Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - SPAM: How to build a solar panel

Phantasm911 writes: "How to build a solar panel – Introduction

With continually rising energy costs, plus the stress that conventional energy production puts on the environment, many people are starting to Go Green. The use of solar panels to supply a home with energy is one great answer for both issues, though the initial cost of having them commercially installed can be prohibitive. However, for the handy person who can use a few simple tools, learning how to build a solar panel is also an option. Even though it might seem like a very complex ordeal, construction of solar panels fairly easy, and much more cost-effective than having panels installed commercially.
How to Build a Solar Panel – Research!

Solar cells/solar wafers come in a variety of types and watts, which all dictates the amount of the sun’s energy each cell can harness. Knowing that, and the amount of electricity used by a household, the number of solar cells and panels needed to power a home can be estimated.
How to Build a Solar Pane1 – 3 Standard Cell Types

There are three kinds of solar cells used for panels:
How to build a solar panel: An Amorphous Solar Cell

Amorphous Solar Cell : How to build a Solar Panel

  Amorphous – Least expensive, least efficient, requires a surface of almost twice that of more efficient cells. Not recommended.

  Mono crystalline – Most expensive, most efficient, uses least surface area. Cost $4-$7 per cell.

  Polycrystalline – Less expensive than mono crystalline, slightly less efficient, still much better Amorphous. Cost $1.50 – $3.00 per cell.
For this article mono crystalline solar cells are used.
How To Build a Solar Panel – Materials List

1 2x4 sheet of pegboard
1 2x4 sheet of pressure-treated plywood, 3/8 or 1/2 thickness
1 2x4 sheet of plexiglass
2 1x2x10 wood furring strips
36 mono crystalline solar cells
Wood Glue
Deck Screws
1 Drywall Screws
Silver Solder
Rosin Flux Pen
Tabbing Wire
Bus Wire
Transparent Silicon Caulk
UV Protectant Sealant (like deck sealant), white or light color

Tools Required
Drill Bits
Hand Saw
Paint Brush
Caulk Gun
Soldering Iron w/flat tip – 40 to 65w
Scissor (for cutting tabbing wire)
Volt Meter
Junction Box
How to Build a Solar Panel Step 1 – Making the Frame

For a solar panel to be most efficient, cells should cover as much of the panel as possible and frames should have low-profile edging that will not cause shadows. Standard sized monocrystalline cells allow room for 12 cells down the board, three cells across, with a 2.5 border on the edge for the furring strips and about 1/4 between each cell. 36 cells are always required, no matter what the cell size, to make a functioning solar panel.

  Use furring strips to build a frame around edges of the plywood, laying them flat so they have the lowest profile. Using wood glue and deck screws, attach the strips to make a nice, tight frame.

  Cut the pegboard so it fits comfortably into frame. It does not need to be perfectly tight; the pegboard acts as ventilation for the solar cells.

  Set the plexiglass sheet on top of the frame to make sure it fits to size, which it should, with no modification. Clamp plexiglass sheet to the frame for drilling. Then, with a small diameter bit, carefully drill a pilot hole through the plexiglass, into the wood frame; this will help keep the plexiglass from cracking. Drill again with a slightly larger bit, gradually increasing bit size until drywall screws will fit snugly, yet still bite into the wood frame. Lastly, drill a countersink with a larger bit for a seat for the the screw heads. Once the whole sheet and frame is drilled every 4 to 6 all the way around, remove the plexiglass and set aside.

  Paint the frame and the pegboard with 2-3 coats of UV Protect ant Sealant. Make sure to paint both sides of the frame and the pegboard. Be sure to allow time for each coat to dry before applying another one.

  After all surfaces of the frame and pegboard are painted and have dried, fit the pegboard into the frame and attach securely to the plywood with decking screws. Paint over screw heads afterward.
How to Build a Solar Panel Step 2: Tabbing the Solar Cells

  Lay two cells top to bottom on a clean, flat, rigid surface face up. Measure out a length of tabbing tape that spans from the top of the first cell to the bottom of the second one, leaving 1/4 to 3/8 between them. Cut two lengths per cell. For 36 cells, 72 lengths should be cut.

  For each cell, using the rosin flux pen, apply flux down the entire line of the existing tabbing contacts that came on the cell (there are 2) to prepare them for soldering. Apply a tiny blob of solder to the top end of each contact, making sure none flows over the edge. Then, take the pre-cut tabbing tape and carefully solder ends down with the dab of solder already on the cell. This provides a means to steady the tabbing tape for proper soldering.

