Justin B. DIY Solar Panels

justin diy solar page .2.
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Justin B. from Kennewick  WA.

This is some of Justin B.  tips on making a panel, very nice panel, 
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Go to either Home Depot or Lowe's and get a 3/4 inch 2' by 4' piece of plywood preferably pressure treated or marine grade and a 1/4 inch piece of similar type. If you don't have a table saw at home have them cut 1 inch strips off of the 1/4 inch piece 4- 4' long and 4- 22" long, that will be the frame. be sure that they cut those strips off the long way. You'll understand why in a moment. While you're there get a 2' by 4' clear piece of acrylic, some waterproof wood glue,some wood screws and some pan head screws #8 or #10's, a staple gun if you don't already have one, some staples and the smallest bag of 3/8 inch tile spacers. Next go to Wal-mart and find a can of wood stain on sale that is uv resistant,and some silicone, make sure that it is 100% silicone. Ok now you're ready to get started on your new project if you've received you're new solar cells. step-1 make a template. take the 1/4 piece of plywood out and make sure it should still be 4' long if you've followed my directions so far. Now cut an 8 inch wide strip that is 4 feet in length. ok after you've done that take out one solar cell, put it on a piece of cardboard and trace around it as delicately as you can making sure not to break the cell. Cut it out and put it as straight as you can about 3 inches from one of the shorter edges. try to center it the best you can. Go get a pencil and trace around it next take a straight edge and line it up with the lines that you drew. draw a line all the way down the piece of wood. Now put two tile spacers near the top edges of the lines you drew around the solar cell making sure you can still see the lines and staple them. Keep doing this until you have the ability to space twelve solar cells. Step 2- paint the panel and framework using the wood stain. After it has dried put the wood glue as evenly and nicely as you can then screw it down to the panel with the edges lined up. Step 3-put two solar cells on the template spaced with the spacers. then cut off the appropriate amount of tabbing that you need to solder two cells together. Do that 12 times. Step 4-solder the strips to the back of the solar cell using rosin core solder. Step 5-Line up the cells on the template that you made and solder them to the white lines on the top the top of each cell. Repeat steps 3-5 once then repeat again but this time solder the tabbing on the top of the first one in that row then continue in series. You will have three rows of 12 after you do this. Step 6- lay all three rows down carefully on the panel putting the row that you soldered by starting on the top of the first cell in the middle. Try to space them out evenly. Step 7- lift up the first row and put silicon underneath each one near the middle of where the cell will be. use the second row to see where to put the silicon. Lay them down as you go pressing lightly with even pressure on each one until you feel them settle a little bit. At this point you don't want to break any of the cells so be careful! Step 8- solder each row in series using bus wire or two strips each of tabbing wire like I did. Step 9-drill two holes near the corner of the panel where you want to run the wires through. Step 10- solder a red wire onto the positive connection point and a black wire onto the negative connection point (they are at opposite ends of each other) next run the wires through the holes that you drilled and staple them down near the edges of the panel. Put silicon around the wires to keep water from getting inside. Step 11- Put silicon on the frame as evenly as you can. After you do that put the acrilic on top. Then put the rest of the frame on top of that and screw it down. If you connected it correctly you should get about 18-19v and about 3-4 amps in direct sunlight.