Harvest More Sun Power - Stand for Tiny Solar Panel

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About: My Name is Daniel Aeschlimann. During the day I am a Mechanical Engineer. During the evenings I tinker with witn my 3D-Printer, my CNC router and with Arduino. Some projects i record on video and upload them...

How much energy you can earn from a solar panel, depends on how intensive the sun shines on the panel surface.

Therefore, you want to orient your panel towards the sun. With an accurate orientation, you can easily double you energy harvest of a day.

But sometimes it is hard to find a spot where the panel points towards the sun. At the latest some hours later you have to find a different spot because the sun has moved.

In this instructable, I explain to you, how you can make an adjustable stand for your tiny solar panel.

The video gives you an overview about the adjustable stand. In addition, I visualize how the sun shines on the panel during the day and in spring, summer etc. (English subtitles)

https://youtu.be/Axpf6dyV_rQ

Step 1: Material You Need for This Project

To be clear, my instruction involves 3d-printing. If you don't have one, feel free to grab just my idea and make your stand with a different material.

Step 2: Print the 3D-Printable Parts

Attached you find the *.stl file to print on your 3D-Printer.

If you like to adjust the parts to a different thickness of the solar panel or a different diameter of the tube. You will find the Fusion 360 Model under the following link.

Fusion 360 CAD Model: http://a360.co/2uVGAzJ

The Parts are designed to print in a certain orientation. Check the pictures to get them oriented the right way.

The hole in the T-shaped part is designed that it can be printed horizontally without any support material. See the blue surfaces and cross-section to understand my trick.

I used standard PLA material. After some weeks in the sun, my PLA parts are still fine. ABS, Nylon or PETG will be more suitable for this outdoor purpose.

Step 3: Cut the Tubes to Length

You have to cut two tube parts to length.

The first one is to connect the two corner brackets together. It also acts as the pivot axis for the tilt angle. Its length has to be the width of the solar panel.

The second tube acts as the stand of the solar panel. Its length can be chosen depending on the purpose. I cut it that it doesn't stick out when it is folded to the back of the solar panel.

Step 4: Assemble Your Solar Panel Stand

Depending on the accuracy of your printed parts you maybe have to sand the holes a bit. But on the T-shaped part, you want to have enough friction in the pivot axis to hold the panel in place.

Before we glue the corner parts to the tube, we push the T-shaped part on the tube. No glue on this hinge.

With the two-component adhesive, we can now glue the corner parts to the tube.

That's it more is not to do. - Just go outside and test it.

Step 5: How to Use It - and Future Projects

As I explain in my blog entry https://ewap.ch/solarpannel-zur-sonne-ausrichten/ I do not charge my smartphone directly from the solar panel. I like to use my phone during the day and charge it in the evening.

So, I charge during the day my USB power bank and during the night my phone from the power bank.

From one day it I get one full charge for my phone or a 50% charge for my tablet.

I also have some other charging applications. But these I first have to modify to charge them from the USB solar panel. Maybe something for another instructable.

  • Charger for my camera batteries
  • Charger for 18650 batteries
Solar Contest 2017

Runner Up in the
Solar Contest 2017

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    4 Discussions

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    ajayt7

    1 year ago

    Interesting project

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    kbs2244

    1 year ago

    I like it.

    The tri-pod has a long history

    But would not a simple sand bag ( bean bag) work at this scale?

    B

    1 reply
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    lomo85kbs2244

    Reply 1 year ago

    Shure, a sand bag would also work for this purpose. What you use to adjust the solar panel rds the sun is not important. Important is, that you take care about the adjustment.

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    nesarmen

    1 year ago

    Nice one.