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Old 09-13-2010, 04:07 AM
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Solar Joule Thief Circuits

Hi folks, I replicated lidmotor's automatic solar joule thief and it works well. It uses the solar panel to bias off the transistor that routes the main 1.2 volt rechargeable to the joule thief circuit, which then turns off led and when the solar panel outputs no voltage, the led turns on and the solar panel charges the battery. Any circuits or ideas related to oscillator circuits and/or solar circuits may be discussed and shared if you wish. Here is a link to lidmotor's video and a couple pics and a circuit diagram I drew on cad.
YouTube - Lidmotor's Channel


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peace love light
Tyson

Last edited by SkyWatcher : 10-17-2010 at 11:00 AM. Reason: image broke
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:44 AM
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ashtweth ashtweth is offline
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VERY good direction, harnessing the R and D into practical co- generation experiences a genre lacking for WAAAAY to long.Well Lid and the energetic forum have always been pioneers .

I wonder if this Thermoelectric Generator
could run from a parabolic dish with this and be more efficient?
only cause your joule theif could run at NIGHT and day with the thermoelectric effect.

Last edited by ashtweth : 09-13-2010 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:03 AM
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Hi Ash, thanks for the reply. It's a nice little circuit yes, lights up a bathroom with usable light, well at least to see what your doing. Though it has expansion capability, that's what I think is cool about it. Thanks for the link to those thermoelectric generators, I had thought about that in the past. My idea was to use it in ceilings in homes, to possibly take advantage of the temperature difference. Though my red flags go up any time i see the word profit. Are folks that are making a profit, is it really their intention to help people. If i had any kind of company, I would in no way what so ever be making profits. Everything would be priced to only pay for my basic needs and to pay off the banksters and the like which accounts for most of it, lol, and for any employees to do the same. I don't like to rant, however this world is so ass backwards, people are slaving away for no reason other than to pay off people that have engineered it to be this way. Talk about ice skating uphill. This company's website talks about economic survival and yet is talking of making profit, i think it means its own survival, not that of the masses. Again, i really would like to stick only to the subject at hand, but it's extremely difficult with a big elephant sitting in my living room and hardly nobody speaks about it. And until other human beings cease the practice of making profit off of others and claiming they own the dirt and charging others rent for there dwelling and preventing anything in general that would make people more self sufficient, I am going to speak about it. Now, back to the regularly scheduled program. Figured I'd say a few things since this thread is not likely to go far. Anyway, if anyone has replicated this circuit or has any ideas on how to make it better or use it for different things as Ash is showing, feel free to share it, if you can get over my previous words and if not, oh well.
peace love light
Tyson
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:14 AM
Matthew Jones Matthew Jones is offline
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I've managed to build about 4 pretty descent earth batteries over the last 2 weeks from nothing more than some junk metal in the ground. I'm up to 4.5 volt at .85 amp.
I was trying to get some more stuff together for more cells and use something like this to pull the small amount of power out of the system for collection.
Just an idea at this point.

Matt
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:33 AM
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Hi Matt, thanks for the reply. That sounds like good output for earth batteries from what I've read of others experiments. What kind of metal or metals did you use and how was it put together and the placements in the earth, thanks. I currently have my solar joule thief light cycling outside for a day now and it seems to be recharging nicely, though that solar panel is from an led light that was meant to charge 2 or 3 AA cells if i remember correctly and so i could probably run 2 or 3 leds off it, especially using the bigger AA cell instead of the typical AAA that comes with most solar garden lights. Though I have plans on building a solar circuit that is similar to Bedini's cap dump charger, so then when the moon is out and/or the skies are cloudy, I can still charge a cap and dump into a battery. I will probably use something similar to nvisser's simple circuit i saw on a thread here.
peace love light
Tyson
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:31 AM
Matthew Jones Matthew Jones is offline
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I got all kinds of junk. Balled up copper wire and aluminum wire, Pipe, a radiator.
But so far the best single cell to put out is Balled up Scrap Copper wire (Kinda pressed flat) and vinyl coated Aluminum Sheet with the anodizing sanded off the backside. It puts out 1.2 volt, can't remember the exact amperage.
The big thing is I got quite a few in the ground right now and they are all serialized and paralleled out. It no little thing to get that potential, but hey, its a little junk in a hole.
I am going to dig some of it back up and see how much it has deteriorated.

