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KC1BDE
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i was thinking about ways to get solar panels for cheap and i was thinking,wat if i use the solar cell off the solar yard lights and wire them all together to make a solar panel.not sure if this is a good idea or not hence im asking yall haha.
 

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Future Codgers of America
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I'd like to know as well. I have been considering making my own panels for a while now. I found a website that has videos on doing making them from purchased solar cells but if I can use them from solar sidewalk lights I'll have another thing to look for at yard sales etc.

+N
 

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I have no specs, but I would be willing to wager the panels used in solar yard lights are not suitable for wiring together into larger panels. 10 or 20 of them together is probably only a few watts at best, and probably at less than 12 volts.

Building your own solar panels isn't easy. The most popular method is to buy unassembled solar cells on eBay or elsewhere. These are the "guts" of residential grade large solar panels, you must painstakingly solder them all together and build your own plexiglass or lexan case.
 

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Guardian of Liberty
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Seems like a rather expensive way to do it. Why not just buy one designed for the purpose?
Why not buy one designed for the purpose? Simple, to learn how to re-purpose materials to better fir your need. While it might be good to purchase the supplies for the first build, I would recommend trying to do a second build with all salvaged and re-purposed materials as a good learning experience. After an event the could be a shtf event you will no longer be able to just go buy what you need, you will need to be able to make what you need.

i was thinking about ways to get solar panels for cheap and i was thinking,wat if i use the solar cell off the solar yard lights and wire them all together to make a solar panel.not sure if this is a good idea or not hence im asking yall haha.
I don't think this is the cheapest way to make your own solar panels to power something larger. However, it would be a good learning project. Use the reclaimed panels from the yard lights to make a cell phone charger. Remember that when you make something it doesn't need to be the most practical, it is practice for the next bigger and more difficult project.
 

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Renaissance Man
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They're certainly cheap enough to play with, but I don't think you'll get too far with them. Maybe a battery charger or something, but there's not much potential there.

My yard lights do a couple things: first off, they allow for some security in case of power shortage. I'm much more likely to be able to see someone moving around with a few of those little lights in a really dark area.
Secondly, I can bring them inside for basic lighting so people can move around the house without using flashlights/wasting batteries. Obviously, they're not bright enough to really see anything to do work or read, but it cuts down on using more powerful lighting, and it's easily renewable, just put 'em back out in the yard the next day.

For what you're doing, I think it would make more sense to make your own solar panels from solar cells. It's a lot of work, but you can make a pretty nice solar panel for a lot less money.

Really though, for solar you need a battery bank and a controller to do much of anything.

Az
 

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Only human...
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Hey now this is something I have done before. Dollar Tree has these solar lights once in awhile. Took the things apart and wired the panels together and got readings on how much dc volts was been produced. Turns out that panels I was using produced 1 & 1/2 volts each. So 1.5 times 9 equals 13 volts dc . Only thing needed then is a diode, which lets the energy flow one way. Made a nice trickle charger,
 

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I got twenty of those light from my adopted parents. The bulbs are quite usefull also, my brother had an old collector stereo system but the dial lights had stopped working. I installed a small transformer and ran one of those lights behind the dial, worked awsome. You couldn't even tell the equiptment had been modified from the outside.

I made the solar panels into three trickle chargers to recharge rechargeable batteries.

Cool and usefull things for the price.
 

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Avoidance & Deterrence
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Solar cells produce very little power for the cost then storage is another issue in it self.

For example batteries have a life expectancy of about 3 years and can take a "SET" meaning that even if fully charged you might only get 10% out if all you usually use is 10%. Solar cells, deep cycle batteries, and 12 volt electrics are a poor choice at best but beats the hell out of nothing at all.
 

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The solar sidewalk lights are battery chargers and a photo cell to turn on the light after dark.
They charge 2 AA batteries and light a 3 volt bulb.

Junk ones are a great source of project parts.

Most of them are thrown out because of corrosion.
Many times they can be rescued with just some WD40 and some time.
 

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I've spent some time disassembling the cheap 2-4 dollar ones from Wal-Mart. From what I've found, the panels are epoxied in to the top portion of the light. I don't know that you'd have much luck removing the individual panels from their seating without destroying them, but I could be wrong.

Solar yard lights were invaluable a few months ago when we were out of power for 3 days due to a tornado that wrecked our town. I would set them out each morning and then each night I would put them in mostly the bathrooms, so we didn't have to worry about burning candles in rooms that we couldn't monitor and also gave off plenty of light to use the restroom.

I now have one taped to my dash board in my car with the wires to the LED extended and the light taped pointing at my speedometer, as my bulb went out and I'm not sure how to replace it or how expensive it will be. It works perfectly, comes on automatically at night, and cost me 2 bucks vs. 14 for an LED that would plug in to my lighter.

Good luck with your projects.
 

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im going to use them for lights in my root cellar when i get it built this fall, take them apart and extend the wires so the collector is above ground and the light is in the ceiling
 
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