Introduction: Solar Outdoor Lamp
In this tutorial i want to show you how I built solar powered lamp. This lamp is placed in gazebo outside and since there is no power it is completely depended on solar power. It’s using lithium batteries to store the energy during the day which can be used at night. It’s great to have this since we were used to use candles.
Please also take a look at the video where everything is shown as well and consider subscribing ;)
Step 1: Materials
Before we start we need couple of things. This is a list of things I have used. Of course almost everything can be replaced with something else. All 3D printed parts can be found here.
- Scrap wood
- Screws, washers
- 3x Li-po battery
- Battery charger – tp4056
- Step up converter – xl6009
- Step down converter - mini360 / LM7805
- LED strip
- Solar panel – 2x 12V 5.2W
- Screw terminals
Step 2: Frame
I started by building the frame on the lamp. I used some 8 cm wide board. It's actually just fence post but i had it laying around so I decided to use it. I cut 2 pieces half a meter long and 2 little blocks at an angle to create a basic shape. I wasn't precise with the angle I just made sure both pieces are the same. I connected it all with screws. The screws i used are there because they look nice so any screw long enough would do. I just got fancy ones so it looks better however for the rest of the project i was just using any that would fit. Once I had it all done I sanded the edges and used lacquer to make it durable. Next I took some narrow scrap board and cut off to half meter length as well this one is supposed to hold the LED strip. I have also drilled holes on each end for the chain to go trough. Once this was done i attached it to the frame and mounted LED strip on it. I would recommend putting metal plate between the strip and the wood so that heat from LEDs can dissipate.
Step 3: Electronics
My original idea for electronics was to charge every battery cell separately and have them connected in series driving LEDs directly. However after some testing this wasn’t possible so I had to connect in parallel and boost the voltage up which is quiet inefficient. Basically we take 12V from solar panels step it down to 5V to charge batteries and then boost it up again to 12V to power the light. It’s not the best solution but at least it works. On the picture you can see how everything is wired up. Batteries ,tp4056 and step down converter also have their own 3D printed case which you can download here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1678316 or you can just create some housing yourself. As on on/off switch I wanted to have one of those chain switches like there used to be on old lamps but I couldn’t find anything so I made one myself. I used chain that is also used for mounting the lamp and regular toggle push button which I inserted into my custom 3D printed mount. This mount also has place where M6 bolt needs to be inserted according to the picture. Once these are in place the mount can be screwed on the frame. With couple of nuts I adjusted the way button is being pressed and secured the chain in place.
Step 4: Last Details
Once I had the frame and electronics done I mounted solar panels on the roof with 3D printed mounts(link: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1678334 ). These mounts use nails to attach to the roof. After it was all in place I put epoxy around those nails so there is no water leaking in. One last thing to do was to mount the lamp itself. For that I used chain which I got from hardware store. It’s rated for up to 8kg so it’s plenty strong and it has gold tint into it so it fits the style of the entire project. On both ends of the lamp I attached the chain using screw and washer to hold it in place. I found height where the lamp lights up just bit more than the table and measured it. Then I screwed other side of the chain to the roof. Last thing to do was just to run wires to connect everything together and it’s done.
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