How To Easily Wire A Solar Panel To An LED Light

You’re looking for a nice DIY project to do this weekend and began wondering how to wire a solar panel to an LED light. Here’s a quick guide for the weekend warriors out there.

To wire a solar panel to LED light, you will need to acquire a solar panel, LED controller, LED light, connectors, wire stripper, crimping tool, and screwdriver. If you want the light to work when the solar panel is not in direct sunlight, then you will need rechargeable batteries, a switch, and a charge controller. When you get all of the materials, wire the LED light to the LED controller. Then wire the LED controller to the solar panels.

This article will talk about three ways you can wire a solar panel to LED. It’ll also provide instructions on how to do each method. 

Simple Way To Wire A Solar Panel To LED

If your problem is that your solar light isn’t giving you enough brightness to light your path at night, the simple method of wiring a solar panel to LED will suit you well. Using this method doesn’t require much preparation or materials besides the ones you already have.

To wire a solar panel to LED the simple way:

  1. Gather your materials. These are your solar panel, charge controller, LED controller, LED light, direct burial wire, connectors, wire stripper, crimping tool, and screwdriver.
  2. Explore the solar light’s lightning system and create your wiring connections from that. 
  3. To do so, you need to strip its wires for half an inch.
  4. Grab your crimping tool and connect the wires.
  5. Attach the contact to the connector, and do the same for the second wire.
  6. Link the solar panel to the charge controller using the connectors you created.
  7. Use your screwdriver to bind with the charging regulator.
  8. Hook the LED controller to the LED.
  9. You should be able to utilize your solar panel to power a LED light now.

Detailed Way Of Wiring A Solar Panel To LED

This part features more detailed instructions on wiring a solar panel to LED, but it’s particular to small and straightforward circuits. Hence, this part may exclude some technical details.

Be cautious if you’re attempting to wire higher-powered electronics since this part only instructs you on connecting low-powered ones. You’ll need other, more specific materials if you work on a larger project.

Similar to the method above, we’re assuming you’re doing a small project that uses a low-power LED light with the solar panel. However, we’ll work with a solar panel that needs battery attachments.

Getting Started On Wiring Solar Panel To LED

First, make sure you have a solar panel. We recommend the Sunnytech Mini Panel, Aoshike Micro Panels, or AMX3d Solar Cells from Amazon. You only need a small panel for this project since you’re simply trying to power a LED, which happens to consume low energy.

Once you have a solar panel, inspect its back. You’ll find two delicate solderable terminals there. These terminals have marked polarities, and this is how you’ll connect your solar panel to LED.

While you’re gathering materials, don’t forget to obtain epoxy. Epoxy helps relieve stress within your connections, so it’ll help strengthen your output.

Connecting Solar Panel To LED

Hook your load to the output leads of your solar panel to utilize the panel’s power. This means using wires to connect pieces together.

You can also add a supercapacitor to your project if you want fewer interruptions while using your solar panel. The capacitor smooths out the electricity coming generated by the solar panel. You can opt for a supercapacitor rated at 5.5V or two 2.75V supercapacitors to power a basic LED light.

A supercapacitor resists interruptions that may otherwise occur when something blocks your solar panel’s light source. However, it won’t be enough to generate or store enough energy when long periods of darkness occur.

Adding Rechargeable Batteries To Solar Panel

Rechargeable batteries can smooth out the electricity generated by the solar panels instead of the capacitors. Adding rechargeable batteries to your solar panel as you connect it to a LED light will also ensure your board can store energy for later use. Here’s a quick guide for selecting the best rechargeable batteries for your project.

When adding batteries to your solar panel, aim to have a reverse-blocking diode that allows current flow between the solar panel and battery but prohibits it from going on the reverse. A 1N914 diode from Chanzon, Bojack, or XL Diodes on Amazon works well for this.

