You are, of course, familiar with the chargers. As you read this article, it is evident that you are using some electronic items. Electronic devices are associated with chargers to provide power in the form of electricity.
Primarily we use conventional electricity, which is powered by fossil fuels. Since the last couple of decades, scientists have innovated devices based on renewable energy sources. The solar battery charger is among such innovations.
Understanding the Need to Use the Solar Charger
Human beings have been using non-renewable sources of energy for the last couple of centuries. If the current trend continues, we will soon run out of all non-renewable sources of energy.
Estimates state that with the present trend, our Earth will run out of Petrol within the next 50 years and Coal within the next 200 years. Scientists are developing renewable sources of energy to reduce fossil fuel consumption to counter this situation, and solar energy is one of the most important innovations among them.
As this is a new technology, we need to use and maintain it properly. Also, there are a lot of guidelines you should adopt to get optimum throughput from the device. This article will give you all the roadmaps to use the solar charger.
Correct Position and Use of the Charger
Placing the solar charger in the correct position is extremely important, and this key factor determines the efficiency of the energy we can harness. The general thumb rule states that you should place the panel to face the Sun’s radiation almost perpendicularly for the maximum possible time.
As the direction and position of the Sun change throughout the day, it is necessary to change the direction of the panel of the solar charger for better efficiency from time to time.
Some of the models come with eyehole devices that help them to withstand at the desired angle concerning the Sun. However, the eyehole device does not have a mounting structure like in the traditional solar panel.
So, in that case, you have to make some alternative arrangements to hold the panel in the right position.
Types of Chargers and Their Ways to Connect
Chargers without built-in batteries
These solar chargers come without any built-in batteries. So they need to be connected to the electronics devices directly while harnessing energy.
They do not store any form of energy in the battery; as a result, they need to be connected to the output devices directly while charging. They supply the energy to the electronics devices simultaneously while harnessing.
Find some flat surfaces in an open area. Now connect the USB cable to the output plug of the solar charger. The charger should be placed in direct sunlight. But the battery/USB cable should be placed preferably in a dark region to avoid sunlight. Otherwise, the USB cable can get overheated and get damaged.
Chargers with built-in batteries
These solar chargers do not need any USB cable or devices to be connected while charging. They have batteries included that can temporarily store the harnessed energy, which can be transferred to other devices later.
However, it is also possible to connect the electronics simultaneously with this solar panel while charging. But it is recommended to avoid this practice because electronics are not well optimized to be charged while the batteries are charging. Otherwise, this may decrease the lifespan of the electronics and the charger simultaneously.
Monitor the Charging Process
This is an essential factor if you want to get maximum efficiency from the solar charger. The energy received per unit area is maximum if the rays of sunlight are in a perpendicular direction, and this is the key factor behind the process of efficiency.
Always ensure that the Solar Charger receives direct sunlight. During noontime, the intensity of sunlight is maximum. Try to utilize the time as much as possible. Clean off any form of dirt particles or dust present on the panel’s surface.
How does a Solar Charger Work?
Solar charging is based on the principle that sunlight is a huge source of sunlight, and light energy can be converted to other forms of energy (say electricity).
The light consists of photons. Each unit photon carries a tiny amount of energy, and the photon particles carry both energies and momentum.
According to the theory of photoelectric effects, the photon can push out the electrons from the atom’s surface provided that the photons’ energy is more than the threshold energy.
When electrons are pushed back from the atoms, there is an imbalance between the charged particles. This imbalance, in turn, creates an electric field within the atoms. Electrons are, after that, forced to be pushed to the front side of the panel, where a negative charge is created.
The protons are, however, left behind. So on the cell surface, a positive charge is created. When both the sides are connected using direct circuits like the terminals of the USB port, then the current flows through this external circuit.
Solar Battery Chargers for cars
Some solar chargers are designed to charge car batteries. This technology is especially useful when there is not a good chance to assist the car batteries.
The following guidelines should be taken to use the Solar car battery charger efficiently:
- Park the car in some open area where there is direct light. Make sure that the charger panel receives direct sunlight from the Sun.
- Connect the clips correctly with the terminals of the battery. So the positive clip should be attached to the battery’s positive terminal and the charger’s negative clip to some ground location such as a car frame.
How to Check the Battery State of the Charger?
A solar voltage regulator or solar charge controller is the best and the most efficient way to check the battery state of the charger. However, if the device is not available, then a multimeter can also be used as an alternative.
