The Blog

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Solar Panel is on its way!!

While researching and buying batteries for the bikes, I ran across a portable solar panel designed to charge the battery packs we ended up ordering.  When I talked to Mike at Golden Motors about the solar panel, he had to admit that he had just gotten his first one in and he had no experience with them.  Mike offered to test the panel to make sure that it would charge the batteries without damaging them.  He ended up building a charge controller that shuts the power to the battery off when it reaches full charge.  (Quite surprising that the panel comes without any connectors or charge controllers.  I wonder what the supplier was thinking?)  Anyway, Mike skillfully built a charge controller and shipped the panel to me yesterday.   When I get it, I will install it on the roof of the trailer with a quick disconnect.  I started building the frame today based on the dimensions I got from Mike.
The plan is to charge a battery pack on sunny days. (We estimated that it will take about 8 hours to fully charge a flat 14 amp hour 36 volt battery with  our panel.  Time will tell!)  The rest of the plan and the reason for the quick disconnect is so that we can put the charger on the ground at our events and demonstrate solar power turning into vehicle miles.   As Street Theater, I think our set up will be very impressive.  Suddenly, reliance on fossil fuels is gone!
I'm excited to see people respond to an actual demonstration of a solar panel making power.  Spinning wind turbines are easy for me to translate into electricity but solar panels just sit there looking shiny.   It's not obvious that electricity is being generated.  Not only will our panel be hooked to a charging battery but I am also able to hook a volt meter into the line (thanks to Mike) so that the charge traveling into the battery is visible. Way cool.

3 comments:

  1. This is so cool, can hardly wait to see it charging the batteries.
    Nice beeing a part of the ride Oliver.

    Cheers Rolf

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  2. Wonderful.. I've imagined that there is no need for people to change batteries or even get gas just for their bike to run.. :D Anyway, hope you can post more updates on this..

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