Introduction: Solar Power From LED

I've always wondered why the Arduino programs shuts off when I take pictures of my LED projects with flash. With a little investigation I learned that LEDs, in and of itself, are photodiodes, and with the high intensity brightness form the flash generates electricity that overloads the Arduino.

This projects is a demonstration and project on how to use a simple light emitting diode (LED) as a solar cell.

Step 1: BoM

  • LED(s)
  • Multimeter
  • Light source
  • [Optional] Breadboard (for single LED's)

Step 2: Connecting the LED to the Multimeter

Connect all the anodes (positive, rounded edge) of the LED together by plugging all of them into the red rail on the breadboard for a solderless solution. Then, connect all the cathodes (negative, flat edge) of the LED together by plugging them into the blue rail on the breadboard. Pretty simple, eh!

Step 3: Let There Be Power!!!

Connect a red male-to-male jumper wire on one of the pins on the red rail, and a black male-to-male jumper wire on one of the pins on the blue rail. Now, turn on your multimeter to the "2V DC" setting and touch the red probe with the red jumper wire and black probe with the black jumper wire.

The LED needs to be very close to the light source since it's relatively weak when it gets to the LED (in comparison with a DSLR's flash). The closer it is to the light source the higher the voltage levels. Of course, it is expected that the values fluctuates, but it's still power from LEDs!!!

Step 4: LEDs in Series

Connecting the same LEDs in series on the breadboard, I was able to harness 0.110 V !!!

Comments

author
LabRatMatt (author)2017-08-07

if 10 LEDs can produce 0.11v, then abiut 273 LEDs would be required to power one LED. That's some nice efficiency.

author

would larger leds work better

author
russ_hensel (author)2017-08-05

When trying too capture energy from some system it is common to measure the power ( power is energy per unit time ).

Many experimenters measure the voltage their systems produce. Voltage is nice, but it is not power.

To measure electric power ( and thus energy ) You need to measure both current and voltage at the same time.

Put a resistor across the voltage source with a current meter in series with it. Then measure the voltage and current at the same time ( you need 2 meters ). Let us know the power you get ( in volts * amps = watts ).

The results will depend on the resistor chosen.

author
WarenGonzaga (author)russ_hensel2017-08-05

Cool stuff! Indeed...

author
WarenGonzaga (author)2017-08-04

I will improve this idea in the future! Thank you, dude!

author
Maker Saga (author)2017-08-04

This is good to know! Fun fact: LEDs can also be used to detect specific wavelengths and colors of light. This quality has been used to measure aerosol levels in the atmosphere.

author
WarenGonzaga (author)Maker Saga2017-08-04

Wow! That's why they are also use in the color detector?

author
WarenGonzaga (author)2017-08-04

Well, you need a lot of LED's to generate electricity!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Aerospace Engineer working in Software Development with a passion for Hardware.
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