  Holding the strip of tabbing tape flat against the cell, over the fluxed contact tape, carefully solder over it, connecting it to the contact on the cell. Getting a flat, seamless application for a good connection is critical. This may take a little bit of practice. Do both strips on the cell. Repeat the same thing for all 36 cells.
How to Build a Solar Panel Step 3: Connecting Tabbed Solar Cells

  Once all 36 cells have their two tabs securely attached they need to be strung together. Lay 12 cells face down in a long line on a clean, flat surface (soldered-on tabbing tape will be underneath), but with the extra lengths of tabbing tape brought up to the top, overlapping the next cell in the line. The cells have square tabbing contacts on their backs, rather than strips.

  Flux each square tab contact, then proceed to solder the tabbing tape from the front of the first cell to the back tab contacts of the second cell, leaving 1/4 to 3/8 between them. All of the tabbing tape should now be attached, with the front of Cell #1 soldered to the back of Cell #2, except for two ‘leads’ coming off the last cell in the line. Do not cut those off!

  Repeat until 12 cells are soldered together to make one long chain. Create 2 more chains of 12 cells each the same way.
How to Build a Solar Panel Step 4: Arranging and Wiring Solar Cells on the Frame

  There are now 3 strings of 12 cells each. Arrange them on the frame. Place all three strings face-up, spacing them so they are evenly placed to make straight rows. Take the middle string and rotate the whole thing in the frame by 180 degrees to change the direction of current flow. Once they are again evenly placed, carefully put a blob of clear silicon caulk on the underside of each cell IN THE CENTER ONLY and gently affix to the pegboard. Don’t press too hard as the cells are fragile and could crack. Do this until all 36 cells are affixed, making 3 neat rows.

  Connect the three strings together with some bus tape, which is thicker than tabbing tape to carry more current. Starting with the upper left tile, go to the bottom of that string and solder a bus wire onto those two tabs, spanning to the cell on the row next to it (the row that has been rotated). Solder a tabbing wire “lead” to the tabs on that cell if necessary, extending the tabs, then use those to solder to the bus wire. The bus wire should be soldered to 4 tabs, connecting to the two cells.

  Follow the second string back up to the top and solder in a bus wire from the tabs sticking up on that cell, to the top cell on the third string. Those two connections are all that’s needed. At the last cell in the last string, tab wires should be soldered together with a length of bus wire, completing the circuit.

  Set the panel in the sun for a while and test it with a voltmeter to make sure it works. If there is a reduced wattage reading, check to make sure strings are actually wired negative to positive to negative.

  Wiring from the bus wire at the end of the circuit, connect to a junction box that can be placed on the back of the panel. Drill a hole through the frame to put the connecting wires through, then seal the hole with silicon caulk.
How to Build a Solar Panel Step 5: Sealing the Panel

  Now that everything is finished and working, screw the plexiglass cover back into place and test the panel again. If all seems well, the panel can be sealed silicon caulk and allowed to dry. The solar panel is ready to be used by being wired into a battery or controller.

Besides what is listed above,there are many other types of solar cells which we will update this article on How to build a solar panel at For another method try this method on How to Build a solar panel from Ehow."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Facebook, Twitter, and more on DoD Computers (

poormanjoe writes: Well it's official. AFMC social media access to begin 01 MAY 2010. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google apps are among the sites that will be accessible on government computers. Command officials said that while using social media sites allows for broader communication with varying audiences, Air Force personnel should keep safety and security of the network foremost in their minds.
Is this a "good idea fairy" that looks good as a tool now, but in the long run will turn out poorly.


Aion Open Beta Starts September 6th 147

NCSoft announced today that the open beta for upcoming fantasy MMO Aion will begin on September 6th, extending through to the 13th. The client is available now. The game launches on September 22nd in the US, with a two-day head-start given to players who pre-order. NCSoft has also said they'll be showing off Aion in more detail at the Penny Arcade Expo, expanding on the information they provided at Gamescom (video).
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Getting involved in open source hardware 1

brendank310 writes: I'm a 3rd year electrical and computer engineering student interested in getting involved in open source hardware development, but I haven't been able to find a resource like SourceForge for hardware development. Is there a community that is tailored to the furthering of open hardware development? If not, is there possibly a good list of open source hardware projects?

