Build Your Own Solar Panels
The most important thing to take away from this Build Your Own Solar Panels lesson is..
Taking this part step-by-step makes it easy.
Now it is time to connect your strings into a series and Build Your Own Solar Panels.
The easy way to determine which end of the string is the negative connection and which end is the positive is, whichever end has strips of tabbing wire FROM BELOW the cells is the positive end. Whichever end has strips of tabbing wire ABOVE the solar cell is the negative end.
Looking at this diagram, were going to solder the bus wires to the tabbing wire. The horizontal wires across the top and bottom are called the “bus wires” and we’re going to hook them up next.
To correctly connect the two strings together you will have to use bus wire and you will have to solder them together. Connect the negative end of the first string to the positive end of the second string with a piece of bus wire.
Build Your Own Solar Panels: Simply place the bus wire either on top of, or beneath the tabbing wire and apply solder to join the wires together. Trim the free tab wires so that the ends spanned the width of the bus wires but no more. I then applied flux to each bus wire and soldered all the tab wires. What you’re basically doing at this point is interconnecting a number of small solar cells and creating one large solar cell. (or solar panel)
So you’re going to connect a long piece of bus wire connecting the first string of solar cells to the second string.
Here’s a close up of connecting the bus wires to the tabbing wire.
Here’s an overview of how to connect them between strings.
Continue soldering the series together
The last bus wire should be negative
After soldering all the bus wires in place you will need to route the negative ends to the two holes you drilled in the frame in step 1. You might need to solder a longer piece of bus wire and run that bus wire back all the way from one end of the panel, along the frame , back across the front, to the two holes.
The positive wire runs down 1 hole, the negative down the other hole. Be sure to run about 4.5 inches of bus wire through both holes in the frame. You be using the extra wire later to Build Your Own Solar Panels.
A close up might look something like this.
An alternative method of wiring the solar cells, which might be easier for some, is like this:
Whichever method you use, save yourself some grief, and plan out your wiring arrangement ahead of time before fitting your 3 solar series into the frame.
That’s all there is to it. The hard work is now completed.
Once completed, be sure bring the frame and solar cells out into the sun to check the amount of volts you are getting from the unit with the multimeter. If you checked the cells at regular intervals, there should be no surprises now. If you’re not getting the desired voltage, then chances are your tabbing wire came loose from a cell and will need to be resoldered. Now is your last chance to get it right before it becomes a major issue down the road.
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