OT O.T. Solar "tech-head" question

Hi, All, I don't know where to ask this; also tried Google but dunno how to phrase the Q. so as to get fewer than 50,000+ hits...
What i'm wondering is wherer tehre is a basic/beginner's/'how to" book that will tell me how to build simple solar-powered items. The thing is that I am *not* an electrician, never studied electronics, don't want to rewire a whole house, etc. - I just want to find out (1) how to match the power output of cells and the power requirements of simple things (lights, mostly), and (2) how to put them together - not "how to solder", as I know that; but how to connect the above-mentioned and matched components.
Basically, does anyone know whether is there a sort of "solar cookbook" that will bypass the things I don't want and tell me how to build or wire- together a variety of simple lights (or maybe clocks and other *simple* items) - or, alternately, a source for this sort of basic information?
Most of my hits were retailers of completed units, OR components retailers (but no instructional material that I could see).
Thank You!!
- Kris
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There used to be a general site I would go to about the general stuff but I can't seem to find it now. Is there anything useful here:
http://www.solarelectricpower.org/index.php?page=library
--
Edgar


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I added it to my "SOLAR" folder, but i;, looking more fro stuff like: To amek a 3-LED solar light, buy the following (A, B, C, ...) and then follow the assembly instructions: (list of instructions).
I want to make stained-glass solar lights, without having to pay for a pre- made light that I then need to disassemble and reassemble. But i know nothing about electronics, aside from "the red wire A connects to the red wire A1, and the black wire B connects to the black wire B1".
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And resistors, and capacitors, IIRC...

Well, that's cool - OTOH, the batteries ought to discharge completely through the course fo the night, whcih seems to be one of the "rules of thumb" for the longevity of rechargeables...at least, IIRC....

I thought that the abtteries had to be large enough to handle the input from the solar cell(s) - which is one of the mystifying parts - i.e., what are the "rules of thumb"...

Well, for now, I just want to see whether it'd be profitable to make stained-glass garden lights ;)
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Right. Same tends to be true of wind (and I say "tends" only because I'm not absolutely cwertain that wind turbines "never" work any other way...)
But what's the rule for balancing solar cell output, to battery capacity...?

The whole point, tho', for me personally at this time is to see whetehr I could do stained glass garden lights. Yeah, you can buy all sorts fo solar lights (from cheap black plastic things, to stainelss steel and otehr emtal units, to silly/cutie glowing resin animal charicatures), but what I'm interested in doing is "stepping it up a notch" and dong a hand- crafted thingy that's unusual - for example, a design using variously- textured clear glass the way one uses lines and whatnot in doing pen'n'ink drawings, larger than typical path lights (i.e., more LEDs) and acting as a sculpture that attractively catches sunlight by day, and just happens to have lights in it for nighttime viewing.
I'm certainly no stranger to WalMart, but I want to *make* something (if I can figure out the lighting part), and specifically, try to make something beautiful, or at least unusual, that people might be interested in buying.

Neither are hand-crafted stained glass objets d'art - "cheap" isn't my point in this. I can estimate how long it'd take me to do the glass parts, but I also need to know what sorts fo parts I'd need, and how toassemple them, before I can make any sort of estimate regarding my costs (and therefore, reasonable profit margin) for that part.
What it is, is that I'd like to at least try to see whether I could make some things that would harmonize with a given house style, IOW, somehting that's more stylistically individualized - the target audience being people who care about that sort of thing.

4) people who are just interested,IOW, natural "tech-heads" ;) 5) people who want to have some light in the yard without stringing electrical wires all the heck over the place ;)
I'm going for the arsty-fartsy subgrouping of #5 <g!>

Oh! OK, good idea, for some reason (well OK, lack thereof!) I never thought of checking the newsgroups...thanks!
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THanks! - that will give me a look at the basic "guts". I know that the LEDs and other parts'n'bits can be bought separately and prob more cheaply (even Fry's has a lot of the parts, ifnot all of them), but as "overview" is good, esp. seeing th eparts intact. One of my concerns with hacking apart an existing light was destrying potentially-important subunits.
THis is a good site - I somehow missed it while Googluing things Solar. I found the LED kit, too - that looks perfect ;)

Thanks!
Oh yeah, I finished my "bird panel" from teh Glass class, said I'd load up a pic when I could get one - I haven't gotten one yet but I haven't forgotten ;) It turned out a lot better than I'd expected and I've gotten some good comments on it, which is a relief (after paying for ti all and putting the time into it).
I'm not sure that stained glass anels directly relate to *architecture*, and same for the solar stained glass garden light idea, but I suppose it does relate at least indirectly ;)
Anyway, I'll see whetehr I can get some pics (I use film, not sure how they photos will turn out) and scan 'em, mebbe it'll give me an excuse to upload my website ;)
Meanwhile, I'm going to poke around that site mroe and look for that booklet, thanks again!
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[edited for bandwidth]

I already have a couple different general ideas, and loose plans, actually. Things pop into my head (heh, mental popcorn ;) ) and the first image/concept that popped up was "sculpture", which quickly morphed with the idea of using textured glass similarly to usinging line shapes in pen'n'ink drawing, and then, given that any sculpture would be not so much a sculpture as a *structure*, the next natural thing was the fact that a structure can have lights inside of it.

Oh yeah, like the solar security lights - I hadn't thought of that one. Good idea to ponder!

