Cheap and Cheerful Solar Callipers

My Chinese electronic callipers are nice but they flatten the battery if left in. So I added a solar panel to power them.

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I chopped up a solar cell (cost 6p in = 0.06 GBP) into 4 quarters, then glued it onto the back of my callipers where there's a useless reference panel for thread sizes that is too small to read anyway. But luckily the reference panel is plastic- non-conductive. Underneath each panel is a wire trapped by the pane and ground, this is +ve from each panel, and I connected them all up in series, to get 1.3V. The callipers only need 18uA to work so you don't need a lot of light. My next step is probably to replace the shonky one that snapped badly, and then put clear resin over them and tidy up the wiring. I may also add a capacitor to store charge for a bit longer if you need it in a darker place. But - it works well! Can also be used in conjunction with the battery so it never runs out.

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Mike Szczys wrote 11/08/2021 at 14:13 point

Nice hack! Would love more details -- I've never tried chipping up a solar cell before :-D

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j wrote 11/07/2021 at 14:33 point

Great idea!
Got the same problem. I'll try it with two small solarcells and a cap later.

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