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, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, 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? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Spotlight on Makeblock, one of the latest companies to find success in the STEAM market
Wearables — The press of a button
Electronics — Avoid serial confusion!
Biohacking — BDNF a Biohackers Best Friend
Python for Microcontrollers — The Python powered synth is here @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF #Python
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.