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Solar Powered RC Car
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

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Solar Powered RC Car

by Stano316 on Wed May 30, 2018 1:54 pm

Hello Everybody,

I am a high school Project Lead The Way teacher and need some help for a project that I would like to do next year. I would like have the students make solar powered rc cars from a kit of parts that I would supply. The cars would be your typically 1/10 scale, have radio and 3 channel receiver, electronic speed control, generic 540 motor, and servo for steering. What I am struggling with is, I would like to use a 2cell lipo battery or maybe one cell if its easier to provide the initial energy for the cars. Then have panel hooked up so that it can charge while the car is running on an outdoor track. I see that adafruit has the panels and chargers, but what do I need exactly to be able to do this. I am getting torn in a few directions, and unsure how to do it. Also what information is specifically needed to make this work. Thanks

Stano316
 
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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by adafruit_support_bill on Wed May 30, 2018 2:12 pm

540 motors are generally designed for 6v-9v operation. A 2-cell LiPo or a 6-cell NiMH pack would be good choices for powering one.

You can probably find solar charge controllers for these multi-cell packs.

Our solar LiPo charger is strictly for 3.7v single cell LiPos. Pololu has a nice selection of boost converters that could get you the needed voltage boost. But there will be some energy lost in the conversion process.
https://www.pololu.com/category/132/ste ... regulators

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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by Stano316 on Wed May 30, 2018 2:21 pm

Would you be able to recommend a solar cell from your site to be used with that boost converter? So I would be able to use the a solar panel to connected to the boost converter to charge the LiPo, then power the car and its electronics from that?

Stano316
 
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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by adafruit_support_bill on Wed May 30, 2018 2:35 pm

Motors are pretty power hungry, so you probably want to start with one of the larger panels.
https://www.adafruit.com/product/500
https://www.adafruit.com/product/1525

This one is probably too big:
https://www.adafruit.com/product/2747

You would connect the panel to the input of the solar charge controller:
https://www.adafruit.com/product/390

And a LiPo cell to the "BATT" connector:
https://www.adafruit.com/product/1781
https://www.adafruit.com/product/354

The boost converter would connect to the "Load" output on the charger.

https://www.adafruit.com/product/500
https://www.adafruit.com/product/1525

A 540 motor will probably pull around 5A under load, so this would probably be the best match:
https://www.pololu.com/product/2566

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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by Stano316 on Thu May 31, 2018 8:00 am

Do you think it would be better to go with a brushless motor and corresponding speed controller?

Stano316
 
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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by Stano316 on Thu May 31, 2018 8:02 am

I am working on a grant to be able to put about 10-15 kits together based on the price I can get everything for. The kits will basically house all of the electronics needed for a car, but students will have to design and build their own chassis, gear train/drivetrain. Do you have any other suggestions or ideas?

Stano316
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 1:45 pm

Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu May 31, 2018 8:54 am

Do you think it would be better to go with a brushless motor and corresponding speed controller?

Brushless motors tend to be quieter and more efficient. If you have the funds for it, then it would be a nice upgrade.

The kits will basically house all of the electronics needed for a car, but students will have to design and build their own chassis, gear train/drivetrain.

Servo City and Robot Shop are two good sources for hobby-grade parts.
McMaster Carr, SDP-SI and Misumi carry more extensive lines of industrial grade drive-train and structural components.

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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by Stano316 on Thu May 31, 2018 1:59 pm

Great! Thanks for all of the help....I attached a pic of the electronics setup and a parts list for the project. If you happen to see something glaringly obvious that I missed please let me know.

Parts list https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qSe4t2NsRlWEOEG_WHjpVSUHMSRHcSc03VAO6OimF-Y/edit?usp=sharing

Image

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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu May 31, 2018 2:11 pm

Yes, that diagram looks good.

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Re: Solar Powered RC Car

by Stano316 on Thu May 31, 2018 2:36 pm

Great, as I make progress I will keep this post updated. Thanks again

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Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 1:45 pm

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