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How to Make Your Own Solar Cell From a Bunch of Scrap Diodes (Video)

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Buying photovoltaic panels from the store and installing them can prove a costly process, so why not try making a pair of your own at home? Warning: they may not generate much electricity, while losing some of it, but if it works, wouldn’t it be a shame not to have tried?

Especially since you don’t need too much to work with: a multimeter, switching diodes, a halogen lamp and a breadboard should be enough for the job. The key role in this list is played by the diodes, since they’re the essential part in converting light to electricity. So first, take a moment to study them and determine which is the positive and the negative end and also in which direction would the electricity¬†flow.

Then, think of the circuit. You have two options for that: do you want a series connection or a parallel one? Each type connection has its drawbacks: with the series one you get maximum voltage, but less amperage, while in the parallel connection, things go the other way round. However, if you decide for the series connection, make sure to criss-cross the diodes’ ends: link the positive to the negative and the other negative to the other positive.

At this point, focus on the multimeter: since you don’t expect the diodes to produce much energy, you can safely set it to the lowest range of voltage (go for the 200 millivolts already fitted). Unless, you’re dealing with an auto ranging meter, in which case this is useless, set up the light source and place multimeter probes at both ends.

Speaking of light, we recommend you use direct sunlight for optimal results, but if that’s not available, then bring in the halogen lamp mentioned earlier, which you should put in a close range to the diodes, without them touching.

As a finishing touch, set the multimeter to the correct voltage level and the probes contact with the circuit. Last step: let there be light and hope for the best! The best here is 300 millivolts, which should be raising steadily from zero in a few seconds. Now, doesn’t this sound easy?

[via EcoFriend]

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