Solar Powered Li Ion Battery Charger

Released on Aug. 03, 2022

Solar Powered Li Ion Battery Charger

Those who are interested in the environment tend to use renewable energy. The maximum power of the sun is about 1,000 watts per square meter (i.e., about 93W per square foot), and then solar panels typically convert this stored power to about 130W per square meter (i.e., about 12W per square foot) . This energy harvest can be obtained on a clear day when the solar panel is facing the sun at peak intensity. However, due to high temperatures, the efficiency of solar panels may be reduced.

The use of sunlight to generate electricity dates back to 1839, when Becquerel Edmond (1820-1891) first discovered the photovoltaic effect. However, it took another century for researchers to understand the process at the atomic level, which functions like a solid-state device with n-type and p-type silicon interconnections.

Can you charge a lithium-ion battery with a solar panel?

Yes, you can use a solar panel to charge a lithium-ion battery, but you may need to read the following article before proceeding to do so.

A solar charging system is not complete without a charge controller. The charge controller takes energy from solar panels or wind turbines and then converts the voltage to match the charge of the battery being charged. A 12V battery (or battery pack) has a supply voltage of about 16 V. This may allow charging of lead-acid at about 14.40 V (6 x 2.40 V/cell) or lithium-ion batteries at 12.60 V (i.e. 3 x 4.20 V/cell charge). Note that 2.40V per cell for lead-acid batteries and 4.20V for Li-ion batteries are the full charge voltage thresholds for these batteries.

There are also Li-ion battery charge controllers available for charging 10.8V packs (i.e. 3 cells in series). When you are purchasing a charge controller, it is important to be aware of the voltage requirements.

The standard nominal voltage for the lithium-ion battery family is 3.6 V/cell; lithium iron phosphate batteries are 3.20 V per cell, but you must only connect the appropriate cells for the charge controller you are using. Be sure not to connect lithium-ion batteries to the charge controller used for lead-acid batteries, and vice versa. Doing so may compromise the safety and life of either battery, as the charging algorithms and voltage settings for these batteries are very different.

Commercial PV systems have efficiencies of about 10% to 20%. Of this, flexible panels account for only 10% and solid panels are about 20% efficient. Multi-cell technologies are currently being tested, and they are believed to achieve efficiencies of at least 40% (and higher).

 

Can solar panels be connected directly to lithium-ion batteries?

You may be able to connect solar panels directly to lithium-ion batteries, but this requires advanced technical skills and expensive tools that may be out of reach.

A solar charging system is not complete without a charge controller. A charge controller collects sunlight and converts it into electrical energy stored by the battery, which is then used by your electronic devices. The collected energy is first converted to a voltage suitable for the battery you are charging, and then the energy is stored in the battery to be used at the desired time.

 

How do I use a solar charging system to charge my lithium-ion battery?

First, you need a solar panel to capture the energy from the sun. Solar panels use what is called the photovoltaic effect. This photovoltaic effect is used to convert solar energy into electrical energy. Electricity is generated at the characteristic voltage of the panel and then transferred as direct current to a group of cells or batteries where the current charges the batteries. Before you can use these batteries, you need to convert them to household AC power, and that's where the inverter comes in. But that's not all you need; solar systems need another system to be fully functional, and that's the charge controller. This is between the batteries and the panels, and it primarily prevents the batteries from being overcharged.


The first step

If you have multiple solar panels, connect them together. These are mostly wired in parallel in order to maintain the voltage of each panel. However, if desired, you can also connect one of the groups in series to increase or adjust the voltage according to the needs of the battery bank. You must ensure that the output voltage of the panel must be equal to the voltage of the battery pack.


Step 2


Connect the panel cable (leading from the panel) to the charge controller. Calculate the required cable size based on the output current and the required cable length. Please note that the charge controller must be close to the battery. DC cables with a thickness of 16 to 10 mm are best suited for this purpose.


Step 3


Use the battery cables to connect the cells in the battery pack in series and parallel to optimize the pack capacity and maintain the same voltage as the panel. To connect two cells in series, simply connect the positive terminal of one cell to the negative terminal of the other cell and the other to double the combined voltage. To connect them in parallel, connect their positive and negative terminals to double the capacity while maintaining the voltage.


Step 4


Connect the charge controller to the battery pack using the battery cable. A good charge controller must calculate the average voltage fluctuation of the battery panel and provide a constant charging voltage to the battery. It will protect your battery from overcharging and also protect your panel from current backflow from the battery.


Step 5

Connect the battery pack to the input terminals of the inverter and then connect the inverter to the main panel. The inverter converts the DC power from the batteries into 110 AC power that can be used in your home. Here, you can charge as much as you want while using your appliances.


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