Have you ever been outside and had your phone die? Have you ever wanted to make your own solar panels for charging a cell phone or electronics project? Now you can!
Each panel costs $1.25 in materials and provides 0 - 0.5V at 400-1000mA depending on load and lighting. The panels are linkable by magnets, and can be reconfigured on the fly to provide different voltages and currents
This is a cheap, portable device that can be used to charge your cell phone when you're camping or on a grassy knoll somewhere.
It is easy for anyone to make, with tools that you might have around the house.
For an alternate guide, check out the project's github page.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Office Laminator
- Non-stick parchment paper (bakery/baking/butter paper)
- Polycarbonate sheet .01" thick - This will be the rigid, protective layer that surrounds our solar panel. I bought mine from mcmaster.com.
- EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) film encapsulant - This should come with a smooth and a bumpy side. It's made as a film for solar panels, and will cushion the cells to keep them from cracking. I found mine with this Ebay search.
- Copper tape with conductive adhesive - It's important to make sure that the adhesive is conductive (most aren't). I found my tape on adafruit.com
- Solar Cells - I recommend 52x76mm multicrystalline or polycrystalline solar cells. These will give us 0.55V open-circuit voltage, and 1A short-circuit current. I found mine with this Ebay search.
- Small neodymium magnets (1/4" x 1/8" x 1/32") - You will need 2 for each panel you want to make. I got mine from KJ Magnetics.
For a price breakdown, see this project's github page on materials.
Disclaimer: Solar cells are extremely thin and crackable. Always handle with care.
Step 2: Cut sheets to size
For 52x76mm solar cells, cut your sheets to 65 x 90 mm (6.5 x 9 cm). For each solar panel you plan to make, cut two 65x90mm rectangles of polycarbonate, and two rectangles of EVA.