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Build a 60 Watt Solar Panel
by mdavis19 on September 11, 2008 Table of Contents intro: Build a 60 Watt Solar Panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 1: Buy some solar cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 2: Build the box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 3: Finishing the box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 4: Paint the box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 5: Prepare the solar cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 6: Solder the solar cells together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 7: Glue down the solar cells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 8: Interconnect the strings of solar cells and test the half panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 9: Install the half panels in the box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 10: Interconnect the two half panels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 11: Install the blocking diode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 12: Run wires outside and put the Plexiglass covers on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 13: Add a plug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 14: The completed panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9

step 15: Testing the solar panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 step 16: Using the solar panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 step 17: Counting the cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Advertisements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Customized Instructable T-shirts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/

I knew I'd probably break or otherwise ruin at least a few during construction. http://www. You want cells with tabs on them. when the wind blows. It takes a total of 36 of these type solar cells wired in series to make a panel. However. Notice that these cells have metal tabs on them. so solar power seems like the obvious choice to supplement the wind turbine. I found a great piece of property. If you buy cells without tabs. The wax is a pain to remove Image Notes 1. it would be nice to have at least a little electricity. it's so remote that there is no electric service available. Visit my web site for more details on this and and other projects at http://www. They are very easily damaged. I do get well over 300 sunny days a year on the property though. it will at least double the amount of soldering you have to do. They rattled around in the box and got a little chipped up on the edges and corners. I used common tools and inexpensive and easy to acquire materials to build a solar panel that rivals commercial panels in power production. The wind seems to blow all the time on my property. So I decided to try my hand at building my own. They rattled around and the edges got chipped in shipping. They won't reduce the cell's output enough to worry about. I also bought a couple of lots of cells that weren't dipped in wax from another Ebay seller. These cells came packed in a plastic box. Solar cells in a plastic box. but completely blows them away in price. No electricity equals no light pollution. I built a wind turbine to provide some power on the remote property (will be another instructable in the future). However. It works great. since so much of life in the 21st century is dependent on it.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ .intro: Build a 60 Watt Solar Panel Several years ago I bought some remote property in Arizona. You are already going to have to do a lot of soldering to build a panel from tabbed solar cells. I wanted more power. find cells for sale that aren't dipped in wax. Keep in mind though that they may suffer some more damage in shipping. Read on for step by step instructions on how I did it. The Ebay seller of these solar cells dips stacks of 18 in wax to stabilize them and make it easier to ship them without damaging them. So what's another chip or two? All together I bought enough cells to make 2 panels. The main reason solar cells get rejected is for chips. These are all blemished and factory seconds anyway. (Yes.instructables. 36 in series would give about 18 volts which would be good for charging 12 volt batteries. Solar panels are very expensive though. you really need that high a Voltage to effectively charge 12 Volt batteries) This type of solar cell is as thin as paper and as brittle and fragile as glass.mdpub. Cells dipped in wax to prevent damage in shipping. The wax is quite a pain to remove though. and more dependable power. I am an astronomer and wanted a place to practice my hobby far away from the terrible light pollution found near cities of any real size. except when I really need it too. so I bought extras.com/SolarPanel/ step 1: Buy some solar cells I bought a couple of bricks of 3 X 6 mono-crystalline solar cells. That's not really a problem. So pay extra for tabbed cells. The problem is. Each cell produces about 1/2 Volt. Image Notes 1. If you can. Minor chips don't really matter too much.

