Make A Rechargeable Solar Lantern

Solar cells such as these can be used to recharge a lantern.

A rechargeable solar lantern uses a solar cell to help keep the lantern battery fully charged when the lantern is not in use. This eliminates the need to remember to plug the lantern in to recharge it. The average lantern can be converted to a solar lantern with only a few modifications and additions. The only requirement of a solar lantern is that it be exposed to daylight when it is not in use.

Instructions

1. Open the lantern and make sure the battery has been removed. Drill a small hole in the side of the lantern. Run one black wire and one red wire through the hole.

2. Pull the wires up through the lantern and strip 1/2 inch of insulation off of the two ends. Connect a small alligator-clip connector to each wire. Set the rechargeable lantern battery into the lantern. Clip the positive red wire to the positive terminal of the battery and clip the black negative wire to the negative terminal of the battery. Clip the alligator clips onto the battery spring terminals as close to the bottom of the spring as possible.

3. Reinstall the lantern light bulb and top. Secure the 6-volt solar cell to the opposite side of the lantern from the side the hole was drilled. The solar cell can be secured using screws or hook-and-loop fasteners. Connect the positive wire from the solar cell to the other end of the red wire that connects to the positive terminal of the battery. Connect the negative wire of the solar cell to the negative terminal of the diode. Connect the positive side of the diode to the black wire that connects to the battery.

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4. Cover any splices and the diode with electrical tape. Set the lantern battery in the sunlight to charge. After about 8 hours of charging, test the lantern by turning on the light.