Recycled Solar Power

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Introduction: Recycled Solar Power

This is about a Solar Power Plant made from recycled parts. It is a work in progress. It all started at the landfill where someone next to me was throwing away 11 solar garden lights. I had 9 at home from garage sales. I had an old picture frame and some plywood and paint. I had to buy 4 diodes from radio shack. I started by taking all the lights apart and using the solar cells. I saved the circuit boards and LED's for future projects. The plastic globe made nice little hot caps for the garden.

Step 1:

Step 2:

I painted the board with some old house paint. I soldered 5 in a row pos. to neg. I think that 4 would have been OK I will know when I get done. Each set is putting out 22 volt in good sun.

Step 3:

I mounted the cells with a little hot glue then soldered a diode to the pos. on each set and into a splice on a single cord. Next I spliced all the neg. ends to a single exit wire. I dabbed a little hot glue over the solder joints to keep everything in place. I hot glued the picture frame over everything leaving the bottom un glued for a little ventalation.

Step 4:

The first test. Over 22 volts on a winter day. Tried it vertical and horizontal. I have no idea of how many watts.

Step 5:

I cut some scrap plywood and nailed and glued it to the sides. I cut them at 60 degrees for Washington state.

Step 6:

I used the globes for hot caps out in the garden.

Step 7:

Next I cut some holes in an old sewing box. Added a 12 volt receptical Made an opening for the inverter and an exit hole for the solar panel wire. Soldered both pos. to each other same with negs. a fuse will attach to the hot wire when I find one. Just for testing I wired it up with no regulator or fuse. I salvaged the 2 12 volt batteries out of a broken electric razor kids scooter. I used a 2 pronged plug to exit the box and plug into the solar panel wire. The voltage in the batteries went from 9.5 volts to over 11 volts with very little sun. I ordered a voltage controller off E-Bay $22. It will be here in a few days.

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    42 Comments

    does anyone know the simplest configuration similar to this that I would need to charge a phone? I have 11 solar panels (and 6 more smaller panels) I need it by the day after tomorrow

    I would like to make a solar powered outside outlet for a fish pond pump. Any solutions for a DIY gal with no solar intellect lls

    hi. can any one offer any explanation. I have 8 solar cells. each tests at 3.1v i hooked them all in series i got up n down numbers as if bad cells of wires. so i took apart. i hooked 3 cells and get 9.1 v good i guess right? but wont drive a dc fan motor.? so anyways I went to add another cell to row and i drop to 2 volt. i figure bad cell? so i get two rows each 9 v but when i connect those two i only get 9 v? what am i doing wrong? i tried connecting the two rows in series and parallel any thoughts?

    Hi, maybe it is a bit too late for an answer, i had the same problem but finally i figured out what it was, i had about 20 cells, i had to test each of them to get similar voltage and amperage, i isolated 6 most powerful, it was enough only 6 of the good ones to get 12 volts. Before that i couldn't get more than 5 Volts out of 20 cells.

    Actually, 4 diodes was the correct choice. They serve 2 purposes. 1, they keep the array from discharging the batteries when there is no light, and 2, they keep a bad cell in one of the lines from stealing the current from the others. The loss is exactly the same since each of the 4 paths only pass though 1 diode. Using 4 also lets you get away with cheaper diodes since each diode only has to handle 1/4 of the total current. If you use 1 diode it has to handle the current from all 4 arrays. With 4 diodes, you actually lose less power. Power loss is the the internal resistance of the diode times the current squared. So for example, lets say the internal resistance of the diodes is 1 ohm and each of the legs provides 1 amp of current. With 4 diodes, your total loss would be 1 ohm X 1 amp x 1 amp = 1 Watt (per diode) for a total of 4 watts loss. If a single diode was used you would have 1 ohm x 4 amp x 4 amp = 16 watts loss.

    Hi. Being an absolute beginner and not knowing my butt from my elbow. What is a diode? I assume they come in different sizes so what size should be used here?

    loved this project but may I ask when you measured 22volts from each of the 4 rows of five cells did you measure that before or after the Diodes?

    What size diodes?
    What size solar panels. Mine only put out about 1.4 volts each

    The charge controller will tell you the wattage.