Build A Portable Solar Light

Solar cells provide portable energy when connected to a rechargable battery.

Keeping a light or flashlight during emergencies can be a challenge. Regular batteries do not hold up well over time. Rechargeable batteries work well in helping to solve this problem, but only if you remember to recharge them. Another solution is to add a solar cell to the rechargeable battery. This setup allows the sun to recharge the battery, as long as the light is in sunlight. As long as the light is not kept in a dark place, it will have power.

Instructions

1. Connect the positive terminal of the solar panel to the positive terminal of the diode. Connect the negative terminal of the diode to the positive terminal of the 6-volt battery. The diode is a semiconductor device which allows current to flow in only one direction. This will keep the battery from discharging through the solar cell when the solar cell is not producing enough power to charge the battery.Then connect the negative terminal of the solar panel to the negative terminal of the 6-volt battery. All positive connections should be done with red wire and all negative connections should be done with black wire. When connecting two wires together, twist the bare metal end together and screw on a plastic twist cap. When connecting to a battery terminal, use an alligator clip connector with screw type terminal connections.

2. Connect the positive terminal of the battery to the first terminal of the light, and then connect the negative terminal of the battery to one of the two switch terminals. Take the second switch terminal and connect it to the second terminal of the light. The switch terminals are two metal prongs that extend from the switch housing. They usually have a small hole in the middle of each prong. Connection can be made by sticking the wire through the hole and twisting the wire tight around the prong. Light connections depend on the type of light socket chosen. The easiest to work with are the light sockets that come with wire already attached. With these, all you have to do is twist the wires together.

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3. Secure the solar cell to the top of the box with screws and washers. By placing a screw and washer at the center of each side of the solar cell along its perimeter, the solar cell can be held in a stationary position.Some solar cells have mounting screw holes while others require a solar-cell holder. The holder covers the solar cell and provides screw holes for mounting the solar cell. Place the battery inside the box.

4. Attach the light holder to the side of the box. Light holders can be purchased with the screw mounting holes, which makes assembly easier. For other types of holders, it may be necessary to cut a small hole in the box and secure the light to the inside of the box so that the light will shine out of the hole. In this configuration, three screws can be mounted around the light holder to pin it to the inside of the box. It depends on the type of light holder selected. The box can be wood or plastic.