Step 5: Soldering the Tab Wire to the Cells.

This is where all that Soldering practice will pay big dividends.

Depending on the cells you've bought and the type of panel you're building you may need to solder Tab wire to the Front, the Back or both.

Front busses take more work so I like to do them first. UnfortunatelyI don't have any pics of the process.

Ok....your Irons hot so lets go!
Apply a small amount of flux (with your Resin Flux Pen) along the length of each front Bus.
Starting at one end heat the bus and apply a small amount of solder as flat as you can along it's length.
Place the Tab Wire over the solder and hold it down at the end with your Iron.
Apply a small amount of solder to the Tab Wire where the Iron touches it. As the solder underneath melts move the iron along the Bus applying a little solder as you go.
The Tab should be attached all along the Bus for best results.

Back Busses.
Very similar to Front Busses.
Apply a small amount of Resin Flux to the each Bus, heat them with your Iron for one or two seconds, apply a small amount of Solder and spread it as flat as you can with the Iron while it's still runny , place the Tab over the solder etc. as with the front busses.

<p>I was looking for a higher capacity Solar System (400W or more). I found a really nice instructable. Heres a link<a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Apartment-Solar-System/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Apartment-Solar-System/</a></p>
Anyone with knowledge on off grid solar setups? Looking for quality 2,500 -3,000 watt range inverter.... PLEASE if know of one that's not thousands of dollars tell me! Thanks
Look at Xantrex ProWatt 2000. Mine has worked for years and was $340ish via West Marine.
hi, thank you for your great information <br>i need to some details for solar system <br>first one <br>bulb -10 <br>fans -04 <br>Air conti-01 <br>TV-01 <br>fridge-01 <br> <br>how many watt this want? <br>but this also 220V . <br>please tell me
Hi Akmal; <br>18 watt high efficiency light bulbs produce the equivalent to 60 watt incandescent so 10 of them = 180 watts. <br>My multi speed house fan uses 50 watts x 4 = 200 watts. <br>My 22 inch LCD TV uses 65 watts. <br>A refrigerator, when the compressor is running, uses between 200 and 500 watts depending on size and energy rating. <br>An air conditioner will use up to 6000 watts depending on its size. Have a look at my instructable &quot;How I Use The Sun To Cool My House&quot; for ideas on converting a 240 volt electricity guzzler to a 12 volt very efficient unit. <br>Please note that you will lose some of your panels output when running 12 volts through a 12v to 220v inverter. <br>I hope this is of some help Akmal. <br>Best regards. <br>Rob.
I have researched over the internet and found a informative blog<br> where an American Engineer Explain everything about Solar Panel<br> Look through his <a href="http://topdiysolarpanels.com/" rel="nofollow"><em><strong>Blog about DIY Solar Panels</strong></em></a>
<a href="http://www.thebackshed.com/Windmill/articles/OzSolarPanels.asp" rel="nofollow">http://www.thebackshed.com/Windmill/articles/OzSolarPanels.asp</a>&nbsp;This is the only site I have seen that shows how to build pro quality panels for the diy'er.
On line with your statements that the materials make the difference if the budget allows you should consider going to Anderson Powerpole gear for the power distribution. I use them on my ham radio gear (20+amp draw on full power) and set my father up when he wired his sailboat. They are low resistance and can handle more power and larger wires than your standard pc-molex connectors and are easier to insulate from the environment. They also have products such as a pre-made bus for linking multiple things into a single backbone. If I were building one of these for long term I would definitely look into these.
A lot of interesting work. I need really detailed instructions. I'm setting up a website about Solar to help spread the word. We need to get off our duffs and get this done. Depending on unfriendly other countries for our energy is out. You can check it out at http://skippersbestbuy.com/ . Found a guy from Minnesota who is selling plans for solar and wind....says it cost him less than three months electric bill to quit paying an electric bill and have the electric company begin paying him....Cararta
Hi carata; <br>People make some unrealistic claims about how cheaply you can convert to solar power....like the &quot;less than 3 months electricity bills&quot; claim. <br>As for grid tied DIY solar....I'm not sure that would be possible. The safety issues would most likely prevent it. Nothing wrong with a &quot;stand alone&quot; setup like mine where the panels charge a bank of batteries. Independence is a nice thing, especially when the grid goes down and your air cooler is the only one working on a 45 C (108 Fahrenheit) day <br>Whatever the cost we Do need to get off our duffs and get it done regardless of where we live and who our fossil fuels come from. <br>Here in Aus there's a big stink at the moment because our government has done the right thing and put a price on carbon emissions as a step down the road to ending our reliance on fossil fuels and turning to clean, green energy sources. <br>Selfish people do tend to make the most noise. <br>Email me at heppycamper@dodo.com with any more inquiries. <br>Best regards. <br>Rob. <br>
