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FlexSolarCells.com - Flexible Solar Technology
Flexible Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Modules: OEM & Consumer Ready Products
 

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PowerFilm Solar OEM Components

 
OEM Components
 
MP3-25 Flexible Solar Panel 3V @ 25mA
 
OEM Components

Best for prototyping or augmenting an existing electronic device, and many hobby projects (i.e. RC Aircraft, BEAM robots, and school projects).


 
PowerFilm   PowerFilm   PowerFilm

Integrating OEM Components:



Table of Contents:

  

1)

Module Polarity Information
  

2)

Module Selection
  

3)

Series Description
  

4)

Product Line Overview
  

5)

Wireless Electronics Series Instruction
  

6)

RC Aircraft Series Instruction
  

7)

WeatherPro Series Instruction


1) Module Polarity Information



It is extremely important to recognize the correct polarity of the PowerFilm® modules!The positive end of the solar module is shown in the diagram below. A diode, such as 1N5817, is recommended to prevent the solar module from draining the battery when the solar module is in the dark. A diode is not required for a battery-free electrical device. The positive end of the module connects to the positive end of the load. The negative end of the module is also shown in the diagram and should be connected to the negative end of the load. The recommended connector wire size is a minimum size of 24 gauge. As an extra measure, connect the solar module to a digital multimeter for polarity (+,-) identification. On solar modules with copper tape leads, remove a small piece of the clear coating that is on top of the copper tape to ensure good contact between the alligator clips of the digital multimeter and the copper tape.


Flexible Solar Cell Polarity

Warning! Do not connect a charged battery backwards or reverse polarity to the solar module, this will destroy the solar module and may cause the battery to explode causing bodily harm, even death!





2) Module Selection



Select PowerFilm® modules according to:

  • Operating Voltage and Operating Current Required
  • Use Environment
  • Specific Applications Needs

Operating Voltage and Operating Current Required
Identify the Operating Voltage and Operating Current that your system requires. For direct powering devices, calculate the requirements of the total system.



Charging Batteries: Voltage
First, select the required Operating Voltage of the solar module for your load. As a general rule of thumb, a solar module with an Operating Voltage of 3-3.6 volts will charge 2 AA rechargeable 1.2 volt batteries. A solar module with an Operating Voltage of 7.2 volts will charge 5 AA rechargeable 1.2 volt batteries or a 6 volt gel or lead acid battery. A solar module with an Operating Voltage of 15.4 volts will charge a 12 volt gel or lead acid battery.



DO NOT CHARGE ALKALINE BATTERIES. THEY ARE NOT RECHARGEABLE.

CONTACT YOUR BATTERY MANUFACTURER FOR CONFIRMATION THAT YOUR BATTERY IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR SYSTEM WITH THE SOLAR MODULE.



Charging Batteries: Current
Second, select the appropriate Operating Current of the solar module to charge your load. As a general rule, do not charge a rechargeable battery with more current than 10% of its rated capacity. For example, a 700mA-hour battery can be safely charged with a solar module that delivers an Operating Current up to 70mA.



Connecting Modules for Higher Operating Voltage and Current
You can parallel and series connect solar modules to achieve higher voltage (series connected) or higher current (parallel connected). However, only put like modules together: for example, two MP3-37s or two MP7.2-75s, but do not mix them. Parallel connecting two similar modules will double the output current and series connecting three identical modules will triple the output voltage.



Warning! We do not recommend series connecting solar modules for an output voltage greater that 48V. Voltages above this can be deadly!



The diagram below graphically demonstrates parallel and series connected solar modules:


Series and Parallel Connections Flexible Solar Panels

Use Environment
If the use environment is a permanent outdoor direct exposure environment, it is essential that the solar module system be UV-stabilized and protected from moisture. (In rare cases this may not be important if the required lifetime is less than one year.) Solar modules in the PowerFilm® WeatherProTM Series are specifically designed for permanent outdoor direct exposure environments.



Other use environments are generally less demanding and do not require the added protection offered by the PowerFilm® WeatherProTM Series. Use environments and usage patterns vary significantly. Always test the selected solar module in its specific use environment and according to the usage pattern to confirm it meets those aspects of the specific application needs.



Specific Application Needs
Some applications have specific needs. Examples include: ultra thin profile, specific footprint, ability to connect the solar module to the load from the back side of the module, pressure sensitive adhesive, etc. To meet specification needs we have developed several PowerFilm® Series.





3) Series Description



PowerFilm

®

Wireless Electronics Series


Modules in the Wireless Electronics Series offer a new opportunity to solve the old problem of limited power for wireless electronics for portable and remote applications. Wireless Electronics modules are lightweight, paper thin, and durable. Their ultra-thin profile enables them to be easily integrated with devices for solar recharging or direct powering. Modules have been specifically developed to recharge AA, AAA, and 6V and 12V batteries. These modules do not have a UV-stabilized surface. For connection, just solder or crimp to the copper tape.



PowerFilm

®

RC Aircraft Series


The RC Aircraft Series modules are designed to be easily integrated with remote controlled Aircraft. These modules are very lightweight, can be soldered to from the back of the module via the extended copper tape, and have an extra edge seal for protection from fuel contamination and weather. Modules are available with a strong pressure sensitive adhesive for simple bonding. These modules do not have a UV-stabilized surface. For connection, just solder to the copper tape.



PowerFilm

®

WeatherProTM Series


The WeatherProTM Series is the right choice for permanent outdoor applications that are directly exposed to the elements. The especially rugged construction of these modules includes a UV-stabilized surface, extra edge seal for weather protection, and tin-coated copper leads that extend from the module. Coating the leads with an RTV silicon compound can provide a tightly sealed package.





