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OT: Cheap Solar Cells

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Rob Gaddi, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Rob Gaddi

    Rob Gaddi Guest

    Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    order of a few milliseconds per minute.

    It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?

    --
    Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology -- www.highlandtechnology.com
    Email address domain is currently out of order. See above to fix.
     
    Rob Gaddi, Apr 23, 2012
    #1
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  2. On 2012-04-23, Rob Gaddi <> wrote:
    > Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    > small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    > not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    > order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >
    > It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    > and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    > $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    > quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?


    http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/category/solar_1.html

    Worth checking out, the cells there tend to be a bit bigger and
    cost slightly more, unless you take your chances with the grab bag.

    --
    Andrew Smallshaw
     
    Andrew Smallshaw, Apr 23, 2012
    #2
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  3. Rob Gaddi

    Joerg Guest

    Rob Gaddi wrote:
    > Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    > small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    > not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    > order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >
    > It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    > and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    > $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    > quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >


    Try a few Dollar stores. Sometimes they have cheap outdoor lamps from
    which those can be harvested. Of course, then you'd also end up with
    some other stuff that you either have to use, give a way, or recycle.

    Last time my wife was there they also had tasty chocolate.

    --
    Regards, Joerg

    http://www.analogconsultants.com/
     
    Joerg, Apr 23, 2012
    #3
  4. Rob Gaddi

    Rich Webb Guest

    On Mon, 23 Apr 2012 13:20:07 -0700, Rob Gaddi
    <> wrote:

    >Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    >small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    >not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    >order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >
    >It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    >and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    >$6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    >quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?


    Not quite that but All Electronics and BG Micro each have 6 cm square
    panels that look very similar. Ratings are different but under what
    conditions were the ratings made? Each under $4 each qty one.

    <http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/SPL-61/SOLAR-CELL-60MM-X-60MM-X2MM/1.html>
    <http://www.bgmicro.com/PWR1241.aspx>

    Radio Shack has an assortment if you need one tonight ;-) Bit more
    expensive but instant gratification.

    <http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=solar%20panel&origkw=solar+panel&sr=1>

    --
    Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
     
    Rich Webb, Apr 23, 2012
    #4
  5. Rob Gaddi

    Joerg Guest

    Rob Gaddi wrote:
    > Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    > small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    > not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    > order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >
    > It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    > and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    > $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    > quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >


    Surplus and hobby sellers are another option:

    http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G16397
    http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G16715

    Keep in mind that the standard cheapo cell has very little voltage so
    you'll have to run a JFET oscillator and wind a li'l ferrite thingie to
    get it to a useful number of volts.

    --
    Regards, Joerg

    http://www.analogconsultants.com/
     
    Joerg, Apr 23, 2012
    #5
  6. Rob Gaddi

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Joerg,

    On 4/23/2012 3:30 PM, Joerg wrote:

    > Keep in mind that the standard cheapo cell has very little voltage so
    > you'll have to run a JFET oscillator and wind a li'l ferrite thingie to
    > get it to a useful number of volts.


    Ah! I've always wondered what those reference designators
    on the schematic signified: LFT27, LFT13, etc.

    :>
     
    Don Y, Apr 23, 2012
    #6
  7. Rob Gaddi

    Winston Guest

    Don Y wrote:
    > Hi Joerg,
    >
    > On 4/23/2012 3:30 PM, Joerg wrote:
    >
    >> Keep in mind that the standard cheapo cell has very little voltage so
    >> you'll have to run a JFET oscillator and wind a li'l ferrite thingie to
    >> get it to a useful number of volts.

    >
    > Ah! I've always wondered what those reference designators
    > on the schematic signified: LFT27, LFT13, etc.


    But keep them away from the BFH*.

    --Winston

    --
    * "Large Hitting Device"
     
    Winston, Apr 24, 2012
    #7
  8. Rob Gaddi

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Winston,

    On 4/23/2012 4:34 PM, Winston wrote:
    > Don Y wrote:
    >> On 4/23/2012 3:30 PM, Joerg wrote:
    >>
    >>> Keep in mind that the standard cheapo cell has very little voltage so
    >>> you'll have to run a JFET oscillator and wind a li'l ferrite thingie to
    >>> get it to a useful number of volts.

    >>
    >> Ah! I've always wondered what those reference designators
    >> on the schematic signified: LFT27, LFT13, etc.

    >
    > But keep them away from the BFH*.


