Here is a small solar photovoltaic (electricity producing) solar power system which includes charge regulation, monitoring and fused outputs all within a laser cut enclosure. Its designed to be a entry level solar power system to recharge small devices such as mobile phones, mp3 players and power small sound systems.
This has been designed to be put apart with very little soldering, using mainly connector block and crimp terminals.
Step 1: Parts required
10Wp Solar PV panel (cost £20-30)
- Such as this:
- Check eBay
- 0.75mm2 or 1mm2 diameter (enough to take 2 to 5A).
- In red and black if possible.
- I used 3 different types - twin core for the solar panel, thick tri-rated for the battery cable and thinner cable for internal wiring, after the fuse.
Battery (cost £? depends upon size of battery. I got some used but OK UPS batteries for free)
- Rechargable lead-acid
- I used a sealed gel lead acid battery taken from a UPS system.
- Capacity (Ah) of the battery is dependant upon the load and solar resource
Charge regulator (£6)
- This stops the battery being over charged by the solar module.
- 2A rated 12V DC.
- I used this Chinese one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solar-Power-Panel-Charge-Battery-Controller-Regulator-/380359116665?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588f2b8779
- Here is a UK-made unit: http://www.256.co.uk/?cat=3
12V voltage monitor / Voltmeter (£3)
- To easily measure 12V DC
- Such as this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DIGITAL-LED-VOLT-METER-RED-BLUE-GREEN-DC-4-5V-30V-No-Power-Needed-Panel-12V-/251094347641?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Test_Measurement_Equipment_ET&var=&hash=item3a7663af79
- You could also use a small cheap multimeter.
Small push button switch (£0.50)
- This is for the voltmeter so that it is not left on, which would drain the battery.
12V 'cigar' lighter socket (£4)
- This is a standard 12V DC socket
- Lots of loads are available that will fit this style socket
5A resettable fuse (£2)
- This protects the everything from the high currents the battery can supply.
- Rated for 12V DC
- Terminal connector block (£0.50)
2A rated plug and socket (£2)
- This is for the solar PV panel connection
- Insulated crimp spade connectors (£0.20)
M3 20mm long machine screws and nuts x approx 20 (£1)
- Both countersunk and pan head can be used
Laser cuttable 3mm birch plywood A4 sheet (£3 + £2 for laser cutter time)
- This is for the enclosure
- You could also use any enclosure you have to hand, but I like the wood aesthetic.
- Cable cutters
- Laser cutter - if making your own enclosure (try visiting your local hackspace)
- Soldering Iron + solder
- Terminal crimpers
- Small pliers