Activity Building The Dueling Solar Cells

We named this experiment "Dueling Solar Cells" since we will use two separate, but equivalent, solar panels to measure and compare their individual voltage outputs. We will be removing the Battery Charger circuit, and adding the solar cells and two indicator LEDs to our Analog to Digital Converter circuit.

Parts Required

(2) 470 Q resistors

(1) Solar Cell Assembly (from the Solar Kit) 8 solar cells 1 plastic tray 7 spanner bars 16 lock washers 16 nuts

1 spanner wrench

(3) 30" jumper wires, each with 1 tinned lead

Assembling the Solar Panel

The Solar Kit comes with solar cells that are placed in a convenient tray and are not yet hooked up in any particular configuration. The kit also comes with instructions that describe various hookups for series and parallel arrangements. For this Activity, please set aside these kit instructions and use the ones below. We will be arranging the eight cells into two solar panels, each composed of four solar cells connected in series.

V Lay the solar cells in the black tray in the configuration shown in Figure 3-2. Viewed from the back of the tray, the (+) and (-) symbols on the cells will be visible through the round holes to assist in the correct placement.

V Place the metal spanner bars over the solar cell screws in the arrangement shown.

Figure 3-2

Solar Cell Array Layout

Position the solar cells as shown, paying careful attention to their positive and negative terminal positions before connecting them with the spanner bars.

Figure 3-2

Solar Cell Array Layout

Position the solar cells as shown, paying careful attention to their positive and negative terminal positions before connecting them with the spanner bars.

V Place a lock washer and hex nut over each screw and tighten in place. Make sure to use the supplied plastic spanner wrench to tighten the screws. If you experience low or no voltage during the course of the experiment, a loose connection is probably the cause.

Building the Dueling Solar Cells Circuit

V Remove the Battery Charger Circuit that was built in the last chapter, but leave the A/D circuit in place.

V Add the two LED-resistor circuits to the breadboard as shown by the schematic in Figure 3-3 and the wiring diagram in Figure 3-4. Make sure not to short out the LED wires to each other and, also, tip the LEDs away from each other. This will make it easier to understand what happens when the left and right solar panels are compared with one another.

V Strip about 1" of coating off of the non-tinned ends of the 30" jumper wires.

V Connect the stripped end of one 30" jumper wire to the mutual negative terminal of each solar array, and the tinned end to pin 7 of the ADC0834 (ground).

V Connect the bare ends of the other two 30" jumper wires to the separate positive terminals of the solar arrays, and the tinned ends to the breadboard. One wire should connect the left array to pin 4 (channel 1) of the ADC0834, the other wire should connect the right array to pin 5 (channel 2).

ADC0834

ADC0834

Adc0834 Wiring
Figure 3-3: Dueling Solar Cells Schematic
Figure 3-4: Dueling Solar Cells Wiring Diagram
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