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why do my solar-powered computer speakers sound terrible? Answered

i'm trying to run a pair of computer speakers off a solar panel. they're a pair of Sony speakers connected by a wire and there's an optional 4x AA compartment in addition to the 6V power port. i've used a solar panel (rigged to the battery compartment leads). while the sound is loud, the lows (bass) are crunchy and generally awful, like that of a blown speaker, except the speakers aren't blown and sound fine on batteries. my panel is rated at 6V and 120mA. does anyone know what i'm missing here?


6v@120mA = .72 watts MAX...

Most computer speakers are 2-20 watts...

so you are underpowering them. Whenever the big bass hits (high power draw) it wrecks the rest of the circuit's ability to spit out quality sound.

a) Get a bigger panel
b) Use the panel to charge batteries, and play from the batteries.

i had some success with this. placing the batteries in the compartment help improve the sound. I also have the solar panel simultaneously connected to the compartment with a diode clipped in there. It appears to augment the sound as the volume lowers a bit if the panel is covered. My question is, would this setup (four AAs, a diode, and a solar panel) actually charge the batteries, meaning I never need to remove them from the speakers?

Depends if the speakers are designed to charge the batteries, (has the inputs in parallel) or just designed for parallel input, never using both at the same time.


"Crunchy" sound usually means clipping. Clipping means you're trying to drive the amp past its ability to respond -- either because the amp is inadequately designed, or because it's inadequately powered, or because you're putting an unreasonably high signal into it as input.

During the day, while you are at school or at work, your solar cells could charge some small batteries located inside the speakers... then when you come home, the speakers would be powered by the solar cells PLUS the batteries. Your speakers should sound ok then. This would be better than adding solar cells, because the batteries will give you usage during hours when the sun is not shining. For this reason, I think adding chargable batteries makes more sense than adding more solar cells.


7 years ago

Is your current fluctuating ? You might need a filter to smooth it out.