Building solar panels can be done at home with common materials found at most hardware stores and be built inexpensively. But most of your solar panels are prepackaged and made of silicon. Your do-it-yourself solar cells are not as efficient and the prepackaged ones you can still make them at home and this one I am going to teach you is functional and be used as a light detector.
To do this job you will need some materials from your local hardware store:
Step 1 – With your metal shears and copper sheeting cut 2 rectangular pieces about the size of the stove burner.
- Hot Plate or Small Electric Stove
- Copper Sheeting
- Shears = Sheet Metal
- Micro-ammeter = able to read lower currents than 50 microamperes
- Clear plastic bottle
- 2 Alligator clips
- 2 Tbsp. Salt
Step 2 – Because you are using copper you must wash and thoroughly clean your pieces of copper with some sandpaper, making sure there isn't any corrosion on them.
Step 3 – Then you are going to lay one of the copper sheets on top of the burner.
Step 4 – Next you are going to turn on the burner to maximum heat.
Step 5 – You must carefully monitor the copper. As the copper begins to oxidize it will change colors transforming to black in color.
Step 6 – For the next 40 minutes you are going to leave the copper on the burner. You want to have a nicely thick coat of oxidized black material on it.
Step 7 - Once the copper has a thick coat of oxidized black material you want to turn off the heat to the burner so that you allow the copper to cool in the natural air. Wait about another 20 to 30 minutes for cooling time.
Step 8 – This part of the process is a little tricky. Under running water you are to scrub the copper with your hands, not with a scrubber or cloth. You want to take of only the easily removable oxidized coating. Your objective is to get of what is easily removed and not damage the copper below the oxidized layer.
Step – 9 now you are to take the plastic bottle and cut off the top so that you have a makeshift bucket.
Step – 10 you should have the second piece of copper that you didn't heat up and you are going to bend it slightly so that it fits the contours of the bottle.
Step 11 – Now you are going to slip the second piece of copper into place on the inside of the bottle.
Step 12 – Take the first piece of copper, the one that you heated up, and repeat the process of slipping the copper into the bottle so that neither piece of copper is touching.
Step 13 – On each piece of copper you are going to connect an alligator clip.
Step 14 – With the alligator clip from the uncooked copper piece you are going to clip it to the positive terminal of the micro-ammeter.
Step 15 - Now with the other alligator clip, the one from the cooked copper piece, and clip it on the negative terminal of the micro-ammeter.
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