I have just been on kick to look at different thing a simple configuration.

Matt
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:46 PM
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Hi Matt, thanks for the information on the earth battery. This circuit has caught my interest, the simplified series to parallel cap pulser by nvisser. I assume this circuit needs a pulsing input, say from a joule thief flyback so the pulses will pass through the capacitors and charge them, since that middle diode shown in my cad pic of nvisser's modified circuit would not conduct without the pulsing. Does that sound right. Anyway, I am going to build this circuit and use a 555 timer to switch a darlington pair and dump into a gel cell i have for testing. The goal being to use a solar panel or wind generator or other source to power the joule thief or other oscillator to charge the caps. As i said, my only question is, does the circuit need a pulsing input to charge those series caps, it seems as though it would. Any thoughts appreciated, thanks. Here is the modified circuit.


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peace love light
Tyson
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:05 PM
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Hi Tyson
The input needs to be higher than 28V. The two caps charge up in series through the middle diode.
When they are in series , the capacitance are half and they charge up to 28v much faster. When the transistor switch turns on they discharge in parallel through the other diodes and the discharge voltage will be 14v less diode and transistor voltage drop with higher current.
I used the ssg or solid state ssg (joule thief ) from JB's patent to charge the caps up. Then you need to switch the output at a frequency that will prevent the caps to charge up over their specified voltage that will damage them .
Circuits and related methods for ... - Google Patent Search
I used fig 5 with an 9 filar coil. One for trigger.
According to the patent this circuit of John should start to work with an input voltage of 0.7V!! Ideal for Matt's earth batteries.

Last edited by nvisser : 09-14-2010 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvisser View Post
Hi Tyson
The input needs to be higher than 28V. The two caps charge up in series through the middle diode.
When they are in series , the capacitance are half and they charge up to 28v much faster. When the transistor switch turns on they discharge in parallel through the other diodes and the discharge voltage will be 14v less diode and transistor voltage drop with higher current.
I used the ssg or solid state ssg (joule thief ) from JB's patent to charge the caps up. Then you need to switch the output at a frequency that will prevent the caps to charge up over their specified voltage that will damage them .
Circuits and related methods for ... - Google Patent Search
I used fig 5 with an 9 filar coil. One for trigger.
According to the patent this circuit of John should start to work with an input voltage of 0.7V!! Ideal for Matt's earth batteries.
Good Points.

For the very least loss of energy be sure
to use Schottky Diodes with suitable current
ratings.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:22 PM
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I used SBL3040 Schottky diodes before that I got from old pc power supplies.
They are 30A, 40V
They did not last as the voltage spikes from the boost converter killed them fast.
So I went back to normal 3A 1000v diodes as I could not find higher voltage Schottky diodes.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:49 PM
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Hi nvisser, thanks for the reply and information. I have built cap dump circuits in the past using the 555 as the signal to fire the caps through transistor, though never tried the charging in series and dumping in parallel method, which makes good sense to me. It makes good sense since when we use the radiant pulses from these solid state self oscillators, they are higher voltage and low current, so it should work well and we have your simple circuit design without needing any extra switching to go from series to parallel, very nice. Hi SeaMonkey, thanks for the diode information, I'll probably go with 3amp, 1000 volt diodes as there fairly cheap. Unfortunately, i don't think the earth battery thing will fly, being in an apartment. So, will have to use either solar or something else as input into cap charging oscillator for my experiments. As far as the garden type solar joule thief circuit i built, it works really well and could surely power a couple more leds if i setup the oscillator to output adequate voltage at the 1.2volt input. Had it running outside all night for about 10 hours and then let it sit in the sun all day and it gained voltage over what it started at the night before.
peace love light
Tyson

Last edited by SkyWatcher : 09-14-2010 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyWatcher View Post
...
I'll probably go with 3amp, 1000 volt diodes as they're fairly cheap.
...

peace love light
Tyson
Your choice of diodes is fine.

Schottky Diodes have rather low reverse
breakdown ratings so will only be suitable
for low voltage applications.

Since my applications are all low voltage
I often "forget" that others may have
other needs...
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:29 AM
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switching question from newbie

I am a bit confused on the switching with the 2 npn transistors, would it not be simpler to just use one pnp to handle the switching between the solar panels charging the batteries during the day and the batteries powering the joule thief at night/in darkness?

