Your Questions About Solar Panel Calculator

George asks…

Can you put a soloar panel and battery together?

Can you put a “AA” battery with a solar panel from a calculator and make it work as double the power?

ssadmin answers:

Yes, it can be done. It's not the best way to get more voltage, but it would work. Both items are DC voltage sources and should connect in series. The current will be limited to the source with the smallest current capacity, which would be the solar panel.

Lizzie asks…

what type of solar panels do calculators use?

i am doing a research project on solar energy, and i was just wonder what kind of solar panels do calculators such as the Texas Instruments- 30x iis use –thank you greatly 🙂

ssadmin answers:

They're called Amorphous silicon cells. They're about 7% efficient.

Laura asks…

Are there solar panels which can generate electricity in room light?

I remembered my solar calculator can work under dim electric light.

So when deciding on what to use as decorations to use on the table, solar panels was considered. The blue distorted reflections looks really good to be the base of the table.

But when i called up my local distributors, none believe that the panels can generate electricity under normal light. So is there such a thing?

ssadmin answers:

Solar panels absorb specific frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. Not all light is created equal. Light is usually characterized by its black body temperature. Its essentially the temperature of the source but it defines the frequencies of light.

The sun is a black-body source at 6000 K
Green House light bulb 5900K
Florescents 4100K
Halogen: 3200K
Incandescents: 2600K

Since solar panels are engineered for the sun, the closer you get to the sun frequencies the more power you will produce. A solar panel will generate voltage form any black body source since each source is a continuous spectrum of frequencies, just in different magnitudes. A LED light however is a specific frequency and may not produce any voltage when applied to a solar cell.

Intensity is another consideration. If you put a solar cell directly beneath a halogen light it is certainly going to produce more than on the other side of the room.

Specificaly to your question: Yes, all solar panels produce electricy in room light. It is a small fraction of Solar radiation and will vary depending upon the intensity and frequency.

Hope that helps!

Chris asks…

how do you measure light using the solar panels of a calculator??

ssadmin answers:

You don't quite have enough information in your question.

If you can't destroy the calculator, you can measure the light. But your “reading” will be:
a) Enough light to power the calculator
b) Not enough light to power the calculator

And that IS a measurement.

To get a “scale” you should cover the solar panel with a card. Then slide the card slowly exposing the solar panels until the calculator can come on. You could use a ruler to “scale” the amount of exposed power. If you have strong light, you will have to expose less panel.

That is a better measurement because you can tell degree, not just “on/off” but the scale would have no direct relation to anything else, you would have to calibrate it. And you could.

If you can destroy your calculator to get the panel, just hook it up to a volt meter and you are done. You could feed it through op amps and the like to adjust its sensitivity to light.

Ken asks…

My solar powered calculator was packed away in a box in the basement for 3 1/2 years?

When I unpacked the box, I held the calculator up to the light in the basement. The calculator worked immediately. Would it be feasible to design and manufacture inside lights, battery chargers, small appliances, etc. that would work on a miniature (or small) solar panel? I think if we wait until solar panels for powering the entire house are available to everyone, we are missing an opportunity to begin to utilize solar power sooner. I design indoor solar lights in my head! Would this work?
Mark V, I wouldn't try to use a tiny calculator power panel to power a lamp, I would use a small, maybe 5″X7″ solar panel or larger strips that would catch sunlight. Do you think that could work for indoor lighting? If we can send a man to the moon… Thanks for the feedback.

ssadmin answers:

You need to go and look at small installations that collect solar energy during the day – these include garden pathway lights, decorative hangings, and security motion lights. Outside the house where I am visiting and typing, there is a decoration with hanging glass balls with LED lights inside and a disk at the top with solar cells and batteries. Shown at the bottom of this page http://www.mikegigi.com/firthm/chimes.htm
It receives sun for much of the day and turns on at dusk – it glows for about 3 hours, gradually fading.
Outside my kitchen window is a lantern shape with solar cells on top and a AA size battery inside with a single LED – it glows like a candle for a 2-3 hours dimly in the night.
Pathway lights, which I used to sell, have a post with a dozen or so solar cells and a battery pack underneath with a wire leading to 3-4 LED post lights so the cells can be put in the sunlight as long as possible and the lights can be put under trees, etc. We regularly used to kill off sales or get them back because people wanted them to last all night and they were good for about 4 hours. Okay in the summer, but having the lights die at 8:30 pm in the middle of the party didn't function.
Security solar only turn on the lights when someone is under them, thus lasting longer.
And all of these are using LED lighting. So to do stuff in your house and have it be safe lighting, you need to change out the incandescent for focused LED's, put in low voltage wiring to get from the batteries to the lights, have substantial batteries matched to the watt-hour needs of the lights and then have enough solar cells to charge the batteries even on days when the sky is cloudy and output is way down.

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