I tried to "Disassemble" a solar panel to get individual cells from a big panel

walterwitt

New member
Joined
May 26, 2020
Messages
4
TlDr; Do not try to cut up a solar panel, there's an easy way to modify them, but as far as trying to get the cells and making a smaller panel, it will end in a destroyed panel.

I have this single cell lithium ion solar charger project I was working on and I was in need of an 8 cell panel. No one seems to make one like that, and anywhere that sells individual cells was giving me ETAs of 2 months and I was far to excited and impatient to wait that long.

So I wanted to see if I could get cells from used/damaged panels that I could get locally and quickly. I ended up finding this placehttps://astralpowersolutions.ca/and the guy I talked to there was really interested in the Idea I had come up with, and he ended up selling me a brand new260W 60 cell panel for about half of it's wholesale price. The only thing wrong with it was one of the cords had gotten ripped from the box on the back. Other then that it was a perfectly good and really nice panel, and I was tempted to just keep the thing and look for one that was in worse condition. But the guy who sold it to me really wanted to see how things went with this, so I figured I should just march on.

I found out pretty quick that the cells are encased in what is essentially hot glue (EVA) so I couldn't "disassemble" the panel, but what I found out is I could peel off the back layer by scoring it with a razor, and hitting it with a heat gun, giving me access to the electrical tabs. Form there I figured what I could do is use a wet diamond saw to cut outan 8 cell section from the whole panel and cut away at the back to connect it.

Long story short, it went wrong really fast. Luckily I was recording the thing to show the guy from Astral, so I ended up uploading it to youtube so that others could learn from my mistake.


So yeah, basically allot of panels are made with a tempered glass front, and tempered glass does not like to be fucked with. It shattered into a million pieces almost immediately, and destroyed the structural integrity of the whole panel. anny attempts to remove the cells after that, resulted in broken glass everywhere and destroyedcells.

But, and this it what I think the best thing I learned from this experience, You can get at the tabs connecting the cells really easily from the back. and you can cut, solder to, and reconfigure the panel to whatever you want. it just sucks i didn't realise this until I had already gone too far.

So yeah, hope anyone who thinks of doing something similar sees this first and can learn from my fuckup and not distroy a perfectly good panel.

I'll also probably end up posting about the solar lithium charging project that this is all for once I get my hands on the panel I need. If it works, it'll be a really simple circuit for charging a single cell lithium battery from a small solar panel.
 

ajw22

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Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
512
Yup, tempered glass is awesomely resistant to damage, until it crosses a point and then it shatters into a million pieces. If it weren't glued from the back, it would have "exploded", throwing fragments everywhere. Mostly fairly harmless blocks the size of tic-tacs, but also plenty of nasty ant-sized daggers.

Always wear eye and hand protection whenever dealing with glass. And proper shoes.
There are ways to identify tempered glass - google before trying to cut unknown glass.

PS. fascinatingly, the crackling will continue for days, if not weeks, as the cracks continue to travel deeper.
 

walterwitt

New member
Joined
May 26, 2020
Messages
4
ajw22 said:
Yup, tempered glass is awesomely resistant to damage, until it crosses a point and then it shatters into a million pieces. If it weren't glued from the back, it would have "exploded", throwing fragments everywhere. Mostly fairly harmless blocks the size of tic-tacs, but also plenty of nasty ant-sized daggers.

Always wear eye and hand protection whenever dealing with glass. And proper shoes.
There are ways to identify tempered glass - google before trying to cut unknown glass.

PS. fascinatingly, the crackling will continue for days, if not weeks, as the cracks continue to travel deeper.
Yep, got the purple cut "resistant" gloves on. I think they'resomething like ANSI A3. technically not high enough for handling fresh cut glass, but They stand up to a razor blade just fine. I'm definitely glad I decided to get that tarp out though.
 
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