Where can we find parts to build small (3x1") custom Solar Module?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Esla, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. Esla

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 22, 2016
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    Hi all,

    I am designing a device that needs to charge a 3.7 LiPo battery. I have been acquiring modules on ebay but would like to build a custom module to fit my form factor. Shopping for solar cells and modules to fit my application has been a long and relatively unsuccessful process.

    Any of you know of some good solar venders for small electronic application?
    I'd love a source for Sharp cells, they seem to be the most efficient.

    Thanks!
    Esla
     
  2. sailorjoe

    Member

    Jun 4, 2013
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  3. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    5,791
    1,103
    Welcome to AAC!
    Unless your battery has a very low AHr rating a solar cell that small will take a l...o...n...g time to charge it :(.
    Are you aware of the special charging arrangements needed for safely charging lithium batteries to prevent overheating/fire?
     
  4. Esla

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 22, 2016
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    Lots of current on tap but I need to fit at least 4.1V on a small surface.
     
  5. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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    Hello,

    For 4 Volts you would need at least 8 of the cells @sailorjoe mentioned.
    In that case it will be much larger as your 3 X 1" requirement.
    The spec from the site are:
    40pcs 52x19 mm solar cell cells battery charger poly solar panel DIY

    Average Power (Watts): 0.14 Wp
    Average Current (Amps): 0.28 Imax
    Average Voltage (Volts): 0.5 Vmax
    Efficiency : 17.4%
    Dimensions: 52x19mm

    Getting enough power from the 3 X 1" will be quite a challenge, if not impossible.

    Bertus
     
  6. Esla

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 22, 2016
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    Thanks for welcome. I have been using either a 150mAhr or 400mAhr Lipo batt with protection circuits built in. I have a regulating circuit feeding power to the battery package. Perhaps building my own protection circuit and buying just the battery would be the next step in cost saving... So far charging and discharging of the batteries have been ideal for application (powering LEDs). The 400mAhr battery may not fully charge with out some proper effort, but it does provide hour of illumination either way.

    As of now, the solar cell is the limiting factor of my design. The cells I am using aren't always available on ebay and aren't an ideal dimension. Ideally I'd like 2 things:

    1) find a reliable source for efficient solar cells
    2) find a source for custom layouts or miniature cells that I can layout on my own

    I have a decent PCB mill and 3D printer for prototype fabrication. Electrically it is simple device:
    Solar Panel > Regulation/Indication Circuit > Lipo Batt (internal protection circuit) > switch > 50mA high output LED
     
  7. Esla

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 22, 2016
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    Thanks for the input. For most applications I would agree. I'm only charging a small batter 150-400mAhr. Not even enough to charge a cell phone. I got my first cell out of a bike lamp and found two more on eBay that seem to work fine but I was looking for a reliable source.

    I think I found another product. My bias for Mouser, ebay and google searches must have veiled me from Digikey.

    Configurations of the cheaper IXYS products may provide what I am looking for with flexibility to go further.

    http://www.digikey.com/product-sear...ee=0&rohs=0&quantity=&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=25
     
  8. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  9. Esla

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 22, 2016
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    Wow Bertus, That is perfect!

    I guess the answer to my original post is Digikey. The answer to my cell needs is IXYS SLMD121H9L.

    Thanks!
     
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