Here is an example, a simple circuit I found online and it seems to work pretty good:

The resister value should be higher around 5k, batteries could also be in parallel.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:19 AM
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Hi Seumas, The circuit you posted, if that is supposed to function like the first circuit i posted, the automatic solar circuit, then I'm not sure how your circuit will even forward bias the pnp transistor without a negative polarity on the base. Maybe you have the circuit drawn incorrectly from where you said you got it, or the transistor turns on in some manner I am unaware. Let me know. If that circuit does work, it would be nice with so few parts, but it doesn't look right to me, have you tested it yourself and if so what are its functions.
peace love light
Tyson
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:29 PM
Seumas Seumas is offline
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I have built it and it actually does, at first it didn't work because I didn't have the solar panel hooked up but when it is all connected it works perfectly with just a led on the output. I am not new to building stuff from schematics but I am new to understanding and designing them. I am now trying to learn not just how to connect things properly but to understand how they work so I can modify and or customize circuits to my own needs, like y'all are doing. The parts I used are readily available at Radio Slack err Shack. The diode is a N914, the transistor is a 2N3906 PNP. slap it together on a breadboard and see for yourself, it works.
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:48 PM
Seumas Seumas is offline
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This might explain the circuit better, I found the site where I got it from:

How to Build Small Solar Circuits (Wiring & Diagrams) | Renewable Energy

Last edited by Seumas : 09-15-2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:16 PM
Matthew Jones Matthew Jones is offline
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YA the panels go negative in the dark and thats what switch's the PNP on.

Matt
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:34 PM
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I tried to design a circuit to do the same thing but I was using npn transistors and though the circuit worked it did the opposite of what I wanted, it turned the led on when the panel was in the sun and off when the panel was in the dark LOL, I didn't know that the panel would go negative in dark (I'm still trying to grasp all of this) so now it makes sense to me, pretty simple and cleaver design. Thank you for the explanation the positive going to the base was confusing the heck out of me.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:56 AM
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Quick Follow up, I put the circuit together on a breadboard and hooked it to a small panel, here's the circuit in action:

http://www.seumas.org/pnpsolarswitch.zip

Also, I hit the local Harbor Freight store today, for those who are messin around with small solar circuits they have a discontinued item that used to sell for over 20 bucks now for 9.99 + tax so around 11 bucks. It is their Solar powered fountain pump item # 66093. I personally do not care about the pump, but the roughly 4.5x4.5 inch solar panel all mounted nice and neat with a 16' cord is not too shabby and is rated max output 7V at 1.2 watts.

http://www.seumas.org/spanel.jpg
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:34 AM
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Hi Seumas, i wired up that circuit you posted and checked that website and it seems you need at least a 4.5volt solar panel to bias off the pnp transistor, which is not useful for scavenged old solar panels from garden lights that only have around 2volts output at least thats what i'm seeing with a 60 watt bulb right next to one. And if that is the case which it seems it is based on my tests, it may need less parts, however, the solar panel has to fight against the 2.4 volts or whatever volts the rechargeable batteries are outputting. Since I can see how the pnp transistor is biased on, the battery negative voltage it seems flows through the solar panel and puts a negative on the base as Matt said. Unless I'm interpreting this incorrectly, i think the first circuit i posted is more efficient. Thanks for your contributions so far Seumas, I'm learning more about these circuits and sharing ideas is the key. My dad just gave me two solar garden lights he had that died out and it's obvious their building some of these not to last very long, things were very rusted and the plastic plates over the solar panels were so fogged up, there is no way much light was going to get through and then the AA cell is not going to charge and will have to be rejuvenated. I will be fiddling with these garden circuits and making a few more useful lights, then I am going to focus on the Bedini type cap discharger powered by something similar to these solar garden light circuits to fill the caps and charge batteries.
peace love light
Tyson
edit: nice video and solar panel you got there. what do you plan on doing with the panel.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:55 AM
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The panel in the video or the panel I just bought with the pump? The one in the video came off of another product from Harbor Freight, their 36 led solar powered motion sensor light. I bought it and messed up the unit by leaving it outside with the face down. Yes it is supposed to be water proof etc, but I left it out in a manner not consistent with how it is supposed to be mounted so I salvaged the solar panel. Next I am going to take the bundle of AA rechargeable batteries out of the unit and see if I can get that circuit to work with a bunch of led's powered by the solar panel and the batteries from it. This is what I got the panel from:
36 LED Solar Security Light
It is even nicer than the ones that come with the water pump, it has a nice adjustable base that can be mounted anywhere.

