Instructables

Repairing Solar Cells

Picture of Repairing Solar Cells
I fallow the three R rules of living green; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, as well as I try to find sources of renewable resources.

To achieve this goal I salvage many things from the garbage and one of the things I salvage from the garbage is solar garden lights.

Solar garden lights can be so inexpensive to buy people don’t repair them when they stop working; they just throw them in the garbage when they stop working and this is where I step in.
By salvaging the solar lights from the garbage I reduce the waste going to the landfill, R1.
By repairing the lights I reuse them R2.
And by stripping for the good parts and recycling the other materials, R3.
With solar lights and the solar cells you get a renewable resource, solar energy.
In this Instructable I will be sharing the special trick use for repairing solar cells.
 
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Step 1: Attaching New Leads to a Solar Cell

Picture of Attaching New Leads to a Solar Cell
Quick Grid Repair Resin.jpg
The most common repair to a solar light is replacing the battery with a rechargeable battery (Not a disposable battery,) please. Replacing the battery with a disposable battery is a mistake I see in many of the solar lights I salvage.

The next most common defect is oxidized wires and the hardest to replace is the leads on the solar cell. Whether by oxidization or breaking while striping the solar light you may need to replace the lead wires to the solar cell and you cannot just solder new leads onto the cell in many cases.

Liquid solder that does not need heat to bond the materials together don’t always conduct electricity however I have found something that does conduct electricity and connects the leads to the solar cell.

It is called “Quick Grid Repair Resin” and it is to repair the rear window defogger in your car, I buy it at the local automotive supply.
foobear1 year ago
Fantastic, thank you!!
Schmidty161 year ago
thats alot of solar cells
Josehf Murchison (author)  Schmidty161 year ago
The garbage is a great source I get more every once in a while.
just the tutorial i was searching for
Josehf Murchison (author)  Shateebough1 year ago
I'm glad you like it.
I would like to post this on my blog w/ full credits to you on this site. Please let me know!
This is my blog. http://homemadeiseasy.blogspot.com/ so you can view. THX. HomeMommy13.
Josehf Murchison (author)  HomeMommy131 year ago
If I didn't say it before yes post it.
You said that the lights were salvaged from the garbage. Now did you go to the land fill or did you come upon them another way?
Josehf Murchison (author)  Frugal_Momma1 year ago
I found them in my neighbor’s garbage out to the curb, that is the actual bag they were in, in the photo.

You are supposed to take the lights in in the fall and remove the batteries.

Unfortunately people leave them out all year long in the snow and the freezing rain, and they are cheaper to replace then get fixed. So every spring I get loads of them.

Joe
OK, thank you. Springs coming up so ill see if i cant get my hands on some.
Josehf Murchison (author)  Frugal_Momma1 year ago
I made an instructable on solar arrays you might want to check out also.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-a-1-Watt-Solar-Array/
Alright, thanks. I drove down a couple of blocks around my house and seen a lot of them left outside. I'm sure if i go for a walk and ask some people for them, i could get my hands on some. I'm exited, I have been looking in to getting some, but the cells are so expensive. This is a great up-cycle idea. :-D I might be messaging you sometime in the future if i need help. If that's alright?
Josehf Murchison (author)  Frugal_Momma1 year ago
that is cool
Great added to favs, surely someday im gona need this
Josehf Murchison (author)  Upostionots1 year ago
dont forget to colect them from the garbage I make small solar arays with the ones I get it is free power.
Schmidty162 years ago
what if ur cells arn coated in some waxy coat or plastic coating
Josehf Murchison (author)  Schmidty162 years ago
Most solar cells are coated the spot where the leads contact the cell is usually bear and the cells you repair, clean the backs with a mild scrub pad not steel wool.
Joe
pfred22 years ago
So, what happens if you try to solder the solar cell?
Josehf Murchison (author)  pfred22 years ago
On plastic solar cells other than a little melting of the plastic I have never had a problem soldering a new lead on the cell.
With glass cells and an ordinary soldering iron, the glass sucks the heat away and when I finally melt the solder it stops sticking to the glass.
If you look closely at the cells in my instructable there is a lot of damage to the laminates on the back of the glass from oxidization. It could be that the cell is missing something from oxidization or the solder has the wrong flux.
With the method I use I don’t worry about any of those problums.
Joe
I could see the outdoor cells getting weathered and oxidizing as a result. That would stop solder from adhering. Thank you for your reply. I recently noticed that this site is no longer sending me notifications when I receive replies. So now I am trying to backtrack and touch base with everyone that has taken the time to respond to me. Thanks again.
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