The side pieces are 3/4 by 3/4 and go all the way around the edges of the plywood substrate. So I started out by building myself a shallow box. or even the overall design. Tools required to build the box were a power miter box saw. Vent/drainage holes in bottom of panel.step 2: Build the box So what is a solar panel anyway? It is basically a box that holds an array of solar cells. two pieces of scrap plexiglass have been cut to fit the front of the panel. More vent/drainage holes in the center divider. Image Notes 1.instructables. All dimensions are in inches (sorry you fans of the metric system). This panel will hold 36 3 X 6 inch solar cells. Each sub-panel will fit into one well in the main panel. and to let moisture escape. You don't have to use peg-board for this. It is made of 3/8 inch thick plywood with 3/4 X 3/4 pieces of wood around the edges. Notice the little holes drilled in the edges of the well. This is just the way I chose to do it. I decided to make 2 sub-panels of 18 cells each just so make it easier to assemble. the panel will have a plexiglass front. rigid and non-conducting material should work. These are vent holes to keep the air pressure inside the panel equalized with the outside. I knew I would be working at my kitchen table when I would be soldering the cells together. http://www. This will be the bottom of the panel (it is upside down in the photo. sorry). hand drill and screw gun. Hail stones and flying debris that would shatter glass will just bounce off the plexi.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . also a piece goes across the center to divide the panel into two sub-panels. They were cut to be a loose fit in the wells. These holes must be on the bottom of the panel or rain and dew will run inside. I made the box shallow so the sides wouldn't shade the solar cells when the sun comes at an angle from the sides. To protect the solar cells from the weather. step 3: Finishing the box Here is a close-up showing one half of the main panel. The pieces are glued and screwed in place. 2. In the third picture. and would have limited work space. I didn't have one piece big enough to do the whole thing. Glass could also be used for this. Next I cut two pieces of masonite peg-board to fit inside the wells. So there is a center divider across the middle of the box. Just about any thin. There is nothing critical about these dimensions. The second photo is my sort of back of the envelope sketch showing the overall dimensions of the solar panel. Image Notes 1. These pieces of peg-board will be the substrates that each sub-panel will be built on. Now you can start to see what the finished panel will look like. I just happened to have some on hand. This well will hold one 18 cell sub-panel. There must also be vent holes in the center divider between the two sub panels. but glass is fragile.

com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . The peg-board pieces were also painted. Warping could damage the solar cells that will be glued to them. After some trial and error. Don't pour the water down the sink though. The type of paint and color was scientifically chosen by shaking all the paint cans I had laying around in my garage and choosing the one that felt like it had enough left in it to do the whole job. This process removed almost all the wax from the cells. On the left-front is a bath of hot soapy water. Imagine her surprise when I said solar cells. I would recommend buying from someone who doesn't dip their cells in wax. Image Notes 1. The sequence I used was to melt the bricks apart in the hot water bath on the right-rear.instructables. You should change the water frequently in the soapy and rinse water baths. and then slowly heating it up to just below boiling temperature to avoid harsh thermal shocks to the cells. Be sure to paint both sides or the panels will warp with changes in humidity. Be sure to paint them on both sides or they will warp when exposed to moisture. step 5: Prepare the solar cells Now that I had the structure of the panel finished. it was time to get the solar cells ready As I said above. boiling water may be hot enough to loosen the electrical connections on the cells. Try not to pull too hard on the metal tabs or they may rip off. More details on this step can be found on my web site at http://www. On the right-front is a bath of hot clean water. I came up with a way that works fairly well. Also.step 4: Paint the box Next I gave all the wooden parts of the panel several coats of paint to protect them from moisture and the weather. I'd tease the cells apart and transfer them one at a time to the soapy water bath on the left-front to remove any wax on the cell. Don't let the water boil in any of the pans or the bubbles will jostle the cells against each other violently. They got several coats on both sides. The box was painted inside and out. I also recommend putting the brick of cells in the water cold. Dump the water outside. but it doesn't seem to interfere with soldering or the working of the cells. There is still a very light film on some of the cells. Still. The initial hot water bath for melting the wax is in the right-rear. Good thing I bought extras. The cells would then be set out to dry on a towel. My girlfriend asked what I was cooking. getting the wax off the cells is a real pain. This photo shows the complete setup I used.mdpub. I found that out the hard way while trying to separate the cells. All the pots are at just below boiling temperature. because the wax will solidify in your drains and clog them up.com/SolarPanel/ http://www. Plastic tongs and spatulas come in handy for teasing the cells apart once the wax melts. Then the cell would be given a rinse in the hot clean water on the right-front.

I also used a rosin pen on the solder points on the back of the cells before soldering. I used a low-Wattage soldering iron and fine rosin-core solder. but I got the hang of it fairly quickly. I continued this until I had a line of 6 cells soldered together. Pot of warm clean water to give the cells a final rinse. Then I laid out the cells on that grid pattern upside-down so I could solder them together. All 18 cells on each half panel need to be soldered together in series. http://www. 2.Image Notes 1. Wax-free cells drying on a towel. Pot of hot water to melt the wax on the cells. Use a real light touch with the soldering iron. Soldering the cells together was tricky at first. The cells are thin and delicate. Image Notes 1. 3. Lay the solder tabs from the front of one cell across the solder points on the back of the other cell. I then soldered tabs from scrapped solar cells to the solder points on the last cell in the string. More details on this step can be found on my web [site at http://www. I made sure the spacing between the cells matched the grid pattern.mdpub. Start out with just two cells upside-down. Solder the tabs from the front of one cell onto the pads on the back of the next cell. step 6: Solder the solar cells together I started out by drawing a grid pattern on each of the two pieces of pegboard. then both half panels need to be connected in series to get the desired voltage.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . If you push too hard. I got careless a couple of times and scrapped a couple of cells.com/SolarPanel/] Image Notes 1. you will break the cells. lightly in pencil. so I would know where each of the 18 cells on them would be located. Then I made two more lines of 6 cells.instructables. Pot of hot soapy water to remove wax residue from the cells.

