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YuKonstruct received 5W USB folding solar panels from Brown Dog Gadgets for the March Instructables Build Night. We decided to try testing the solar panels under different light sources with a Mooshimeter.

YuKonstruct is the first makerspace in Canada's north. Our mission is to provide access to shared space, quality tools, available expertise, and a collaborative environment to help makers build anything!

Step 1: Testing

Before building the solar cells into any projects, we wanted to know how much power they would give us in different situations. Living in "the land of the midnight sun", we can't count on many hours of natural light in the winter months, so knowing the solar cells' performance under artificial lighting was important.

The Mooshimeter is a digital multimeter that sends data to your phone. YuKonstruct has two mooshimeters and we thought they would be the perfect tool for measuring the performance of the solar cells.

We connected a solar panel to a mooshimeter with a USB cable and read the results off a smart phone.

We started testing some plausible situations, such as using the solar panels in a room lit by incandescent light bulbs and then moved on to the ridiculous, like charging the panels with the light produced by a welder.

Step 2: Results

We held our Build Night on March 26, which was a cloudy day.

Here are the results of our various tests (while holding panels close to the light source):

Natural sunlight (7pm cloudy day): .034 amps

3 incandescent 29W light bulbs: .05 amps

1K LED lamp: .0225 amps

3000 lumen projector lamp: .008 to .09 amps (depending on colour)

Camera flash: too quick for a reading

130 amp stick welder: .22 amps

You should have tried a grow light or a halogen lamp! I find I can charge any device with an amp output from my two panel ZeroGoal Nomad 7 using light from the bathroom halogen lamps.
<p>Thanks for the tip! We were just trying out what we had access to at our makerspace. We'll have to find some grow lights to give it a go.</p>
<p>Cool!</p>
<p>Woah! What a cool diagnostic device! I had never heard of a Mooshimeter before. Um, how do you pronounce that? :P</p>

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Bio: YuKonstruct is a non-profit society which provides an enthusiastic community of makers and entrepreneurs affordable access to space, equipment and knowledge. This community serves to ... More »
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