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Author Topic: Cutting Solar Cells Up?  (Read 2589 times)
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Hello everyone!

Can one safely cut up generic silicon solar cells (i.e. radioshacks: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062564) into smaller shapes with a dremel tool? Or would that destroy the cell (i.e. they would stop working) or would it just shatter it to bits from their fragility?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 12:34:33 am by jezuz » Logged

B0100111001000011, USA
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I've never tried it, but I'd be inclined to think it wouldn't cut nearly how you wanted it too unless you went VERY slowly with a VERY sharp blade and were VERY gentle!
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I have successfully cut glass solar panels, it's not easy for a begginer, i just used a normal glass cutter
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/DIAMOND-GLASS-CUTTER-SPECIAL-OFFER-/270333293581?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Hand_Tools_Equipment&hash=item3ef11eb40d#ht_1794wt_834
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Well, I suppose there is no loss in trying it myself. Too bad I won't be home for another week+, so if anyone has some solar cells lying around and a dremel/x-acto/glass cutter, then perhaps you could do a social service for all of us?
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Shaamo
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Is it that one?  As it's 0.8x1.6"  What on earth are you powering that needs a smaller solar panel (I'm intrigued!)
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Various places (Electronic Goldmine, for instance) sell broken solar cells for making larger experimental panels; you won't ruin anything by cutting them smaller. Just make sure you leave the contacts for output available on your smaller pieces, and you should be OK.

 smiley
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I'm pretty sure that the regular brown cutting discs won't work for this,  because they aren't hard enough.  There are diamond discs available,  but I think a carbide cutting tip will do.

The score-and-break method is likely to be your best bet:  trying to cut all the way through with an abrasive will generate a lot of heat,  and I suspect that may damage the cell.  I know they warn you to be very careful soldering to them.
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Quote
Various places (Electronic Goldmine, for instance) sell broken solar cells for making larger experimental panels

Damn... they don't ship to the UK!! PAH [smiley=angry.gif]
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@ Funky Diver

Actually, It's not for powering anything, but rather to detect a laser beam. I need to cut the panels up because I need a rather awkward shape to cover with the panels
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aaah, makes sense.  Thankyou for letting me know.  I had visions of a micro-gnat arduino spy bug thing.  smiley-grin
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just spent 15 minutes writing then had to delete it, got a bit carried away and it was'nt really appropriate but went along the lines of blah spy roaches, hollywood, blah, sharks with frikin lasers, blah U-571

why use a solar panel to detect a laser beam, won't it be affected by ambient light?
what about a phototransistor, or if you want to be clever how about using an LED as a detector
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why use a solar panel to detect a laser beam, won't it be affected by ambient light?
what about a phototransistor, or if you want to be clever how about using an LED as a detector

The conditions of operation for the project will maintain ambient light at a relatively constant level, or atleast below a minimum, so it will be easy to filter out (especially when there's a super-bright beam of light focused on the solar cell).

The reason I'm using solar panels is because I need something flat that can cover a rectangular prism
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how big is the prism?
i might have used and old cdrom head, laser and detector on the same unit and mirrors and prism
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i might have used and old cdrom head, laser and detector on the same unit and mirrors and prism

Too complicated. Plus, the circuitry for detection will be inside the prism (I'm obviously not giving away a more specific idea in mind here, keeping my project under wraps  smiley-wink ), and I need the prism to be able to tell which solar cell is detecting the laser.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 12:13:58 pm by jezuz » Logged

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don't worry, we'll get it out of you sooner or later, so why would you want to use a prism, to direct or split a beam, i would have said to break light into a spectrum but as a laser is only one wavelength i guess that wont work, maybe for a rangefinder, maybe for an audio spy, rgb laser colour mixing, laser blink sketch maybe, ah, laser harp, any advances
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