Using solar pannels to activate baby O

Hi
I got 2 solar panels that provide about 8V. but when I connect them to my baby O it dose not work! any ideas why…
Arbel

What model of solar panel are you trying to use, and how are you connecting them?

If everything’s connected properly these cells may just not have the power to run your Baby Orangutan. I just powered mine up at 8V and it drew about 60mA with no peripheral devices attached.

There are two things to keep in mind about the power specs quoted with solar cells. First, they are usually maximum values taken on a very bright summer day in direct sunlight, so most of the time you won’t see that kind of performance. As the name implies, solar cells are optimized to convert the wavelengths of sunlight to electricity, including wavelengths in the near-IR range outside of what you can see. Since you can’t see it, some sources of artificial light are engineered so as not to waste energy producing these wavelengths. Incandescent bulbs have a pretty broad spectrum, but you’ll see less power out of your cells under fluorescent or LED light.

Second, when you see voltage and current numbers for a given solar cell, sometimes they will be reported as so many amps at so many volts, but frequently what you see are maximum values. Bigger numbers, but they aren’t available at the same time. If you look at the fine print on, say, one of the Solarbotics solar cells, they measure the open-circuit voltage (i.e. while it isn’t powering anything) and the short-circuit current (draining as much power as the cells can deliver), which will cause a huge voltage drop.

Try measuring the voltage your cells produce in your lighting condition. Assuming that’s more than 5V, see how much it drops when you start powering different things. If the voltage drops below 5V when you hook up your Baby O, there’s your problem.

Solar power is super-cool, but not super-efficient yet. The good news is that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Silicon solar cells are generally under 15% efficiency, and super-high-end satellite cells are only around 30% efficient. The record for solar conversion efficiency is 42.8% (under lab conditions), and there are designs for cells with 60% efficiency and over!

-Adam

thanks!
I think I’ll use batteries that the solar panels will charge during day time. I got the solar panels from a flash light at the side of the rode. the flash light charges during the day and flashes at night. so I don’t have the specs of the solar panels.
Arbel