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Solar Inverter/Charger for Science Project

Solar Inverter/Charger for Science Project

The following article explains a simple solar inverter circuit consisting of it's own battery charger and an automatic changeover relay system for switching the battery to the inverter in the absence of solar energy. The circuit was requested by Ms. Swati Ojha.

The Circuit Stages

The circuit mainly consists of two stages viz: a simple inverter, and the automatic relay changeover.

During day time for so long the sun light remains reasonably strong, the panel voltage is used for charging the battery and also for powering the inverter via the relay changeover contacts.



The automatic changeover circuit preset is set such that the associated relay trips OFF when the panel voltage falls below 13 volts.

The above action disconnects the solar panel from the inverter and connects the charged battery with the inverter so that the output loads continue to run using the battery power.

 

Circuit Operation:

Resistors R1, R2, R3, R4 along with T1, T2 and the transformer forms the inverter section. 12 volts applied across the center tap and the ground starts the inverter immediately, however here we do not connect the battery directly at these points, rather through a relay changeover stage.

The transistor T3 with the associated components and the relay forms the relay change over stage  The LDR is  kept outside the house or at a position where it can sense the day light.

The P1 preset is adjusted such that T3 just stops conducting and cuts off the relay in case the ambient light falls below a certain level, or simply when the voltage goes below 13 volts.

This obviously happens when the sun light becomes too weak and is no longer able to sustain the specified voltage levels.

However as long as sun light remains bright, the relay stays triggered, connecting the solar panel voltage directly to the inverter (transformer center tap) via the N/O contacts. Thus the inverter becomes usable through the solar panel during day time.

The solar panel is also simultaneously used for charging the battery via D2 during day time so that it charges up fully by the time it gets dusk.

The solar panel is selected such that it never generates more than 15 volts even at peak sun light levels.
The maximum power from this inverter will not be more than 60 watts.

A MOSFET  based solar inverter can be witnessed HERE

Parts List for the proposed solar inverter with charger circuit intended for science projects.

R1,R2 = 100 OHMS, 5 WATTS
R3, R4 = 15 OHMS, 5 WATTS
T1, T2 = 2N3055, MOUNTED ON SUITABLE HEATSINK
TRANSFORMER = 9-0-9V, 3 TO 10 AMPS
R5 = 10K
R6 = 0.1 OHMS 1 WATT
P1 = 100K PRESET LINEAR
D1, D2 = 6A4
D3 = 1N4148
T3 = BC547
C1 = 100uF/25V
RELAY = 9V, SPDT
LDR = ANY STANDARD TYPE
SOLAR PANEL = 17 VOLTS OPEN CIRCUIT, 5 AMPS SHORT CIRCUIT CURRENT.

SHARING IS CARING!

About the Author

I am an electronic engineer (dipIETE ), hobbyist, inventor, schematic/PCB designer, manufacturer. I am also the founder of the website: https://www.homemade-circuits.com/, where I love sharing my innovative circuit ideas and tutorials. If you have any circuit related query, please feel free to ask through comments below, I'll be most happy to help!



59 thoughts on “Solar Inverter/Charger for Science Project”

    • Abioye,
      the inverter cannot be used with a 24V supply, but you can replace it with a IC4047 based inverter circuit and use it in the similar way.
      make sure to supply the IC through a 7812 IC regulator

  1. sir can i use only the solar side and add my inverter circiut to it
    and is there any chang that can be made to it to work with 24v battery and inverter lastly can i remove the LDR because it scarce in my side of the world
    thanks sir for your quick reply

  2. Hai.
    I want to make DC to AC with solar charger and AC power charger with control for output 220 volt 500 watts.Kindly help for the same

    • Hi, there are plenty of inverter circuits presented in this website, you can select any one of them as per your preference and build it…if you have doubts you can ask them through comments

  3. Hi sir, can I use solar panel with these specification.
    Output DC voltage: 18V, 1.5W .

    Output Current: 83mA ( depend on the power of sunlight ).

    Size: 11cm x 14cm x 0.2cm.

    Package Included:

    1 x 18V 1.5W 83mA Solar Panel

  4. Sir could u plz tell where to the circuit connections bcoz it did not fit on a breadboard im doing it as a small project also it would be of great help if u could post any picture of the assembled circuit

  5. hi sir im finding it difficult to find a proper transformer of ur given specifications is it ok if i try out a transformer with with a lesser current rating as im making just a small model i would also prefer to use a lower voltage battery for charging plz give ur opinion…

    • Rohit, you can use a low current trafo, but since the output power is directly proportional to the transformer current and the input supply current….if these are low then the output watt will be also low and you will have to select the load as per these specs.

  6. hello sir, could u plz tell me the approx cost of this solar inverter project with the equipments u have mentioned, also is it neccessary to solder the ciruit connections and should we connect anything to the output circuit to know if the inverter circuit is working or not.