Can the resistor value be changed to accommodate a smaller panel? When I shine that flashlight on the panel like in the video, it reads just over 3 volts. Now I am tempted to hit Home Depot and pick up one of those garden/walkway lights and rip out the solar panel and test it on this circuit. I think I just might do that

Last edited by Seumas : 09-16-2010 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:26 AM
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Hi Seumas, thanks for reply and links to that site. I didn't use the joule thief in my test, i just used 2 AA in series to power the led. Though, i didn't find any different resistor values to get it to work with the lower voltage solar panel. Like i said, i think based on how i see the circuit working, the panel has to exceed the batteries voltage to apply any positive voltage to the base of the pnp to turn it off. So with a 1.2 volt AA, which is around 1.35 volt fully charged and an output from the panel of around 2 volts and there would be a voltage drop from that, i mean it's possible that in real sunlight and not a light bulb test that it might work with the circuit you've pointed out.
peace love light
Tyson
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:40 PM
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Hi folks, I took the ferrite bead out of the solar joule thief and decided to run some tests with it and see how many leds i could get to light at decent brightness. I managed to light 19 so far off the standard emitter collector with an amp draw of 40 milliamps at 1.32 volts. The leds are too painful to look at for very long, so they are probably fairly close to full brightness, at least by appearances. The photo is a little bloomed from camera, but the leds are quite bright.


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peace love light
Tyson
edit: oh and the leds are all in parallel

Last edited by SkyWatcher : 09-16-2010 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:17 PM
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Replication of simple on/off circuit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seumas View Post
I am a bit confused on the switching with the 2 npn transistors, would it not be simpler to just use one pnp to handle the switching between the solar panels charging the batteries during the day and the batteries powering the joule thief at night/in darkness?

Here is an example, a simple circuit I found online and it seems to work pretty good:

The resister value should be higher around 5k, batteries could also be in parallel.
@Seumas and All
I replicated this simple On/Off circuit with good success. I was actually surprised at how well it worked. The solar cell (panel) I think is critical to making this work. Electronicgoldmine sells them. This circuit coupled to a Joule Thief worked really well. I took it one step further and linked it to my Stubblefied coil pulse motor in a series arrangement as a power booster. I replaced the battery with a 10 Farad/2.7 volt supercap for this video to show the power flow. The only problem that I had with the circuit was the light sensitivity on/off adjustment. Controlling the base resistance should have worked but I didn't have any luck there.
I would like to make something that would turn a Slayer Exciter into an automatic light. Lots of work to be done to get there.

Here is the video of last night's experiment:

YouTube - Solar On-Off circuit---Stubblefield coil and Joule Thief.ASF

Lidmotor
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:49 PM
Seumas Seumas is offline
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I'm glad you got it to work Lidmotor, I however have run in to a little problem with the circuit. By themselves the on/off solar circuit and my joule thief circuit work perfectly, I even replicated SkyWatcher's multi LED setup but with only 10 LED's. I could of done more but I wanted to see how long 1 AA would power them through a joule thief. But when I take the output from the on/off solar circuit to the input of my joule thief I get nada. The output from the solar circuit is 1.5V when I am using just one AA and 2.75V when I have 2 AA's (old AA's) and an LED on the output. I was wondering if you could post a quick scribble schematic of how you had it all hooked up -the stubblefield and super cap, just the solar and joule thief.

pic of one of my joule theifs:
http://www.seumas.org/joulethief.jpg

Hooked up to 10 leds and powered by one button battery:
http://www.seumas.org/jt1.jpg

