Building a Solar Radio: Wiring Building a Solar Radio: Wiring

What You'll Need
A portable radio
A 4-5 volt solar panel
Silicone IN4001
2 rechargeable batteries

Of the numerous devices that are available to us thanks to the use of solar energy, the solar radio is perhaps one of the most beneficial of these.  Solar energy in general is a great advantage because this allows you to save money on batteries as well save on the electrical bill because there is no requirement for an adapter to run the device. 

Step 1 – Select Your Solar Panel

While we are using solar panels in general, you will find that there are various types of solar panels to choose from.  While any panel will work, it is recommended that you pick one that has 8 strips.  Having all 8 strips is going to give you the all the necessary power that you require to run the radio.

Step 2 – Set Up Your Radio

In order to get a solid connection from the panel to the radio itself, you are going to have to essentially hardwire the radio and connect it to the solar panel.  Begin by removing the back panel from the radio.  Now you are going to use your multimeter in order to discern what points are the positive and negative points.  As a side note, make sure your multimeter is reading a positive number, this will indicate to you that you are measuring the proper points.

Step 3 – Attach to Positive and Negative

Use your solder, to attach the red wire to the positive output and the black wire to the neutral output of the battery.  Once you have done this, you simply need to drill a tiny hole in the back panel of the radio and thread the wires out the back.  Be sure that you back panel connects properly with the radio and that there isn’t too much tension from the wires.  You don’t want there to be any reason for the wires to pull away and break.

Step 4 – Adjust the Solar Panel

In order for your solar panel to function properly, you are going to have to make a small adjustment to it.  Take your Silicone IN4001 diode and solder that to the positive point of the panel.  You can also use a BAT43 blocking diode to accomplish the same job.  If you are choosing to use 3 rechargeable batteries versus 2, this is the best route to take to ensure proper function of your radio.

Step 5 – Attach Your Panel

Use some solder to join your radio wires to the solar panel.  Now that the wires are connected to both the panel and the radio, you now need to finish your project and attach the panel to the radio itself.  This is easily accomplished by taking a piece of double sided foam and placing it on the back of the solar panel.  Then press this onto the radio.  Be sure to take some electrical tape to wrap the wires and prevent any dangerous joints from extending themselves.

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