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    Solar Power Devices

    Enter Your Electronics & Design Project for Your Chance to Win a Grand Prize for the most inspiring project or a $100 Shopping Cart!

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    The Most Inspiring Solar Power Devices Project Wins a Grand Prize Package + a $100 Shopping Cart!


    3 First Place Winners Win a $100 Shopping Cart to an element14 Store!


    In the comments below give us your Solar Power Devices Project ideas!


    You can make a break, you can win or lose

    That's a chance you take, when the heat is on you. - Glenn Frey



    The theme this month is Solar Power Devices and it comes from dwinhold, ntewinkel ,  and mcb1  .    The idea being that its summertime so its time to create devices that use solar devices.  This is not the first time the members have voted for solar energy projects, last year during the solar eclipse the was a  Solar Powered Yard Gadget .  For this theme you can do your own Solar Powered Yard Gadget , such as the Tilt Solar Light by carmelito and Building a Solar Charger by shabaz. Or you can do anything as long as it takes advantage of the energy of the sun.  It's been incredibly hot here in the Midwest, and throughout the world this summer.  Your devices can be anything that harnesses the natural energy of the sun to create energy.


    The Heat Is On to harvest the energy of the Sun to create solar power devices.


    Here is a song from Glenn Frey to Inspire You:



    The song was certainly an inspiration for the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals, a team that should have won the World Series (blown call cost them the championship) due to their winning attitude, great defense, and blazing team speed:



    Here are some Solar Power Device Projects to Inspire You:


    Chicken Coop Livestream by fvan




    fvan created a solar powered video streamer for his chicken coop as a weekend project. For this project he used a Pi Zero with Pi NoIR and a set of IR LEDs that can be enabled/disabled on demand. An external wifi dongle ensures connectivity from the back of the garden.  The combination of a solar panel and battery pack allows the circuit to remain powered and automatically charge during the day. Power consumption of the Pi is 140mA while idle, 250mA while streaming.


    Solar Garden Light by jc2048





    jc2048 was visiting a store in the UK when a couple of solar lights caught his attention. He disassembled the light and took photos of it to post on the community. According to jc2048 the battery is a 1.2V Ni-MH cell.  Because the cell voltage was very low he stuck it on a window sill for a day to soak up sun. By evening it was charged with a terminal voltage (off load) of around 1.3V. Getting 1.32V up to the 3V required to power the LED requires a switching circuit and a choke (coil). Pictured above you can see the schematic he drew. In his blog post he shares images of the waveforms and roughly calculates the coil value from the waveforms. In the comments section jw0752 some really cool images of two styles of solar circuits!


    The Clear Walk System by dougw




    dougw grand prize winner Design Challenges for the Make Life Accessible is responsible for this thoughtful, creative, and amazing project.The Clear Walk system is also the "Main Deflector" of his Pi IoT project, Star Trek IoT Alcove.  Fellow Trekkie and element14's  danzima highlighted this project in his Star Wars vs Star Trek  project roundup in support of the Geeky Gadgets competition from Project14dougw brought attention to the fact that nearly half of all injury-related deaths for seniors in Canada are caused by falls, seniors are Canada's fastest growing population, and the combined social and health cost of falls on stairs alone has been estimated at $8.8 billion a year.  His solution was to make a solar powered machine that uses solar power to melt snow and ice on walkways and steps, even when the air temperature is well below the freezing point of water. You can see the finished project in his Make Life Accessible - Clear Walk - Melting Snow - blog 19 post.


    Modular Farm Blog: Post 9 - Solar Energy Part I  by jmbranco76



    jmbranco76 won the grand prize in the Vertical Farming design challenge in his  Modular Farm project. His completed project was able to generate and store energy locally using a solar panel, a battery pack and auxiliary hardware modules (MPPT and BMS). All system modules were designed for energy efficiency.  A nutrient dispenser made use of gravitational force to control the amount of nutrients in the tank. Magnetic sensors and solenoid valves made it possible to build reliable and precise systems with minimal energy input. The project is definitely worth checking out in its entirety and demonstrates outside the box thinking such as a Vision System with artificial intelligence.  It's not so much a yard gadget but its worth checking out to see what's possible.


    BitScope Blade Uno Raspberry Pi Weather Station Project in Nepal



    Following the exclusive launch of the BitScope product range at element14 a team led by Prabesh Sapkota and Binod Kandel from the Robotics Association of Nepal built a battery backed solar powered weather station using a BitScope Blade Uno, Raspberry Pi, and Arduino. The project is the end of result of series of STEM workshops led by Australian educator Michelle Jensen in 2016 and run with help from Nepalese enthusiasts.  The Weather Station Project  Weather Station Project demonstrates how you can use low cost electronics components to power electronics and computers in remote areas without access to reliable energy.


    Episode 256: Ben Heck’s TI Launchpad Plant Booster Episode



    Ben builds a light compensator to supply indoor plants light when the sun isn’t able to provide enough light for them.  He uses a Texas Instrument MSP430 Launchpad Development Board, a TI BOOST-AD7042, a DS1307 real time clock, and a grow light.