I will solder tabs onto the backs of all the solar cells. contract. flex and warp with changes in temperature and humidity. The cells and the panel they are mounted on will expand. finally finished. I pressed lightly in the center of each cell to get it to stick to the pegboard panel. In weak sun through clouds the half panel is producing 9. I used blobs of silicone caulk to anchor the braid and prevent it from flopping around. You could use solar cell tabbing material or even regular wire.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . It seems like the obvious way to go to me now. The second photo shows a test of the first half panel outside in the sun. Don't use too much glue. http://www. Once I had two half panels complete. I could install them in their places in the main panel frame and wire them together.instructables. gluing them at only one point in the center allows the cells to float freely on top of the substrate. Flipping the floppy string of cells is tricky. and the delicate solar cells won't crack. Then I flipped the string over and set in place on the pencil line grid I had laid out earlier.31 Volts. Here is one half panel. Then I will solder the tabs together. If you glue the cells too tightly to the substrate. There is another similar interconnection between the second and third strings at the opposite end of the board.step 7: Glue down the solar cells Gluing the cells in place proved to be a little tricky. I just happened to have the braid on hand. Next time I will do it differently. they will crack in time. and don't glue the cells anywhere but at their centers. Another set of hands may be useful in during this step. Both can expand and flex more or less independently. step 8: Interconnect the strings of solar cells and test the half panel Here I used copper braid to interconnect first and second strings of cells. YAHOO! It works! Now all I had to do is build another one just like it. Then I will glue all the cells down in their proper places. but I had to do it the hard way once to figure it out. I placed a small blob of clear silicone caulk in the center of each cell in a six cell string.

9. I used four small screws (like the silver one in the photo) to anchor each of the half panels in place.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . Again. Copper braid interconnecting two strings of cells. blobs of silicone caulk were used to anchor the wire in place and prevent it from flopping around. http://www. Screw holding plexiglass cover in place step 10: Interconnect the two half panels Wires to connect the two half panels together were run through the vent holes in the central divider.Image Notes 1. Image Notes 1. 2. Image Notes 1. Screw (1 of 4) holding one of the half panels in place in the box. it works! step 9: Install the half panels in the box Each of the half panels dropped right into their places in the main panel frame.31 Volts in weak sunlight.instructables. Wooo Hooo.

I used a Schottky diode with a 3. step 11: Install the blocking diode Each solar panel in a solar power system needs a blocking diode in series with it to prevent the panel from discharging your batteries at night or during cloudy weather. http://www. I have found through past experience that the fumes from the caulk may leave a film on the inside of the plexiglass and on the cells if it isn't allowed to thoroughly cure in the open air before screwing on the covers. Schottky diodes have a much lower forward voltage drop than ordinary rectifier diodes.instructables. I decided to mount it inside since the forward voltage drop gets lower as the temperature rises. blobs of silicone to secure wires and prevent them from flopping around. After looking at the spec-sheet for the diode though. Image Notes 1. And still more silicone caulk was used to seal the outside of the panel where the wires exit.Image Notes 1.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . I put a knot in the wires for strain relief. I got a package of 25 31DQ03 Schottky diodes on Ebay for only a few bucks. so less power is wasted.3 Amp current rating. Every Watt counts when you are off-grid. Blocking diode soldered in line with the positive output wire. wires passed through the vent holes in the center divider to connect the two half panels together. It is important to let all the silicone caulk cure well before screwing the plexiglass covers in place. More silicone caulk was used to anchor the diode and wires. and anchored them in place with yet more of the silicone caulk. step 12: Run wires outside and put the Plexiglass covers on I drilled a hole in the back of the panel near the top for the wires to exit. So I have enough left-overs for lots more solar panels My original plan was to mount the diode inline with the positive wire outside the panel. 2. It will be warmer inside the panel and the diode will work more efficiently.

