BUILD a NOCTURNAL SOLAR LIGHT BULB

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Introduction: BUILD a NOCTURNAL SOLAR LIGHT BULB

About: I am an Electrical Engineer. I love to harvest Solar Energy and make things by recycling old stuff. I believe, IF YOU TRY YOU MIGHT, IF YOU DON'T YOU WON'T. www.opengreenenergy.com

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In India, one of world’s largest, most populated countries, over 74 million rural households live without power. Children study in harmful smoke,average people spends 5% of their income on lighting fuel,people burns wood for lighting.

You can find all of my projects on : https://www.opengreenenergy.com/

A single kerosene wick burns an estimated 80 litres of fuel, producing more than 250 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year. Multiply that across the developing world and kerosene lamps emit 270,000 tons of black carbon annually – equivalent to 240 million metric tons of CO2.

To help people living in villages, I made this solar light bulb for providing a low cost solution by replacing their harmful kerosene lamps.This will empower the world’s poor to replace kerosene with clean solar-powered light.I got inspiration from NOKERO.

I always prefer to make something from used things to recycle it. I made this solar light bulb by using used stuffs and few electronics components.

Features :

1. One day charging can give light up to 20-22 lumens (about three times the brightness of a kerosene lamp) for the entire night.

2. A 2000mah AA battery can be charged fully in two days bright sun light.You can use the hanger as well as the multi purpose stand for charging.Just hang it on a wire out side or place it at your window.


3. Uses high quality AA NiMh battery which can work at least for 5 years.

4. Uses a high quality solar panel to charge the battery.

5. Automatically switches off in bright light to save charge and switch on in dark.

6. Battery over discharge protection circuit.


Advantages :

1.Improves literacy : Solar light bulb improves literacy, because people can read after dark more easily than they can by candle or kerosene lamp.

2.Saves Energy : As the light is bulb is charged through solar energy (free energy) it saves energy.

3.Reduces air pollution : Use of solar light bulb decreases the amount of local air pollution. With a decrease in the amount of kerosene used for lighting, there is a corresponding reduction in the amount of pollution produced.

4.Reduces greenhouse gases : Solar light bulb gives light with no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Uses :
1. Night Lamp

2.Reading Lamp

3.Portable Emergency Light

4.Camping and Hiking Lamp

5.Garden/Lawn Light

Step 1: PARTS AND TOOLS :

PARTS :

1.Solar Panel ( 2V,40mA or 2V 150mA or 2V,300mA )

2. 0.5W Straw Hat White LED ( eBay )

3. Rechargeable AA / AAA battery ( amazon )

4. IC QX5252F (eBay )

5. 33uH Inductor ( eBay )

6. Switch ( eBay)

8. AA / AAA Battery Holder ( eBay )

9.Wires

10.Prototype Board

11. Plastic Container

12.Aluminium Hanger

Note : Choose any one from the three solar panel mentioned.

TOOLS:

1.Soldering Iron

2.Hot Glue Gun

3.Pliers

4.Wire Stripper and cutter

Step 2: Schematic and Working:

The heart of this light bulb is a very small 4 legged IC QX5252F. It works very similar to "Joule Thief " circuit.

But the advantage of using this chip is that ,it does not require a bulky and heavy toroid.It do the same job using only a simple inductor, single AA / AAA battery and a LED.

Most of the solar garden light uses this small intelligent chip.I came across these ICs when one of my Instructable friend talk me about this and send the data sheet and information.

Connection :

Pin-1 -> Solar panel positive terminal

Pin-2 -> Battery positive terminal and one leg of Inductor

Pin-3 -> All ground ( Solar panel,Battery and LED negative terminal)

Pin-4 -> Other leg of Inductor

Step 3: Bread Board Testing

Before soldering the Circuit,It is always a good idea to prototype any circuit on a breadboard. This lets you check to make sure that all of your components are working perfectly.

Make the circuit on your bread bard as per the schematic.The LED should not glow if the circuit is correct.

To simulate the dark condition,cover the solar panel with your palm.Now the LED should glow.

