For the past few years, researchers have been using quantum dots to increase the light absorption and overall efficiency of solar cells. Now, researchers have taken a step further, demonstrating that quantum dots with a built-in electric charge can increase the efficiency of InAs/GaAs quantum dot solar cells by 50% or more.
Quantum dots with built-in charge boost solar cell efficiency by 50% – [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]
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]
This month, Shawn Blaszak, at Pumping Station: One, shows how to convert a standard TV remote control to solar power. Leave your remote sitting on a sunny windowsill and let it top off the charge in your batteries while you are away from the TV. [via]
Solar Powered Remote Control – [Link]