Introduction: Testing Solar Panels With a Mooshimeter
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