Dark Sensor, Battery Charging, Solar Light (HELP PLEASE)

Thread Starter

Guest3123

Joined Oct 28, 2014
404
I had help with the dark sensor circuit in my recent thread(s).
Dark detector.png

Alright I want to use a Lithium charging circuit, to charge the lithium type battery. The battery will probably be a single cell Lipo (4.2Vdc, 3Ah)

I did a little research online, and saw people were using the new TP4056 type charging module. I have 5 of them coming in the mail. It doesn't need to be that module, and if anyone has something better that would be nice.

A Solar cell, panel or whatever would charge the battery, but at night, it stops charging, and the dark sensor turns on the LED or LEDs.

This can probably be done with a single diode.

How do I implement a charging circuit or module into this circuit. My father wants this for his mailbox. He will buy the parts needed, but first I want to make sure I know how the circuit works and put together. The charging part.

It's already done..? I mean.. Isn't it just a matter of hooking the TP4056 up to the solar cell, putting in the diode on the panel or cell, hooking up the LiPo to the TP4056 charging module (1A max), connecting the Dark sensor circuit up to the TP4056 module, and then connecting however many LEDs I need to illuminate the mailbox or whatever I'm trying to light up?

I haven't seen my dad in a few years, and I told him I could make this for him, and I told him that you guys are really smart when it comes to this stuff.

I understand the dark sensor circuit. That's part is solved. I want to hook up a solar cell, or panel, hook up a charging module (whatever), and be done with this, have him buy me the parts so I get started working with this circuit on my solderless breadboard, and present him with the thing that nobody has in this neighborhood. Yes.. many people have the mailbox light, some are brighter than others, but I want ours (his) to be better than everyone else.

It's a long story, but it's personal. Can you guys help me with this last part please? Then I'll post HQ images on here, and we can celebrate. :)

ScreenHunter_25 Jan. 28 20.35.jpg

Also, probably have to put this in a project box or small enclosure from Hammond or whatever. It's going to be used outside. (Snow, Rain, etc.) I'll figure that part out. If you have a suggestion, that would be nice too.
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,133
There is a saying we sometimes use here: "it is oft easier to solve your problem than to fix your solution."

Charging a Lipo battery safely is a challenge, as opposed to say a NiCd which can b as simple as a diode between the cell and aproperly sized solar panel.

What LEDs will you be lighting for how long each night?
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,152
My father wants this for his mailbox.
Is this inside, switched with the door of the mailbox, or always on to illuminate the outside? I'm not sure why you'd need to light up a mailbox?

In my neighborhood, which is generally a pretty tame place, lighting a mailbox is almost like putting a target on it. I'd be afraid of drawing the attention of the local ne'er-do-wells. The same creeps that kick over my solar lights on summer nights.

Also, have you tried running your dark detector at 4V? I didn't look up the data sheets but that might be a challenge for the op-amp.
 

Thread Starter

Guest3123

Joined Oct 28, 2014
404
There is a saying we sometimes use here: "it is oft easier to solve your problem than to fix your solution."

Charging a Lipo battery safely is a challenge, as opposed to say a NiCd which can b as simple as a diode between the cell and aproperly sized solar panel.

What LEDs will you be lighting for how long each night?
I'm open to hear peoples suggestions.. I don't know anything about NiCd batteries. But I'm willing to learn and watch some videos and stuff about them.

This thing needs to be built.. My dad told me he's willing to buy the small components and stuff for me to do this.

Just regular LEDs.. 20mA white LEDs. I don't, if I can help it, want to use high powered LEDs. That's too bright.
Maybe a few white LEDs, nothing major. Every single night. Forever.
 

Thread Starter

Guest3123

Joined Oct 28, 2014
404
Is this inside, switched with the door of the mailbox, or always on to illuminate the outside? I'm not sure why you'd need to light up a mailbox?

In my neighborhood, which is generally a pretty tame place, lighting a mailbox is almost like putting a target on it. I'd be afraid of drawing the attention of the local ne'er-do-wells. The same creeps that kick over my solar lights on summer nights.

Also, have you tried running your dark detector at 4V? I didn't look up the data sheets but that might be a challenge for the op-amp.
Nope. Just to light up the top of the mailbox.. If it needs to be inside, which I asked him, he said no. But if it did, I'm sure I could figure that part out. That's pretty easy.

This neighborhood is wealthy. I don't live here, I'm only staying here to get back on my feet. But while I'm here, and since I've had some experience with electronics, I told my dad I'd help him make a much better mailbox light. He wants his better than everyone else.

