could see - glowing only engraved surface and edges of acrylic plate. This could be eliminated by painting edge, but at moment I like how it is.

Step 10: Instalation Outside

Let's mount every thing outside. Solar panel fixed on a roof.

Step 11: Operation at Night

Here is how it glows at night. I'm very happy how it looks. Numbers are illuminated very evenly. The intensity of light is very delicate. It it easily visible from 3 meters.

I hope you liked and will try to make it:)

Comments

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)2016-12-26

Mega awesome!

author
bundyb (author)2016-11-06

Nice little project. Good project for those that want to combine a little bit of electronics with some handyperson projects. I like it. Just some more info for those that may be interested. Using more than one battery in parallel (- to - and + to +) will allow a greater storage capacity for a longer lasting light. One battery is 600mAh (in picture), two would give you 1200mAh, etc. Light time is relative to the amount of LEDs you use, the more LEDs you use the shorter the light time on one battery. Note: placing batteries in series (- to +) will increase the Voltage. Not good for the LEDs.

author
PavelS70 (author)2016-10-14

It could be even better if the laser would be focused inside of plastic board to burn numbers inside of the plate

author
A Potts (author)PavelS702016-10-29

That's not really possible with the type of laser that is commonly found and used for engraving. If you change the focus from the front of the panel to the middle, it will still effect the front, but the engraving will be unfocused and possibly uneven. Turning the power up or the speed down on the laser will produce a deeper engraving, and flipping the illustration and engraving from the rear will leave the front surface smooth and may look better in this application.
Source: I do this 80 hours per week

author
PavelS70 (author)A Potts2016-10-30

With this type, yes, it's not. But it must be possible with significantly convergent beam

author

so awsome!!

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manuelmasc (author)2016-10-15

awesome!

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loskop100. (author)2016-10-14

I don't know if it is the same with a laser but with a router if the engraving is done on the rear face, the etched area is much brighter viewed from the front side.

author
mikadillo (author)2016-10-13

I am unclear why you used the 6 panels. The LEDs are being powered by the battery. Putting more panels in will not change the power output of the battery and thus not change the brightness. It will only speed the recharge time during the day and might get the battery completely charged on overcast winter days. The better battery only gives you a longer lasting light. Am I missing something?

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DriesV (author)2016-10-13

Be careful, I think there is a registered patent by the name "Number Light"

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Mick Gibson (author)DriesV2016-10-13

I used to make them with Christmas tree lights and they would blink. I could get 8 different colors for my ads, in 1971.

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Mick Gibson (author)DriesV2016-10-13

It does not really apply! The parts are different and the device is made by hand!

You can make any patent if you can figure it out. You can not sale them!

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EliteNinja (author)2016-10-12

awesome job

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Beekeeper (author)2016-10-11

I wonder if I could mask the numbers and use sandpaper as I don't have an etching machine or sand blasting equipment? Any ideas out there as to whether this might work?

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KyleA37 (author)2016-10-11

Well done!

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Gilo (author)2016-10-11

Opps. DennisB6 already suggested that.

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Gilo (author)2016-10-11

Exactly what I needed for my post box. Great job.

I think you can also use sand blasting to etch the numbers using the plastic protective film as a stencil.

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Crazzed1 (author)2016-10-11

Very nice. I wonder how covering the edges with foil tape would reflectivity. Guess I'll build one and find out.

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DennisB6 (author)2016-10-11

I like this vary neat. Another way to put etching on Glass or Plexiglas lay it all out with tape and stencils but cover the the hole face that you don't want anything on sand blast it works well. Thank you

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Stezo_15 (author)2016-10-11

Awesome job! Thanks!

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twit7503 (author)2016-10-10

I only have 9831 projects currently on the plate...... but as soon as one of those get completed, this will be in the works! Thanks for posting this!

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offseid (author)2016-10-09

Woah!!! That is awesome. Nice job!

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DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-10-09

Awesome solar project. I need to make one of these for my mailbox.