Kevin Kroeger, Zach Klein, Micah Sweeney writes:
The goal of this project is to use LEDs to produce a system capable of simulating solar conditions for the purpose of testing solar panels. Features of the system include adjustments in intensity and spectrum, simulation of spectral shifts that occur during sunrise and sunset, simulation of some weather conditions, the ability to adjust the angle of incidence of the light on the panel, and computer interface for quick, easy adjustments and control. A system to implement automatic time of day adjustments would bring all of the above together into one process.
Solar Simulator using LEDs - [Link]
If living plants were pitted against man-made solar energy to determine which is more efficient at harvesting sunlight, which would you choose to come out on top: plant leaves or solar cells?
Scientists recently compared the efficiencies of real photosynthesis in plants to that of using man-made solar cells to harvest the energy of the sun. The results showed that even under ideal conditions, the difference was two to three times better for one over the other. Which would you bet on winning?
Which Is Smarter: Photosynthesis or Photovoltaics? – [Link]
Hello there. You’ve probably found this Instructable to gather ideas about making a portable solar power supply yourself. I’ve always been interested in electronics with this project being my latest idea to come wandering out of my head, why not make a portable box on wheels, that I can plug basically anything into, thats powered by the sun? So therefore I thought I’d share this Instructable with the rest of the world.
Portable Solar Power Supply – [Link]
Jordan McRae was interested in integrating solar energy into his projects and professional designs. After months of experimentation he came up with the design for B-Squares™. [via]
As he describes the project:
B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage. Each Square has a magnetic contact on each of the corners which allows the Squares to easily snap together without wires. The magnetic contacts are also used to transmit electric signals between the Squares. This design allows users to quickly assemble Squares into arrays, with power flowing through the array via the corner contact, without wiring or soldering. Also, due to the use of multiple magnetic contacts on each Square, the overall circuit of the array can quickly be changed simply by rotating one of the Squares – for instance, the color of the LED Square can change with a flip or a rotation.
To date, the project includes squares for a 0.25 W solar panel, a AAA battery power pack and multi-color LEDs. Other squares accommodate iPhone/iPod docking as well as an Arduino square and a proto-square.
B-Squares™: modular solar powered electrics – [Link]
fanman1981 writes: [via]
My solar tracker i made out of 2 harbor freight solar kits,2 pieces of uni strut a channel master antenna motor on a old topsie turvy deck plant stand a dish bracket holding the panels on motor and a sony remote programed to turn it at certain times during the day!!
Diy Solar Tracker using spare parts – [Link]
If a new development from labs at MIT pans out as expected, someday the entire surface area of a building’s windows could be used to generate electricity — without interfering with the ability to see through them.
The key technology is a photovoltaic cell based on organic molecules, which harnesses the energy of infrared light while allowing visible light to pass through. Coated onto a pane of standard window glass, it could provide power for lights and other devices, and would lower installation costs by taking advantage of existing window structures. [via]
Turning windows into powerplants – [Link]
As the solar power industry grows, so must too sun tracking circuitry. This project gives a short but sweet example of how to build a system for sun-tracking. It’s not professional grade, but it is a great place to start if you’re looking to build your own sun-tracking solar panel.
Building a Sun Tracker – [Link]
When I got into electrical circuits and solar power the first thing I wanted to do was build a little solar powered battery charger. Only I had a heck of a time trying to find a simple and strait forward guide to doing this.
$4 Solar Battery Charger – [Link]
Christian writes: [via]
Having your own egg laying chickens in times of food scandals like the latest dioxin scandal is a fine thing. Although these chickens from my little cousin on the pictures here are not some fancy bred “hybrid chicken”, they lay almost one egg a day during summer and live a happy life. They have a large area to peck and paw and sleep inside a beautiful coop.
However, keeping chickens has one major drawback: You have to get up with them in the early morning and open the door at the coop. Everyday. Including Sundays and holidays. It can be quite tedious sometimes. That’s why my litte cousin asked me to construct an automated door for his chicken coop that opens at the break of dawn and closes at dusk.
The actuator raising and lowering the door is a strong gear motor from a wiper. I bought it at a local scrap merchant for 10 euros. The motor includes a worm drive so it holds its position when powered off.
Two switches in a parallel arrangement recognize when the door is open or closed. Because of the parallel arrangement, the microcontroller can only recognize that the door has reached an end position but not which one. This mean saves one input/output controller.
As sensor for the brightness, I use a photoconductive cell.
The whole system gets its power from a 12 V / 7 Ah accu. It can be charged by a small 2.1 W solar panel.
Solar Powered, MSP430-based Automatic Chicken Coop – [Link]
A team of researchers at French WYSIPS (what you seem is photovoltaic surface) claim to have developed a film that’s accurate to within a pixel. The technology they say can provide a high-definition solution applicable to all types of screens. Just like touch screen technology, Wysips is designed to become an integral part of the screen, allowing all tomorrow’s telephones to produce their own power from the sun. [via]
Mobile phones and laptops charge from the sun – [Link]