DIY solar powered radio
The need for renewable energy based equipment is becoming prominent, when everything around is degrading. It is necessary to save our mother earth as well as to do developmental work. This project by gotwind organization has demonstrated the use of the solar panel which isused for garden LED lights, can also be used in a portable radio that runs off 2 or 3 AA cells.
After this project, you will be able to run your radio for weeks and it will not let you down, just leave your radio in the sun outdoors and make use of natural battery. Almost everybody has a used old radio in their home, which is now settled down in our antique collection. Take it out and purchase a solar panel, BAT43 Schottky diode or Silicone IN4001, soldering iron, solder and red and black cable and NiMh rechargeable batteries.
The solar panel used in this project has 8 solar strips to provide the 4.5v 80 mA output, therefore don’t go for cheaper panels that have only 4 strips. The clear plastic lens as well as metal rim from the garden light is removed and with a screwdriver, the panel is carefully detached from the lights body. After cutting the connector wire, the panel is completely removed.
The common power input socket in the radio for the main adapters, gives the option to connect the panel more easily. All you need is a suitable jack plug to the solar panel, whose polarity is correct. In this project, the solar panel is hard wired. Further, a BAT43 or IN4100 blocking diode need to be soldered to the positive terminal on the solar panel, which prevents any reverse current from the battery, when there is low light.
The white or black ‘band’ must face away from the solar panel. You can use multi-meter to check the diode connection to set to mA’s or volts and if the output is in bright light from the panel, then the diode doesn’t need to connect the other way around.
With a double sided foam adhesive tape, the solar panel can be positioned centrally onto the radio to mount the panel on it. The positive and negative wires are then soldered from the radio to the solar panel, and any bare joints are covered using heat shrink tubing or insulation tape.