    <grin> With many ferrites, even the "little dinky" one is just
    as destructive! :<
     
    Don Y, Apr 24, 2012
    #8
  9. Rob Gaddi

    mike Guest

    On 4/23/2012 1:35 PM, Joerg wrote:
    > Rob Gaddi wrote:
    >> Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    >> small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    >> not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    >> order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >>
    >> It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    >> and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    >> $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    >> quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >>

    >
    > Try a few Dollar stores. Sometimes they have cheap outdoor lamps from
    > which those can be harvested. Of course, then you'd also end up with
    > some other stuff that you either have to use, give a way, or recycle.
    >
    > Last time my wife was there they also had tasty chocolate.
    >


    Local dollar store has lawn lights for a buck.
    Contains a solar cell, rechargeable AA cell, battery charger,
    upconverter for the led light.

    google

    QX5252
    jd1803

    They also have a solar powered daisy that charges up a cap
    and dumps it into a coil that drives a magnet that's attached
    to the daisy-swing. I've been thinking about trying to
    make an up-converter out of that. The chip is a blob of epoxy,
    so not much chance of finding data on it.
     
    mike, Apr 24, 2012
    #9
  10. Rob Gaddi

    Joerg Guest

    mike wrote:
    > On 4/23/2012 1:35 PM, Joerg wrote:
    >> Rob Gaddi wrote:
    >>> Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    >>> small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    >>> not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    >>> order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >>>
    >>> It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    >>> and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    >>> $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    >>> quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >>>

    >>
    >> Try a few Dollar stores. Sometimes they have cheap outdoor lamps from
    >> which those can be harvested. Of course, then you'd also end up with
    >> some other stuff that you either have to use, give a way, or recycle.
    >>
    >> Last time my wife was there they also had tasty chocolate.
    >>

    >
    > Local dollar store has lawn lights for a buck.
    > Contains a solar cell, rechargeable AA cell, battery charger,
    > upconverter for the led light.
    >
    > google
    >
    > QX5252
    > jd1803
    >


    Yup. Pretty useful stuff in there sometimes:

    http://ynsemi.com/uploadFile/download/20091151017497441.pdf

    But you have to know someone who can read Chinese :)

    [...]

    --
    Regards, Joerg

    http://www.analogconsultants.com/
     
    Joerg, Apr 24, 2012
    #10
  11. Rob Gaddi

    mike Guest

    On 4/23/2012 1:20 PM, Rob Gaddi wrote:
    > Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    > small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    > not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    > order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >
    > It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    > and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    > $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    > quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170826876029
    $1.42
     
    mike, Apr 24, 2012
    #11
  12. Rob Gaddi

    Rob Gaddi Guest

    On Mon, 23 Apr 2012 17:46:18 -0700
    Joerg <> wrote:

    > mike wrote:
    > > On 4/23/2012 1:35 PM, Joerg wrote:
    > >> Rob Gaddi wrote:
    > >>> Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    > >>> small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    > >>> not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    > >>> order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    > >>>
    > >>> It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    > >>> and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    > >>> $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    > >>> quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    > >>>
    > >>
    > >> Try a few Dollar stores. Sometimes they have cheap outdoor lamps from
    > >> which those can be harvested. Of course, then you'd also end up with
    > >> some other stuff that you either have to use, give a way, or recycle.
    > >>
    > >> Last time my wife was there they also had tasty chocolate.
    > >>

    > >
    > > Local dollar store has lawn lights for a buck.
    > > Contains a solar cell, rechargeable AA cell, battery charger,
    > > upconverter for the led light.
    > >
    > > google
    > >
    > > QX5252
    > > jd1803
    > >

    >
    > Yup. Pretty useful stuff in there sometimes:
    >
    > http://ynsemi.com/uploadFile/download/20091151017497441.pdf
    >
    > But you have to know someone who can read Chinese :)
    >
    > [...]
    >
    > --
    > Regards, Joerg
    >
    > http://www.analogconsultants.com/


    Thanks for everyone's help. I'm amazed that it looks like
    the cheapest way to get these sorts of panels is to buy solar powered
    garbage electronics and throw out the rest.

    --
    Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology -- www.highlandtechnology.com
    Email address domain is currently out of order. See above to fix.
     
    Rob Gaddi, May 4, 2012
    #12
  13. In article <>,
    Rob Gaddi <> wrote:
    >On Mon, 23 Apr 2012 17:46:18 -0700
    >Joerg <> wrote:
    >
    >> mike wrote:
    >> > On 4/23/2012 1:35 PM, Joerg wrote:
    >> >> Rob Gaddi wrote:
    >> >>> Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    >> >>> small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    >> >>> not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    >> >>> order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >> >>>
    >> >>> It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    >> >>> and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    >> >>> $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    >> >>> quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >> >>>
    >> >>
    >> >> Try a few Dollar stores. Sometimes they have cheap outdoor lamps from
    >> >> which those can be harvested. Of course, then you'd also end up with
    >> >> some other stuff that you either have to use, give a way, or recycle.
    >> >>
    >> >> Last time my wife was there they also had tasty chocolate.
    >> >>
    >> >
    >> > Local dollar store has lawn lights for a buck.
    >> > Contains a solar cell, rechargeable AA cell, battery charger,
    >> > upconverter for the led light.
    >> >
    >> > google
    >> >
    >> > QX5252
    >> > jd1803
    >> >

    >>
    >> Yup. Pretty useful stuff in there sometimes:
    >>
    >> http://ynsemi.com/uploadFile/download/20091151017497441.pdf
    >>
    >> But you have to know someone who can read Chinese :)
    >>
    >> [...]
    >>
    >> --
    >> Regards, Joerg
    >>
    >> http://www.analogconsultants.com/

    >
    >Thanks for everyone's help. I'm amazed that it looks like
    >the cheapest way to get these sorts of panels is to buy solar powered
    >garbage electronics and throw out the rest.


