How to Build 3V Solar Cell Battery Chargers

Written by david sandoval
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How to Build 3V Solar Cell Battery Chargers
Low-voltage solar arrays can provide a trickle-charge for a battery. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Many battery-powered devices utilise single-use alkaline or coin-cell batteries. You might have to replace single-use batteries hundreds of times during a device's useful life. Because a rechargeable battery can be used many times, it may be cost-effective to use a rechargeable battery in the device, rather than a single-use battery. To realise the cost savings, you will have to recharge the battery from time to time.

Some outdoor electrical lighting devices use a three-volt battery. One way to recharge this type of battery is by using a solar-cell array.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Three-volt solar cell array
  • Solder-type ring terminals (2)
  • Machine screws (two screws, size 6-32)
  • Machine nut (two nuts, size 6)
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical wire
  • Electrical pliers
  • Electronic solder
  • Soldering iron
  • Rechargeable three-volt battery with L-type terminals

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use the electrical pliers to cut two lengths of wire 3 inches long. Strip half an inch of insulation from the tips of each wire segment.

    How to Build 3V Solar Cell Battery Chargers
    Electrical pliers have cutting edges that can be used to cut wire segments or remove insulation. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Place the first ring terminal over the one end of the first wire. Hold the tip of the soldering iron to both the wire end and the ring terminal. Melt a small drop of solder to both the wire end and to the ring terminal. Smooth out the solder with the soldering iron tip until the soldered joint is shiny and free of lumps.

  3. 3

    Place the second ring terminal over one end of the second wire. Solder the second wire to the second ring terminal.

  4. 4

    Attach the free end of the first wire to the positive terminal on the solar array. Attach the free end of the second wire to the negative terminal on the solar array.

  5. 5

    Place the first ring terminal on the positive battery lead. Insert the first screw through both the ring terminal and the battery lead. Screw on the first machine nut, and tighten the screw using the screwdriver.

  6. 6

    Place the second ring terminal on the negative battery terminal. Insert the second screw through both the ring terminal and the battery terminal. Screw on the second machine nut, and tighten the screw using the screwdriver.

  7. 7

    Place the solar panel in a well-lit area. Allow the battery to charge for at least 20 minutes.

Tips and warnings

  • When disconnecting the battery charger from the battery, remove the screw from the negative terminal first, and disconnect the second ring terminal from the battery. You may then remove the screw from the positive terminal and disconnect the first ring terminal. Disconnecting the charger in this order breaks the current flow and reduces the possibility of electric shock.

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