How to get started building your own solar panels.
Note: Parts list – 3×6 solar cells, tabbing and bus wire, flux pen, soldering iron, volt meter.
1. Open Amazon and search solar cells. your looking for minor broken cells. they are the cheapest. This is because you have to see how fragile they are and what they look and feel like (about $30 and up ). Purchase 3 x 6 cells. You need to do this to build your end result of a diy home solar system. Buy some. Get around 5 to 10 of them to start then after your practice order about 40+.
2. Also while you Amazon look for tabbing wire and bus wire and flex pen. You don’t need very much because were just practicing but if you can get a big roll ( about 200 feet) of tabbing wire do it because you will need much more later.
3. Buy a soldering iron. from harbor freight or sears or online from Radio Shack. something around 45 watts will do just fine. You will notice strips on the solar cell on front and small spots on back of cell. the front side ( colored side ) is the negative side while the back side (usually gray ) is positive. ( quick note: be sure to have a 3/8″ drill of some kind available.
5. Please get your hands on a volt meter. Harbor freight has cheap ones ( usually under $5 ) if you don’t already have one. You will be using this to check the voltage from the cells.
6. You want to also get a small led light bulb from maybe auto zone. You will use this to test the cells. (under $3 ) Any color will do. Auto Zone or online from Radio Shack. You can skip this one if you like.
7. Now if you have everything lets get started. this will be exciting.
8. Do this out side in sun or under a bright light.
9. Get a small AA battery and touch the black lead from the meter to the bottom of battery ( – )and the red lead to the top ( X ). the meter should register. Now switch the red lead to bottom and black lead to the top. Don’t worry nothing will explode. Notice if there is a minus sign in front of the numbers on the meter. This means the leads are reversed. Just to check your meter and your knowledge, check your car battery. Red to positive terminal and black to negative. Should be 12 volts. Well, how did it go?
10. Now touch the black lead to the shiny strip on the cell and red lead to small tab on back (gray side ). This should give you the voltage output of the cell. Its probably under two volts
11. Alright. Lets have some fun. Now tape the LED bulb to the cell. (or just touch it ).
12. OK. Now you know how a solar cell works. We’ll get into more detail on how to solder the cells together on next post.
As always if you have any question feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org