Old 07-20-2009, 12:45 AM #1
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Default Solar power

I have a few cheap red pointers. My goal is to eliminate the batteries (3) that total 4.5v and power the pointer from a solar cell that is powered from a 60 watt incandescent bulb.

Any ideas on the specs of a solar cell needed to do this?
Design concepts?

Thanks!!


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Old 07-20-2009, 12:54 AM #2
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Default Re: Solar power

I am a little confused as to why you want to use a 60w lightbulb to power a 1mW laser? It doesn't seem very practical to use something of a much higher power load to supply power to something which draws much less. Now if you were trying to build a solar fixture for a massive argon laser.. that would be a little bit different.

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Old 07-20-2009, 12:58 AM #3
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Default Re: Solar power

Ok, I will explain. The laser pointer is a parking assist in my garage. I will set the pointer to a specific spot on the dash when the car is in the proper spot. Now, when the garage door opens, the light comes on (60w bulb).... so, when this bulb comes on, it powers the solar cell which powers the laser pointer on. When the light goes off, off goes the pointer....
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:10 AM #4
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Default Re: Solar power

In theory that would work but here are the kinks that I see. That bulb is shielded in the garage door opener so its full intensity will not reach the solar panel. You will need some way to regulate the voltage and current leaving the solar panel. Usually they are used to charge large battery cells so you would need a step down transformer. So rather than buy a costly solar panel you could make a simple 110vac stepdown to 12v/4.5v. and wire that in to the garage door openers light circuit.

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Old 07-20-2009, 01:11 AM #5
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Default Re: Solar power

If I'm not mistaken... I seem to have seen a parking assist that uses a red
laser and a solar cell near the Garage Door Opener light....

LASER GUIDED CAR PARKING SYSTEM AID GARAGE PARK on eBay.ca (item 160336504164 end time 18-Aug-09 03:07:42 EDT)


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Old 07-20-2009, 01:18 AM #6
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Default Re: Solar power

Quote:
Originally Posted by lasersbee View Post
If I'm not mistaken... I seem to have seen a parking assist that uses a red
laser and a solar cell near the Garage Door Opener light....

Jerry
Jerry, that is exactly what I am talking about. I have the pointers and was looking at this cell....

HERE

Is there not some regulation built into a pointer already or is the battery being a nice dc supply enough to satisfy....

Edit-
Oh, and Mike, I have 3 bays to configure and the openers are all new. I would rather not mod them while still under warranty. The bulb is accessible and some double stick tape will position the cell within a couple of inches of the bulb..... I thought this to be a nice low impact install....

Last edited by jrjr; 07-20-2009 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:25 AM #7
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Default Re: Solar power

Those cells you listed would work but the 80mA *MIGHT* cook the cheaper red diode. Jerry seems to be on the right track! You could build a simple current regulating driver or wire a resistor in series with the solar cell to drop the current to a much lower value. Although I am not 100% sure what value resistor you would need, doing just that may get you to where you need to be.

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Old 07-20-2009, 02:32 AM #8
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Default Re: Solar power

Resistance equals voltage over current.

How to calculate resistance in ohms
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:38 AM #9
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Default Re: Solar power

Just use a 3-5V wall wart on the same circuit as the bulb to power the pointer.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:55 AM #10
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:04 PM #11
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Default Re: Solar power

@jrjr....

I hear what you are saying about not going into the opener
while on warranty.

Those Solar cells you linked to might be just the ticket...
I would use 2 of those cells in series with a 5 volt positive
voltage regulator... (or an LM317 Current regulator circuit)
the extra 0.5 Volts should cause no harm to the Dollar Store
red Laser Pointers... and it woulds insure a regulated output
for any light input variations.

I've used the LM7805 5V Positive Voltage regulator in the past
to power the $1.00 store pointers... and they still work.


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Old 07-20-2009, 09:51 PM #12
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Default Re: Solar power

Thanks, TJ. That's precisely what I had in mind. $2 at the hardware store.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:42 PM #13
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Default Re: Solar power

Either way will work fine....
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:33 PM #14
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Default Re: Solar power

So, what I am reading here is that if I use the solar cell(s) I will need a regulator and if using the wall wort I won't. Is this correct? Is there regulation built into these cheap pointers?

Like maybe
THIS

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Old 07-21-2009, 01:04 AM #15
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Default Re: Solar power

Yes to the first 2 questions, not sure about the third. Whats good about cheap pointers is they are cheap. So I would not worry about blowing one. I've had a wall wort hooked up to the pointer I use to play with my cat for 5 years now. I'd get you the specs, but it got put in storage when I moved. I do know the output was 5VDC.
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