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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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    Congratulations to fmilburn for Solar Bubble Blaster !  You are the winner of the Grand Prize package with a $100 Shopping Cart!


    Congratulations to snidhi for  Simple Solar BOT , ralphjy for Solar SPEC, and oliverschalles for Project 'GiraSol'! You are First Place Winners of the $100 Shopping Cart!


    “The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”  - Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin Senator and Founder of Earth Day

    "You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make" - Jane Goodall, Primatologist, Anthropolgist, and Animal Rights Activist

    "Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away." - Elvis Presley, Musician, Actor, and "King of Rock and Roll"

    In the spirit of Summer, with temperatures heating up, the Solar Power Devices theme encouraged you to think about resourceful ways to harvest the energy of the sun to create solar power devices!  Solar energy is the most abundant, sustainable, cleanest, and renewable energy resource on Earth.  18 days of sunshine on Earth produces the same amount of energy as all the coal, oil, and natural gas reserves.  You also don't have to worry about air or water pollution, global warming, energy price spikes, or public health risks.  In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel was the first to observe photovoltaic effect, the ability to create voltage and electric current in material upon exposure to light. In 1954, the first commercial photovoltaic cell was unleashed by Bell Laboratories.


    The Grand Prize for the Solar Power Devices competition came from a summer project that fmilburn did with his grandchildren.  Together, they built the first world's first super capacitor enabled bubble blower!  It's a touching gesture that tells you everything you need to know and the community member judges agreed.  In addition to a Grand Prize, we were able to award 3 first place winners, each of whom shared a unique take, and an interesting story on the project that they used to harness the energy of the sun!  ralphjy created a Solar Power Efficiency Detector to check on the solar power he previously installed on his roof in Oregon. snidhi not only did her first solar power project, she made a Simple Solar Power Robot, and it worked!  Project Girasol was oliverschalles first project on element14 community and we hope to follow his future updates of "the concept and use that make it possible to help many."  This competition was special because of the projects, the people, and you.  Thank you for all the great work and providing inspiration to others. Resource conservation is always a popular topic on the community and its just one of the many things that make this place special.




    Without further adieu,  here are your winners for the Solar Power Devices competition....


    The Grand Prize Winner


    Solar Bubble Blaster by fmilburn :


    fmilburn used this theme as an opportunity to do a summer time project with his grandchildren,  once completed, Solar Bubble Blaster became the first super capacitor enabled bubble blower to be powered by the sun.  Doing a project around solar power, passing on a valuable lesson, and having fun in the process made this a project a near unanimous pick as a Grand Prize winner from most of our judges.  There was something poetic, about a simple project with a noble cause: "Saving the earth, one bubble at a time, there are no batteries required."


    The lesson he passed on with this project was all about learning to convert solar energy into something useful made any "work" involved to complete it, something that was fun to do.  It's also something that proves that no subject is too serious not to have fun with. With the exception of the hacked bubble blower the components were made from components he had lying around in his junk box and parts cabinet.  The project ended up working better than expected as evidenced by all the accolades that followed the finished project on the community.



    "This project should be the Grand Prize winner. Including the kids and teaching our future developers is so important. It followed the theme of this challenge being solar power with summer fun included.  .... The video is fun and done like a commercial. The kids add that special touch to the final demo. ....I really like this project, it was fun, included kids and is a good summer fun project. Including the kids in the project makes it priceless, they will remember this for many years. The information provided makes this a project most can make. ...Very positive feedback from everyone. Having the kids involved was highly welcomed." - Community Member Judge


    "Maybe ...not the most complex (from) a technology point of view but I think that the "Solar bubble blaster" deserves the grand prize. First, because the project has been fully completed and second because it is one of these projects that include a really difficult target. And the "customer satisfaction" of the user of this hacked toy has no price "  - Community Member Judge


    "This was a fun little project, with plenty of engineering packed in a small package, and just enough cute kids enjoying the process". - Community Member Judge


