Step 5: Wire Up The Solar

First, we're going to wire up our solar panel.

I like to connect my 1N914 diode directly to the Positive solder tab on the solar panel. When soldering make sure the black bar on the 1N914 diode is point away from the solar cell. The black bar is the Negative side and prevents power backflow. If we put it in wrong we're going to prevent power from flowing into our circuit!

Solder the diode's Positive side (non black diode) to the Positive Solder Point on the solar cell. Solder a wire to the other end of the diode. (In the photo it's the red wire.)

Solder a wire to the Negative solder point on the solar cell. (In the picture it's the black wire.)

Then tape it up for protection.

Do you have to use that specific diode? or could you use a different diode?<br>
Im looking to create this project but i was wondering if i could wire in the solar panel to a portable charging bank?
<p>Would you be able to adapt this concept for a bigger battery to get a longer charge? Also for the battery listed would you be able to over charge the batteries or can you just let this sit out all day?</p>
If i don't want batteries I need my system, just a direct charge. Would it harm anything to leave out the battery pack and wire this directly to the USB charge controller?
<p>i have IN4007 bmc will it work fine</p>
Is there a way of adding a led power indicator into the the circuit to monitor how full the rechargeables are?
<p>Thats a common question. Unfortunately due to the simplicity of this project adding in a meter would be rather difficult. You're better off doing that if you make a lithium battery version of this kit. Most lithium charge controllers have a built in battery monitor that gives you some indication of charging.</p>
<p>Could this be done using an 18650 battery? I am thinking this way I could set it in a window to charge all day and get a full charge or 2 to my cell phone off it.</p>
use 3 18650s and a 3.7 to 5v boost circut and charger in one in an altoids tin, if you get really good 18650s then you can have 10400 mah in an altoids tin, enough to charge your phone many times
<p>Yup, lithium is better provided you're safe about it.</p>
<p>By 'USB charger' do you mean the cable or a wall adapter?</p>
<p><a href="http://www.browndoggadgets.com/products/usb-charging-circuit" rel="nofollow">http://www.browndoggadgets.com/products/usb-chargi...</a></p><p>It would be more like a wall adapter</p>
<p>Wall adaptors convert AC to DC. You want a DC to DC boosting circuit.</p>
<p>Does this work for apple lightning charger such as those used with the newer iPhones? </p>
<p>That is will.</p>
Could i cannibalise part of a wall charger minus the transformer
<p>No, thats an AC to DC converter. It'll take 120V AC and turn it into 5V DC.</p><p>What we're doing is taking 2.4V or 3.6 V (2 or 3 AAs) DC and turning it into 5V DC.</p>
Also could i use solar cells out of landscape lights and the batteries
<p>You could. But you'd need the USB aspect to charge a phone.</p>
<p>There is, of course, an easier and cheaper way to acquire the materials needed to make this project, including the case itself, depending on whether or not you can locate the item in the attached picture.</p><p>The attached image is an aluminum post light. I purchased a few of them, and payed 10$ for each. However, I found more appealing and higher-quality lights, so I decided to do something with them. You will need two of these for this.</p><p>The top of the post is an aluminum screw-top containing a number of small electronics: a small circuit board controlling the LED light based on whether or not energy is coming from the solar panel, a 3V white bright LED, a 1.5V solar panel, and a 1.2V Ni-CD rechargeable battery. Though it is optional, you may use the LED as an attached flashlight.</p><p>Dissassemble the light, then use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the various parts inside, making sure to leave the plastic, solar panels and battery contacts in both parts remain intact and in place; it will make your work easier, though it is purely optional.</p><p>Remove enough plastic to allow an opening for the USB output, then bend the aluminum shell inward to make an opening. Insert the USB output, solder the proper wires and connections, then hot-glue the two halves together.</p><p>Congratulations! You saved 10$, plus postage and the time spent waiting for the parts to arrive.</p>
<p>Except it's missing the entire USB voltage boosting aspect of the circuit, a USB port, and a decent battery capacity. What you have right there is a circuit that'll put out around 3V of power and has a battery capacity of around 800mA. More or less useless when trying to charge up a phone seeing how a phone, or any USB gadget, needs 5V. So theres that whole aspect.</p>
<p>Hey so I've made my first solar usb charger, but I'm having strange issues. I'm starting to wonder whether these usb circuit boards are crap, because, when I check for continuity on the board, touches the leads of my multimeter to the positive and negative all I get is an OL and silence (yes I'm in the right mode on the MM). Whenever I try to charge my phone, my battery drains if I'm charging off the battery. Or, if I'm trying to only use the solar panel, I get this weird pulsing of a few volts. It's really weird. I'm only a novice, but I'm very interested in troubleshooting this problem. I think I'd learn a lot if anyone had ideas on what was going on. I'm about to stick some non-rechargeable batteries in and get some reading so I at least have a control here. Anyway, please some advice or help would be greatly appreciated. I want to solve this puzzle!!! Thanks. </p>
