Solar Powered Charging Station

For my final project I would like to engage in a solar powered charging station that could provide an output of a usb slot made for devices to power up.

The initial idea is to be able to have a solar panel that could automatically position it self according to where the sun is facing at any given moment. Its rotation should be done on the Y-axis as well as the X-axis.

What will be needed at a first glance:

– Arduino Uno
– Solar panel
– Servo
– Light Detecting Resistors
– Wooden/Acrylic Box (Laser Cut)
– USB output

The first step was to determine its part that its going to be used individually in order to see if everything works as it should:

Some testing with the servo motor:

Some testing with the Light Detecting Sensors:

Combining the Servo with the Light Detecting Sensors:

Having successfully operated the sensors with the servos the next step is to start building the enclosure for the Arduino and the electrical components as well as the structure for the panel and servos to operate:

The initial testing is being done with cardboard in order to ensure that everything can work proportionally and mechanically correct before proceeding to wood and acrylic.

The next step is to finalize the design and make sure that everything fits together properly.

Lasercutting the necessary pieces to form the structure of the solar panel:

Checking various pieces to see how they fit together:

Testing for Voltage and Amps:

The problem is that the battery produced around 2V which is not enough to power the Arduino board and run it. The o.43 Amps that the motors and sensors with the Arduino produced where a positive sign.

Finally some testing was done to see how the sensors reacted to the light and how they could accurately track it. There is difference in the behavior of the sensors when there is more light around them rather than having them in a darker room with direct light focusing on the sensors only.

 

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