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Project 39: Build Your Own Solar Car
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Figure 15-5 The Solaroller schematic. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
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Now you have got this far you are definitely cooking with gas! . . . or should that be with solar Now take the small high-efficiency motor and insert it into the fuse clip in the manner shown in Figure 15-8.
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Figure 15-6 Step 1 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
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Figure 15-7 Step 2 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
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Project 39: Build Your Own Solar Car
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Figure 15-9 Step 4 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
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Figure 15-8 Step 3 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
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Adding the wheels at the front is a simple procedure of pushing them onto the axle and then adding the small black plastic clips which will retain the wheels and prevent them from sliding off. Now take the motor leads which are very delicate so treat them with a lot of respect! The red one should be soldered into the hole on the PCB, the blue one should be soldered onto one of the holes near the fuse clip (Figure 15-9). Next take a small piece of thick copper wire and separate the insulation from the copper wire (making sure that you keep the insulation intact as we will be needing this later!). The wire should be bent at one end and soldered first into the hole adjacent to the motor clip, and then to the motor clip itself to provide mechanical support (Figure 15-10).
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Figure 15-10 Step 5 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
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Project 39: Build Your Own Solar Car
Figure 15-13 Step 8 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
Figure 15-11 Step 6 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
Figure 15-14 Step 9 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
Next, take a short length of that insulation that you saved and slide it onto the motor shaft. Now take the wheel and slide it over the insulation (Figure 15-11). The next step is dead simple! Trim the axles at the front of your Solaroller (Figure 15-12). Now tin the pads on the back of the solarcell (Figure 15-13).
Figure 15-12 Step 7 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
Now solder the wires to the tinned pad, and add a little dab of glue in an area away from the soldered joints to act as a strain relief (Figure 15-14).
Now solder the connections to the printed circuit board (Figure 15-15). Hold the cell to the light, supporting your solar vehicle and check that it works. Now that you have proved that the circuitry works, fix the solar cell to your vehicle chassis.
Project 40: Hold Your Own Solar Car Race
Figure 15-15 Step 10 assembling the Solaroller. Image courtesy Solarbotics.
Project 40: Hold Your Own Solar Car Race
You will need Tip
A stopwatch or Lap timer software is a free download from: www.gregorybraun.com/LapTimer.html
Lap timer 200 software and a PC A number of solar cars
OK, so the World Solar Challenge, and the North American Solar Challenge might be a little out of your reach; however, holding your own tabletop solar car race certainly isn t. The free lap timer software presents a high-tech alternative to simply using a stop watch to time your cars. The software comes with schematics to
build a PC interface for sensors which will sense when your car crosses the line. You might like to consider how you can make your team vehicles look different. A little customization with paint and graphics goes a long way!
Project 42: Supercharge Your Solaroller
Project 41: Souping Up Your Solar Vehicle
Think about how you could make a solar concentrator with tin foil or Mylar reflective surfaces channeling more energy to your solar cell. Experiment with different tire types. You might find that some different wheels from another model car offer better grip. Try replacing the front wheels with some kind of skid. Think about reducing the Solaroller s friction; however, as you reduce friction, you might also
reduce control or the model s ability to travel in a straight line!
You can tweak the value of the 2.2 k bias resistor. This will change the efficiency of the solar engine. Higher values will make your solar engine more efficient, but will increase the time taken to charge. Smaller values will speed the rate at which the motor is triggered, but at the expense of efficiency.
Project 42: Supercharge Your Solaroller
Additionally, you can add a diode which allows your Solaroller to charge more than would normally be possible. You have the option of using a bog standard glass diode or an LED. The first thing you will need to do is cut through the PCB trace in Figure 15-16. The next thing to do is take your diode, and solder it as shown in Figure 15-17. Make sure that you orient the stripe on the diode or flat on the LED correctly.
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