Well, with the low-voltage wire and separated cell, the design could have more freedom so to speak, and people could attach whatever length of wiring they want/need.
OTOH, integtrated cells provide more mobility.
SO the best thing would be to have designs for Both :)
First steps: - figure out "Tiffany Method", i.e., using forms/molds, and the appropriate glass technique, to build a structure; - learn to assemble solar light components - the hard part seems to be getting the thing to switch, at dusk, over to battery power; I *think* this is done using a combination of resistors and capacitors, btu I'm, looking more deeply into that site for which you'd provided the link, and expanding from there (now that I've seen the right terminology to use when I do searches). For example, I went by the Fry's Electronics site (there is a Fry's several miles S.E. of here on rte 59) and founf "Ultra Bright LEDs", a 5 pak of White for just under $19.
Of course I'm not positive any his would be sell-able, but I'm fed up with listening to all the naysayers who never *do* anything other than sit around moaning that this or that "can't" be done - well, not by them, but So What. You don't know if you don't try :)
OK, off for now - there is a glass supply place ("Southern Front") I'm hoping to get to today, but it's a bit of a drive from here...
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Thanks, I'll do that - I had some about a yr ago but the links got lost during one of my perennial Windows crashes.
((Re: the white house with the "cupola"/"window's walk" on top - is that a room, or a clerestory to bring more light/air down into the interior?))
Just for grins, talking about stained glass and lighting, check this out, especially the asking price: http://www.glassarttexas.com/product.php?productid 159&cat&0&page=1 &xid}ed878cc1de5c0741c2c905335a72de
Hmmmmmmm......
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There is an Episcopal church (built about 1840) on the back of Beacon Hill that installed a lighted stained glass window in the '60's abstractly showing the Phoenix arising from the ashes. AS I remember Gorgy Kepes of MIT was the artist. The glass was multicolored in two 3 dimensional layers with lights between and set in a thin concrete frame. Looked great, but that church broke away from the main diocese (because of woman priests) and has had poor maintenance since. Originally it looked great at night, but the lights are now not working or not turned on. Sounds like a job for LEDs. The lights strikingly emphasized the abstracted forms of the sculptured window. EDS
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Oh yeah, LEDs would be great!
THe *one* caveat would be that the wihte LEDs often tend to be a bit blue-shifted - but really, they're not all *that* expensive, and IMO, they coudl experiment with using appropriately-colored LEDs behind the various colors - I've no idea how it'd work, because I've never seent hat done, but it ust popped into my mind, when I read your post, as something that could be tried. If it didn't look good, they could still use the LED strings as CHristmas decorations, since they use so little electricity. THen they could go with the white. Also, I seem to recall having seem some white LEDs that are less blue-shifted, but I'd have to check. If nothing else, given how cool to the touch LEDs are, something could also be popped over them to adjust the color. OR heck, maybe a light coating of some sort.
((GOing from there, of course, it might even be somethign to try, using differntly-colored LEDs is a colored Soalar light - I've been thinking initially abotu using clear glass, as already desrribed in previous posts so I won't repeat again ;) , but that could be another thing to try. What the heck, sez I.))
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Well, that's sort-of what I also was thinking. There isn't any indication, from what I can tell, what pieces might have been sold, but the reason I found it curious is this: I'm often amazed at what people can sell, not only in the arts, but written works, music, and pretty much just about *anything*, given that I would never even think of *trying* to sell some of the stuff, because I think it's so amateurish or inferior.
Meanwhile, for ever person who *can* make something better, or who *does* have an idea to try, ther eseem to be 100 pea-brained a-holes saying it can't be done, or that the person is a stupid jerk for wanting to try the idea out. I just don't get it - never did, never will. ((WHich is why one of my major soapbox messages to people is "give it a go - you never know until you try" =;-) ))
So I figure, heck, if that guy can sell a simple assemblage of fused and painted glass panels ((I'll be taking a Galss Fusing class in June <g!>)), there's no reason I can't sell some stained glass garden lights, eh?
<G!>
Plus, I had a feeling you'd find the link "amusing" ;)
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That's how I see ti as well, but there are a lot fo people who have no compunctions about selling stuff that wouldn't pass my own personal muster.
OTOH, I also have to admit theay are the ones who've been making the money off their hobbies =:-o

THat's the main point, IMO. I also think it's what differentiates an artist, from a hack. An artist has, and maintains, personal standards, but a hack will schelp together and then try to sell (and foten succeed!) any ol' piece of dreck.

Well, the problem is that too many people are convinced that putting a high price on it *makes* it art, *signifies* it's art. 'T'ain't true. Now, I have seen a few things which took what I can recognize as being a *high* level of skill, also a *high* level of creativity, and in those few cases, the high price is reasonable.
THe other thing is that a lot of people think they are Artists-with-a- capital-"A", when it's only a case of Inflego (Inflated Ego).

Seriously, tho', I have no idea whetehr he has a kiln, or rents one, but a kiln is and expensive thing, not only becasue of the original cost, but also, the energy to heat it. OTOH, some glassworkers will rent out kiln space - my teacher does that, rents kiln space. Even so, I've seen some of the things done by some of her other glass-fusing students, and a couple of them were *really* good - good use of colors, good understanding of how some of the materials interact, good design, and good execution.
I think part of it is that some people have an odd view of what does or doesn't constitute art - some define it based upon price, and others, based upon "weirdness", but IMO, thre needs to be more to it. I can't describe just what that "something" is, but it's something one can recognize even in works that don't personally appeal to one.
In the end, it's all rather odd, this question of what makes art, Art - which I suppose is part of what keeps the arts'n'crafts world lively ;)
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