Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Installing and Upgrading Solar Panels to 50 Watt panels sold on eBay

 A few years back I bought some solar panels at a Hamfest.  I was disappointed to find out that they are only 10 watts each. By todays standards that is very little power per square foot.  I also bought a solar battery charged on eBay to connect the solar panels up to a battery.

Here is what my very basic setup looks like.  I do not have any "Load" connected yet but I do have an inverter to convert 12 volts to 120 VAC.  The charger has two USB jacks to charge your cell phone.


This year I decided to update the solar panels to some higher power versions.  I bought two 50 Watt panels on eBay for under $60.  This picture is of the ad that appeared on eBay.

This is a bottom view of one of the new panels.  Note the box with a cord coming out of it.

This is a top view of one of the new panels.  The new panels are 1/2 the size of the old panels.

This is the accessories bag that came with the panels. There is a device to plug into a cigarette lighter to charge a car battery and clips to clip directly onto a battery.  Then there are four suction cups that I suppose is how you are supposed to mount the panels.


So there is no easy way to mount these panels like the old panels were mounted, and there is no easy way to hook up these panels to the battery charger controller.  They do have a "Barrel" type of power connector like what is found on many AC Adapters.

This next picture shows what happens when you try to mount the new panels to the old 3 foot by 1 foot solar panels.  The box on the back of the new panels creates a big curve that tends to pop the suction cups off.  This is not going to work!

This picture shows how two of the new 50 watt panels can fit on one of the old 10 watt panels.  That should take me from 10 Watts to 100 Watts per three square feet.  However, I would not recommend this type of mounting as the suction cups repeatedly failed when trying to take this picture.

I am thinking I will need to make a frame out of wood or metal and then mount the new panels on the frame.  Then the frame could be mounted to the roof.

I installed the new panels and after the first snow storm they stopped working!  I have yet to find out the problem as they are under the snow.  I mounted them on an angle so the snow would slide off them but it stays on top of them.  The old panels worked even when under the snow.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sony BDP-S1500 Repair

 I purchased a Sony BPD-S1500 Blue Ray DVD player because I had accidently bought a Blue-Ray DVD.  After about a year of occasional use, it stopped working.  The symptoms were that the logo would show up, then the screen would flash blue, then nothing.  The DVD tray would still open and close but there was nothing on the screen.  It looked exactly like a Raspberry Pi trying to run on a lame power supply.  I opened up the case and discovered four pads next to the power jack.  These would normally be used for power filter capacitors to help stabilize the power.  The front two pads are power and the back two are ground.  I added a 100uF 25 volt capacitor to the pads.

The unused pads are circled in red in this picture.


Here is the capacitor I added, the leads should have been cut shorter.

Sure enough this simple repair fixed the DVD player.  I am watching a movie while I write this!



Friday, November 13, 2020

I am Rebuilding my 3D Printer with several new improvements

I am Rebuilding my old 3D Printer with several new improvements.  The parts needed have gone way down in price.  In fact you can get a 3d Printer kit on eBay for a little over $125.  That would sure save a lot of headaches when it comes to mismatched parts.

Here is the old 3d Printer, it was mostly home made other than the print head.

Here is the new one still under construction, it has several purchased parts that are a fraction of what they cost just a few years ago.

The new frame was purchased on eBay.  Someone is dumping them to the lowest bidder starting at only 5.99!  Sometimes there is no bid even at that price!  The new frame has the motor mounts built in making that part easier to do and more accurate.  The frame also comes with a mounting place for the LCD display too.  The frame did not come with front and back pieces so I made them myself.

The new print head was purchased for under $25!

The 10MM bearings under the Y axis were purchased with the mounting brackets.  I had 3D printed the mounting brackets on the old one but they kept breaking and were eventually glued together.

The Z axis is now using 8mm leadscrews with matching nuts.

The power supply is mounted in the frame on the right side.

Now to get it wired up and working!