Submission + - Gov't computers used to find info on Joe Plumber 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Columbus Dispatch tells a story unreported by many mainstream media outlets and missing from Google News main page about how government insiders accessed Joe the Plumber's records soon after the McCain-Obama debate.

"Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.

Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department."

Welcome to 1984.

Submission + - OpenOffice v3.0 sets download record, 80% Windows 2

thefickler writes: The newest version of OpenOffice, version 3.0, has set a download record in its first week of availability. Most surprising is the fact that over 80% of downloads were from Windows users. As one commentator noted, when it comes to a choice between almost identical software (ie Microsoft Office and OpenOffice), price is the "determining factor".

Submission + - Brains work best at age of 39 (

Ostracus writes: Our brains work best when we are 39-years-old, say scientists ... after that it is all downhill.

Boffins have found that from the age of 40 onwards signals in the brain begin to slow down.


Are SSDs Really More Power Efficient? 222

Bakasama writes "Tom's Hardware compared the power performance of several available SSD cards with a Rotating HDD that was chosen specifically for its poor power efficiency. The results seem to fly in the face of current wisdom. 'Flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) are considered to be the future of performance hard drives, and everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. We are no exception, as we have been publishing many articles on flash-based SSDs during the last few months, emphasizing the performance gains and the potential power savings brought by flash memory. And there is nothing wrong with this, since SLC flash SSDs easily outperform conventional hard drives today (SLC = single level cell). However, we have discovered that the power savings aren't there: in fact, battery runtimes actually decrease if you use a flash SSD.'"
United States

Justice Dept To Investigate Google-Yahoo Deal 105

Anonymous Oddity writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department's investigating the Yahoo-Google advertising deal. Obviously the deal controls a massive portion of the internet advertising market. US Antitrust law isn't entirely intuitive, but it does tend to frown on large deals between companies that operate on the same level if those deals can be interpreted as restrictive of trade."

Supplies of Rare Earth Elements Exhausted By 2017 958

tomhudson writes "While we bemoan the current oil crisis, I ran across an editorial that led me to research a more immediate threat. Ramped-up production of flat-panel displays means the material to make them will be 'extinct' by 2017. This goes for other electronics as well. Quoting: 'The element gallium is in very short supply and the world may well run out of it in just a few years. Indium is threatened too, says Armin Reller, a materials chemist at Germany's University of Augsburg. He estimates that our planet's stock of indium will last no more than another decade. All the hafnium will be gone by 2017 also, and another twenty years will see the extinction of zinc. Even copper is an endangered item, since worldwide demand for it is likely to exceed available supplies by the end of the present century.' More links at the journal entry."
The Courts

Ebay Fined $61M By French Court For Sales of Fake Goods 399

A court in France ordered eBay to pay more than 61 mega-dollars to the parent company (LVMH) of Givenchy, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, because a user sold fake goods on the website. eBay has been sued by other 'luxury goods' vendors (such as Tiffany's (US), Rolex (Germany) and L'Oreal (EU)). Problems stem from some companies demanding that their merchandise (even legal merchandise) not be displayed nor sold as it is a violation of their 'property.' Others have complained that eBay is too slow to take down claims. Apparently eBay was hit with two violations: 1) eBay illegally allowed legitimately purchased and owned products made by LVMH to be resold on its website by 3rd parties not under the control of LVMH, and 2) not doing enough to protect LVMH's brands from illegal sales. eBay has said it will appeal. So eBay is to know what products every company allows to be sold before allowing them to on auction?

(There's also coverage at Yahoo News.)

Update: 07/01 17:15 GMT by T : That's LVMH throughout, rather than LVHM, as originally rendered.


Male Brains 'Wired for Videogame Obsession' 125

thinkzinc notes a story indicating that, according to a new study, men have a harder time putting down a controller than women do. Researchers at Stanford did brain imaging work on a group of young test subjects while they played a simple PC game. Besides the 'obvious' conclusion that men were more 'aggressive at gaining territory on the screen', the tests also indicated that male brains showed more activity in the reward and addiction components of the brain. "The lead author, Dr. Allan Reiss, noted that most of the video games that are popular with men are territory and aggression-type games. 'These gender differences in the brain may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become hooked on video games than females,' he said. Other recent surveys indicate that about 40 percent of Americans regularly play games on a computer or console, but young males are two or three times more likely than females to feel addicted to video games, Reiss said. "

Slashdot Top Deals

Remember: use logout to logout.