This is a good detailed instructable. I've been thinking about offsetting some of my power bill with a system that isn't tied to the grid and supplies the air con or fridge or hot water or something. I know there must be a better way than buying the commercial stuff. Thanks.<br> <br> Where are you located in country NSW?<br>
Hi caarntedd;<br>Thanks for your positive comment.<br>I'm in Bethungra, a little village in the Southwest slopes.<br>It is most satisfying building panels and supplying even a fraction of your own energy. <br>It becomes even more satisfying on a 45 deg C day when the power grid goes down and your aircon is the only one working!<br>Go for it.<br>If you're interested I have sets of cells for sale that will make nice 150 watt panels.<br>Best regards.<br>Rob.<br>
Credits from your supplier?&nbsp; .. ummmm&nbsp; You really need to KNOW what your LOCAL&nbsp;power company policies are.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Personally I would ask for everything on paper.&nbsp; No Telephone calls.<br /> <br /> <br />
Hi LVGene;<br /> In my area of Australia the govt has set a price (60 cents) per unit (kilowatt hour) that the suppliers must pay you for the power you produce.<br /> To the question of Grid tied <strong>or</strong> Battery.......<br /> The answer is <em>Both</em>, if possible. It's quite satisfying to be sitting in the cool comfort of your &quot;solar&quot; aircon or grabbing a cold beer out of your &quot;Solar&quot; fridge during a blackout on a 45 deg C summer day. If you go solely grid tied you lose this flexibility and when the grid goes down so do you.<br /> Cheers.<br /> Rob.<br />
Good going Rob..&nbsp; But as I wrote in the above message.&nbsp; You need to check with your local power companies to see what is going on.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Sounds like I need to live in AU.&nbsp; Here in Las Vegas NV USA.. we are paying nearly the highest price for power in the&nbsp;US.&nbsp; 1.21 per KWH. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Because of medical problems.. I have a very hard time with the HEAT.&nbsp; Last years power for my home and A/C was over $500 USD a month!!&nbsp;&nbsp; Inside we kept the temp around 77.<br /> <br /> -------------<br /> <br /> I bought my friend a Wind Turbine (missouriwindandsolar&nbsp; -dot- com) for around $700.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is a 1000 Watt (up to 1400 watt) Custom LOW&nbsp;WIND turbine. (how cool is that!)&nbsp; Going to set it up on his Rural property and see how good it really is.&nbsp; $700 is a very low price for such a turbine!&nbsp; <br /> <br /> If his performs well over the next 6 plus months.&nbsp; I'll see about installing one on my home here in Vegas.&nbsp;&nbsp; I&nbsp;live very NORTH&nbsp;here in the Valley.&nbsp; We get a lot of wind up here.&nbsp; So the investment = returns should be better than solar.&nbsp; The only problem is maintenance. &nbsp; Solar when grid tied is usually maintenance free. <br /> <br /> Thanks for the reply.<br /> <br /> GENE<br />
Hello LV Gene, <br> <br>How has the wind turbine been performing? It been almost six months. <br> <br>Any info would be appreciated
Man.. so much for the Holidays. Sorry for the really late reply!<br><br>The wind turbine continues to work AOK.<br><br>Unfortunately the way its wired up.. (there are solar panels on another circuit) I'm not able to see how much power it brings in.<br><br>I'd like to add that any owner would most likely have to:<br><br>Do a close visual inspection of the turbine. Make sure all the nuts are still tight. And re-grease it. At least once a year.<br>------------<br><br>Our air conditioner finally died in November 2011. We got an incredible DEAL at only $6500 installed. Costco was hawking a place that wanted almost twice as much for less. Go Costco huh?<br><br>Since the replacement.. Our power bills have dropped to the lowest they have ever been. It isn't summer yet.. I'm sure that we will be nearly HALF of what it was last year. $$$$$ SAVE MONEY check your existing air conditioner.. etc.<br><br>I really want to move into an EARTHSHIP home. Check that out. earthship.com. No utility bills. Totally off grid.<br><br>If our finances come together.. me and the wife may do that. Get the hell out of Vegas and move to Taos NM.<br>
Hi Gene;<br /> The wind turbine was a bargain and probably the best gift ever!<br /> Is it up and running yet? I'd like to know how it performs.<br /> I bought a 300-500 watt Chinese built one a year or so ago but failed to take into account the wind turbulence where I lived. It needs an even breeze to perform at its best.<br /> I'll get it set up one day.... somewhere.<br /> Cheers Gene.<br /> Rob.<br /> <br />
Hi Rob, You might be interested in this VAWT Jaycar (Aus) now sell (cat MG-4570 $400), it's really meant for 4WD and camping but could work as a small home system. It's only 50W but being VAWT wind disturbances have little effect. I'm getting one when I save up a bit. : )