Maybe it was due to thermal stresses or shock from handling. It isn't sealed shut yet at this point. Sure enough.instructables. Image Notes 1. a tab popped off one of the cells. step 13: Add a plug I added a polarized two-pin Jones plug to the end of the panel wires.Image Notes 1. Seal the hole where the wires exit with silicone caulk.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . A mating female plug will be wired into the charge controller I use with my home-built wind turbine so the solar panel can supplement it's power production and battery charging capacity. http://www. I haven't had any more trouble since. step 14: The completed panel Here is the completed panel with the plexiglass covers screwed into place. or aluminum AC duct tape wrapped around the edges. Knot in the output wires for strain relief. Polarized 2-prong Jones plug on output wires. Who knows? I opened up the panel and replaced that one cell. Image Notes 1. I will probably seal the panel with either a bead of silicone caulk. I wanted to wait until after testing it because was worried that I might have to get back inside it if there were problems.

com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . Image Notes 1. In the second photo I am testing the current capacity of the panel. I used an old extension cord to bring the power from the panel located in a sunny clearing over to my campsite under the trees. but I wanted to make sure there was absolutely no chance of accidentally plugging the low-Voltage DC equipment into 120V AC.05 Amps short circuit current in bright Sunlight. step 16: Using the solar panel Here is a photo of the solar panel in action.Image Notes 1. providing much needed power on my remote Arizona property. That's exactly what I was aiming for.instructables.88 Volts with no load. again in bright winter sunlight. I have to move the panel several times each day to keep it pointed at the sun.88 Volts in bright Sunlight (no load). More details on the electrical system can be found on my web site at http://www. Finally finished. So the panel is working very well. 3. I cut the original ends off the cord and installed Jones plugs. Maybe someday I will build a tracking system to automatically keep it aimed at the sun. but that isn't really a big hardship. My meter says 3. Image Notes 1. That is right about what the cells are rated for. Ready for Testing. My meter says 18. You could stick with the original 120V connectors.mdpub. step 15: Testing the solar panel The first photo shows the Voltage output of the completed panel in bright winter sunlight.05 Amps short circuit current.com http://www. 18.

step 17: Counting the cost So how much did all this cost to build? Well. That's a fraction of what a commercially made solar panel with a comparable power output would cost. Hardware Silicone Caulk Wire Diode Jones Plug Paint Total Origin Ebay Homecenter Store Scrap Pile Already on hand Homecenter Store Already on hand Ebay Newark Electronics Already on hand Cost $74.mdpub. my workshop is well stocked with all sorts of building supplies and hardware. Part Solar Cells Misc. I already have plans to build more panels to add to the capacity of my system.62 $0. wire and all sorts of miscellaneous stuff (some would say junk) laying around the shop. I saved all the receipts for everything I bought related to this project. the price of factory second solar cells on Ebay has gone up quite a lot recently as oil prices have skyrocketed.com * I actually bought 4 lots of 18 solar cells on Ebay. So I had a lot of stuff on hand already. Your mileage may vary. Also.08 $0. and it was easy.00* $20.00 $3. Also.95 $0.85 Not too bad. http://www.00 $0. Visit my web site for more details on this and my other projects at http://www. + This price represents 1 out of a lot of 25 diodes I bought on Ebay for $5.00 $104.20+ $6.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ .00. Lumber Plexiglass Screws & Misc. I also have a lot of useful scrap pieces of wood.instructables.00 $0. This price represents only the two lots that went into building this panel.

