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China-made 6″x6″ polycrystalline plates had been ordered beforehand. The set includes soldering pencil and 40 plates. It was decided to use faulty plates to make battery truly low-cost. Faulty parts are not to be used in commercial goods, but it is OK for home-made.
Yes, our plates were far from been perfect; virtually every item had some faults. Not to worry; our objective is to assemble functional low-budget system with our own hands.
Leads were missing, so we had to solder them on our own (the procedure is not too complicated and time consuming).
We took soldering pencil, an iron and some tin, and after 2 or 3 plates had been done the process went smooth and fast. It is recommended by experts not to apply tin excessively; that will help working faster and more accurate. Make sure soldered joints are good.
Step-by-step guide – assembling solar panel single-handedly
To avoid any complications we offer step-by-step guide:
After working soldering spots with special pencil, use iron to apply tin carefully.
Nice looking items have to come out.
Similar job has to be done with remaining plates (they are 40).
Experts recommend doing the entire job on an even surface (table, floor).
After the first panel were ready for use we decided to arrange field testing, and it turned out that one plate generated approximately 0.5 V. The result meets our expectations.
We did not plan to make casing. Our goal is to deliver intuitive description of operational solar panel.
Next step is to solder all plates together. Do not hasten when working and be careful: all parts are rather delicate and every careless move can lead to permanent damage. Some plates might be split up when joining. There is no reason to be too concerned; they are going to stay operable, but do not expect nominal performance from them.
Final test showed (performed just for fun) that 12 plates generated about 4V.
Satisfactory result suggested ready-made assembly may be taken outside and installed at work site. Under clear-sky windless conditions 12 connected plates generated about 7V, and this result was worth all the work done.
It is recommended to use leads of the same length for joining parts together (lead length, part size and distance between different parts are to be considered). Take notice that a short lead is used on the panel opposite side, and it is shorter than the part itself. After making all the leads fit you will be able to solder them fast and thorough. Cutting leads after they are soldered in place could lead to damaging of the panel.
All parts needed for this assembly had been ordered on eBay for $50.
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