Solar-powered Sign


#1

I would like to build an acrylic edge-lit sign 10"x15" powered by a small solar panel that goes on at night. Who would be able to suggest the technology side of this - solar panel, battery, photocell…?

I see that Banggood and others have lots of options, but too many options.


#2

Garden path lights might give you all the ‘bits’ you need, and very cheaply too.

:upside_down_face:


#3

I was wondering the same thing. Good suggestion.


#4

I have a completely mad plan to incorporate fibre optics, leds and solar panels into one of my fans, but don’t hold your breath. It’s been in my mind for the last 20 years !
The first idea was to build one that self-opened from its box on the stroke of the Millennium , but that didn’t happen.

:upside_down_face:


#5

IKEA and Harbor Freight both carry cheap LED solar panel light kits that could be cannibalized for parts, if you need more LEDs.


#6

Might be more useful to the OP.
My need is for pin head sized leds, and fibre optics that can be inserted inside a 1mm thick layer of the fan stick.
Ho hum.

Wonder why I always come up with these ideas.?
:upside_down_face:


#7

I got one of these to do something similar:

I haven’t yet made the sign, but I did test the thing and it does turn on and off with the sunlight, and the LEDs are bright enough that they should work fine for edge lighting. You can cut the strip shorter, of course.


#8

Maybe start with the sign so you can figure out how many milliamp hours you’ll need at whatever voltage your going to run the led’s (5v, 12v). Then you can spec the battery, panel and inverter properly so you don’t waste a bunch of money on more than you need.


#9

a lot of the cheap solar garden lights run off of a very cheap rechargeable AA battery. Additionally, they are generally not water-tight. So the battery goes bad/corrodes, and the lights stop working. Six months later they get thrown out.

@sailbyc Walking around a neighborhood, noting the failed lights, and offering to “dispose” of them can get you lots of little panels for cheap (and save them from the landfill) but they will need batteries and cleaning. They often also need a new acrylic cover, as the cheap plastic cover over the solar panel is often not uv-stable, and gets super cloudy when used outdoors.


#10

^^^^

Good one.
I’ve got about 12 dud lights in the garden, waiting for me to harvest the bits !

:upside_down_face:


#11

I’ve had this problem quite a bit. Some suggest clear fingernail polish to restore them. That works, but not well. Great idea to make my own acrylic cover.


#12

Found the pin-head sized leds (just ordered 40), so I’m on track.
Also found 10mm x 5mm solar cells, so looks like the project might take off soon.

:upside_down_face:


#13

This is going to be one awesome fan–I hope you show it to us when it’s done!