Rob...<br /> <br /> Man I&nbsp;am SO&nbsp;SORRY for not getting back to U&nbsp;sooner.&nbsp; I've been either SICK.. laid up in bed for weeks.&nbsp; Or crazy busy.&nbsp; In fact I'm running out the door for a frantic 7 day business trip.<br /> <br /> We did Indeed get the 1000 low wind turbine up and running.<br /> http://www.missouriwindandsolar.com/Diagrams_Facts_sheets.html<br /> <br /> It went up just as advertised.&nbsp; The sellers are pretty unique.. AND&nbsp;their product is what it is.&nbsp; In this case you DO get what you pay for.&nbsp; That aside..&nbsp; It is a very GOOD&nbsp;low wind generator!&nbsp; It &quot;Does the job&quot; that much higher cost generators do.&nbsp; I highly recommend it.. if you follow their (crummy) instructions to the letter.&nbsp; Use their suggested Welding cable (remember I'm not a tech person) etc.<br /> <br /> My friend who I gifted it to.. is going to replace the wire (he was trying to save money piecing together several wires.. now he is going to use ONE&nbsp;LONG&nbsp;wire).&nbsp; Duh..&nbsp; Trying to save a nickel cost us probably 10 hours of sweat!<br /> <br /> To directly answer YOUR question.. This requires 6-8 MPH to get ANY&nbsp;power going.&nbsp; Which compared to OTHER systems is fantastic.&nbsp; Most won't even kick in until the turbine spins up to 25 - 30 mph.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Missouriwinandsolar.com are the REAL deal.. and I&nbsp;suggest you give them a go.&nbsp; But like I wrote above.. please PLEASE don't cut any corners.&nbsp; Use the right wire.&nbsp; Their choice for Pipe is a good one..&nbsp; They bring a lot of direct experience to the table.. use it.<br /> <br /> Take care.. got to run!<br /> <br /> GENE<br /> <br /> <br />
You are not suppose to scrape off that white stuff on cells. They say it is silver.
Thanks for your comment James;<br>The white stuff I was referring to was a light build up of corrosion, which covered the silver.<br>Thank you.<br>Rob.
Dodgy Bros. Classic!
Thank you...I think......And....Go the Doggies!<br>Cheers.<br>Rob.
Rob, <br>Thanks for sharing this instructable. <br>I have a question about the solar tracking. <br>Generally, do the panels rotate on only 1 axis or do they need to move on 2? <br>Tom
G'day Tom;<br>A dual axis tracker will point the panels in exactly the optimum direction all day but cost became a limiting factor for me ( a 3 panel one sold on ebay a few days ago for $700 including freight, I could build a kilowatt of panels for that much :-) ).<br>I opted to build mine so that the day to day following of the sun is done by the tracker and the seasonal adjustment is done manually by me.<br>This probably loses me a small percentage of output but, them's the breaks.<br>Cheers Tom.<br>Rob.<br><br>
This looks like a great project. We were given about 50 of the small solar panels that are used on electric fence chargers and have put a couple of them to use as radio chargers for the big boombox radios I like, but have a lot that we just couldn't figure out how to use. Would like to wire them in series, but everything we've read says that it would be foolish to use such low powered panels. Do you think we could use them in a project like this or would we just be wasting our time? We have 43 of them that some local ranchers gave us when they upgraded.
G'day zipknitter; Thank you very much for your question. As you know if you wire your cells in series you will multiply the voltage output and your amperage will remain the same. Using your Multimeter test your cells in full sun to determine the output in volts and then in amperes. Multiply those figures to determine the potential output in Watts. Say for example your cells average a reading of 0.5 volts and 0.5 amps (500ma). Using the best 36 of the cells your panel could achieve a potential 9 watts at 18 volts. Nice for charging a 12 volt battery. I strongly recommend that, whatever the numbers, you go ahead and build a panel with your cells. It might not cure the worlds energy needs but it Will produce energy and it Will be a great training run for you to go on to build bigger and better panels. I hope this answer is helpful and please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance. All the very best. Rob.
&nbsp;Medium Density Overlay (MDO) might work as an alternative to plywood. It's used in making highway signs and is available at home stores.
Medium Density Overlay IS plywood, with a paper face overlaid on the plywood substrate with an exterior grade adhesive to make it paintable.
We're not supposed to use Tin/Lead solder these days - the lead is toxic. However, I can never get decent joints with this &quot;new-fangled&quot; alloy, and the tube for hte tin/lead solder is a bonza idea!
G'day StuNutt; Thanks for your comment. Lead is indeed toxic and it is also a cumulative poison and should be treated as such. All possible care should be taken when handling the stuff. I'm stoked you like my way of overcoming the handling issue, sometimes simple is good :-). I struggle with the lead free solder and have achieved my best results using more heat, 300 to 330 deg C, and heating the metal to be soldered then applying the solder directly to it. As opposed to applying the heat to the metal and solder at the same time. Cheers. Rob.
Even using a small gas torch I have trouble soldering copper with the lead-free. As I'm over 60 now (!) I think I'll stay with Tin/Lead and just take a few sensible precautions. During my life so far I've probably been exposed to far more poisons already! Thanks.
