Introduction: Make a Solar Cell Easily

today i want to share how to make a solar cell at home easily and it is fun to make.but firstly i want to tell you dont expect to light your house with these solar cells because it produces small voltage and may need acres of them to power the house!but yet it is easy and need ordinary stuff .but little caution is needed to handle and make the cell.it is great for science classes and projects

visit my profile:https://www.instructables.com/member/argha+halder/ to see some more of such interesting projects.

Step 1: Things Needed:

the things you will need:
1)gas or electric stove 
2)copper plate or flashers -2
3)a transparent plastic or glass container
4)some wire
5)some water
6)salt
the tools you will need:
1)voltmetre(just for testing)
2)pliers
3)soldering iron

Step 2: Making the Semi Conductor Layer Part-1

every solar cell has a semi conductor plate and our cell contains one which is cuprous oxide that is made by burning or heating copper,why it is necessary is given in the step "how does it work".so first take one of the two copper plates and hold it with a pliers.now turn on the stove and put the copper on the fire.the colour of the copper would start to become mixed like orange red and many other colour in one copper.heat it in that state for 20 minutes.
be extremely careful not to burn your hand and dont touch or dip the copper in water while its hot.

Step 3: Making the Semi Conductor Part-2

now take the heated copper and put aside on a dry place to cool.after some time you will see some black flakes is starting to pop and break and flying away.the skin will start to appear.now when it fully cools down the flakes will fall from the full copper plate and the copper will take reddish brown colour.now using hand or sand paper remove the flakes from the copper surface.

Step 4:

now take the transparent plastic container and pour some water in it.now take some salt and keep dissolving until any more salt does not get dissolved. 

Step 5: Making the Connections Well

now take the heated copper and solder a wire to it.now take a normal copper plate and add an wire to it.

Step 6: Setting Everything Up!

now lets set everything.first take the two copper plates and place on the two inner sides of the tranparent plastic container containing salt water.make sure the two copper plates does not touch each other.its ready!the cuprous oxide end is the negative end and the copper is the positive end 

Step 7: Lets Test It!!

now first add the wires of the solar cell we made to a voltmetre.now in the dark see that it is producing a small volt around 0.02-4.now bring the cell in the sun and see the metre jump to almost 0.40 volts!i know it is not very much.but i can't think of anybody who wont be happy to see it work.now dont expect it to run your house.

Step 8: How Does It Work?

Cuprous oxide is a type of material called a semiconductor. A semiconductor is in between a conductor, where electricity can flow freely, and an insulator, where electrons are bound tightly to their atoms and do not flow freely.

In a semiconductor, there is a gap, called a bandgap between the electrons that are bound tightly to the atom, and the electrons that are farther from the atom, which can move freely and conduct electricity.

Electrons cannot stay inside the bandgap. An electron cannot gain just a little bit of energy and move away from the atom's nucleus into the bandgap. An electron must gain enough energy to move farther away from the nucleus, outside of the bandgap.

Similarly, an electron outside the bandgap cannot lose a little bit of energy and fall just a little bit closer to the nucleus. It must lose enough energy to fall past the bandgap into the area where electrons are allowed.

When sunlight hits the electrons in the cuprous oxide, some of the electrons gain enough energy from the sunlight to jump past the bandgap and become free to conduct electricity.

The free electrons move into the saltwater, then into the clean copper plate, into the wire, through the meter, and back to the cuprous oxide plate.

As the electrons move through the meter, they perform the work needed to move the needle. When a shadow falls on the solar cell, fewer electrons move through the meter, and the needle dips back down.

Step 9: How to Make It Stronger

you can add two or three cells in parrallel and charge a battery of 1.5 volts with it.or you can make a joule thief to increase the volt.here is a link to make a joule thief instructions:https://www.instructables.com/id/make-a-joule-thief-easily/.or you may increase the size of copper plates and use a magnifiying glass to increase the brightness of light and centerise the light alling on a large place.you may put covering or sealing to not let the salt water dry.the ways are limitless. 