Same as above but with no flash:
http://www.seumas.org/jt2.jpg

and when I hook that same circuit up to the solar switch output I get nada
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:45 AM
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Hi folks, since ou site is down, figured I'd post my promising results here. I recently converted a 12 led lantern that is normally powered by 4 D cells and is now running off 1 AA rechargeable cell in standard JT emitter/collector connection. you'll notice in the pic showing the JT circuit inside the lantern that it has a 1" diameter toroid with 18 gauge insulated solid wire. Now this 1" toroid yielded about 4 hours run time using the 1- AA 2000mah rechargeable cell and the JT had a 150 ohm base resistor, since any higher ohm base would not light the leds very brightly. Then I decided to try a smaller diameter toroid of 1/2" diameter, this using 24 gauge magnet wire and with the same 150 ohm base resistor, run time was 8 hours at same brightness level. Now as we speak, I am running a duration test with the same 1/2" toroid and 24 gauge, though with a 1.5kohm base resistor and run time so far is 14 hours and still going at same brightness level. Many more experiments to be run, until I achieve the longest run time at same brightness level possible. Here are the pics. In the pic showing the various toroids, the 1/2" toroids are marked (1) and the 1" diameter toroid is marked (2). I'd like to hear your thoughts.
peace love light
Tyson


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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 10-02-2010, 04:10 PM
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Lidmotor Lidmotor is offline
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Auto on/off and Joule Thief

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seumas View Post
I'm glad you got it to work Lidmotor, I however have run in to a little problem with the circuit. By themselves the on/off solar circuit and my joule thief circuit work perfectly, I even replicated SkyWatcher's multi LED setup but with only 10 LED's. I could of done more but I wanted to see how long 1 AA would power them through a joule thief. But when I take the output from the on/off solar circuit to the input of my joule thief I get nada. The output from the solar circuit is 1.5V when I am using just one AA and 2.75V when I have 2 AA's (old AA's) and an LED on the output. I was wondering if you could post a quick scribble schematic of how you had it all hooked up -the stubblefield and super cap, just the solar and joule thief.

pic of one of my joule theifs:
http://www.seumas.org/joulethief.jpg

Hooked up to 10 leds and powered by one button battery:
http://www.seumas.org/jt1.jpg

Same as above but with no flash:
http://www.seumas.org/jt2.jpg

and when I hook that same circuit up to the solar switch output I get nada
I hooked the Joule Thief up just like in the diagram, only for an interesting effect, I ran it through the Stubblefield coil in series. The super cap could have been a rechargable battery. It was pretty simple. The light sensitivity adjustment was the only problem that I had with it.
If your Joule Thief circuit will not run off this then maybe you need to play around with it and get it to run on less power??? Just a guess.

Lidmotor

Last edited by Lidmotor : 10-04-2010 at 04:38 PM.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 10-02-2010, 11:25 PM
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SkyWatcher SkyWatcher is offline
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Hi folks, the tests continue with the 12 led lantern, i was able to get 17.5 hours run time with the 1/2" toroid/ 24 gauge/ 1.5kohm base JT. I am now running a duration test with the 1/2" toroid/ 26 gauge/ 1.5kohm base JT. Next tests will be with different base resistance, then 30 gauge wire and different base resistances, then I will be testing the larger 1" diameter toroid with different gauge magnet wire to compare. Also all tests maintain approximately same brightness levels tapering slightly as battery discharges, then brightness falls off at end. Any comments welcome.
peace love light
Tyson
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 10-04-2010, 01:48 PM
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SkyWatcher SkyWatcher is offline
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Hi folks, well my experiments with these JT pulse circuits are revealing more and more to me. I picked up a couple strings of led christmas lights, each have 20 leds and a nice warm white color, which is much better and more like regular white bulbs. Well I can say that while using the normal JT output at collector and emitter is ok, though the most promising results I'm finding are with using a secondary pickup coil powering series strings of leds. So far, it seems that when using the right frequency and high gauge wire for secondary, that these led strings can put out a surprising amount of light and give good run times. Maybe it's because of the phosphors in the white leds that take very little current to run, either way it's useful light and that's all that matters. I'm focusing on getting strings of leds to light bright for long periods at this time and then plan on working out a solar/wind and any other recharging method to keep batteries running these lights for free. I sure am thankful to jeanna and others for lighting the way to the knowledge of using secondaries on joule thief type circuits. Anyone else working on similar circuits now. I'd love to hear about any other experiments folks are doing. thanks.
peace love light
Tyson
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 10-05-2010, 12:31 AM
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SkyWatcher SkyWatcher is offline
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Hi folks, here is the 20 led string from biglots lit powered by a large ferrite bead, though it's wrapped on the outside like a solenoid, it has 6 layers of 30 gauge with one layer of bifilar 24 gauge on top for JT circuit. It is working a little better than the 1" toroid and may give longer run times, duration testing at this time. Any thoughts welcome.
peace love light
Tyson


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