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)
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