  7. After completing the circuit, it runs well with a battery but when it is connected with a solar panel the bulb(as load) connected just blinks once. Please help, what could be the possible reason ? Could you also help with the connection of potentiometer.

    Thank You.

    • if you connect the solar pannel while the battery is also connected then there should be no flicker on the load…can't judge the fault precisely from here.

      check if the relay is clicking while you connect the solar, this could be causing the blink.

      for the pot, short the center and one of the outer leads, connect this to the negative line, and connect the other free lead with the R5

  8. Hello Sir my name is Arun Yadav from india. Sir I want to know that there is two batteries discussed in the circuit one is beside the solar panel and one is at the transformer is both batteries are same? If not then how I will connect the battery with the transformer. And I have a transformer 0-9, 3-amps having two wires at primary side and two at output side will it work on the circuit?

    • Hello sir I am again having a problem that is now I had used the transformer 9-0-9V and of 5amps but it is not working. The transformer is not damaged. In circuit 2 there are only transistors and resistors and could they convert the DC to ac. My all components are fixed correctly then after I am not getting the output power. Please Sir upload a video it will be thankful to please sir.

    • Arun, Please make the inverter circuit separately first and confirm its working, once it's confirmed then you move on with the solar panel circuit integration

      you can refer to this article:

      https://homemade-circuits.com/2012/02/how-to-make-simplest-inverter-circuit.html

      this has been tested by me many times and it works wonderfully well but only if the transformer is of very good quality…low quality transformers with wrong winding configuration will produce inefficient and low outputs…and also the battery should be fully charged with 7AH capacity minimum.

  9. Once I build the circuit, and connect everything, I'd like to test it on a small simple battery. Can you recommend anything? I looked up the 10AH batteries but they look too big and are for electric bicycles and whatnot.

  10. Also what i understand from the article is that if I build the circuit (correctly), I should be able to power whatever device that uses a 12v battery, while at the same time at the other end of the circuit, recharge any 12v battery…is my understanding correct?

    • yes it is possible, but then that will demand a proportionately higher watt panel in order to allow an external load operation as well as the battery to be charged simultaneously from panel power

      you can power anything which is 12V rated but the total wattage must not exceed above 50% of the solar panel wattage.

      if you have a panel that's able to produce much higher voltage than the required load voltage in that case you can opt for a buck converter circuit…..otherwise it would be better to use a panel with lower voltage and higher current….for example a 15V 7amp panel etc

  11. Related power 40W
    Open circuit voltage (Voc) 22.41V
    Max power voltage (Vpm) 17.9V
    Short circuit current (Isc) 2.48A
    Max power current (Ipm) 2.23A
    Output Tolerance ±3%
    Temperature range -40℃to +80℃

    I think this will do??

  12. I appreciate your prompt reply, and i found another one matching your suggestion

    5W waterproof epoxy solar panel W/ battery clip 12V battery charge

    Specification:

    Related power

    5W

    Voc

    18.2V

    Vop

    17.3V

    Short circuit current (Isc)

    0.29A

    Working current (Iop)

    0.27A

    Output Tolerance

    ±3%

    Temperature range

    -40℃to +80℃

    SLA Battery Voltage

    12V

    Dimensions (L x W x H)mm

    200*210*3mm

    NET Weight (KG )

    0.25

    Thanks for the help sir.

    • the shown inverter will require at least a 10AH battery to produce a meaningful output, and a 10AH battery will require at least a 2amp charging current for getting charged within 5 hours (day time optimal range)

      so a minimum input of 2 x 12 = 24 wats will be required…your panel should be rated at around 18V, 36 watts, for getting proper results from the shown system.

  13. Hello Good sir,
    I'm an engineering student in the U.S. and i'm doing a final year research project on anything of my choice. I'm interested in anything solar so I came upon your design. I found a cheap solar panel online with the following specs:

    Dimensions (H x W x D) in mm: 284 x 350 x 17

    Weight in Kg: 1.38

    Cell Type: Poly

    Number of cells: 18 pcs

    Power max. (Pmax): 10 W

    Voltage max. 9.01 V

    Current max. (Imp): 1.11 A

    Open circuit voltage: 11.25 V

    Short circuit current: 1.36 A

    Module efficiency: 15.05%

    Maximum System Voltage: 600 V

    Do you think this would be a good fit for your circuit?
    Thanks in advance for your time.

    • Hello Francois, I don't think a 9V battery would work with the shown inverter design…you'll need a 12V battery and a minimum 18V solar panel for implementing the project with optimal results….

  14. Namaskar Mr. Swagatam
    This is Ahmad
    I want to make an inverter of 500wats or more for my office, can please give me specification of Solar panel and other components to be used. Please help

  15. im sorry again… My lecturer told me to made this project but I do not know much about the solar panel. So how much the rated max power for this solar panel?

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