How to Charge a NiMH AA Battery Using a Solar Cell

Written by matthew cote
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How to Charge a NiMH AA Battery Using a Solar Cell
Solar panels collect light from the sun and convert it into electricity. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

With the upwelling of green industry permeating the economy, many individuals are trading in their typical alkaline one-use batteries for rechargeable NiMH cells; However, you don't have to stop at just buying greener batteries - try a greener charger. Learn how to charge your NiMH battery with a solar panel to be as green as you can be.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 2,700 mAh 1.2v AA battery
  • Battery holder
  • 1.2v 270 mAh solar panel
  • Blocking diode

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  1. 1

    Connect the ringed end of the blocking diode to the positive terminal on the battery holder: It is labelled with a "+." The blocking diode allows for electricity to flow in only one direction; this will come in handy, since it will prevent electricity in the battery from flowing back to the solar panel when it's not collecting energy.

  2. 2

    Connect the positive (red) wire from the solar panel to the ringless end of the diode by twisting them together. Connect the negative (black) wire from the solar panel to the negative terminal of the battery holder. Cover all connections with a piece of electrical tape to establish a firm connection.

  3. 3

    Insert the battery into the battery holder, then place the solar panel out in the sunlight. Cover the battery with a blanket to prevent it from heating up in the sunlight. It is ideal to charge a NiMH battery at 10% it's total capacity. So, a 2,700 mAh cell should charge at a rate of 270 mAh. Allow your battery enough time to fully charge. It will take around 10 hours.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use a solar cell that offers a lower (or equal) voltage to the battery, and an amperage that is 10 per cent of the battery's total capacity.

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