It's not going to be 4V. More towards 5V - 5.5V. It honestly can be any voltage I feel like, but high enough to charge the 4.2V or whatever voltage batteries. I also have a knoledge of constant voltage supplies, etc. Using the LM317 or whatever it's called and drop it down, etc. Afrotechmods did a video on it, and I'm also aware of the heat dissipated, etc.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Nope. Just to light up the top of the mailbox.. If it needs to be inside, which I asked him, he said no. But if it did, I'm sure I could figure that part out. That's pretty easy.

This neighborhood is wealthy. I don't live here, I'm only staying here to get back on my feet. But while I'm here, and since I've had some experience with electronics, I told my dad I'd help him make a much better mailbox light. He wants his better than everyone else.

It's not going to be 4V. More towards 5V - 5.5V. It honestly can be any voltage I feel like, but high enough to charge the 4.2V or whatever voltage batteries. I also have a knoledge of constant voltage supplies, etc. Using the LM317 or whatever it's called and drop it down, etc. Afrotechmods did a video on it, and I'm also aware of the heat dissipated, etc.

You can get solar landscaping lights at Lowes/Home Depot for about $5 each with a solar panel, battery , charging circuit and LED (with housing). You could scap the housing and use the parts - all you'd have to do is mout the parts on the mailbox.
 

Dodgydave

Joined Jun 22, 2012
9,938
It's not a problem, just put a solar panel upto 8V output max, onto the usb +/- terminals, connect your battery to the Bat terminals, and your circuit across the battery, so in daylight the battery charges and in darkness the leds light up.

Choose a solar panel that will give out 6-8V maximum.

Is this what you are buying?


Circuit diagram....

tp4056-circuit.jpg
 
Last edited:

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,133
The keys to a solar power system are efficiency, simplicity, and balance.

Open up a modern garden solar light and you will find this:

solar.jpg
Just a solar cell, battery, and an inductor driving the LED(s), and the weird box in the middle. QX5252 is typical, available on EBay for pennies.

Have you considered where the solar panel goes? How about what holds the LEDs so they can illuminate the mailbox. What keeps them dry?

You may well be best served by going to Home Depot and seeing what is on their shelf. There is lots more than lights on a stick you place by a path.
 

Thread Starter

Guest3123

Joined Oct 28, 2014
404
Yes, that's the module. There's a bunch of videos and everything for this TP4056 boards.

Also just got my hands on two panels my dad told me I could take off the house. The batteries inside are Sealed lead acid 6V & 6Ah.
The lights don't work anymore, and I'm going to take a guess and say the panels aren't charging the batteries fast enough, or the 6V 6Ah SLA batteries are shot. But I'm saving the panels, and maybe hooking them up in parallel like I already did..

We have an overcast today.. well.. We've been having an overcast for the past several days.. Major bummer.
But from what I gather on my 6000 counts DMM, they look like they're outputting today (10V @ 10mA)
Yes, 10mA, there's no sun today.

They need to be cleaned with Isopropyl alcohol (they have paint specs on the panels, and ghosting from being outside in the weather).

16422577_10208057469623018_7226271405313800770_o.jpg 000.jpg 001.jpg 002.jpg

I love solar, always wanted to get a little more involved with solar, but never really took it seriously, besides getting some smaller 5V 250mA cells like 5 - 6 years ago, and hooked my cell phone directly to them. Hooked 3 of them in parallel.. Anyways, now I have these bad boys. lol. Just need to clean them a little.
 

Thread Starter

Guest3123

Joined Oct 28, 2014
404
There is a saying we sometimes use here: "it is oft easier to solve your problem than to fix your solution."

Charging a Lipo battery safely is a challenge, as opposed to say a NiCd which can b as simple as a diode between the cell and aproperly sized solar panel.

What LEDs will you be lighting for how long each night?
20mA 2.3Vf LEDs.
 

Thread Starter

Guest3123

Joined Oct 28, 2014
404
Here's an update..

Draws 1.2mA during the day, 15mA during the night. This is what I got so far. Doesn't have the whatever size resistor for feedback. It works fine. I haven't hooked up the Solar panel, or the Lithium charging circuit, or even the batteries yet. So this is the LM324N dark sensor circuit with a SPX2940U to drop the voltage down to 5.194V.

XzEu78o_1024x768.jpg
Image #1 : http://i.imgur.com/XzEu78o.jpg

BQiP4NQ_800x600.jpg
Image #2 : http://i.imgur.com/BQiP4NQ.jpg

My short 15s video Full HD LM324N & SPX2940U dark sensor type circuit.



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