We love releasing new kits and modules, especially when they can be powered by batteries. Batteries are super convenient and allow the user lots of location options for their projects. The only downside being, you'll need some more batteries, or... 🤔
This simple guide shows how you can easily add a solar powered recharging circuit to our new Kitronik LED Strip with Solder Free Connections. If you are going to create an enclosure for the kit this resource will allow you to include a sustainable power source in your design, It is an adaptation of the guide created for the Kitronik Solar Power Starter Kit. The beauty of this set-up is that it can be re-used for other projects with the same power requirements. Examples of kits that can be used with this rechargeable solar power set-up are; 5V LED Desk Lamp Kit (the Solar Power Kit ships with this kit included), 2157 FM Radio Kit V2.0, the 2165 Mono Amplifier Version 3.0, and the 2162 USB Fan Kit.
As of 2017, renewable energy accounted for more than 25% of energy produced in the UK every year, with environmental targets making this figure likely to increase significantly in the years ahead. Elsewhere around the world, renewable energy is making a far higher contribution to electricity generation already, and solar energy has the potential to play a big part in this global drive for a more sustainable future. Kitronik can help towards this goal, as by combining a few components and kits, it is possible to build a simple solar charging and power supply system for a variety of useful low power devices.
- 1 x 5.0V 130mA Polycrystalline Solar Cell.
- 1 x BAT41 Signal Diode.
- 1 x SPST Toggle Switch.
- 1 x 3x AA Battery Holder with Flying Leads.
- 3 x Rechargeable AA Battery (1300mA/h).
- Multi-strand Wire.
- Kitronik LED Strip with Solder Free Connections.
- Or, just grab the solar power starter kit and LED strip.
Building the circuit:
- Although the LED strip has solderless connectors, a soldering iron and some additional connection wires are required for construction of the powering circuit.
- Care should be taken when adding the kit to be powered to the solar powering circuit, the LED module board can be damaged by connecting it the wrong way around.
The recharging circuit is super simple; the Solar cell, BAT 41 Diode, and the Battery holder are all connected in series, as shown in the above diagram. The diode is to prevent the batteries from discharging back into the solar cells if there is insufficient light. The solar cell will charge the batteries at a safe maximum of 10% of their total capacity.
Once the charging circuit has been built, the LED strip can be connected in parallel with the charging system. A toggle switch added to provide simple on/off functionality. Provided there is enough light falling on the solar cell, the batteries will continue charging whether the LEDs are on or off. More detailed information can be found in the additional resources below. And more detailed build information for the solar charging circuit can be found in this set of instructions for the Solar Power Starter Kit.
- Kitronik LED Strip with Solder Free Connections Datasheet.
- Rechargeable Solar Power Kit Datasheet.
- Rechargeable Solar Power Kit. There are additional teaching resources on this page that contain an in-depth look at this circuit.
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