Your Questions About Solar Panel Calculator

Michael asks…

How to get a tiny solar panel (taken off a calculator) to work for a small motor?

Well, let me explain.

I took the solar panel off of a calculator, and I'm trying to get the solar panel to turn a motor.

A few questions:
Do I have to have a battery for the solar panel to charge, then go from the battery to the motor? Or can I just have the solar panel turn the motor directly?

Is there something else on the calculator that transforms the power to something usable? If so what does it look like/where is it?

I'm 14, so I literally know nothing about this type of thing, but I'm willing to learn.

I basically just want to know what I have to do to make a motor turn with the solar panel.

Thanks.
Hmm, thanks. I actually have about 12 different motors from old kid's toys. Unfortunately none of them have the voltage listed on them, so I would guess the smallest looking motor would most likely have less voltage.(?)
I don't even know what most of that is, although I think a capacitor basically stores the power?

I am working off of whatever I can find around the house, though.

I was thinking I could use the battery from the calculator (since that's what it used in the first place), and just hook the solar cell to the battery, then the battery to the motor.

Is it really that simple, though? Attaching the positive cord from the solar cell to the positive part of the battery, and negative to negative will charge the battery?

I believe I'll run the battery down completely, attach the solar cell and stick it in the sunlight.

Thanks for the help.
P.S. Actually you *might* benefit from a rechargeable battery, if it's the right voltage, in the sense that it could save up current for an hour, then have enough to run the motor for a few minutes. You could do the same with a large electrolytic capacitor (say 1000uF or larger) with no regard to voltage.

I don't even know what a electrolytic capacitor is, but I would guess it simply stores the power.

I am working off of whatever I can find around the house, though.
I was thinking I could use the battery from the calculator (since that's what it used in the first place), and just hook the solar cell to the battery, then the battery to the motor.

Is it really that simple, though? Simply attaching the positive cord from the solar cell to the positive part of the battery, and negative to negative will charge the battery?

I believe I'll run the battery down completely, attach the solar cell and stick it in the sunlight.

Thanks for the help.
A bit offtopic, but if anyone knows a forum/discussion board where I could ask questions like this, please post it.

(sorry for the double submission)
Rob T-

That is quite a bit longer than I expected it to take, although I'm using a small “button cell” battery.

I'm not trying to make this for any “Practical” uses. Just for fun.

ssadmin answers:

Calculators use *very* little energy (micro-amps), so their solar cells are not very strong. Motors usually require a few hundred milli-amps.

Furthermore, calculators use low voltage. You will want a motor that is designed to run off 2 or 3 volts, whereas many are meant to run from 6V or more.

But it's worth a try. Don't worry about polarity. Just hook it up. Put it in *sunlight*, not room light. You might try giving the motor a boost… It might not be able to start itself, but maintain itself once you get it going.

Good luck.

P.S. Actually you *might* benefit from a rechargeable battery, if it's the right voltage, in the sense that it could save up current for an hour, then have enough to run the motor for a few minutes. You could do the same with a large electrolytic capacitor (say 1000uF or larger) with no regard to voltage.

Chris asks…

How many calculator solar panels will I need to get 9 volts?

ssadmin answers:

Read the answers to your last question.

About 10-20 in series will get you about 9 volts. But the current output will be very low, perhaps a few milliamps.

.

Maria asks…

Can a solar panel (like that on a calculator), be powered from household light bulbs?

ssadmin answers:

Lol, isn't your calculator powered by them? (the answer is yes)

Thomas asks…

How many volts are those solar panels for those $1 calculator?

How many volts are there on the solar panels, on the $1 calculators?

ssadmin answers:

I'm sure it varies from Calculator to Calculator. The one I tore apart and tested was 3.5V.

Laura asks…

I need to find a calculator to calculate the amount of energy used by solar panels?

I am doing a science project and I need to find out if solar panels are an environmentally feasible way to heat a pool compared to the #2 diesel that is currently being used. Is there a calculator that I could use to see how much energy a solar panel uses?

ssadmin answers:

What you need is a solar pool heater. It is a series of plastic panels that you run your pool water through using your existing pool pump. As the water runs through them, they get heated by the sun, just like if you leave a hose in the yard, the water inside gets very hot. Since you are using your existing pool pump, no extra electricity is used. You can see some data on it at http://www.hi-tecsolar.com/whysolar.html.

To size a system, you use anywhere from 70% to 100% of the pool's surface area to determine how many panels. A 10′ x 40′ pool is 400 sq ft, it would need anywhere from 280 to 400 sq ft of panels. That kit will cost less than $2000, and can heat the pool to around 10 degrees F higher than the air temp. Http://www.altestore.com/store/Solar-Pool-Heaters-and-Pumps/Unglazed-Solar-Pool-Heating/Guardian-Solar-Pool-Heating/Leveredge-Guardian-Pool-Heating-Package-400-SqFt/p7353/.

This is MUCH more cost effective than using solar electric panels to power an electric pool heater. Depending on what fuel is currently used to heat the pool, a system can pay for itself in a year or two.

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