Step 4: Out Put Waveform and Observation :

To check the performance of the circuit, I remove the LED and hook up my Oscilloscope probe.

The output is not a steady DC voltage but a voltage that fluctuates rapidly.In my case the frequency is around

184.5 KHz. The peak to peak voltage is nearly 7.28 V and the average value is around 1.0 to 1.20V.

Note : If you try to measure the voltage by a normal meter,it will show near to your battery voltage.Because your meters only measure the average value of a fluctuating voltage.

Step 5: Parts Selection :

1. Battery :

You can use any AA or AAA rechargeable battery.As per my experience I can sayeneloopbatteries are the best one.They are sold in pre-charged condition, so that you can use it directly after purchasing just like an standard alkaline battery.It can be reused up to 2100 times. When they weren't in use,could hold their charge for a lot longer than traditional NiMh battery.It can hold 70% charge after 5years of use.

For more details on eneloop batteries click here

Though a standard alkaline AA battery also works,but you can not charge the battery from solar power.

2. Solar panel :

Rating : A 2V solar panel is perfect for charging a AA NiMh battery (1.2v).Along with solar panel voltage,the current rating is also very important.Higher the current rating quicker the battery will charge.

I used a 2V,150mA solar panel.Choose according to your choice.

Size : Be sure during buying that the size of the panel is perfect to sit over the lid.In my case it is 55.1x55.1x3.59mm

3. Inductor :

The LED brightness can be controlled by using different values of inductor.

As per data sheet LED Power =( 2* Vbat / L )* 10^-6

As per my observation 33uH and 47uH works good for these 0.5W straw hat LED.

You can also try with other value and let me know which value works good for you.

3.LED :

I used a 0.5W stray hat white LED.It produce very bright light.I can say a single LED with fully charged battery is enough for basic lighting need.For specification of the LED I used is shown in the above picture.

You can also use a standard white LED but it will not produce sufficient light.

Step 6: Drill Holes for Hanger

Drill two holes diametrically opposite, near the top portion of the container.

It will used for mounting the hanger.

Step 7: Make the Hanger

First cut the hanger with the pliers back blades at the both ends.Now use the hanging part and keep the straight part for future use.

Trim at the both end according to the height of hanger you prefer.In my case it was nearly 12mm.

Bend at the both ends by using a nose plier.

Then insert the end in to the container holes made earlier.

Step 8: Make the Multi Purpose Stand

Now it is time to use the straight part of the hanger.

First bend it at the centre.

Then make two folds 9cm away from the centre.

Make two folds at the end with length 1.5cm each.

Insert the plastic container at both ends and finally cover the lid.

This stand is very useful for

1. Charging : During charging you can change the orientation of the solar panel to get maximum sun light.

2. Lighting : To focus the light you can change its facing.

Step 9: Solder the Components

In order to make the finished circuit, I soldered the components onto a perforated board.

I have attached a PDF copy of schematic.You can use it during the soldering.

Step 10: Solder the Solar Panel Terminals

All the solar panel have pre marked terminals polarity.One is positive (+ ) and other is negative ( - ).

Solder a red and a black wire to the positive and negative terminals of the solar panel respectively

Step 11: Mount the Solar Panel

Drill a 3mm hole at the center of the lid.

Pass the wires from solar panel through the underside of the lid.

Apply glue on the lid and press the solar panel to sit firmly.(You can cover the hole also,it ensures more air tight)

Step 12: Mount the AA Battery Holder

Apply hot glue on the back side of the Battery holder.

Place it on the underside of the lid and press it until the glue dry out.

Step 13: Connect a Switch

Trim the battery holder's red wire in two parts. Solder the trimmed pieces to the centre terminal of the switch and the red wire still connected to the battery holder to the switch's outer terminal.Cover the joints with insulating tap to avoid short circuit.

Step 14: Connect the Solar Panel and Battery to the Circuit

Solder the wires from the solar panel and battery to the circuit board .

Red wire is for positive and black wire is used for GND connection.

Step 15: Mount the Circuit Board and Switch

Apply hot glue at the centre of the lid's underside.Press the circuit board to fix it perfectly.

