DIY Solar Panel FAQ

 

2. How to test Solar cells

Q2.1: Do I need to test every cell for shorts or will a faulty cell still work (conduct and not act as a resistor)?

Q2.2: I checked cells in sun light, but got no volt reading, how do you check the cells?

Q2.3: Is one cell better than the other?

 

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Q2.1: Do I need to test every cell for shorts or will a faulty cell still work (conduct and not act as a resistor)?

A: You do need to test every cells to make sure there is no broken cells in the kit. If there is a broken cell in the string, it will affect the final output of the solar panel by significant amount.

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Q2.2: I checked cells in sun light, but got no volt reading, how do you check the cells?

A: Get a copper plate or another kind of metal plate with good conductive surface. Place the cells on to the plate, with blue side up. The plate should be slightly bigger than the cell. Set your multimeter to check voltage (make sure that your leads of the meter is put in the right slot, and the dial of your meter is pointing to DC volt. Under DIRECT sun light, place the negative lead (usually black color) of your multimeter on one of the bus bars of the cells, and the positive lead (usually red) of the meter on the metal plate, and you see around 0.5x volt on your meter reading. It has almost never failed us. The key is that people need to know that the front side of the cell is negative; the back side, positive. And they need to find a way to use their leads to contact the right leads, and still have the cell face the sun.

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Q2.3: Is one cell better than the other?

A: There are three most popular categories of solar cells we are selling for retail now: Pre-tabbed cells, Untabbed NEW cells and Clipped tab cells. The NEW cells are our 2009 shipment from the original manufacturer and most of them are high power cells, the wattage per cell falls between 1.6 to 1.85 watts. The pre-tabbed cells are our original A cells, the wattage ranges between 1.4 to 1.75 watts per cell. Our clipped tab cells kit is currently on sale! These cells are tabbed, but these solar cells have had their tabs clipped for various reasons slight chips, easier packaging in boxes, slightly loose soldering wires etc, but they are all very good cells for manual panel manufacturing.   

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