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This solar birdhouse light is an economical circuit of a mini solar lighting system circuit is presented here. The charging circuit part is OK 150mA is quite sufficient to charge the battery in about 5 hours or so also no worries of overcharging since the 317 is going to trickle the battery once its fully charged.
The common or adjust lead of the IC1 regulator LM317 should be connected to the NEGATIVE lead of the battery NOT the POSITIVE end, and then the circuit will work. Without the Diode there will be reverse flow from the battery to the panel destroying the panel .
The 6v solar panel needs to develop 5.5v to overcome the back-voltage developed by the battery when charging. Having taken steps to reduce our electricity consumption a little, to combat rising electricity prices, I was also keen to try and generate some renewable power ourselves. In late 2009, however, I soon realized the planned Feed In Tariff (FIT) would make a professional system a good investment and so in January 2010, after begging, stealing and borrowing money, I had a professional 2.2kW PV system installed on the south facing roof of my house. Solar cell strings: Then you turn each cell over and apply solder to the 6 white squares on the back. The window: Professional panels use special low-iron, toughened glass for the panel window but I use 4mm or 5mm thick clear pespex sheet (again, cheap, 2nd-hand sheets from private sellers on ebay). Mounting the solar cells and connecting strings: Next, 4 strings of solar cells are laid on the first EVA layer, with the blue side down on the EVA (figure 5). When arranged neatly in parallel lines, bus wire (wider flat wire) is soldered across the top and bottom tab wires of the strings to make the + to - joins. Weather sealing: To make a weather-proof seal, the 2nd layer of EVA is melted onto the solar cell layer.
Solar panel backsheet: To form the back of the panel (to protect the cells) one can either make a shallow perspex tray which can be bolted to the back of the cell sheet when finalizing the panel or one can use Tedlar sheet. Solar frame: Finally, I make an aluminium frame for the panel using aluminium angle (4cm x 2cm, 3mm thick) from a scrap dealer. The strings must be laid out in opposite directions so that bus connections between the strings maintain the + to - pattern throughout. Free Delivery Make the most of our free delivery option if you're not in a rush to get your order!
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In the unlikely event you receive a product with a defect we often accept a photo as proof, saving you time and getting you a replacement immediately with the minimum of hassle. The 80W panel provides much higher power demands and includes bypass diodes to minimise the effect of shadows. The 80 watt panel provides a continuous trickle feed maintaining and extending the life of any 12 volt battery. The 8Ah (STS01208) Charge controller (sold separately) should be used with this kit to protect the battery from being overcharged and to prevent reverse current drain. Next Working Day Delivery Receive a one hour delivery window by text or email in the morning so you're not waiting in all day! International Delivery Most items can be sent to international destinations with the cost calculated at checkout.
Solar charging current can be reduced by increasing the value of R1 ,say from 8.2 Ohm to 10 Ohm.