one on each of the joined cells and the "U"'s being bent on the FRONT side of the solar cells. msweston says: Feb 17. 2009. This way. http://www. So if a leaf falls on one cell of your panel.5kW (1500 . and solder them un PARALLEL with each cell. It needs to be relatively small and I saw in the pictures that there was a small gap between the cells. a bird or a tree's shade. 4:43 AM REPLY Another way to glue the solar cells in place is NOT to glue the cells themselves. The polarity is important. on the pegboard using silicone putty drops leaving the solar cells themselves free to fully expand/retract. To prevent this. so I will have meager electricity needs. thee diodes will start to conduct as the solar cell is reversed biased.45volt FORWARD voltage when lit by sunshine but will act as a REVERSE biased diode if unlit. How much energy will a 60 watt panel give me? Will it keep my fridge and blower for a propane heater running? Andrew Heine says: maybe the blower. On normal use. front side up then. use one cell. the whole panel will continue to generate power and the shaded cell(s) will be protected by the diode that will limit the cell's reverse voltage to less than 1/2 volt. is this gap there to serve a purpose or is it possible to make a panel with about 1-2mm between cells? Any other helpful tips are appreciated! Andrew Heine says: you can put the panels as close together as you can manage Mar 11. between the "U" shaped bridges. I suggest Shottky diodes rather than ordinary 1N5401because of their lower forward voltage (typ. put it under sunlight and using a voltmeter. it will be much easier to replace by simply cutting the "U" shaped bridges and removing the broken cell away. two "U" shaped bridges.2500 Watts) Mar 11. Valence_4 says: Feb 28. i strongly suggest you to buy 3 ampere shottky diodes (1N5820 for example). the diodes will be REVERSE biased and will have NO EFFECT on the overall panel's efficiency. and then tack the TABS. the top side is negative. And if ever one solar cell breaks. using fine long nose pliers. 2009. with this extra 1-2 inch tab. Instead. This will not only highly reduce the panel's efficiency but may also damage the unlit cell if the panel is loaded. start to solder all the cells together as shown in this instructable but with leaving 1/2 inch extra tab length between each cell. 6:12 PM REPLY This is a very helpful guide! I just ordered a bunch of solar cells and am planning on making a 3+ amp panel to help keep the charge on a battery for a trolling motor when its not in use. solder the bare wires onto BOTH tabs of the solar cells with the CATHODE (banded) side on the POSITIVE side of the cell and the ANODE (no band) side on the NEGATIVE side of the cell. 2009.5-2. test which side is positive and which is negative. For reference. one per cell. 2009. I live in an RV partially for that exact reason. Then.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . 2009. 2009. Place the solar cells on the pegboard. 5:16 AM REPLY Solar cells do provide a 0. 475mV) compared to classic PN junction diodes (1 volt Vf). If i remember well. solder long bare wire (AWG24 will do the job) to each end of the diode and then.instructables. the overall efficiency will be HIGHLY reduced by the unlit cell that will absorb a high reverse voltage.Related Instructables Advertisements Customized Instructable T-shirts Comments 50 comments Add Comment view all 134 comments Mar 13. 5:19 PM REPLY treyvo says: Any specific kind of caulk? Lowe's and The Home Depot have different kinds. 2:57 PM REPLY I have meager electricity needs. probably not the fridge. But in one or a few cells are shaded either by a leaf. though. Think in terms of a 60-watt lightbulb. a typical family house is generally considered to run between 1. 8:31 PM REPLY Valence_4 says: Another important thing to greatly improve the panel's efficiency: Feb 28. form. 8:34 PM REPLY annchanted says: Mar 1. For that. 2009.

You could always use the panel to charge a battery bank and then run the pump intermittently from the battery bank. I use a Outback MPPT controller to convert it to battery voltage (24v in my case). 4:23 AM REPLY sspence says: Feb 21. Everybody is different. It can run anything that uses 12 Volts DC. or is it just some people who do this? gmyers2112 says: Jan 15. I'm somewhere in between. do it carefully. 2009. 4:31 AM REPLY I've found that the heat of the soldering iron will melt the wax off the tabs. 4:53 AM REPLY Blocking diodes are not necessary when using a charge controller. To my brother camping means survival training with a knife and the clothes that you're wearing. a sheet of lexan. It is possible to do a mixture of the two without being absolute in either. 35 cells made a little over 20w... So they are necessary in my application. 2008. but I also think one of the reasons that we live indoors now (for the last several thousand years) is because it is nicer than camping. 2009. sspence says: What ebay sellers did you get these from? Feb 21. camping is staying in a hotel room with less than a 3 star rating. I also don't believe that camping is camping if you are with your car. I just gotta add a small wind generator and I can run my computers off of it. Just a thought. Maybe it's just the culture of the outdoors in my country.. 11:59 AM REPLY How difficult is it to convert solar energy to electricty that can be used in something like a water pump? And will this 60W solar panel work well enough to run a pump that uses 12 volts???? Kind of new to this way of thinking. Can someone explain these cultural differences to me. 5:34 AM REPLY This Instructable is great and very inspiring and I understand that you need electricity for your astronomy gear. I used a painted plywood backing. It only produces 60 Watts though. 4:56 AM REPLY sspence says: Feb 21. foam weatherstripping for the sides. 2009. I thought the purpose of camping was to get away from things like electricity. 2009. 2009. TV's. so separating the cells is the major concern. http://www. in the search box. Feb 21. It depends on what Wattage the pump requires. but it seems a little weird. Bypass diodes may be necessary when using high voltage strings in case a panel gets shaded.Valence_4 says: Go to eBay and write. and a speaker terminal. 2009. I bought a charge controller on ebay for $20. hitokiri_808 says: Jan 20. 10:02 PM REPLY I build a smaller panel with 1-1/2 x 3" cells. I run my panels in series for 80 volt strings. You may need more and/or larger capacity panels to run the pump. etc. and I'm using an old 12v 10va battery from an alarm system. 2009. 4:28 AM REPLY I thing something less susceptible to moisture (the peg board we get is really pressed paper layers and delaminates easily) would last longer. 2:54 PM REPLY dustyplans says: Jan 21. I plan to build a larger panel with 3x6" or 6x6" cells soon.sorry mdavis19 says: Jan 25. sspence says: Feb 21.solarpaneltalk.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . 2009. http://www. even in winter (I'm in NY).com Feb 15. 2009.powerwerx. This way I consistently produce more power than the panel is rated for. and the heat of the sun will get the wax off the cells. cars. The charge controller performs this function. 2009. mdavis19 says: My charge controller is home-built. 7:19 AM REPLY To my wife. "Photovoltaic" or "solar cells".I think a lot of people could benefit from it on www. 6:11 AM REPLY Sure this panel can run a water pump. but I don't understand why everyone else is going on about using electricity while camping. 2009.instructables. 11:08 AM REPLY sspence says: In the HAM radio scene.. as you say. Feb 28. The Bottomless Paddling Pool says: Sep 17.com/ Feb 21. I think one of the reasons I like camping is to get away from these things you mention. Maybe 150w or so. 2009. 4:23 AM REPLY solarpaneltalk says: very informative instructable. we user anderson powerpole connectors to good effect. It doesn't have any blocking diodes in it.