    Building a Solar Charger by shabaz



    shabaz wanted to have a general purpose outdoor solar charger that could be used for (say) powering outdoor speakers, or for evening lighting.  He wanted something with plenty of available power but small enough that it didn't require a massive panel. He had several compact solar panels and a few rechargeable batteries to get started with the initial testing.  He designed a schematic, did a PCB layout, and made some circuit calculations. While he intends to use larger panels and more batteries in a future project, his Solar Powered Yard Gadget is a compact, general-purpose solar charger for small to mid-powered outdoor projects!



    Tilt Solar Light  by carmelito



    carmelito project shows you that even if you don't have solar panels lying that you can use a trip to the dollar store to make your own Solar Powered Yard Gadget by demonstrating how to make your own Tilt Solar Light.  Outside of a trip to the dollar store you'll need access to a 3D printer. The tilt switch is just added before the LED in the circuit. The tilt switch allows you to control when the LED turns on in the dark, instead of always being on. For more info on the Solar Garden Light circuit he suggests checking out Solar Garden Light from jc2048.  He uses Fusion 360 for the printed enclosure and to add text on the curved surface for Project14 and Tilt Solar Light!


    Upcycled Wireless Accent Light by pettitda


    Upcycled Wireless Sensor Accent Light, Part 1


    Upcycled Wireless Sensor Accent Light, Part 2




    pettitda did some impressive work and provided good details on the steps for his Upcycled Wireless Sensor Accent Light .  His plan was to design a wireless sensor for his old solar sidewalk lamp.  He tested the solar panel to see how much power he could get out of it. To do this, he set up a variable resistor load ton the output of the solar panel. His next step was to use the solar panel to charge a supercap so that he could store the energy for reporting the sensor reading on a regular basis.


    Your Monthly Theme


    The Monthly Theme You Voted For: Solar Power Devices



    The sun is a seemingly inexhaustible (billions of years) source of energy. Among the many benefits of using solar power is the fact that it saves money while providing energy reliability, energy security, and energy independence. The sun doesn't shine 24/7 but that's hardly a drawback.  In theory, with proper storage, you could theoretically use solar power to provide for all of the world's electricity needs.  Solar easily dwarfs all potential energy sources combined.


    Your Chance to Win


    Be Original
    Stick to the Theme
    • You could come up with a clever name that make's your project memorable!
      • This project is your baby! Part of the fun of bringing something new into the world is coming up with a name.
    • Your project could introduce something new or that is not commercially available or affordable!
    • If you have an idea for a project that doesn't fit the current theme then submit your idea in the comments section of the monthly poll.
    List the Steps
    Submit Video Proof
    • Provide the steps you took to complete your project (text, video, or images).
      • This could be a step by step how-to-guide, vlog, schematics, coding, napkin drawings, voice narration, or whatever you think will be useful!
    • If it doesn't work that's fine, this is more about the journey than the end product.
    • A short video is all that is required but you can shoot as much video as you like.
    • You are encouraged to be creative and have as much fun as possible!


    The Grand Prize


    • One Grand Prize Winner Wins a  STM8L1526PRIMER Evaluation Board STM8L152C6 MCU EvoPrimer Base Temperature Sensor Solar Cell;  NUCLEO-H743ZI + a $100 Shopping Cart



    Raisonance's Primer is a uniquely fun, easy, low-risk solution for exploring, evaluating and developing applications for the STM8 microcontrollers. It includes everything that users need to better understand the STM8's peripheral implementation and operation.

    • In-circuit debugging/programming via dedicated USB connection to the host PCEvaluation
    • Includes Microcontroller target board with SM8L53C6
    The STM32 Nucleo-144 board provides an affordable and flexible way for users to try out new concepts and build prototypes with the STM32 microcontroller, choosing from the various combinations of performance, power consumption, and features.The ST Zio connector, which is an extension of Arduino™ Uno V3, provides access to more peripherals while ST morpho headers provide an easy means of expanding the functionality of the Nucleo open development platform with a wide choice of specialized shields.

    First Place Winners



    Your Project Examples


    Solar Power Devices
    Tilt Solar Light Building a Solar Charger



    Your Project, Your Ideas!



    About Project14

    Every month you'll have a new poll where you'll get to decide an upcoming project competition, based on your interests, that will take place a couple of months in advance. Themes are broad in scope so that everyone can participate regardless of skill set.


    What are Monthly Themes?

    • Every month (around the 14th of each month) a new theme will be posted on Project14.
    • Submit your ideas (proposals) for your projects to get feedback from the rest of the community.
    • Submit a project entry in the Theme space once you start working on it.


    What are Monthly Theme Polls?

    • Every month (around the 14th of each month) there is a project theme poll.
    • Vote on which project competition you want to see for the following upcoming theme.
      • The themes voted on during the previous poll decided the upcoming theme.
      • If you submit an idea for a theme that is not used then it can still be used in a future poll.
    • Themes comments and ideas from the comments section of the project theme poll.

    Step 1: Log in or register on element14, it's easy and free.

    Step 2: Post in the comments section below to begin a discussion on your idea. Videos, pictures and text are all welcomed forms of submission.

    Step 3: Submit a blog post of your progress on your project by the end of the month.  You are free to submit as many blog entries as you like until the beginning of the next theme.


    Be sure to include video proof of your project!






    You have until September 14th, 12:00 AM CDT to submit your completed project!


    A jury consisting of your peers will judge project submissions!

    In the Comments Below:


    The Heat Is On!  Discuss your ideas for Solar Power Device Projects!