People who are new to renewable energy are about the experience of one of the greatest inventions- Solar Chargers and batteries. The portable/foldable solar chargers and power stations are revolutionizing the energy industry. So, in this article, we’ll talk about solar batteries.
Now, you must be wondering why we are talking about batteries instead of solar chargers or panels. Well, the reason is that all portable solar chargers have a battery inside that store the electricity. Hence, caring for those batteries also becomes essential. When we choose solar chargers and batteries over others, we want them to last longer. We intend to take care of the device to prolong their life. And taking excellent care of the batteries is the best way to increase the lifespan of your solar chargers.
If the batteries are poorly treated, the chargers will start having problems sooner than you think. Then, it’ll be just a matter of weeks before they malfunction. Therefore, we must know the basic theory and principle on which the battery works; then we’ll move on to the safe handling, care, and maintenance of the batteries.
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Solar Batteries- Chemistry Behind It
Knowing the chemistry that works in solar chargers and batteries will allow you to bust the myths that revolve around caring and maintenance. Let’s get into it.
A typical battery has three major components, electrodes, electrolyte, and a separator. There are two electrodes of a battery, one positive and one negative. The positive terminal is called the cathode and has a positive charge. The negative terminal is called anode and holds a negative charge. As for electrolytes, it is the liquid solution that allows the flow of charge between anode and cathode. The separator plays the critical role of keeping the cathode and anode from coming in contact. Hence, the electron flow happens through the wire that completes the electrochemical reaction inside the battery.
While the static solar system has cells that are connected to a battery bank to store energy, the battery in portable chargers handles the task directly. The solar chargers generate electricity using the panels. Rays coming from the sun contain energy due to the subatomic particles always in the state of motion. When those light particles hit the electrodes, the electrons start vibrating and heating at an alarming rate. This generates electricity that is used to charge devices like cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, etc.
Materials like silicon, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, etc. are some of the materials that are commonly used now for solar batteries. Still, silicon is the best choice as its crystals generate a massive amount of electricity when exposed to sunlight. That’s why; it is widely used for the flexibility it provides to the solar panels.
General Care To Get the Most of the Solar Batteries
The primary goal for battery care is to improve the battery performance and life. Even solar batteries have highly variable properties that depend on various factors, including storage temperature and depth of discharge.
Most failures occur when crystals start to form inside the battery that prevents the reactions. Therefore, from charging to cleaning, using to replacing, pay attention to the battery, and you will be able to make the best of your investment.
How to charge the batteries?
The battery charging cycle consist of three phases, float, bulk, and absorption. As long as you know these basic phases, you will be able to take care of the charging process precisely.
- Float Charging- Known as trickle charging; it is the concept that says that the charging rate of the batteries should be the same as the discharging rate.
- Bulk Charging- It starts when the battery you plug the battery into a charger, and the voltage rises to maximum permissible level as well.
- Absorption Charging is the next step of bulk charging as the voltage is held constant at the maximum level, and the current decreases.
Nowadays, most of the solar chargers manufactured already have the charge controller to set these levels. It ensures that even if the consumer doesn’t know much about the charging system, they can still use the chargers safely.
Cleaning the Batteries
The battery terminals need to be cleaned frequently. You can use a mixture of baking soda and distilled water using a brush. Rinse the terminals with water and check all the connections. Make sure that the metal components are coated with a commercial sealant or a high-temperature grease. Remember to remove the clamps from the terminals (remove negative clamp first) before cleaning.
Use Batteries Safely
No matter how useful electronic equipments really are the electrochemistry inside them poses risks as well. The good thing about solar chargers and batteries is that they are designed to handle the heat coming from the sun directly. Still, you need to ensure that the batteries are not experiencing harsh situations. Don’t put the chargers behind the window or charge the devices while moving as it creates power fluctuations inside the battery and the devices.
Although, solar batteries and chargers require less maintenance, yet you still need to be careful about the operating conditions and environment.
Solar Chargers and batteries are susceptible to damage, just like other devices. So, if one of the components gets damaged and you replace them, it is your responsibility to make sure that you choose a reliable service. Many services might offer cheap replacement parts for the solar chargers. But steer away from them as they will degrade the performance of the original battery.
In general, mixing old and new batteries isn’t a good decision. It will only waste your money. That’s why; it is often suggested to properly maintain your batteries to expand their lifespan. Safety precautions are necessary as batteries of all kinds can be dangerous.
Many consumers have taken care of solar chargers and batteries in such a way that the life of the chargers was expanded to a decade. So, the life of the foldable solar chargers is entirely up to you.
Future of Solar Charging
No one can deny that solar charging is the technology that has the potential to change the whole world. Currently, we all are on the verge of running out of energy resources. And the Sun is the only source of light and energy that is most likely to last till humanity. The foldable/portable solar chargers don’t need external electrical sources to recharge the battery.
The feature is entirely based on the usage of the consumers as they need a portable charging source while moving around. It means that you no longer have to worry about running out of power since the sun will be around during the daytime, no matter where you are. Even if you are in a remote area, all you need is sunlight to charge your phone and other devices.
Among other benefits, the most significant advantage of solar chargers and batteries is that they generate no harmful emissions. Hence, not only are we safe, but the environment is also safe. Furthermore, the cells don’t generate any waste or byproducts that can even cause the slightest damage to the atmosphere. Such technology is worth taking care of.