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Posted by Tomc on July 4, 2006, 12:26 am
Hiyas, I'm sure you all probably get the same kind of questions but
I've just recently discovered this group and need help.

My experience level is complete beginner.  I know what I want to build
but want to start off small to master the basics.  My first test I'd
like to build is a small panel, battery and a fan.  Right now I've been
looking at the PowerFilm stuff since I'd like to get used to using
those for my future project.

Anyway, my question.  I'm looking at hooking the panel to a rechargable
battery which in turn will run the fan.  I know that for a larger
project I would need some kind of regulator to keep the power going to
the battery from getting out of hand right?

Anybody know of a kit somewhere that I could grab up that I could use
to tear apart and figure out?  I've found a couple educational kits
that have a fan and a panel but that's pretty brainless.  (Sun hits
panel) -> (motor spins)  It almost seems like there's not much else as
far as learning materials.  (I'm sure there's a decent book out there
I've not found yet)  Any pointers on some place where one could get a
practical kit on learning this stuff?

Posted by Eric Sears on July 4, 2006, 6:10 am

The best way I know to learn is online!
There are HEAPS of educational websites.
Try Steve Spence's site for a start - just do a google search.
There are plenty of books also. Look for "Renewable Energy" of "Solar
Begin very small if you like with a small panel, some nicad cells and
a little 3v or 6v fan. Talk to your local electronics store.
If you google "solar energy" you should be able to get some info.
You can even get simple circuits for "regulators" to avoid
overcharging batteries - if you want to have a go.

Also do a bit of research on how ohms law works. Its very handy if you
really want to experiment.

Eric Sears

Posted by KenSolar.com on July 4, 2006, 12:23 pm
 Hi Tomc, there's a great book called the "Solar Living Source Book -
12th Edition"
(http://www.gaiam.com/retail/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=gai&category%5Fname=l3%5FGaiamFamilyCatalogs&product%5Fid !%2D0359).
That one makes things pretty brainless, and assumes you don't know much
about solar. I recommend it to my friends and always get good reviews
about it. Gaiam.com sells it, but you could probably find it cheaper on
ebay or somethin. Well worth the money, you'll be glad you got it. It
covers it all, step by step. :) Hope that helps :)
  -ken solar

Tomc wrote:

Posted by Tomc on July 4, 2006, 2:08 pm
 Thanks everyone for your advice and info pointers.  I'll check those
all out.  Books and such are always a great start but I never seem to
be able to learn a thing until I can take it apart.  Can't really
explain it.  I guess things don't make sense to me until I'm touching

I'll give these a shot and see what I can come up with, the solar
living book sounds great.  Thanks again for all of your input :)

Posted by BobG on July 4, 2006, 4:27 pm
 Tomc wrote:

If you start learning about electronics and electricity by 'braille',
make sure you dont do too many experiments using line voltage! You'll
learn something real quick! Someone needs to invent something so you
can see the electrons!

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