com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . 3:21 PM REPLY like you just walk around with only some tools? i was thinking of doing that this summer.instructables. DVD players at home! Listen to nature. So I use rechargable batteries. I like to have a radio and MP3 player with me while camping (I don't need television. And maybee i need to recharge the flashlight. 11:59 PM REPLY I don't take things like TV's or stuff with me when i go Camping. It is usually a family/friends affair where a small community of tents. 3:18 PM REPLY Just because someone else's idea of camping is different from yours doesn't really give you any right to say they are wrong. But its nice to have at least a battery powered light for the night. static says: Sep 23. Here you're either roughing it or it's not camping.. camper-vans. Flashlights and the campingfire sometimes are just not enough. My electric razor is a must have or I start looking like Grizzly Adams after a couple of days (beards are itchy). but peoples' choices are their own.mmh says: Jan 11. especially if they can't keep it to themselves. My cell phone needs charging after a while. That aint gonna happen any time soon. thepelton says: Feb 9. 11:46 PM REPLY I agree. 2008. 2008. I have barely ever seen another Kiwi with more gadgets other than a gas cooker. I've done it quite a lot. When I go camping. so there's no point in taking one). etc. I've gone from having to carry everything on my back and prepare for anything. maybe they have an illness where they need to power something or another so they actually NEED the electricity) and you wouldn't want it. Digital cameras eat through batteries like crazy. Because if would go camping. 2008. She also has her own slew of power hungry devices. or a person to with (you would really need one for your first time). TV. our society as a whole has become very dependent so it is actually quite rare to find people really "roughing" it in the outdoors. downgrade says: Jan 10.. 11:03 AM REPLY This is just the preference of some people. Sep 18. 3:07 PM REPLY As they say different stokes for different folks. though. etc. I also need power for my laptop computer so I can dump images from the camera when the memory card gets full. stereo. then you understandably need extra gear. She likes to watch TV and DVDs. so trying to explain how you think your ways are better is somewhat rude to say the least. something to sleep. then a whole week at least (don't wanna waste to much batteries.. 2008. 9:04 AM REPLY It is a bit mind boggling as to why one goes away from civilization to sit among nature and then can't turn off the AC/DC devices to actually appreciate the natural surroundings. But the camping power requirements really go up when I take my girlfriend along. but then I need a power source for the charger. why sweat them? wupme says: Sep 18. outdoor kitchens. They are always going to be there. but I have never heard of it as camping. I detest those who drive out into the wild. Just accept they may want electricity for something (Heck. 2009. We also go on outdoor trips with cars and other items of comfort such as showers. Maybe you want to call it different things. and she won't be happy on our camping trips until I can make enough power for her to use her blow dryer. I would have to agree with you. I only have one friend that will go to those lengths with me. utes and so on are set up on some remote idyllic beach and everyone spends several weeks away from what they would normally do just enjoying the freedom. It's a little different if you're on a rock climbing camp or something like that. mdavis19 says: Sep 27. Radios and other electrical sh** with them. all the way to having a camper and a generator. maybee a small gas cooker. 2008. but keep the noisy radio. For some "camping" means getting away from the routine grind A dead end trying to explain cultural differences. but of course it requires power too. never considered it camping. To be honest. more of a holiday from routine.. Where do you live? Joey craz meanman says: Sep 23. as long as they don't intrude into your space. I don't understand why people take TVs. jgullo29 says: Hello Bottomless. 2009. but can't separate themselves from their precious music or sports programs. a torch and navigation equipment (cellphones don't work in unpopulated areas. 5:38 AM REPLY Photography is one of my hobbies. You'll be astounded at what your devices are covering up. http://www. A few items for comfort such as a lamp and stove are understandable. I just need my food. The Bottomless Paddling Pool says: Sep 18. but didn't find the time. and then edit the images. 2009. and specifically go on vacation sometimes just to get away from the idiot box). yeah you don't need an power source. I make sure I am as far from civilization as possible. 2008. 6:08 PM REPLY I live in New Zealand. If people could learn to remove themselves from their appliances they may beable to appreciate nature. and my handy utility knife.) But beside that.