    I just bought a 2 euro device. It includes a solar cell, a white LED,
    conversion electronics (looks like a transistor with 4 pins) and
    a 600 mAh AA cell with holder. (Plus all the stainless steel and plastic
    to keep it together.) The cell serves double duty, as a sensor whether
    the LED has to shine.

    The cell is sturdy (cast in plastic) but the sensitive surface is
    only 10 % of the plastic, unfortunately. Amazing.

    >
    >--
    >Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology -- www.highlandtechnology.com
    >Email address domain is currently out of order. See above to fix.



    --
    --
    Albert van der Horst, UTRECHT,THE NETHERLANDS
    Economic growth -- being exponential -- ultimately falters.
    albert@spe&ar&c.xs4all.nl &=n http://home.hccnet.nl/a.w.m.van.der.horst
     
    Albert van der Horst, May 5, 2012
    #13
  14. Rob Gaddi

    Joerg Guest

    Rob Gaddi wrote:
    > On Mon, 23 Apr 2012 17:46:18 -0700
    > Joerg <> wrote:
    >
    >> mike wrote:
    >>> On 4/23/2012 1:35 PM, Joerg wrote:
    >>>> Rob Gaddi wrote:
    >>>>> Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    >>>>> small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    >>>>> not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    >>>>> order of a few milliseconds per minute.
    >>>>>
    >>>>> It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    >>>>> and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    >>>>> $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    >>>>> quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?
    >>>>>
    >>>> Try a few Dollar stores. Sometimes they have cheap outdoor lamps from
    >>>> which those can be harvested. Of course, then you'd also end up with
    >>>> some other stuff that you either have to use, give a way, or recycle.
    >>>>
    >>>> Last time my wife was there they also had tasty chocolate.
    >>>>
    >>> Local dollar store has lawn lights for a buck.
    >>> Contains a solar cell, rechargeable AA cell, battery charger,
    >>> upconverter for the led light.
    >>>
    >>> google
    >>>
    >>> QX5252
    >>> jd1803
    >>>

    >> Yup. Pretty useful stuff in there sometimes:
    >>
    >> http://ynsemi.com/uploadFile/download/20091151017497441.pdf
    >>
    >> But you have to know someone who can read Chinese :)
    >>
    >> [...]
    >>
    >> --
    >> Regards, Joerg
    >>
    >> http://www.analogconsultants.com/

    >
    > Thanks for everyone's help. I'm amazed that it looks like
    > the cheapest way to get these sorts of panels is to buy solar powered
    > garbage electronics and throw out the rest.
    >


    That happens a lot. When I thought the battery in my cell phone was
    dying (turned out just to be a contact issue) I looked around. The
    cheapest method was ... to buy the same model cell phone, the whole thing.

    --
    Regards, Joerg

    http://www.analogconsultants.com/
     
    Joerg, May 6, 2012
    #14
  15. Rob Gaddi

    Seend Guest

    responding to
    http://www.electrondepot.com/embedded/ot-cheap-solar-cells-123761-.htm
    Seend wrote:

    Rob Gaddi wrote:


    > Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    > small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    > not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    > order of a few milliseconds per minute.


    > It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    > and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    > $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    > quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?




    -------------------------------------

    What is your thought about photovoltaic energy?
     
    Seend, Sep 14, 2012
    #15
  16. Rob Gaddi

    mike Guest

    On 9/14/2012 3:02 AM, Seend wrote:
    > responding to
    > http://www.electrondepot.com/embedded/ot-cheap-solar-cells-123761-.htm
    > Seend wrote:
    >
    > Rob Gaddi wrote:
    >
    >
    >> Figure folks here might know. I'm looking to put together a couple of
    >> small-scale projects, just for my own amusement, that would be nice to
    >> not need batteries for. Probably MSP430 based, on duty-cycles on the
    >> order of a few milliseconds per minute.

    >
    >> It seems like I should be able to power this off of a low-leakage cap
    >> and the sorts of solar cells that they put in crappy calculators for
    >> $6.99 at the pharmacy. Does anyone know anywhere to buy small
    >> quantities of said crappy photocells for say $1 a pop?


    Local dollar store has a solar yard lamp that has a single AAA rechargeable
    cell and a QX5252 boost converter for powering the led.
    I bought some with the intention to use them to charge a higher voltage
    battery to power a PIC. Already packaged and waterproof.
    Mine has real packaged QX5252. There's some risk that any random
    lot might have a chip covered in black goop.
    Hasn't hit the top of the priority list yet...
    >
    >
    >
    > -------------------------------------
    >
    > What is your thought about photovoltaic energy?


    A bad idea if you have ANY cost-effective means
    of power available.
     
    mike, Sep 15, 2012
    #16
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