Solar Energy Project

For our solar energy project (teamed up with Jesal) we chose to work on a solar powered watering plant system. The idea is to have two sensors plugged into the soil to keep track of how often the plant needs watering based on the parameters we are going to agree on. Once the plant needs watering, a water pump will then be triggered and the water could transfer to allow irrigation.

We firstly tried to allocate all the resources that we are going to need for the project as listed below:

Materials Needed

  • An enclosure (1)
  • PC Board (1)
  • 5VDC SPDT micro relay (1) **
  • Solar Panel (1)
  • Lithium-Ion Battery (1)
  • Toggle switch (1)
  • 10K resistor (1)
  • Size M coaxial DC power plug
  • Red and black 22AWG wire
  • 12AWG black wire
  • Electric water pump (1)
  • Water storage container w/ lid (1)
  • 8-32 x 2.5″ nuts and bolts (2)
  • 4-40 x 1″ nuts and bolts (8)
  • 4-40 x 3/8″ nut and bolt (1)
  • 1/4″ spacers (4)
  • Wire nut (1)
  • 3′ – 5′ plastic tubing (2)
  • #8 Terminal Ring (1)
  • House plant to water (1)

 

Making Our Own Water Pump

We then went on trying to make our own water pump. We had to improvise and so we found a canister for pills which could store the 3.7V motor inside as well as the 3D printed water turbine. Then we laser-cut an enclosing for the top part of the motor which will then be sealed with glue so that no water can intrude the wiring.

We tested the motor with a minimum voltage of 2.3 to see how well it can spin and the results where more than satisfying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8xp4OZYJXQ&feature=youtu.be

This did not work as the enclosure did not provide enough suction for the water to be drawn in from our reservoir. We then bought a small water pump from Tinkersphere.

 

Battery

We used a 3.7V 650mAh battery that was able to produce the power we needed to power the water pump long enough for the water to be drawn into the plant’s soil.

 Sensors

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Code

This is the code we used for the Arduino. It was inspired by Randolfo’s version of the code.

 

// Analog input pin that the soil moisture sensor is attached to
const int analogInPin = A1;

// value read from the soil moisture sensor
int sensorValue = 0;

// if the readings from the soil sensor drop below this number, then turn on the pump
int dryValue = 700

void setup() {

pinMode(12, OUTPUT);

// initialize serial communications at 9600 bps:
Serial.begin(9600);
}

void loop() {
// read the analog in value:
sensorValue = analogRead(analogInPin);

//Turns on the water pump if the soil is too dry
//Increasing the delay will increase the amount of water pumped
if(sensorValue < dryValue){
digitalWrite(12, HIGH);
delay(10000);
digitalWrite(12, LOW);
}

// print the sensor to the serial monitor:
Serial.print(“sensor = ” );
Serial.println(sensorValue);

//slow your roll – I mean… slow down the code a little
delay(100);
}

Finally, being able to make the pump work with the sensor and code all together we were able to demonstrate how the system worked on an actual plant as seen below:

 

kinetic Energy Project

For our kinetic energy project (teamed up with Dorothy), we chose to make a faucet enabled water turbine, that when successfully operated from the force of the water, could generate enough power through a 3.7 V motor attached, to light a whole strip of LEDs.

Below is some of the documentation regarding experimentation, prototyping and finally execution (at least tried to):

We made some readings to determine the voltage that the motor could generate and if it was sustainable for the overall of the project:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10bEnPTJgt4&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0qr3gbaNmA&feature=youtu.be

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0a88RDxAjo&feature=youtu.be

Once the design was finished and we knew how we wanted to proceed with the actual fabrication, we 3D printed a water turbine and laser-cut some acrylic enclosures. We then fitted the gears and the motor (taken from an old VHS player).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0jP73GBAtg&feature=youtu.be

 

 

Mechanisms

Figuring out how to make gears and have them move objects can be fascinating. Below is a first rough sketch of what I’m trying to experiment with, in order to come to a point where gears will be able to move objects in a forward motion:

The first stage of the project will consist of the proper fabrication of gears. I’m envisioning having gears made out of wood. The diameter would vary from gear to gear but the ratio of teeth to diameter will stay the same throughout. Furthermore, some testing will begin for to see if the gears can produce efficient power and smoothness in relevance to each other. For each successful gear configuration, I will make the correspondent holes to the sides of the enclosure (Gears will be inside a acrylic box).

The second stage will consist of the actual pieces that are going to be mounted on to the gears and moved along in a forward motion. I will have to make sure that each gear would have a different effect on each of the pieces, meaning some should move slower and some faster.

After some testing to see how the rods will stick out of the box:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVTO1a4M1J8&feature=youtu.be

The end result looks like this:


Non-Rectangular Box

Our point of view in creating a non-rectangular box was to go with the idea of a round-like box.

We started with some very rough sketches of what our idea should look like:

We thought of having half-pie pieces with numerous slots on them in order to be able to slide in the disks that were going to be holding the main structure. These disks would have a hole in the center for the “vase” to serve as a holding compartment.

Moving on we did some experimentation with some cardboard to understand if the logic behind was going to serve our purpose:

Convinced that the design can be executed we went on to design the actual pieces onto illustrator. We again experimented with cardboard, but this time we had the laser cutter do the job for us:

And getting to the end of it, since the pieces proved to be really accurate and applicable for assembly we put our piece of wood into the laser cutter again for curving. We assembled all the pieces together using hot glue.

 

The end result looks like this: