Your Questions About Solar Panel Calculator

Sharon asks…

Making my radio solar powered?

Can I take a solar panel and capacitor ( I think it's a capacitor ) off a calculator, and wire them into the positive and negative terminals on my radio? Will this work?

ssadmin answers:

No, because a radio has an audio amplifier, it demands a lot more current than an LCD display calculator. However, you can get small solar panels that will easily run a radio. Try radio shack or sporting goods stores.

William asks…

Can Solar Panels be Charged by CFL lights?

You know how those little calculator solar cells cant work when its dark? Well what if one of those cells could power a light that would keep it on to power the light. I mean, its a perpetual cycle that would never end.

I'm interested in building a solar system, but I'm pretty sure that I'll need more energy for a longer amount of time than the sun can give me, so I was wondering:

If i built a Solar Generator that powered CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) and had the CFLs right on top of the panels, could I power other electronics 24/7 from the light's energy going into the solar panels?

ssadmin answers:

Homebrewer isn't quite right. The figure given for the efficiency of solar panels is usually for the Sun's spectrum.

CFLs peak at a few specific wavelengths. Depending on the bandgap of the doped semiconductors used in the panel, it might be more or less efficient at converting CFL light into energy.

However, you can't run a CFL off a solar panel powered by the same CFL. Think of the energy flows – some of the light from the CFL goes into the panel. Some of this is converted to electricity*, then you lose some of the energy in the resistance of the wires. You'll get back less energy than you had to start with, but the panel will generate some electricity from the CFLs.

This is an example of the second law of thermodynamics.

*you lose some – if the photon doesn't have enough energy to excite an electron you won't get any electricity. If it has more than the bandgap, then you may create an exciton and phonons, and the phonons carry away energy you can't use. And there's always a chance you won't separate the charges in time to use them as current…

Nancy asks…

Solar charger question?

I just recently bought one, and i was wondering about something. Is it possible for a solar panel to capture energy from the light of your room(for example, a fluorescent light?) Because I always remember being in grade school, and the solar powered calculators always worked under the fluorescent tube lights. Thanks!
What about semi-cloudy days?

ssadmin answers:

Yes, you will be able too, although not as much as sunlight of course – how much you get depends on the rating of the bulb.

You will be able to use a solar charger on a semi cloudy or even cloudy day – of course, the amount of charge you get isn't as much as full sunlight but it will still work.

Ruth asks…

Why are Chinese goods so cheap?

Ok, I go into the dollar store and I can buy a BIG display solar calculator for a buck. Has a small solar panel, primitive lcd screen, circuit board and a processor of some sort. Why can these things be sold so cheap? And please don't tell me cheap labor, if the workers were paying the factory to work it still would cost more. How is it done?

ssadmin answers:

Digital calculators have been around now for some 45 years or so … That's old technology and not difficult to master, and certainly not labor-intensive… Could be that by now the components going into that really can be mass produced at an aggregate cost of well under $1 for a cheap design not using particularly high-quality parts. The silicon processor used in a simple calculator these days would be super small and super cheap — yes well under $1 I'd think, and possibly even too small to see if not encased in its packaging. That means one single wafer processed in a semiconductor plant would yields huge numbers of those things.

Aside from that, cheap labor *is* the reason things, in general, come cheaper from China. However, in a case so extreme as a $1 calculator sold at the dollar store, could also be that it's being sold at a loss. Not sure how the dollar store gets its inventory, but it may be some sort of overstock, or discontinued item — something being blown out at below manufacturing cost for whatever reason.

The above argument that China manipulates its currency may be somewhat true but it's completely irrelevant. China labor is cheap, as measured in dollars, for WHATEVER reason, ergo the cost of labor embedded in Chinese products is cheap to an American or a European, etc. That resulting cheap labor either explains the $1 calculator, or not; but the *reason* for the cheapness of labor is irrelevant to your question.

But note that lots of electronics made in China sell for a heck of a lot more than $1. IPhones and iPads, for example, are manufactured in China under contract for Apple.

Mark asks…

How i can make a solar mobile charger having output 3.7v with small solar panels of calculator?

ssadmin answers:

You need several panels
make an array of some in series and some in parallel to increase the out put strenght.

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