Step 10: Troubleshooting

if your cell does not work then be sure you properly made the cuprous oxide or not.see whether you have not kept the copper place touching each other.make sure the plates are not touching each other.make sure you dont use cuprous oxide even instead of the bare copper plate.remember one plate should be copper and the other should cuprous oxide.i dont know or faced any more problems.
i am argha halder living in naogaon bangladesh.i read in class 7.i dont know english much as it is not my mother tongue language.and so if any mistake help me find it.give some more ideas.feel free to ask questions.i will try to answer them as much as possible for me.oh! i am soon shifting to usa.so maybe this will be my last instructable in 1 or 2 months.till then bye!have a nice day

Comments

author
rawansaber10 (author)2017-02-17

Really thanks for this.

but what is joule thief?

and i didn't understand this part :

As the electrons move through the meter, they perform the work needed to move the needle. When a shadow falls on the solar cell, fewer electrons move through the meter, and the needle dips back down.

please help me .. i want to understand this now necessary..

author
PrameshwariS (author)2016-12-02

Hi Argha, thanks for the instruction ^^.

I wanna ask you something. If I want to use it for charging the battery, do I have to use a rechargeable battery or I can do it with the common battery?

Please answer my question :D

author

You ofcourse have to use rechargeable battery, and also the voltage output is really low with this solar cell, so most likely you will need a step up converter to use it.

author
Rubens?? (author)2016-07-02

that is a Really good instructable!

author
MichealF (author)2015-08-17

This is great. I can't wait to try it myself. Perhaps I could run it back to a lithium battery and see if it recharges?

author
leoforjadores (author)2015-01-23

The wire has to be positive or negative?

author

I did not completely understand your question, but in case you wanted to know the polarity of the wires, the wire from the burnt copper is negative and the wire from the regular copper is positive. I hope it helps :)

author
leoforjadores (author)2015-01-22

Can I turn up a lightbulb with this proyect, if i put alot of cells together can i ?

author

you could, but to light up a l.e.d light you will probably need 6-7 of those cells. and what is the point of lighting up a light bulb using the light from the sun??

author
naqash-akhtar54 (author)2014-01-29

both ccopper plats are in burren state .how joule theif work or help in making mor voltag

author

sorry for the late reply. so only one of the copper is burnt. Joule thief circuit is a voltage booster. so adding the Joule thief would increase the voltage of the output at the cost of ampere...

author
leoforjadores (author)2014-10-27

Dude both cells are burned?

author

No, only one of the copper plates are burned.

author
SparkySolar (author)2014-10-22

I love this instructable thank you so much

author
argha halder (author)SparkySolar2014-10-22

Welcome!! It would be my pleasure if it helped you!!

author
saadj (author)2014-08-22

its good but producing tooo small voltage how to increase it

author
argha halder (author)saadj2014-08-22

You might make many of them and attach them in series, or you can put a lense on top of it so that you get brighter light,, etc.. You might be creative and find out some ways by yourself!!

author
rimar2000 (author)2013-08-22

You could connect many cells in serie to get more volts.
What if you bring the electrodes closer?

author
argha halder (author)rimar20002013-08-22

bringing the electrodes closer can increase only a few nano or mili volts.

author

HOw can we bring the electrodes closer ??

author

you will just need to build the cell in a smaller plastic cylinder or anything. if the jar is smaller it will eventually decrease the space between the electrodes . so it will bring the electrodes closer.

author

thanks !!!

author
rimar2000 (author)secret solar12014-01-09

Simply bring them closer. They don't need to be near the wall of the container. You could place a grille separator between both, like the car batteries have. This avoid its accidental contact.

author
secret solar1 (author)rimar20002014-01-10

thanks !!

author
rimar2000 (author)argha halder2013-08-23

But you will gain surely a lot of milliamperes. You need more mW, and Watt = Amp * Volts

author
argha halder (author)rimar20002013-08-23

oh then thanks for the suggestion!

author
secret solar1 (author)2014-01-10

thanksss!!!

author
crees091 (author)2013-11-21

Thanks for saying cell and not panel as panels heat water

author
argha halder (author)crees0912013-11-22

yeah, that what used to make me confused, i looked for cell, but mostly i found panel, so i decided not to make such mistake.

author
Ronald Joseph (author)2013-09-19

Very Cool!

author

thanks!!!!!!!!

author
ThePuzzler (author)2013-08-22

Nice instructable. I'm very interested in making new improvements to see if I could get it to produce more electricity.

author
argha halder (author)ThePuzzler2013-08-22

thanks.oh and if you want to increase its voltage then use a bigger cuprous oxide that is the heated copper.then use a voltage step up converter.or use many cells together

About This Instructable

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Bio: I love making and breaking electronics.
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