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How to Make Solar Panels
One piece of information that many green enthusiasts look for is how to make solar panels. The reality is that with the right knowledge and a few simple parts you can learn how to make armored cable sizes , and you can do so at a cost anyone can afford.
In this article we'll talk about how to make solar panels. More specifically we'll give you a list of the parts you'll need to do make your own solar panels at home, and then give you the steps required to build your solar panels.
How to Make Solar Panels - Parts List
When it comes to making your own solar panels, cheaply, sourcing the parts correctly is everything. The basic components you will need include:
1. Solar Cells - To produce the power.
2. Tabbing Wire - To connect the solar cells together.
3. Solder - To attach the tabbing wire to the solar cells.
4. Bus Wire - To wire everything together in a series when done.
5. Plywood - To use as a backing
6. Framing material (square aluminum tubing or 1 x 2 lumber) - To build a frame on top of the plywood.
7. Plexiglas or Lexan - To seal your assembled unit up, and protect your solar cells.
8. Silicone - To ensure the whole unit is sealed up.
9. Misc Hardware - Screws, etc to put it all together.
The most important component is the solar panel wire themselves. For most people, a suitable solution is to choose your standard 2Watt Polycrystalline cells. These types of solar cells are less efficient than the more current thin-film cells, but the difference in efficiency is only about 7%. The cost difference is about 400% (in other words thin-film cells are expensive).
By choosing to use your standard cells, available on sites like eBay, you'll enable yourself to build a 100 Watt panel for around $125. Some people even opt for chipped, or B-Grade cells, that produce the same amount of power but are defective by the manufacturer's standards (ie chipped corners, etc). With this choice of solar cells a completed 100 Watt panel may cost less than $70.
With the parts in hand you are now ready to start putting everything together and making your solar panels.
How to Make Solar Panels - Steps Required
The steps to create solar panels are actually quite easy. If you do need help at this point we suggest buying one of the top guides to DIY cat 5 cable . They can help since they include illustration and video to show you exactly what needs to be done. Having said that the steps required really aren't that difficult, and anyone is capable of building a solar panel.
Before you start you need to look at how many solar cells you have and then divide them into an even number. For example if you have 50 cells to make a 100 Watt panel, you might choose to make 5 rows of 10 cells.
Step by Step to Make Solar Panels:
1. Tab Your Solar Cells - Cut two pieces of tabbing wire for each cell. These should be double the width of a cell, and then solder those wires to the cells themselves.
2. Wire the Cells in Series - With all of the cells tabbed, begin wiring the cells in a series. Solder the wires from the top of one cell to the bottom of the next cell ( - to +). Continue this until you have the number of rows you decided on before you started.
3. Build a Panel - Using your plywood and your 1 x 2, cut the correct size to house your series of cells out of the plywood and then build a frame around it.
4. Place the Solar Cell Series in the Panel cat6 cable - Place your solar cells in your panel. Before you tack them down using silicone, wire two more tabbing wires to the end of each series (so that you have a + connection off one side of the series and a - connection off the other).
5. Wire it Together - Once you cells are in the panel cut bus wires that can reach across to two groups of cells. Wire them together in a series so that you are wiring the positive side of one group to the negative side of the next. Continue this until all of your series are wired together.
6. Attach Your Final Wires - Take some braided copper wire and solder it to the + connection of the first series of cells, and then wire another piece to the - connection of the last series of cells. Run these wires out of the panel.
7. Test and Seal - With the wiring complete all that is left is to test your panel and then close it up. Take it out in the sun to test it. Assuming your voltage is what you expected, close the panel up using your silicon and Plexiglas. At this point you're ready to wire your solar panel into it's final position.
With just a few steps you've now learned how to make solar panels. Move on to your next panel, and start working to convert your whole home to solar energy.
Welding Cable and DLO Are Both Types of Power Cable
Welding cable is usually classified as a type of industrial power cable. It's much more flexible than THHN wire or any type of electrical wire. There are two types of flexible welding that I'll tell you about and a few other types of single conductor flexible cable types that are very similar.
Welding is made with 30 awg bare copper strands for added flexibility. It has an EPDM rubber insulation which is also more flexible than PVC insulation. It's fairly well known that it's more flexible than battery cable but welding cable has a extra flexible, heavy duty cable, as well, called Super Vu-Tron.
Super Vu-Tron has 34 awg bare copper strands to make it even more flexible than the standard. Super Vu-Tron also has a much tougher insulation because it's meant for an industrial job site where it might be run over and dragged on concrete or other rough surfaces. It only comes in an orange jacket unless you want to have it specially made in a different color. If you did that it would be about a 15,000-25,000 foot minimum run quantity.
Another similar type of power cable is known as DLO cable, or Diesel Locomotive. The difference is in the flexibility and thickness in insulation for added protection. DLO cable is much less flexible than welding cable because it's only made with 24 awg strands of tinned copper wire. The 24 awg strands are much bigger than the 30 awg twin and earth cable strands so the DLO cable won't be nearly as flexible. Locomotive cable is actually 2000 volts instead of 600 volts to provide more power to the application. Diesel locomotive cables can run above ground or in conduit and raceway when necessary.
There are still many other types of single conductor cables such as stage lighting cable and Type W. Then you can get into the multi conductor power cables like SOOW cable and multi conductor portable cord products. Those are similar to the extension cords you might have in your home except they're made much more rugged and labeled as an industrial power cable.
Make sure you speak to your wire and cable supplier before buying any products. You might be purchasing more or less than you actually need which could dramatically change the pricing. Copper is very expensive per pound and the insulation types can be expensive depending on the cable. Make sure you get everything you need at the lowest possible price by speaking to a qualified wire and cable sales person.
WesBell Electronics sells all the different single conductor power cable. We will set you up with Welding Cable if you need something for your home welder or the Super Vu-Tron welding cable for an industrial application. If you need something more heavy duty than we can get you a 2000 Volt DLO Cable as well. We will match up any 2/0 welding cable to your specific situation because we have the knowledge to do it.
There are many different types of wire and cable that have different types of insulation and different strand counts. Some have rubber insulation and are made for flexibility and some are specifically made to not flex as much so they can be pushed through conduit easier.
Welding cable is made with a rubber insulation and comes in black or red. Rubber insulation cables are very difficult to make in colors so it doesn't happen very often. Welding cable is also made with 30 awg flexible copper strands for added flexibility. The rubber jacket is also more flexible than most types of insulation because it's a lot less stiff than PVC insulation.
Battery cable is made slightly different because it was made for a different, but similar, application. Battery cable doesn't need to be as flexible because it stays in one spot for it's life. Welding cable is wound up in a coil every time it's not being used and also dragged around cement and tight corners. The rubber also protects it against rips and tares from its rough environment. Battery wires only have 19 strands of copper to make the awg size needed compared to the minimum of 300 strands for welding wire.
Even though a lot of wire and welding cable price list are very similar they have differences that need to be addressed. You can use the welding cable for a battery application but not the other way around. It is a much better cable with added flexibility which makes it more expensive. Always make sure to ask your sales person if you could use something cheaper to get the same job done or also if you might need a little something more with the cable based on your situation.
You can get battery cable and Welding cable at Wesbell Electronics. We are a Wire And Cable distributor specializing in all types of wire including Flexible Welding Cable. Please call with any questions you might have. We offer free shipping on order over $250 on our website!
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