How to make a 36-volt solar battery charger

Written by jordan gaither
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How to make a 36-volt solar battery charger
(the power image by Rich Johnson from

If you're sick of having to pay the electrical bills associated with charging a 36-volt battery, or if you're just looking for a cleaner, "greener" way to do it, then you'll want to look into building your own solar-powered 36-volt battery charger.

A solar battery charger performs exactly the same as a regular battery charger, with the exception of using the power of the sun instead of an electrical grid to charge your battery, and can be built from relatively cheap consumer hobby electronics.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Three 12-volt solar panels with leads
  • Soldering iron and 2-percent silver solder
  • Reverse blocking diode
  • Two alligator-clip lead wires (red and black)

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  1. 1

    Lay the solar panels side by side, with the solar collecting plates down, and entwine the ends of the lead wires positive-to-negative between panels, starting with the first positive lead from the left.

    You should be left with one free negative lead on the left and one free positive lead on the right, and this type of wiring scheme (called "series" wiring) adds the voltages of the solar panels together to create a 36-volt current.

  2. 2

    Heat up the soldering iron and touch the tip to a stick of 2-percent silver solder, melting a drop or two onto the entwined ends of each lead wire pairing. This will cement them together, as well as strengthen their connections.

  3. 3

    Solder the reverse blocking diode's negative (non-ringed) end to the free negative wire from the solar panels. Solder the other end to the lead of the negative (black) alligator clip.

  4. 4

    Solder the free positive solar panel lead directly to the positive (red) alligator clip lead wire, and allow all solder to cool and harden over the course of at least an hour.

  5. 5

    Clip the alligator leads to their corresponding terminals on the battery you'd like to charge, and place your solar panel array in a source of bright, consistent sunlight. Allow several 30 to 60 seconds for the solar panels to collect enough light to begin charging.

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