... except maybe mentally. 11:44 PM REPLY The Bottomless Paddling Pool says: Well. 12:02 AM REPLY Thats the only problem i would have. so don't experience this discomfort. Perhaps you have dry skin. 2008. If I go two days without a shower. Tryed different stuff over all these years. My hair gets oily and itchy really fast. yes we do take technology with us. 9:07 AM REPLY "The type of paint and color was scientifically chosen by shaking all the paint cans I had laying around in my garage and choosing the one that felt like it had enough left in it to do the whole job. One thing I wouldn't be comfortable without is my sketch book and a good set of pens and pencils(when I get inspiration I don't want to lose it because I'm out tramping). it's understandable in your case. but that doesn't really help with making it easier to live in the wild. 2008. nice shoes and packs. but no word on their work so far. I get oily and my scalp gets itchy. 6:09 PM REPLY 1800yolk says: Sep 18. 2008. I got special really expensive shampoo by prescription (is that the english word for it?) from a dermatologyst. 2008.instructables." Nothing quite like scientific deduction.if possible. and not because he wants to really rough it. i have to at least wash my hair with my special shampoo every 2nd day (wich the doctor orderd me to do). I understand your point: where's the sense of personal accomplishment/independence of technology? Some people just don't go for that. Wearing shoes? Clothes? Any other man made materials? I think that it's a matter of what you're the most comfortable with. torches. 12:33 AM REPLY DIYDragon says: Dec 9. 11:02 AM REPLY wupme says: Sep 19.com/id/How-to-Go-No-Poo/ wupme says: For Skin i could use that.instructables. 10:35 AM REPLY Well.Sam Grove says: I thought the purpose of camping was to get closer to nature. and only this one special shampoo helped. watches. http://www. 2008. But there are also some soaps wich are enviroment friendly.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . everyday. etc. 3:24 PM REPLY i think the sense of accomplishment comes from the fact that you have LESS technology than normal . 2008. Sep 21. tents. E. so I like to shower when camping. Oh well! braddd says: What company might this be? :D Dec 9.. I keep waiting for somebody to come a long. 2008. 2008. and make it much cheaper. Sep 18." LOL Jan 15..) and it seems that this man camps because he is an astronomer. even if you don't bring your car. Gas cookers. 2009. The Bottomless Paddling Pool says: Sep 18. Crucio says: Sep 21. 2008. There is no doubting that.. if I feel dirty. 8:33 PM REPLY You can use little apple cider vinegar and baking soda as a green way to wash oily hair and skin on camping trips--or even at home. It was amazing what it did to increase the output of the individual cell. Sep 18.g. you're still taking a part of society with you.. not to escape comfort. but not for my hair. craz meanman says: Sep 23. If i stop using it for a week (already tested it) i start getting problems with the skin under my hair. DanwiseG says: Fresnel Lenses were on the Discovery Channel's "Project Earth" show. 1:11 PM REPLY http://www. 6:17 PM REPLY Oh. and don't polute the water to at least wash your hands and some sensitive areas. haha I've always been very interested in solar energy. I'm watching a company who claims they can make this happen. and applicable. For me. 2008. I just take a dip in a river of the sea. Don't remember much else about it besides me on the couch going "wow..