The state of the charge can also be determined with the help of a hydrometer, which is another reliable way. Lead-acid batteries usually consist of a battery fitted into it and a removable cap that can measure the specific gravity with the hydrometer that gives each cell the solar voltage precisely.
It is advisable to measure the level of charge when the Solar charger is not charging. Otherwise, it would lead to some errors than the actual value.
Guidelines to Get Maximum Efficiency from the Solar Charger
The following are some of the guidelines one should take to get maximum efficiency from the battery charger:
- Always ensure that the surface of the panel is clean. Make sure that it is dust and dirt free. Usually, the impurities reduce the amount and the intensity of the light falling On the panel, which may decrease the overall efficiency.
- Avoid placing the charger on hot conducting surfaces. This may overheat the device and significantly reduce the lifespan of the cell.
- Always connect the right terminal of the USB cables to the solar battery charger.
- Always use devices like multimeters to make sure that the device is working fine. Contact the manufacturer if the solar battery charger is degrading faster than the manufactured recommendation.
How to Ensure that the Solar Panel is Charging?
It is important to ensure that the Solar Panel is charging. It can give us an idea about the health of the device as well as the present state of charging. The following guidelines can be taken for the same:
- It is recommended to measure the voltage of the solar panel. The black color of the negative terminal should be attached to the red color of the positive terminal with the multimeter on the DC voltage. If the Solar Panel is working correctly, it will show the correct voltage that the manufacturer recommended. However, if there is some defect, either the voltage will differ or show some errors.
- To measure the voltage across the wire, you should disconnect the battery from them. In this case, the voltage level on the wire should be slightly less than the voltage measured on the actual solar panel. However, if there are some errors or much lesser value or no reading, then there is some connection defect.
- Now we need to arrange all the necessary connections. Let the solar panel charge for a whole day. Now you take all the measurements and compare them with the first measurement you took. If the charging is successful, then the voltage value must have increased significantly. Otherwise, contact the manufacturer.
How do you Test a Solar Battery Bank?
A deep cycle battery is defined as a group of 2-volt individual cells. Together they store the energy produced from the solar panel. These are examples of secondary batteries because they can be recharged multiple times.
The following steps should be taken to test the solar battery bank:
First allowed the solar panel to charge completely. Now test each battery using a multimeter. Now make them without any connection for several hours and taste the voltage again. If the previous voltage is equal to the current voltage or does not differ much, the battery is in good condition.
The advantage of maintaining a solar bank battery is its efficiency and durability, and they can be used to store the maximum energy possible out of a solar panel. Also, they last longer and hence will be economical in long-term usage.
How long does the Solar Battery Charger last?
Save the Solar battery charger; it is a sensitive device, it usually lasts from 5 to 15 years. However, manufacturers claim that if they are handled properly, their lifespan can extend up to 25 years.
It all depends on temperature, weather, light, contact with hot objects, etc. When the surrounding temperature exceeds the recommended temperature of the surrounding (for solar battery charger), the device gets overheated, which may reduce the charger’s lifespan.
If the Depth Of Discharge(DOD) value is not allowed to go below 50% of the total value before recharges, the battery remains more healthy.
Which solar chargers should you use-The right choice?
Usually, the solar battery charges come with the battery of size, shape, and capacity. Users need to select the charges accordingly as per their preferences and requirements.
Some people have to charge multiple devices like phones, earphones, etc. In this case, they have to consider buying solar cells of higher charge capacity, say 12V.
Why may some people need much lighter solar panels while traveling? In this case, a very small solar panel would be enough, such as a non-foldable solar power bank. On the other hand, people who need to charge cars need to use the Solar panel with much more charge capacity, say 20 V.
Shifting from a non-renewable source to a renewable energy source is a great initiative. People should understand the need to use renewable energy sources to save the planet.
In general, by adopting all the guidelines, we can meet the small energy requirements from solar battery chargers like charging the phone, power bank, etc.
These small factors will help to save millions of kgs of fossil fuels that are burnt every day if we all take the initiative to use a solar charger for suitable tasks instead of using conventional electricity.
Learning how to utilize the solar power charger is another important factor. If one can follow the guidelines, it will increase the efficiency and the lifespan of the solar charger. If we choose to follow these small steps, then together, we can make a safer and better Earth to live on!