We see leds every where. what do they do? they light up. well yeah thats their main purpose but not a lot of people know that if you expose them to sunlight it can
produce a small amount of voltage. So in a way it can act as a solar panel. The flashlight I made uses one 10mm white led. The led charges the battery and with a flick of
a switch it allows the led to emit light. It is such a small circuit you can fit it into two pop bottle caps. For this small build I used a 10mm white led, small nickel battery
(20mah size of a super cap. good runtime for one led) a blocking diode and a spdt switch.
I will explain how all the componets go hand in hand in the 1st step.
if you want to see a video of this working please copy and paste this ;link into your browser. I didnt feel like uploading it to youtube just to emmbed it. its such a short
video so I hope you dont mind. here is the link https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200431925699995¬if_t=video_processed
In the comments section you will see there was a bit of confusion. I take full blame for that confusion. When I first measured the voltage output of the led it read as 1.2 volts. That was the foundation of the confusion. However I was measuring the voltage output when the sun was setting and being blocked by clouds and trees. I meaured it again today in absolute sunlight. And it read as high as 2.7 volts. The battery charged to 2.7. Now that is enough to charge the battery and enough to run the led, however it doesnt live up to its full potential. The led works best at 3 volts. I am sorry for the confusion and I thank everyone who commented and got me interested in taking it apart and re-testing the voltage. I will be making a newer better one in the future. The more leds you use in series the higher voltage output you will get. I plan on making a new instructable in a few days. Sorry for the confusion!
Step 1: How It Works/quick Brief
This is a small brief on the circuit.
First I recommend using a white led as they produce the most voltage (in my studies) when in sunlight.
The white led I used outputs 2.7 volts when in absolute direct sunlight which is perfect for a slow charge. that being said, the type of battery I used is a very small nickel
based battery. when i first got it I thought it was a super cap. the battery is rated at 20mah and 3.6 volts. once its fully charged it can run one led for a decent amount of
time. it charges best when its in direct sunlight.
in the next step you will see the schematic and even if youre new to electronics you will see its very easy. It revolves around the switch and diode, in one position the
switch allows the led to charge the battery and in the other position it allows the battery to run through the led and emit light. The charge can also be an off position.
Step 2: Schematic and Parts
The blocking diode serves a great purpose. It allows the led to pass the charge its getting from sunlight to the battery it also stops any current from the battery to the led
(stops the battery from discharging to the led. lighting it) . so its a one way street, now in the other position of the spdt you can see that its joined right after the diode, this
position allows for the battery to discharge into the led (light!).
very very simple. I also included a picture of the parts.
Step 3: Assembly
the assembly is very easy. as easy as the schematic looks. i used two pop bottle caps as the enclosure. The flatness of the second cap comes in handy when charging.
pictures are in order from start to finish. click on them for additional info
step1 drill a hole through the top of one cap and glue the led to it. run the leads through the cap
step2 solder the positive lead to the center leg of the spdt switch
step3 solder the blocking diode from one of the outter legs og the switch to the battery 9positive)
step4 solder the last leg of the switch after the diode.
step5 solder the leds negative lead to negative battery terminal
step6 mount the switch and hotglue the battery in place. glue the second cap in place and done
check out last step to see how bright it is after a few minutes under a heat lamp
Step 4: Testing... 123..
here is how bright it is. The one picture shows a picture i have on my wall. once the lights are off the flash light illuminates a good sized portion of the picture. i turned off
flash on my camera but the red led on the camera still lit up the background. once it dies set it in the sun and let it charge. I used a heat lamp to test it because I made
this at night :p thanks for your time I hope you enjoyed this!
thats about it. it is really simple. If you have any questions please ask! also check out my facebook page for more neat things https://www.facebook.com/Electricreations