As I understand it lead/tin solder is only illegal for use in consumer products for sale. Used for personal projects and repairs it is just fine, and if used in a well ventilated area as any type of solder should be, it posses no significant hazard. I have enough of the stuff that I will probably never have to switch to the lead free solder for my projects.
G'day MadCobbler; Thanks for your comment. I agree with what you say. As far as we know Lead based solder should be safe if used as you say and not handled without protection. The lessons learned from Mawsons Antarctic expedition, where the canned food supply was contaminated by the kead solder used in the manufacture of the cans, are a stark reminder of the danger that lead can pose. Cheers. Rob.
Hi everybody; I'd like to send a big thank you to all who have taken the time to read my instructables. When I wrote them I never anticipated that they would share more than 100,000 hits in the first year. I'd also like to thank &quot;Instructables&quot; for providing the site which allows me, and thousands like me, to share our experiences with you. I hope I have inspired at least a few of you to build your own systems. Cheers. Rob.
What are you using as your battery charger?
Hi PRO gwaligorski; If I'm understanding your question correctly you will find the information you seek in steps 8 and 9 of the instructible. A full description of how I built the solar panels is here --- http://diysolarpanels.blogspot.com/ --- on the Blog I wrote about the experience. The posts are best read bottom one first to get the order of events right. Cheers. Rob.
Hey, I'm really happy that you are so commited to this and have gone through a real journey. This is something I, and a lot of people, dream of doing, and honestly a lot of people are scared and need the experience of someone like you. I have come across this and I'm starting to learn a lot more about solar energy and I really really want to add solar power to where I live as soon as I can. I have a question - you say that tedlar can enable you to create a &quot;professional&quot; grade solar panel, but I'm wondering exactly what that means for the average person out there. Do you have any idea how much energy or efficiency you would get out of tedlar? Would you mind comparing it to the cheaper materials you have mentioned? Thank you very much duke
G'day Skai; Thanks for your kind comments and question. I'm not sure that the Tedlar laminating process would enhance the performance of your DIY panels but it would most certainly extend the panels life span by a huge amount (compared to a plywood based panel). The type of glass you use will make a difference as will your ability to provide good ventilation within the panel. Non reflective glass will allow more light to hit your cells. More light = more energy produced. Ventilation is important as solar cells produce less energy when they are hot. I encourage everyone thinking of building panels to look around and buy the best materials they can afford. Cheers. Rob.
how do you measure the charging time?
At a guess, total battery bank capacity (Amp hours) * Amps input. Amps * Volts = watts and Watts / volts = amps, therefore for a 12v system with a 1200 watt output (100 amps) , it would take 2 hours to charge a 200 A/h battery bank. Methinks.
Thank you for putting the work and effort into this guide. I am combing through it for future plans. Good work.
Great stuff I recomment A+++
Good stuff. Thanks
i mean how do you compute for the charging time?
great idea but you might try putting a frame around the setup with low iron glass and use the heat that robs the cells and vent it into the house or shop for some more free heat. love the instructable. keep up the great work. <br />
Hi kb0sqw;<br /> Thank you very much for your positive comments.<br /> I like the way you think!<br /> Instead of seeing the heat produced inside the panel as a <em>problem</em> we should look at it as a <em>bonus</em> and get busy looking for viable methods of harvesting it.<br /> The heat produced during summer could possibly be &quot;banked&quot; in the ground via buried pipes and reclaimed to help heat a house during winter......<br /> Please feel free to throw ideas at me...... input like yours makes the instructible much more than a simple &quot;how to&quot;.......<br /> Thank you.<br /> Rob.<br />
thanks rob any time. <br />
Hi Mr Rob how are you and everybody. I am having a little problem which I need to understand. First when I built my panel iwas getting about 19volts out at first test. but now I realise I test it in the middle of the day and I am getting only about 16.4 volts outin the evening I tested againand I got 17.9. Is it my cells are dying . Why when it get s hot in the day the voltage drops is it a problem with my design. Thank you for your reply<br />

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm just an ordinary bloke with an inquiring mind. I love to help people and find "Instructables" a terrific place to do that.
More by Rob Patterson:D.I.Y. Solar Setup. Building a DIY Evaporative Air Conditioner. How I use the Sun to Cool my House. 
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