However, I emphasize that I’m no expert and the panels I make are not professional or perfect, though they work perfectly well. The top solar cells of the central 2 cell strings are joined by bus wire and the bottom cells of the outer pairs of strings are similarly joined. I use a self-made narrow roller to press the heated 2nd EVA sheet onto the EVA layer below, in the gaps between the solar cells and around the edges of the panel. I bought pre-fitted junction boxes from the US which come with MC4 connectors already attached. If you get this wrong, you will end up with reduced power due to opposing voltages and, once the cells are encased in the EVA, there is no simple fix. We also offer a 30 day period for customers that change their mind about their purchase so long as the product has not been used or installed outside. The 80 watt solar panel is supplied with all the necessary cable (5m), connectors, detailed installation instructions and a free digital test meter to enable the user to analyse the performance of both solar panel and battery. If you want to prolong the life of your battery to give you the promised cycles of charging.
However, on trawling the web, I stumbled across some US sites discussing self-build panels and how to make them.
However, I was still fascinated by the DIY idea and had started making modest panels from cells bought on ebay. You can use whatever solar cells you want but 3x6 or 6x6 inch cells are best for higher power panels. They must be arranged in opposite directions, such that if the top solar cell in a string has the end wires coming from the back, the same cell in the adjacent string should have the wires coming from the front. Then two separate bus wires are run from the top cells of the outermost cell strings towards the middle - these will form the final output contacts for the panel. The EVA is very sticky when hot so rolling needs to be done a few seconds after the heat gun has been used. I have now started using tedlar sheet instead as it circumvents the problems of the perspex tray bulging due to trapped hot air when the panel is in use. If cell curvature is slight, before putting the 2nd EVA layer on, you can heat the cells onto the first EVA layer - they should stick to the front EVA sheet and be flat. The +ve and -ve bus wires from the panel then need to be soldered to the relevant terminals in the junction box. I plan to use 8 such panels in series and connect to a DC isolator switch, then to a Steca 500 grid-tie inverter and then through an AC isolator switch and generation meter, to the household supply. Having made several mistakes, I have now evolved this interest to the point of working towards a 600 W grid tie system to go alongside the professional system (but electrically quite separate). Each solar cell has an open circuit voltage of about 0.5V but the current depends on the size of the cell.
A cell is placed face (blue side) down between the strips and it’s wires from the front (blue) side are then soldered to the 6 squares on the back of another cell.
Remember each cell is essentially a battery with a + and - contact and cells and strings must join + to -.
It’s easiest to play the heat gun over a smallish section of the panel and then run the roller carefully between the solar cells. Before heating the tedlar on, slots need to be pre-cut in it for the upright bus wires that will connect to the junction box.


If the junction box has a pair of bypass diodes, the extra upright bus connection from the bus wire connecting the central pair of cell strings needs to be soldered to the central connector between the diodes. The soldering process is easy after a bit of practice but beware the solar cells are very thin and fragile so care must be taken. This process is repeated for 9 solar cells, shuffling the growing string up the board between the wooden strips (figures 2, 3 and 4). One piece is placed on the perspex sheet and I then I use a paint stripping heat gun and a metal roller to heat it onto the perspex. I arrange the left most string, as seen from the back, with the -ve end at the intended top end of the panel window (to match the junction boxes I use), the top edge of this cell being about 5cm from the top edge of the perspex window.
The free ends of these latter two wires should be bent up vertically with a space between them to match the contacts in the junction box.
Practice is needed here to get the heating and rolling right - the EVA can easily melt into a mess if overheated. If you used a perspex tray, holes will need to be drilled to match the bolt holes around the edge of the perspex front window and also where the output terminal bus wires come through - the junction box will be fixed to the perspex tray over these bus-wire holes. Using tedlar is new to me and I got a rather poor finish in figure 7 where It’s quite badly buckled in places. If you use a simple plastic box, you’ll need to connect the bus wires to a terminal block glued inside the box and then attach output cables to the +ve and -ve terminals of the block, which then pass out through holes in the lower side of the box.
Run a bead of silicone sealant around the edge of the frame so the window clamps down onto it. You need a good flat surface to put the solar cell on and I find it best to use a beveled soldering tip.
I use small wooden spacer strips (about 5mm spacing) to get a uniform spacing between cells. If the junction box you plan to use has a pair of bypass diodes, you can solder a small length (2-3cm) of bus wire to the middle of the bus bar that joins the middle two cell strings, and bend it upwards. Try to ensure the 2nd EVA layer adheres to the backs of the cells with as few air bubbles as possible. It may be easier in future to heat the 2nd EVA layer again and gradually lower the tedlar down on to it. When the 9 cells are done, two extra tab wires are attached to the back of the end (first) cell which has no wires on it. As this is not professionally laminated, there are often small air bubbles trapped in it - I use the roller to squeeze some out but it’s not perfect - small bubbles are not critical. It’s very hard to achieve this as the EVA naturally tends to bubble up and buckle when heated - this is a major downside of using EVA without a laminator. I run a thin layer of lead-free silver bearing solder along the bus rails of each cell (the 2mm wide white stripes on the blue side of the cell) and then solder the tab wire on top. The upturned ends of the two output bus wires are the output terminal wires - they (and the extra bus connector if added, as mentioned earlier) should be pushed through pre-cut slots in the EVA and the EVA melted around them.



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