Oh ur made version is a way too costly.......
<p>Whenever we get the charger to work the batteries start smoking, the battery pack melts, and the charger breaks. My teacher was wondering if we could get your phone number or email to ask further questions. Please get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you!</p>
<p>Nice project...!! Useful one......... But what is the alternative of regular batteries ? </p>
<p>sorry, where have u find the usb charging circuit</p>
<p>The DC-DC charge circuit for this project costs 57c on AliExpress with free shipping.</p><p><a href="http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1Pcs-Mini-DC-DC-USB-0-9V-5V-to-5V-Boost-Step-up-Power-Supply-Module/32383087922.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1Pcs-Mini-DC-DC-USB...</a></p>
<p>My website, browndoggadgets.com</p>
<p>I purchased a cell phone battery pack extender and was not impressed so I'm looking into making my own. I first tried connecting one of those cigarette lighter USB converters into a 12V power point adapter connected to a 9V battery but the phone would not constantly charge. If that makes sense. </p><p>But charges perfectly fine off the 6V car battery on my Trabant. The only thing I can think of is the milliamp per hour rating of the 9V battery I was using was too low to support charging.</p>
<p>i love it</p>
the OP mentioned that you can take the circuit out of a phone charger and use it for this project. what I'm wondering, though, is that the project calls for a DC to USB circuit, whereas the wall chargers would be AC to USB circuits, right? if this is correct, do I need to do anything to alter the chip I take out of the charger in any way to fit with the project, or can I use it as is and just insert it into the new circuit?
Nice build. Do you think if you placed a mirror in the lid you could use it to refract more light onto the solar panel? <br><br>Have a great day! :-)
<p>Nah, it would be a super duper tight fit then, and you're better off just angling the panel at 45 degrees.</p>
<p>justForFun's idea [ i think ] was to have direct sun on the panel PLUS reflected light from a mirror to increase output LOL i think you misunderstood the idea trying to be conveyed. JustForFun did not mean for the mirror's light to be the only light applied to the solar panel. personally i thought it was a fantastic idea!!!!!! be well my friends</p>
<p>have you thought about using super capacitors? they charge in seconds</p>
<p>Super caps are nice, but they hold very very very very very very very little amperage compared to even the cheapest AA. Sure, you could get giant soda bottle sized super caps (and spend hundreds of dollars per cap), but thats a bit above and beyond the scope of this. With current technology it's not financially or practically a good solution.</p>
<p>nice and simple, i like it. a question: why don't you add a switch for solar charging? just because when there is no sunlight, the panel will slowly drain the batteries. better to open the circuit when you don't use the panel.</p>
<p>Thats why there is a diode, to prevent drain. A lot of people add switches to this project, no reason why you couldn't. Just not necessary. </p>
ah well okay a diode is a lot better of course :)
I got this circuit board off an LG travel charger . Trying to figure out where I would put the negative and positive wires. I also wanted to add a switch I'm not sure if that would makes things more complicated. Wondering if any of you could help
<p>those looks like a step-down? If they are they will work if you have a big solar panel to step the voltage down to 5vdc. You can get the battery powered usb charge at the Dollarama if you live in Ontario, they are like three bucks!</p>
<p>What the guy above me said. You have a STEP DOWN. You want a STEP UP. Two completely different things.</p>
<p>Does this work with 18650 battery cells?</p>
<p>No, you'd need a charge controller in the mix. At the start of the write up I link to my Lithium Heavy Duty 2.0 project, which uses 18650 lithium battery cells. It's not too much different from this write up.</p>
These look awesome!
<p>What was the problem with this kit? what batteries did you use?</p>
<strong>aa batteries</strong>
<p>Lithium aa?</p>
<p>Those would explode.</p><p>Lithium batteries are NOT rechargable. Lithium-Ion batteries are, but with special controlling hardware. He used Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (Ni-Mh), your standard rechargable ones.</p>
<p>use NiCads if you are not concerned about their self-discharge rate, they have a much higher mAh than their cousin NiMh.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I used to teach middle school science, but now I run my own online educational science website. I spend my days designing new projects for ... More »
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