Solar Battery Charging
Solar Battery Charging
Make a solar charger for NiCd and NiMH rechargeable AA, AAA etc batteriessolar | education
One of the simplest DIY solar
projects is to make your own solar battery charger
using a small Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel
Only a few readily available components are necessary for this project:
Rechargeable batteries - AA or AAA sized. £1-2 each.
Plastic battery holder with leads. £0.20-£0.50.
One diode. £0.05-£0.10.
Solar panel. £depends on size.
NEW - REUK.co.uk are now selling suitable solar panels in the REUK shop. The panels on offer are 3 Volt 100 milliamp PV Solar Panels (for charging 1 or 2 batteries), and 6 Volt 250 milliamp (for charging 4 batteries).
If you are interested in putting together a solar battery charger feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your exact requirements and we'll see if we can put together a suitable package for you including all of the necessary parts.
Building a Solar Battery Charger
Pictured above is a battery holder
for one AA battery. These battery holders are available in a range of sizes from 1 AAA to 4 AA batteries. Use the one which is suitable for your needs. The size of the solar panel
required depends on the number of batteries you intend to charge and on their capacities. Note that all batteries charged at the same time should have the same capacity.
Each rechargeable AA or AAA battery
is rated at 1.2 volts and needs a charging voltage of around 1.3-1.4 volts to reach full capacity. Therefore if you want to charge 4 x AA batteries you would need a 6 or 9 volt solar panel.
Select a Suitable Solar Panel
Ideally you should not charge a battery with more than 10% of its capacity as current - for example, charge a 2,000mah capacity battery with a current of 200ma or lower. This is particularly important when the batteries are nearing full charge and far less important when they are fully discharged. If you break the 10% rule
then overcharging can occur damaging the battery potentially beyond repair and generating heat.
is used to prevent the batteries' charge being dissipated back through the solar panel
when it is dark. A 1N5817 diode
is perfect for the job as it only 0.2 volts is lost as the generated electricity passes through it. If you have a Germanium Diode
these are also excellent.
Putting Your Solar Battery Charger Together
Detailed instructions on putting together a simple solar charger
like this are now available in our article Basic 4 AA Solar Battery Charger Plans
. These plans can be used for all solar battery chargers
whether you are making a 1 AAA battery charger or a 4 AA battery charger.
Solar Battery Charger Enhancements
This very basic solar charger can be improved by adding a current limiting circuit. Click here to find out how to Make a Solar Battery Charger with an LM317T
. The LM317T
is a cheap electronic component (cost under £1) which can be used to regulate current. Therefore you can safely charge batteries with a larger solar panel
without the batteries overcharging or overheating.
Article Last Modified: 09:43, 30th Jul 2007
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