I wanted to find out how to remove and the solar cell from one of those $4 outdoor solar
lamps that you just stick in the ground. I couldn't find anything online so I took it upon
myself to figure it out. It was pretty straight forward but I thought I'd post my findings anyway
$4 Outdoor Solar Lamp will yield:
~3V solar cell
~AA rechargeable battery
~circuit and some resistors
~metal sleeve and stake if you need it for something.
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Step 1: Tools
All you really need is a small philiips screw driver and a Dremel. Unfortunately for
some unfathomable reason I have not brought myself to purchase a dremel tool, if only
because a friend's is always available. I did have some wire clippers on hand which was
messy and time consuming but got the job done.
~Phillips screw driver
~Flat head screw driver or something with a thin metal edge.
Step 2: Disassembly
Unscrew the head from the shaft, about 1/4 turn and it comes right off, (but you knew that already)and unscrew the
3 screws on the underside. Remove the rechargeable AA battery and the metal decorative sleeve over the plastic casing. Pry a flat head screwdriver or blade under the lip of the case and pry it up. It should slide off with minimal effort.
The battery is a AA rechargeable 1.2V @ 350mAh Ni-Cd battery. With charge and quick charge voltages and amp info. Quite nice actually.
Step 3: Getting to the Solar Cell
Using a dremel and cut off wheel would have made this job 100% faster but alas I don't have one (can I still consider myself a true hobbyist without one?). I used some wire cutters and some muscle to cut through the thin sides of the case up around each corner of where the solar cell was glued down. I originally tried to pry it up but I started to scratch the cell and didn't want to risk breaking it. If it can be pried up successfully without cracking it, let me know.
Step 4: Removal and Testing
There was a bit of rubber glue holding the cell in but not as much as I had suspected. I had freed enough of the cell from the plastic I could gently raise it up and peel it away from the plastic. There was some silicon sealant coating the hold that the wire leads were threaded through. This was all done the waterproof the unit. I shoved a small phillips screw driver in the hole and twisted it the loosen up the sealant. then I pulled the wires through. The I went ahead and removed the LED the circuit and the photo resistor.
I should add that before I attempted to remove it I tested it with my multimeter to ensure that it provided the suspected 3V that I needed for my BEAM projects I wanted to work on. Sure enough under direct florescent light, it gave slightly more then 3V in the picture below I have captured it close to that rating as documented proof.