Step 3: Soldering

Picture of Soldering

Remember to heat up your soldering iron and hot glue gun so they are ready to use when you need them!

Solder your motor to the solar panel

Some solar panels have multiple leads. You can test your motor placement by holding the panel in the sun and pressing the wires to different combinations of leads until you feel movement. Alternately, use a multimeter to test for resistance between leads. You want to use two leads that appear to be an open circuit, not two leads that appear to be a short circuit.

Lay your solar cell down, and align the wires from the motor with the leads on the solar cell. It does not matter which wire goes to which lead, the motor will spin either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on how you wire it. If you have one of our kits, your motor comes with an adhesive backing on one side. Make sure your wires reach the contacts before sticking down the motor.

Place your soldering iron tip so it is touching both the wire and the solder point, while keeping your solder on the other side. Touch the end of the solder to the terminal, and it will melt to make the connection. It can be helpful to arch your wires before soldering to prevent them from springing away once the soldering iron is removed, and before the solder has a chance to harden. Repeat this step for the other wire and terminal.

Once cool, turn your solar cell over just to make sure everything is well connected. If you like, you can go outside and test it out. If your motor doesn’t vibrate when the solar panel is exposed to bright sunlight, you may have a poor connection, or you may have soldered to the wrong terminals.

Any idea if these blinky solar keychains produce enough juice? I see them sold quite cheaply at retail or given out free as promotional logo items. http://www.greenbaba.com/Solar-Gadget/C011-Solar-Key-Chain.html