I've been making solar powered lanterns to hang in the tress on our property. I just love the idea of capturing light during the day with solar cells and batteries and then releasing it at night to create a fairy tale ambiance. Unfortunaeately most of the commercial solar powered lights are weak and short lived.
It turns out that you can buy broken 3" x 6" (actually more like 80mm x 150mm) solar cells for about $30 for 100. These can then be cut into quarters to yield the right size cells for small 9 and 18 volt panels (the voltages you need for charging 6 and 12 volt batteries, respectively. These cells are paper thin silicon and the easiest way I found to cut them was with a diamond wheel on a Dremel tool.
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