    "This was a terrific and fun project which I am sure will inspire others to follow and make their own versions. It was simple but effective and promoted some great online discussions." - Community Member Judge


    Also on Project14  from fmilburn:


    The First Place Winners


    Simple Solar Bot by snidhi


    Simple Power Bot was conceived as a simple solar powered robot capable of harnessing energy from solar panels. Part of this project involved learning more about how an Arduino handled power consumption and whether it could get the voltage and current that it needed from solar power boards. What's really impressive, is the fact that this was snidhi 's first attempt working with solar energy, an undertaking that she was very enthusiastic about.  If everything goes according to plan, the Simple Solar Bot would be able to self sustain its energy requirements and be smart enough to go into sleep mode to consume less energy when there was no activity.  Adjustments were necessary throughout the process to nail down the right motors to use for the mechanical design.  This project involves an Arduino NaNo





    "This project should be first place. It followed the theme and was completed. Being the first solar project by snidhi made it even better. ...Very detailed steps on how this project was created. From schematics, video, images and text. It could be re-made by many with the information included. ...Many uploaded videos detailing the continued progress throughout the project. The final video submission proves that it works and has a lot of potential. ...The project was original and very well planned. ...This being S Nidhi's first time working with solar power made it more impressive. There were some issues that were overcome with a couple of changes. ...Feedback was positive and encouraging." - Community Member Feedback



    "This was a great lesson in overcoming deficiencies in initial plans and persevering to complete your goals". - Community Member Judge





    "There was plenty of detail to follow, nice videos and a great sense of motivation." - Community Member Judge





    Solar SPEC by ralphjy


    Solar SPEC is a Solar Power Efficiency Checker is a project designed by  ralphjy to be used for solar panels that he installed on his house in December. Being new to solar power, he'd been closely monitoring the amount of power his system was generating.  Variations were attributed to the total irradiance on the panels (sunny/cloudy/rainy days, change in the incident angle of the sun, shadowing, etc).  He noticed in the spring that I was losing performance over a string of days with very similar sunlight conditions.  It turned out that a lot of tree pollen had gotten onto the surface of the panels and it took a few rainy days in order to fix. Another performance drop off occurred the following summer due to self-heating of the panels in sustained sunlight and high ambient temperatures.  The idea behind this project was to use a remote sensor to report irradience and temperature to verify panels were operating properly and not dirty or damaged.

    "This will be very useful for those with solar panels. ...The feedback from the community was positive and encouraging." - Community Member Feedback


    "Well done, clean and neat, a good design and a good performance tester." - Community Member Judge


    Solar SPEC

    "Monitoring of solar panels is a very important part of solar energy projects, this was a great attempt to achieve that goal". - Community Feedback





    Project 'GiraSol' by oliverschalles


    A 'heart' project, the 'GiraSol' Project is a 'device, consisting of a  reflective parabolic  dish, that collects  sunrays, energy  to a  focus  where a  converter' (copper pipes in where  a fluid  gets  heated  up and  is  lead to an isolated boiler, where the  heart is  given into it, to the usable water - for  a hot shower  or to use to wash up the  dishes  in the kitchen - it even could  be used  to heat up a  floor in the  house... The sunflower electronics program used to calculate is made for an Arduino Nano.



    "The concept and use make it possible to help many." - Community Member Judge


    "An interesting aspect of this project is the first video testing the proof of concept and then the real world application." - Community Member Judge



    "This project was based on some interesting concepts of solar energy". - Community Member Judge




    What's Happening Now


    There's always stuff going on in the community so and the best ideas always come from you.  Suggest your idea in the Monthly Poll and vote on the themes you want to do projects on. There's still time to join the Clustered MCUs  competition to build projects that involve two or more microcontrollers and we're offering Tool Kits for Test Tools in Test Instrumentation!



    Thank you for continued support of Project14 !


    Keep inspiring others with your videos,  have fun, and be creative.  Your only limit is your imagination and well... time! 


    In the comments below:


    Be sure to Congratulate the Winners and keep being Awesome!