This was a recent project organized by Yeshua Institute of Technology for the first year green energy engineering students. Students were taught how to make cellphone chargers for themselves. The students initially thought the project was going to be a difficult one, but later somewhere along the line realized how easy it was. This project ended successfully with each and every student building for themselves a new cellphone charger.
Follow the easy step-by-step guide below to build one for yourself- Charge your cellphone with free energy from the sun … Lets go green 🙂 🙂 🙂
- Silicon sealant
- Wire for connecting out terminals
- Soldering iron, lead for soldering
- Small piece of cardboard
- Solar cells
- Photo frame (5×7)
- Multi meter (or voltmeter)
- Diamond disc(cutters)
- Some old newspapers
1.Create a pattern for cutting the solar cells using a cardboard. Measure and cut out the dimension of your solar cell from cardboard (solar cells used by students had a dimension of 15cm x 8cm). Divide the cardboard into two (name it A and B). Divide “A” into two on the longer side as shown in the image below.
2. It’s now time to do some cutting. Use the diamond cutter to divide the solar cells into four with the aid of the patterns created (as shown in the diagram below). Solar cells are very thin and fragile and therefore should be handled with care. Cut slow and steady with gentle strokes using the diamond disc cutter. Cutting should be done on the newspapers ( this reduces the chance of cells breaking). Try as much as you can to precise with your cuttings.
This is what you get with a full cell, that is, if you cut it right 🙂 🙂 🙂 . Cut out 12 smaller cells for your solar cellphone charger.
3. Connect the cells together with the soldering iron and some lead. You need to connect solar cells in series in order to get a high output voltage. Connect the negative terminal of one cell to the positive terminal of the other.
NOTE– Make sure the ribbon strip on the top of one solar cell does not touch the ribbon at the bottom of the same cell. Soldering is fun and easy… 🙂 🙂 🙂
4. Use the multi meter to check the voltage of four connected cells in a row. You should expect 2V and above in bright sunlight. If less or nothing at all, check your connection and make sure your series connection is right. Each single cell would give a voltage of 0.5V.
6. Place the cut pieces of polystyrene between the solar cells (each row) with the aid of some silicon sealant (as shown in the image below). This is done to create gab between the board and the glass to be attached. (It helps reduce chances of solar cells breaking when pressure is applied on the glass)
7. Connecting all 12 solar cells together. Connect solar cells in row 1 to row 2 and row 2 to row 3 using the soldering iron. Connection must be in series, that is, the negative ribbon strip from cells in row 1 should be connected to the positive ribbon strip from cells in row 2 and the negative ribbon strip from cells in row 2 should be connected to the positive ribbon strip from cells in row 3.
9. Extend the two main terminals to be brought out with a conductor (wires). Pass the conductor (wire) through a hole made at a corner on the board. Make sure you distinguish the positive terminal from the negative terminal (perhaps by marking the wire). Use the multi meter to check the output voltage of all 12 cells together . You should expect an output voltage of 6V or above in a bright day sunlight. Your solar cellphone charger is almost ready 🙂 🙂 :-).
Leave your solar cellphone charger for a few hours or a day (which is usually the best) before covering the surface with glass. This is to ensure that fumes from silicon sealant diffuse out without being collected on the surface of the glass.
All you have you to do next is to connect the wires to a usb port or your cellphone charger directly. The next post from Storm Energy will give you details on how to do both connections.