You have most likely upgraded or considering shifting to solar energy. Given the many advantages of this renewable power source, one can understand where you are coming from.
However, you also own a LiPo battery, but wondering how to charge it using a solar panel. Is it even possible to begin with?
First, you can charge such a battery using a solar panel. The main focus of this piece is to explain how to go about it.
So, without much ado, let us discuss charging a LiPo battery with a solar panel. We will also highlight more details about this type of battery hence the need to keep reading.
What is a LiPo Battery
As far as batteries are concerned, LiPo stands for lithium polymer. First, LiPo batteries are rechargeable and thus sustainable and reusable.
Unlike their traditional counterparts, which use liquid electrolytes, LiPo batteries use polymer electrolytes. The energy density is relatively high, thus storing much energy despite being lightweight.
Consequently, these batteries are quite popular. Why not, given the convenience and portability?
Various Ways of Charging a LiPo Battery with Solar Panel
Regarding charging a LiPo battery with a solar panel, there are two main ways of going about it. You can buy a LiPo battery solar charger or improvise yours.
Let’s look at how to go about it in each case.
How to Charge a LiPo Battery with Solar Panel Using a Charger
In this case, you won’t have to do much since buying a LiPo battery solar charger, powering it, and connecting it is enough to see you charge it easily. However, there are other things you need to do.
First, ensure you buy a solar charger compatible with your LiPo battery. Connect the components correctly; you can always sort the manual for clarification.
Most of these chargers are designed to charge a single LiPo battery at any point. It is an approach that manufacturers consider to promote intelligent charging.
Other protective features manufacturers adopt include input reverse polarity protection. The excellent usability ensures you connect your battery and charge it easily, quickly, and conveniently.
How to Charge a LiPo Battery with Solar Panel Using a Do-It-Yourself Method (Rewiring)
A time comes when your solar panel likes appropriate connectors to charge your LiPo battery. You may also come across bare wires on your solar panels.
Under such circumstances, re-splicing is the way to go. It involves adapting either to a mini-USB connector before connecting it to your basic LiPo charger.
Follow the instructions below;
Fixing the Connector
- Eliminate the available connector if there are any
- Remove the remaining cable’s outer casing and remember to be gentle so as not to nip its inner wires
- Next is stripping and tinning those inner wires
Introducing the USB End
- Find another USB cable as long as its end has a mini-B connector
- Since the preference of charger’s length differs from one user to the other, cut the USB cable accordingly, not forgetting to spare its mini B end
- Repeat the removal of the USB cable‘s outer casing, and just like in the connector’s cable, maintain gentleness as you remove this sheath
- Remember that most USB cables’ sheaths are quite protective with a ground wire and an aluminum strip
- Expose its power and data lines
- Eliminate the outer layer, not forgetting to cut its two data lines, usually white and green
- What follows is stripping and tinning the black and red wires
Bringing in the Heatshrink
- Introduce a heatshrink for splice protection
- You will have a pair of the heatshrink sets
- On one side, there is a large piece for the entire thing, whereas, on the other hand, there is a pair of smaller pieces for its two power wires
- It is advisable to have an extra-large piece than risk finding it small for the cable since adding more can be challenging, if not impossible
- Ensure that the smaller heatshrink isn’t near the soldering iron, or else it will shrink prematurely
- Then, solder the red to red for the positive before soldering the black to white for the ground
- After soldering, go for the small pieces and slip them over the joints
- Afterward, shrink these pieces using a hot air station, hair dryer, or heat gun, among other similar equipment
- Next, slip their larger counterparts over this whole setup and heatshrink it as well
- You can go the extra mile to guarantee extra security by wrapping everything using electric tape too
- Further connections include one between the battery and the output and another one between the jack and the mini-USB cable
- Remember to give your solar panel exposure to direct sunlight for it to produce solar energy
- Indicators that your LiPo battery is charging are the lighting of the Charging and Power LEDs
Can I Charge Battery Directly from Solar Panel?
If you want to protect your LiPo or any other battery, avoid directly connecting it to a solar panel. It has been proven to increase the chances of battery damage.
The best practice is to use a solar charge controller when connecting the solar panel and the battery. This additional component is enough to avoid damage.
There is an additional safety measure that is fusing your system. The best recommendation is to use two fuses.
One should go between its charge controller and the battery’s positive terminal. The second fuse should go between the charge controller and the positive wire of your solar panel.
How Much Time Do You Need to Charge Your Battery Using a Solar Panel
The time changes from one case to another. After all, various factors determine how long your LiPo battery will take to charge fully.
Some of these factors include the following;
- The type of charge controllers, such as the MPPT and the PWM charge controllers
- The wattage of your solar panel
- What’s the discharge depth of your battery?
- The capacity of the battery at hand
- The battery’s voltage
- Since a solar panel requires the sun to produce power, the weather and, above all, the intensity of direct sunlight also matters
So, changing even one factor could make the battery take longer or shorter to charge.