Then place the switch to the side of the circuit board and apply glue to the surrounding.

Use a generous amount of glue, but be mindful of not getting any on the lid's inner edge, or it will no longer fit on the container.

Then finish the extra wire by using duct tape.

Step 16: Insert the Battery

Insert the battery into the battery holder.

Step 17: Finishing

To test the lamp slide the switch to ON position and switch off your room light.

Close the lid of the container and you're done.

To charge the light keep the light on bright sun light.Tilt the light lid towards the sun for fast charging.

Hope my solar light bulb will give light to many rural people around the globe.

If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to pass it along!
Follow me for more DIY projects and ideas. Thank you !!!

4 People Made This Project!

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147 Discussions

Hi Deba,

Please can you tell me what I need to do so I can use a colour change LED. I have tried but it just glows red

1 reply

Well, first of all, you need to use an LED that is capable of that--BUT, most LEDs that are capable of that, are VOLTAGE driven, rather than CURRENT driven. Color changing LEDs are more than just an LED [and, in fact, are more than just an RGB trio of LEDs]...they are, in fact, a whole, tiny little circuit, built into the body of the LED clear plastic package, powered by, typically, 3V to 5V. The QX5252F IC is designed to drive a discrete LED, not a circuit that drives three LEDs. The QX5252F regulates current, not voltage. An isolated, discrete LED, requires a constant current--i.e. CURRENT DRIVEN.

So, that's probably why your Color Changing LED is not displaying all it's colors. You might get away with hacking the QX5252F. Rectify the output and follow that with a capacitor -- see what voltage you get, with a load that draws around 25mA, and if that voltage is higher than 5V, then throw a 1N5227B across the capacitor, to clip the voltage to around 3.6V [maybe you'll need a series resistor before that zener--if the QX5252F is delivering too much current into that Zener]. There are a lot of unknowns, so you might have to experiment. Also, adding that Zener will reduce efficiency, thus the light won't glow as long, but you can compensate by adding more battery capacity. It's all a matter of how Electronics Savvy your are.

Here's a website that might help: https://ez.analog.com/community/university-program...

I like to build these in small Mason jars--more durable under harsh weather conditions and UV...and, in my opinion, more attractive.

Caveat: Might not survive hurricane, tornado, or large hail...;)

Where did you put the IC QX5252F after the schematic working in the plastic container?

What is the difference of using solar lamp pcb and using a perforated board?

Where did you put the IC QX5252F after the schematic working?

Dear Friends

Please tell me can any circuit using 6v 300mahSolar Panel and 3.6v Li Battery

anshulg22@gmail.com

Thanks

6 replies

This is a great Instructable. I want to make some indoor nightlights and I would be using a 5V, 250-300mA solar panel and maybe 2-3AA in series and I need advice. What I really want is a brighter light for string lights with 10 LEDs that lasts the night. Thanks if you can help.

Hi Aquascapist

I've recently done this with my garden lights using a 5v solar panel. I essentially used the same circuit as above and connected the end of the light strip in place of he single LED. A 5v solar panel will work since the QX2552 chip has built in voltage regulation to control the voltage going to the battery and LEDs.

My solar panel is 1.25w and the battery is fully charged in around 2 hours of good sun. Your's will take longer, but should still fully charge within a single sunny day.

However the only downside is that it comes on a LOT later - it has to be almost dark for the light to switch on. Because the solar panel is supplying a much higher voltage then the chip is expecting, it over-calculates how bright it actually is!

When i get round to it, I'm going to solder a trimmer/potentiometer in between the solar panel +ve cable and the chip.

I'll let you know how it goes :)

I use an 18650 lithium ion but I'd rather use NiMah because they can handle more charging cycles but I received the parts and I'm building your design soon. Thanks!

It depends on how many charge cycles your battery can do. In this instructable, he says it can last up to 5 years and still provide 70% of the original charge.

How does the brightness compare to store bought LED garden lights?

Hi Deba;

Very nice work. into the hands of health.

Where PCB we find?

Thx.

3 replies

Hello

Now I do not have any stock of PCBs.

If you need ,please tell me the numbers, I will order for you.