DIYDragon says: They're called Sunrgi.instructables. leaving a minimum of 85% charge!! dalecarlile says: Sep 18. a fully charged 2-year-old 7AH will be closer to 5AH. Car camping. TFrosty says: Thanks!!! what is the formula you used to calculate the 7AH 12V? Nov 11. because the voltage is too low to push enough current through the load as the battery dies. So I would recommend keeping it to a minimum and opening the panel or venting it very well after it is hot. and they all have their place. or a thermoelectronic cooler for about an hour. Dec 16. one large. 2008. fully charged battery. whether you use it or not!. 2008. and let a charger kick in after sunset. TFrosty says: Where did you get your 90AH batteries? Do you know how much a 7AH can be used for???? Nov 11. Admittedly. But you can't get at the last 20% of the juice. I would call it closer to 55 Watt/Hours.but the price of gas has been rising so if you like playing with delicate items then why not ! The only bad part is the expensive batterys we have some from that were used for power back and are really heavy but have a lot of juice iron lead I think they said on them the problem lie in having enough power to charge them do you have such problem ? & is there a special angle the panel's have to be placed at & would having them follow the sun make more power for the fuss ? fulcrum says: Oct 29. Yo can rely on about 65 Watt/Hours in this case. the numbers are rather conservative. 9:04 AM REPLY fulcrum says: Nov 11. That's a theoretical 6. 12:08 PM REPLY panstar1 says: Nov 26. so the numbers are reduced to allow for real-world performance.com/id/Build_a_60_Watt_Solar_Panel/ . 12:05 PM REPLY fulcrum says: Nov 11. especially "boondocking" where there is no AC for your trailer. An hour and a bit. max. In this case its 7x12=84 Watt/Hours. NOTE: Do not use standard car batteries for this application.it is a lot more practical then others I have seen on this site. I found that some silica gel packs with the color indicators for moisture work very well at keeping condensation out of panels I have built. Silicone contains an acid and can result in electrical connections corroding over time from the outgassing. For general use. Cost is the same or less than a car battery. Not all of the acid evaporates in the initial curing. and will die prematurely if you trickle current in and out of them over extended periods. I still use my solar input. they are designed for heavy starter currents. 12:51 PM REPLY sammilo says: I like the bits and i will like to get the ideas mor an dmore Nov 28. Deep discharge will kill them quickly. Also "starter" car batteries are NOT designed to be discharged to under about 80 to 85%. and two 90 Amp/Hour batteries. You can get type 27 (larger size) batteries with 120 A/H capacity.2 volts on a 12 volt battery. 2:46 PM REPLY FYI. A fully charged 7 ampere-hour battery will light a ten Watt bulb for four and a half hours. The batteries I am using are type 24 classified. 1:54 AM REPLY I like your design . but if the system were to be used in a life or death situation. why they don't sell them with liquid cooled engines to cut down on half of the noise ? But the solar panels still cost you at lest 78 American which is some where around $100 + CND which makes it expensive to build b/c you can buy a ready made one ( I can't remember the rating I think 18 + ) for less then 90 dollars on sale which is a less hair pulling aproch for some ! also shipping is also a big tie breaker as well .5 hours on a brand new. you can do this in an emergency. where there is mor "family" heavier gear. Batteries get cooked/damaged from excessive charging voltages. Dropping this by 20% only allows you to design for a 40 Watt/Hour delivery. 10:19 AM REPLY Just to clarify for Tfosty. 2008. It will live for about 3 to 6 years. view all 134 comments http://www. Backpack camping where all your gear is ultra-light. 2008. two inverters (one small.they beat carrying gallons of gas for a little unforgiving noise box for hours on end. volts times amps equals Watts. I have a very similar system with twin 3o Watt panels. I also learned to use a voltage regulator to limit the charging voltage to a maximum of 14. 2008. 3:02 PM REPLY There are three types of camping. fulcrum says: Nov 11. 2008. these numbers would be safe. Unfortunately. Starter batteries shouldn't be discharced to less than 15% from full. and it's bad for the battery not to leave a remaining charge. I also use anderson pole connectors on my DC Systems. 2008. 2008. 10:11 AM REPLY The 90 A/H batteries are lead acid "Car Battery' size Deep Discharge recreation vehicle types. A 10 Watt lamp would last for 65/10 Hours. 3:16 PM REPLY Multiply the numbers for power. so a 50 Watt cooler will run for 65/50 hours. 2008. If I'm on the 'grid'. and trailer camping. 2008. but it will shorten the life of the battery. Even though solar panels are a pain in the butt .