Instructables
Picture of My home made solar cell step by step
Here is a low power low efficiency photovoltaic cell that you can make you own in the kitchen
with materials from the hardware store.
This cell is made from cuprous oxide instead of silicon and you can build a working solar cell in 2 hours
to build it i follow this instruction: http://scitoys.com/scitoys/scitoys/echem/echem2.html
on
 
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Step 1: Materials you will need

Picture of Materials you will need
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A sheet of copper flashing from the hardware store
A transparent CD case
Electric wire
Sodium bicarbonate or Table salt

An electric stove
hot glue
solder
Sheet metal shears for cutting the copper sheet

I suggest you visit http://scitoys.com there are many projects and interesting kit

Step 2: How to prepare copper

Picture of How to prepare copper
The first step is to cut a piece of the copper sheeting that is about the size of the burner on the stove. Wash your hands so they don't have any grease or oil on them. Then wash the copper sheet with soap or cleanser to get any oil or grease off of it. Use the sandpaper or wire brush to thoroughly clean the copper sheeting, so that any sulphide or other light corrosion is removed.

Next, place the cleaned and dried copper sheet on the burner and turn the burner to its highest setting.

Step 3: Cooking the copper

Picture of Cooking the copper
cook the copper for at least 30 min.
As the copper gets hotter, the colors are replaced with a black coating of cupric oxide. This is not the oxide we want, but it will flake off later, showing the reds, oranges, pinks, and purples of the cuprous oxide layer underneath.
The last bits of color disappear as the burner starts to glow red.
When the burner is glowing red-hot, the sheet of copper will be coated with a black cupric oxide coat. Let it cook for a half an hour, so the black coating will be thick. This is important, since a thick coating will flake off nicely, while a thin coat will stay stuck to the copper.
After the half hour of cooking, turn off the burner. Leave the hot copper on the burner to cool slowly. If you cool it too quickly, the black oxide will stay stuck to the copper.
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Is it nessary to use a electric burner

Yes. A gas burner would not allow the oxygen to reach the copper. An oven would wake too freaking long and wouldnt work properly.

Assuming I were to make more than one of these, how would I wire them up so that I could make a small solar panel producing about 25 watts?

Assuming you have 750kg of copper, in parallel.

strmrnnr5 years ago
Just wondering if you can use two large pieces the same size with a small gap in the case. Or, do both pieces have to see the sun for it to work. Side A would be the shiny copper and side B would show the oxidized copper.
alessiof76 (author)  strmrnnr5 years ago
I can not translate well to your question, if you write it with other words i'll reply, I apologize

He is asking if the copper plates have to be the same size, and if both pieces of copper have to be facing the sun for the cell to work.

The answers to these are: No, no. The copper plates do not have to be that same size, nor do both of them have to face the sun. You will, however, have to make sure that the sheet which you heated will have to face the sun.

I added a drawing. Would this work better or do they have to be side by side?
Solar Cell.jpg
gapl strmrnnr4 years ago
hi it is nice idea can you please explain the idea to me. It would be very helpful
alessiof76 (author)  strmrnnr5 years ago
now I understand what you wanted to say! thanks! Great idea! the path of ions is a little 'longer but the whole surface of the cell can collect photons thanks for sharing your idea! it only remains to test it I apologize for my bad English Ciao Alessio
مقفلل3 months ago

think you ..you are good because explane this information

alessiof76 (author)  مقفلل2 months ago

thank you! you are very kind

what could be possible alternative of copper in doing this home made solar panel? are coal / charcoal possible? please do cater my query, badly need it for my theses write-up..thanks

alessiof76 (author)  erialc.ticklessss2 months ago

alternative to chopper could be other semiconductor... no easy to find at home

مقفلل3 months ago

think you ..you are good because explane this information

Ivraine4 years ago
Hey, I've seen this project before in a book in our school library. I believe the original project called for something along the lines of silver nitrate? It said it could produce about 4x the amount of power as yours, but it needed carcinogenic chemicals, high-power acids, and lots of money. Great project though, I liked that you didn't need to make a more complicated solution.

Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formulaAgNO

3. This compound is a versatile precursor to many other silvercompounds, such as those used in photography. It is far less sensitive to light than the halides. It was once called lunar causticbecause silver was called luna by the ancient alchemists, who believed that silver was associated with the moon.

christacia4 months ago

if i would be increasing the size of the copper sheet, would it also increase the voltage?

jgreyes2 years ago
Sir, it is possible to increase the output of your project up to 19-20v?
TeodorJ jgreyes4 months ago

Yes, by using different electrolyte and i believe using different metal sheets.
Made from different metals.

TeodorJ4 months ago

Do I must to use copper? Aluminum is also Negative, and copper is pretty much positive.

Aluminum has -1,66 V and Copper has 0,34 V

Thus meaning we get 2V.

Please i need this fast.

papa mama1 year ago
is make a water of common salt.? .............. please reply

Yes. NaCl Common Salt Works Like A Elctrolyte

ChedSawada1 year ago
Sir, Ahm..............my teacher in chemistry said that when the copper plate is mixed with sodium bicarbonate.....it will have chemical reactions and the sun is only the catalyst for this solar cell to produce electricity..........he also said that the longer it stays under the sun..........it will corrode and sooner it will turn in to gas........i also noticed the green chemicals that are seen in the copper plate...thans a lot sir......i will be patienly waiting for your answer.please......God bless!
alessiof76 (author)  ChedSawada1 year ago
in the following link you can find the explanation of the reaction

https://www.google.it/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=11&cad=rja&ved=0CHkQFjAK&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.surfacetreatments.it%2Fupload%2Fdocumentazione%2F98%2FTesi%2520Lytovchenko.pdf&ei=idQqUqLUCuGQ4ATTxIHoBQ&usg=AFQjCNE5bq3nrtrl3-Z8cyNPDfhMjARnow&sig2=eTWHfm6RLt32LMgQKtFNpA&bvm=bv.51773540,d.bGE

https://www.google.it/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CGEQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ajol.info%2Findex.php%2Fbajopas%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F63717%2F51544&ei=idQqUqLUCuGQ4ATTxIHoBQ&usg=AFQjCNG80JRxqUo5OAJ8CRbAX3W_VeXG8g&sig2=R5UN4oxlHIMrjW-KGMMtEw&bvm=bv.51773540,d.bGE

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092702489700233X
alessiof76 (author) 1 year ago
??? simple conductive ad transparent solution... H2o + NaCl
papa mama1 year ago
Mr.alessiof! please tell me that what salt water enter the CD case with copper sheets? please reaply, HURRY. If i wrote in bad word please, i tell you sorry. PLEASE.................................Thanks
alessiof76 (author)  papa mama1 year ago
saturated solution of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) or common salt (NaCl)
Obaid Mir1 year ago
I am sure it will work but I need to know how much voltage it will generate because I am about to charge my laptop.
alessiof76 (author)  Obaid Mir1 year ago
about 0.05V-0,1V only some uA...... :(
This is great I am gong to add some panels to my current solar engines setup.
Thanks
what are the measurements for water and baking soda?
prajeshkv2 years ago
i m really exicted to do this solar cell at home, but my requirment is for 12 v ,plz.
Mr.alessiof76, explain me in brief.,thank you.
Neolp2 years ago
Great post, I read of a very similar method to make these cuprous oxide panels in solar energy projects for the evil genius by Gavin D.J. Harper. It claims to not provide much power but an excellent project for the beginner.
I reccomend visiting the library or your local book store and checking out some of the alternative energy books for DIY's, there are tons of books and magazines that should inspire people to make something awesome and of course post their project on instructables :).
Blaziner2 years ago
sir it is necessary to fill it with salt solution....and if yes then it should be filled inside the case?..thank u
swarup98802 years ago
hi i am swarup from india. I know that the solar cell are made by pn juntion. But you use copper. how is it wort. please reply.....
Copper Sheets aren't sold in my city, can brass sheets substitute for this??please reply.
alessiof76 (author)  Carwen Betha2 years ago
No... only copper
Are there other sources of copper aside from hardware stores?
Just to clarify, I need to use a soldering iron and solder the wire to the copper sheet and then put glue on the wire as well..then glue the plate to the CD case?
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