DIY Patio Umbrella Solar Charging Station
The idea for the Solar Umbrella Cover came to me while I was sitting Canada Goose Jackets at Starbucks under one of their bistro umbrellas (checking my email) and I noticed Canada Goose Parka canada goose outlet toronto factory my phone battery was a little low. I though, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could top off my phone while I’m cheap Canada Goose sitting here?” www.canadagooseoutletjackets.com And since I’ve Canada Goose online been a solar enthusiast and canada goose outlet sale tinkerer for years, my thoughts went straight to solar.
My idea Canada Goose Online canada goose outlet black friday was to build a “solar cover” for bistro umbrellas. It would consist of an array canada goose store of round solar cells wired together to provide power for charging mobile devices. The cover could be placed on top of existing umbrellas. A cable (which contains multiple charging ports) could be routed with clips from the edge of the umbrella, up underneath, and then down the goose outlet canada goose black friday sale canada shaft where canada goose clearance users could plug in their devices. That should be enough power to charge two phones canada goose outlet uk canada goose outlet store at the same time. After looking around on line for round solar cells, I found some 4″ round cells rated at 4V x 80mA. If I wired 45 of canada goose outlet store uk those cells in parallel, buy canada goose jacket cheap canada goose jacket outlet it would give me approximately 14 15W of solar power.
I buy canada goose jacket decided to wire the cells together in a “net” pattern of concentric circles. That seemed to canada goose factory sale be the best way to ensure canada goose uk outlet it canada goose uk black friday would lay flat on top of an umbrella. Wiring them in parallel should allow canada goose outlet reviews them to provide a canada goose jackets constant canada goose black friday sale voltage even if some cells are shaded or not in direct sunlight. canada goose outlet canada Of course the canada goose outlet uk current would be reduced, but at least they will continue to charge the devices.
The biggest challenge was to wire the cells together in canada goose outlet nyc parallel while maintaining a matrix pattern that would also physically support the array. I canada goose outlet jackets tried lots of different strategies and finally settled on the one cheap canada goose uk pictured.
Since my voltage output would only be 4V and USB requires 5V, I needed a booster canada goose outlet online circuit. I also wanted to include 2 USB ports for charging multiple devices. I searched the web for a suitable circuit board and I settled on a Dual USB Charging Circuit from Brown Dog Gadgets (see my Materials page).
This circuit official canada goose outlet takes voltages as low as 2.5V and boots it up to 5V. The
circuit can provide canada goose outlet parka a max power canada goose uk shop of 3A (charged between the USB ports). That made it easier to follow uk canada goose my wiring diagram. I soldered Canada Goose sale the cells together using the 16 gauge wire. I tried to keep a consistent distance between cells. Then, I hot glued the charging circuit board in Canada Goose Coats On Sale and soldered connectors canada goose outlet to the input terminals. It was a perfect sunny day and canada goose my results were awesome!
In direct sunlight, I got 4.34V x 3.48A = 15.1W of power!
Now, I was ready to try canada canada goose coats goose outlet online uk out the Solar Umbrella Cover in it’s intended environment. So, I deployed it on canada goose coats on sale top of a bistro umbrella in my backyard. I ran the speaker wire from canada goose outlet new york city the edge of the canadian goose jacket umbrella, across one of the blades, to Canada Goose Outlet the center. I secured the cable using wraparound Velcro strips. Then, I ran the cable down the shaft of the umbrella to about the right height from the ground and secured the cable again with Velcro straps.
I setup a comfortable sitting area underneath the umbrella and connected some devices. And sure enough they started charging! We canada goose outlet shop tried a couple of iPhones as well as Android phones. Everything worked canada goose outlet uk sale great until I plugged in an iPad. canada goose factory outlet It sucked up so much canada goose outlet in usa power canada goose clearance sale that the phones couldn’t charge at the same time.