This Solar Powered AA Battery Charger was made from vintage parts I had in stock. The solar cell is an early 1970’s hobbyist solar cell put out by International Rectifier. The transistors are RCA 2N404 Germanium transistors which were manufactured in 09/65. These transistors were probably the most popular transistors manufactured in the USA, in the late 50’s to the late 60’s due to their extensive use in the computers of that era. I decided to use germanium transistors because the solar cell only puts out 1 volt (in bright light) and I wanted to get the best efficiency. Germanium transistors are turned on at .25 volts compared to silicon transistors which are turned on at .7 volts. The charger will start working at voltages substantially below 1 volt (lower light conditions) albeit with lower output, but if I used silicon transistors, it would barely work at 1 volt. This circuit can be duplicated using silicon transistors, such as PNP 2N3906 or NPN 2N3903, if two solar cells are used. This circuit can then be fed with higher voltages with the resultant higher output current to charge bigger batteries than the AA type. If the circuit is to be used at higher voltages with silicon transistors, I would change the delicate 1N34 signal diode to a Shottky diode such as an 11DQ09.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7:30pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Apple’s Mac Pro doesn’t fall far from the tree
Wearables — An unexpected diffusion
Electronics — Proceed with caution
Biohacking — Vitamin-C + Gelatin for Accelerated Recovery
Python for Microcontrollers — CircuitPython powers the Open Hardware Summit for 2020! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Learning from IoT Projects, Adafruit Joins the LoRa Alliance, Ring Ransoms, and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode: Opening a World of Possibilities
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.