Inventors Kit 5: Solar Light
Posted by Matthew Little on
We are going to make a light that is powered by the sun!
We need to use the little LED which is in your kit: it has a clear plastic case and two small wires.
An LED is a Light Emitting Diode. It is a very efficient light. You might see some on devices around your house. They can be in lots of different colours: you probably have one on the front of your TV or on a radio. Some torches and house lights also use LEDs now.
An LED has a positive (+) and a negative (-) lead and will only work if wired in the correct way!
We want to wire the LED to the solar panel. Use two of the cable connectors to do this. Make sure that the longer lead on the LED goes to the red positive wire from the solar panel!
Take this to a window or outside. You should start to see the LED shine brightly, depending on how much sunlight is hitting the solar panel. If it does not light up try swapping the red (+) and black (-) wires around.
Try waving your hand in front of the solar panel. What happens to the light?
You can also add a switch to turn the light on and off.
If you can find some thin wire you can make some extensions to the cables and have your light a longer way from your solar panel. What could you use this for?
What are the problems with this light? We usually need lights when it is dark outside!
How would you store the energy from the solar panel?
More links for learning (you might need more components to make some of these):
- LED 101 - Sparkfun Electronics
- LED 101 - YouTube
- Solar flashlight - YouTube
- DIY solar flashlight - Instructables
- Solar Flashlight - Make Magazine
- Buy my solar torch kit - but you will need help to solder this together!
Here are my photos of my experiments:
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