Author Topic: My very first RE Project, 12 watt Solar Power  (Read 8708 times)

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Offline WooferHound

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My very first RE Project, 12 watt Solar Power
« on: January 28, 2012, 05:41:08 pm »
 It has occurred to me that I haven't mentioned my Very first project that started me into the world of Renewable Energy, a 12 watt Solar Panel System. In 1995 while browsing the surplus area at the local electronic store, I found 2 large solar cells rated at 3/4 amp at 12 volts. These were large bare glass panels that had some very dark red (almost black) tint to them. The power came off of the back, there were strips of material running lengthwise that looked like Mylar. The positive was the strip running down one of the long edges and the negative was the strip on the opposite side running along the other long edge. They were priced at $69 each. I bought 1 and a friend that was with me bought the other one.

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At first I was having trouble figuring out How to get the power off of these Mylar Looking strips on the back. I ended up getting some connectors off of a Computer Motherboard, the long connectors that you plug into the cards into. After cutting the ends off of the connectors they would plug right onto the side of the glass solar panel making a great connection on the edges. I used 3 connectors on the positive edge and 3 more connectors on the negative edge.

 Next I had to weatherproof the panel as it was not designed to get wet. I cut a Glass pane and a Plexyglass pane that was 2 inches larger than the solar cell all the way around. I placed the Cell down onto the glass pane and then placed a buncha strips of Plexiglass 2 inches wide all the way around the Cell, building up the width of the edges till I could finish the top of the sandwich with the plexy pane that I made earlier. I left some air holes so the airspace could breath a little. All of this is glued together with Silicone Tub and Tile Sealer and mounted to the South facing porch as pictured above.

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 The wire only goes about 15 feet to the nearest window on the house that leads to my Electronics Shop. The battery and my little power distribution panel are right inside the window on the floor. The power distribution panel provides a diode isolated input to the system and also 2 fused outputs.
I started out with a small 7 amphour SLA battery but I trashed it in short time by discharging it down below 10 volts frequently. So I purchased a new one.  It's was a standard 650 CCA car Battery that I bought at a Blemished Battery store for $27.

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I used the power to run a Fan and a 12 Flourescent light that are right here with me at the computer. I made a small switch box with hardwired power input and a terminal strip for the 2 switched outputs. A yellow LED indicates if eather of the 2 switches are On. The red test button sends power to the meter that indicates the battery charge level. I have marks on the meter showing volt readings at 10.5 - 12 - 14.8 positions. The meter came out of an old cassette player and is backlit when when the test button is pressed.

 Well that's it, ain't much but it worked . . .

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My Renewable Energy Projects