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How to Set Up Your Solar Simulator Light Source

How to Set Up Your Solar Simulator Light Source

The Ossila Solar Simulator includes an LED lamp, optical breadboard, and adjustable height stand to get you started testing your devices quickly and easily. Learn how to set up your new solar simulator with our simple guide.

Positioning the Light Source

The Ossila LED Solar Simulator Lamp is compact, lightweight, and can be easily installed in any lab using adjustable height stand provided with it.

First, position the base of the solar simulator stand on the optical breadboard. Align the base holes with the threaded holes on the breadboard and fix in place. Attaching the solar simulator to a breadboard will ensure that the relative position of all lamp components stay fixed and will balance the light source. Make sure to position the base to allow enough room to put the test board under the lamp when fully assembled.

Position the Solar Simulator base to align with breadboard holes
Position the base of the solar simulator with the screws provided
Fix the base in place with screws provided
Tighten the screws in place with an Allen key

Next, align the holes in the bottom of the adjustable stand and use four screws to secure the stand to the base. It is important that this the position solar simulator light source remains fixed, so ensure both the base and the stand is fixed in place.

Align holes of adjustable stand with hole of base
Align the strips of the adjustable stand with the holes on top of the base
Fix adjustable stand to the base using 4 long black screws
Secure into place using 4 screws

On the adjustable height stand, there is a square plate with threaded holes in the corners. Screw two of the smaller screws into the two lower holes. Use these lower screws to support the lamp while you align and screw in the upper two screws. Again, reducing lamp movement is very important, so ensure this is fixed into place.

Slightly screw in bottom two screws on square plate on adjustable stand and rest solar simulator light source on them
Rest the solar simulator light source on the two lower screws of the adjustable stand
Align the two upper screws on the square plate and tighten all screws to fix solar simulator in place
Align the two upper screws and fix lamp into place securely

Plug in power supply to the light source and switch on. The LED next to the power button will be white when the lamp is reaching the correct intensity. It will turn green when it has reached 1 Sun. This will happen quite quickly, but we recommend waiting for at least 5 minutes to ensure temporal stability.

Ossila Solar Simulator power light is white when warming up
When the solar simulator power light is white, the lamp has not reached 1 Sun intensity
Ossila Solar Simulator power light is green when reaches 1 Sun
Solar simulator power light is green when it has reached 1 Sun

One of the most important things to remember when setting up the Ossila Solar Simulator is to make sure there is the correct distance between the top of your sample and the light source. This is important as solar simulators have to meet specific classifications to represent sunlight uniformly. This calibration is usually confirmed within a certain radius of the solar simulator light source. For this reason, the Ossila bottom solar simulator light source should be positioned 8.5 cm away from the surface of your sample.

Optimum distance between the solar simulator light source and sample is 8.5 cm
The distance between the solar simulator lamp and the sample surface should be 8.5 cm

For example, with Ossila push fit test board, the lid means that the surface of the sample is 5.75 mm below the "top" of the board. This should be taken into account, and the 8.5 cm should be measured from this point.

Different test boards or measurement stages may have different heights and therefore, we have made the Ossila Solar Simulator that the height can be adjusted. Once the lamp is fixed to the adjustable stand, you can adjust the height using the knob on the side of the adjustable stand.

Solar Simulator

Solar Simulator

Learn More

How to Check Solar Simulator Calibration How to Check Solar Simulator Calibration

It is important to ensure that your solar simulator is outputting a consistent spectral output. Different solar simulators will have different bulb lifetimes.

Solar Cell Testing & Characterization Solar Cell Testing & Characterization

One main application of solar simulators is to test solar cell devices and modules. To characterise how solar cells will perform in the real world, it is vital that you use a solar source that mimics the suns spectrum well. You could of course use actual sunlight, but this is an uncontrollable variable.


Contributing Authors

Written by

Dr. Mary O'Kane

Application Scientist

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