4) Product Line Overview



The PowerFilm® Product Line Overview highlights the solar modules available in each PowerFilm® Series. We strongly encourage first to try one of these standard products. If you require a custom product to meet your needs, please email FlexSolarCells.com.



Operating Voltage Wireless Electronics Series RC Aircraft Series WeatherProTM Series

3.0V

12mA -

SP3-12

22mA -

SP3-37

25mA -

MP3-25

50mA -

MP3-37
   

3.6V

50mA -

MPT3.6-75

100mA -

MPT3.6-150
   

4.2V

22mA -

SP4.2-37
   

4.8V

50mA -

MPT4.8-75

100mA -

MPT4.8-150
   

6.0V

50mA -

MPT6-75

100mA -

MPT6-150
   

7.2V

100mA -

MP7.2-75

200mA -

MP7.2-150

100mA -

RC7.2-75

100mA -

RC7.2-75 PSA

50mA -

P7.2-75

100mA -

P7.2-150

15.4V

50mA -

MPT15-75

100mA -

MPT15-150
 

50mA -

PT15-75

100mA -

PT15-150

200mA -

PT15-300




5) Wireless Electronics Series Instruction



Leads and Testing


The leads on the modules in the PowerFilm® Wireless Electronics Series are the copper tape strips located at each end of the solar module. Remember to check the Polarity! To test the module using alligator clips for the connection to the tester, ensure the clips make direct contact with the copper tape. The coating over the copper tape will likely need to be scraped away to ensure direct contact.



Connecting the Module to a Load
Connection methods include soldering, crimping or using alligator clips. Remember to check the Polarity!



Soldering


The solar modules should be soldered to from the front. The positive copper contact is on one end and the negative is on the other end (see section on Polarity).



Use the hot tip of the soldering iron to melt through the clear coating over the copper tape. Be careful not to burn through more than just the thin clear coating. Burning too deeply can damage the solar module. Although not necessary, it is possible to remove a small piece of the clear coating with a sharp knife prior to soldering to the copper tape.



Good contact can be made by melting and depositing a dot of solder to the exposed copper tape.Use a low temperature soldering iron adjusted to about 600 to 650 degrees (F). It is also acceptable to solder directly to the copper tape, without using a solder dot.



Crimping
A pressure method of mechanically securing a terminal, splice or contact to the copper strips may be used.



Alligator Clips
Although not the most secure connection option, alligator clips may be used.



Fastening the Module


The modules may be fastened in several ways: Epoxy, silicon, super glue, 3M super 77 spray, double-sided acetic tape, etc. Be sure to choose adhesive based on the material to which module is being attached. Also, be careful not to get any adhesive on the front side (dark side) of the module since it will degrade overall performance.





6) RC Aircraft Series Instruction



Leads and Testing


The leads on the solar modules in the PowerFilm® RC Aircraft series are the copper tape strips at each end of the module. In this series the copper tape is specially folded around the back of the solar modules so it is possible to solder to the backside of the module. Remember to check the Polarity!



Connecting the Module to a Load
Connection methods include soldering, crimping or using alligator clips. Remember to check the Polarity!



Soldering


The solar modules should be soldered to from the back. The positive copper contact is on one end and the negative is on the other end (see section on Polarity).



Use the hot tip of the soldering iron to melt through the clear coating over the copper tape. Be careful not to burn through more than just the thin clear coating. Burning too deeply can damage the solar module. Although not necessary, it is possible to remove a small piece of the clear coating with a sharp knife prior to soldering to the copper tape.



Good contact can be made by melting and depositing a dot of solder to the exposed copper tape.Use a low temperature soldering iron adjusted to about 600 to 650 degrees (F). It is also acceptable to solder directly to the copper tape, without using a solder dot.



Modules with Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) on the back require the release liner to be removed before the solder dot is placed. Once the solder dot is formed a wire can be attached.



Fastening the Module


Modules without the Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA)


A double-sided adhesive tape or spray adhesive may be used to mount the solar module. Be careful not to get spray on the front of the modules since this will degrade overall performance.



Modules with the Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA)


The release liner on the PSA modules is clear, carefully pick at the back (silver side) corner of the module until the release liner starts to exfoliate. Once the module with PSA is mounted it cannot be removed since the PSA adhesive is permanent!





7) WeatherPro Series Instruction



Leads and Testing


The leads on the PowerFilm® WeatherProTM Series are tin-coated copper leads extending from the module. Remember to check the Polarity! To test the module using alligator clips, ensure the clips make direct contact with the copper tape. The coating over the copper tape will likely need to be scraped away to ensure direct contact.



Connecting the Module to a Load
Connection methods include soldering, crimping or using alligator clips. Remember to check the Polarity!



Soldering


In the WeatherProTM Series, the tin-coated copper leads extend from each end of the solar module. The positive copper contact is on one end and the negative is on the other end (see section on Polarity).



Good contact can be made by melting and depositing a dot of solder to the exposed copper tape. Use a low temperature soldering iron adjusted to about 600 to 650 degrees (F). It is also acceptable to solder directly to the tin-coated copper leads, without using a solder dot.



Crimping
A pressure method of mechanically securing a terminal, splice or contact to the copper strips may be used.



Alligator Clips
Although not the most secure connection option, alligator clips may be used.



Fastening the Module


Adhesives will NOT work since the coating is a material from the Teflon family. You may however use a variety of mechanical fasteners including: grommets with screws or bolts, tube clamps, or framed enclosures. Use only along the weather seal (extra material around edges of solar module) and be sure to stay 1/4" away from the active aperture of the cell.






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