You can set the batteries up so that they’re constantly on trickle charge mode, but note that you’ll still lose some power from energy leaks, which powers the LED instead of charging the battery.

Darkness Detection Function

You don’t need to add a darkness detection function to your LED-wired solar panel, but you can do it if you want to. To do this, procure a PNP transistor like Chanzon Transistors, Bojack Transistor Assortment, and Brigold General Transistors from Amazon.

The solar panel’s voltage output should control the transistor. When the solar panel receives high levels of sunlight, the transistor should turn off. Likewise, it should allow current flow to the LED when no sunlight is present.

Wiring A Solar Panel To LED With Specific Load

This method is specific to powering a 12V LED light by using a minimum of 300mA solar panel source. You can easily find the materials from Amazon or lying around your house if you already have solar panels, LEDs, toggle switches, foam, and wires. 

Step One: Gather Solar Light Materials

Step Two: Connect The Solar Panels Together

  1. Connect the solar panels to achieve 200mA and 12V minimum power.
  2. Solder the first solar panel’s positive pad to the second solar panel’s negative pad.
  3. Then, connect the remaining panels to their respective positive and negative pads.
  4. By soldering two solar panels together, you’re doubling their power output.
  5. Since your solar panels have 6V and 150mA of power, you’ll need two sets of combined solar panels to power a 12V, 200mA LED light.
  6. Hence, do steps 1-4 again for your third and fourth solar panels.
  7. Once that’s done, it’s time to combine the two sets of solar panels to obtain your desired power output.

Step Three: Create A Holder Platform

  1. Your holder platform doesn’t strictly need to be foam. 
  2. It can be plastic or anything related as long as it’s not conducive.
  3. Solar panels are already waterproof and shielded, so the foam just serves as a holder.

Step Four: Connect The Solar Panel Wires

  1. You’ll need long wires if you use your solar panel to power LED lights far from it.
  2. Connect the wires by soldering the positive cable to the inner pin.
  3. Then, link the negative cable to your outer shell’s wire.
  4. Keep in mind that you’ll have higher power loss with a longer wire.

Step Five: Set Up The Solar Panels

  1. Find a place that receives ample and adequate sunlight.
  2. Use double-sided tape to attach your solar panels to that spot.
  3. Use duct tape to protect your cables from water.

Step Six: Wire The LED Light

  1. By now, your solar panels should have cables attached to them.
  2. Get the unattached end and hook an electronic switch to its circuit so you can switch it on and off.
  3. You can use a power distribution board if you’re planning to add other LED lights soon, but it’s not necessary.

Step Seven: Check Your Work

Once everything is in place, switch the lights on to check your work. Make sure the lights turn on as expected. If they do not work, check your wiring. Make sure the LED lights are functional and that the rechargeable batteries are fully charged.

This video walks you through these same steps:

Additional Resources

Wiring a solar panel to a LED light requires some knowledge of electronics. However, you can follow a basic and straightforward method to connect your solar panel to LED. You can use this video as a guide for a smaller educational project. It will help you better understand how solar panels can be used to power something. And this post will teach you how solar panels generate electricity for solar lights.

If you’re curious to learn more about light emitting diodes, we found a video that helps walk you through how they work. In short, the electricity that passes through the diodes will automatically light up the diodes. With enough diodes strung together, you can produce enough light to light up an entire room.

Lastly, you may want to try a more difficult project. Here’s a step-by-step guide that teaches you how to make a homemade lamp for indoor or outdoor use. This can spruce up your backyard without the hassle of running unsightly extension cords.

Final Thoughts

To connect a solar panel to LED, you can opt for a simple method that requires a bit of technical knowledge and some on-hand materials. However, you can also go for more complicated projects that involve more specifics if you have a better knowledge base in electronics.

If you’re looking to add solar path lights, check out the buyer’s guide for best solar path lights.


I'm trying to make the world a bit greener every day, whether that's through my day job or helping others make green choices for their homes.

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