Solar Panel Charger by Alicia Song
<< Solar Panel Charger
How does the product work?
For the engineering task, I chose “Take a renewable energy source & convert it into electrical energy.” I chose solar energy (the renewable/sustainable energy source) and converted it to electrical energy, which makes the phone to be charged. The basic video that I watched was only the solar panel and the DC-DC USB module that directly goes to the phone, but I thought it would be difficult to charge the phone with this if there is no sun, like the night-time or rainy season. So I added the battery pack, so the solar energy from the solar panel goes into the (rechargeable) battery pack, and also goes to the phone, so it can contain the electrical energy, which is converted from solar energy, in the battery pack and use it anytime.
What feedback did I get from others to improve my work?
Although I didn’t have the model of my first prototype (which is not made because of feedback), I first designed the product to be a 7*7*3 size, because it was the smallest solar panel size that our school has. However, when Mr. Hussack checked how the solar panel works, the smaller one was not very good to gather energy from the sun. Therefore, I changed the model to the current one, so that I can get enough energy from the sun with a bigger panel. I helped me to improve my product to WORK! Also, I tried to make the product with cardboard at first, but Sandy advised me to make it with wood which will look cleaner and arranged. I think with wood, it would be a better look than a product with cardboard.
What are my successful criteria?
My successful criteria were “see my product works,” which was I can see that the Solar Panel Charger charges the phone. In the process, I created the product pretty much aesthetically (than I imagined), and I didn’t make any big accident or issue. I met the purpose of my project, which is “Take the renewable energy source & convert it to electrical energy,” and I made the product work. Although I couldn’t test how much time is needed to charge the phone to 100%, I think I made the success on both product and process part that 1) The product works, 2) It meets the criteria of “Take the renewable energy source & convert it to electrical energy.”
The most proud part of this project was that I made some change with existing idea. I watched the video with just the solar panel and the charger, but I think it has some problems such as it doesn’t work at night-time. So I added the battery to contain the left-over energy and it can be used anytime, in everywhere.
What is the strength of the product?
The strength of the product is the environment part. Since it uses solar power and converts it to electrical energy, it’s a lot better than using the electrical energy from fossil fuels or other resources that hurt the Earth. Also, it’s the same as the phone size, so you can take anywhere you want, and it looks nice. Also, for whom don’t like the chargers to be somewhere else outside of extra battery charger, you can even put the charger(the wire) inside the box!
- It’s easy to use. (just turn the switch on and charge your phone)
- It’s small, so it’s easy to take away with. (ANYWHERE with your phone)
- It’s eco-environmental. (Solar energy -> electrical energy)
- It’s cute and organized.
What is the weakness of the product?
There are some weaknesses in this product, also. First, it’s easy to hurt the solar panel and the wires that connect the components. There isn’t any fixing equipment that sticks the upper part of the box (with solar panel), so it’s easy to drop the materials in the box if you put something in it.
What could I fix if I do this project again?
If I could do this project again, I want to try to make it with other materials such as an acrylic board. And also, I would use wood glue or super glue to make it more aesthetically. And to fix the weakness, I can put the switch outside of the box and make the top part be able to stick with the body part.
How does my product impact the potential clients?
My potential clients are people who use the mobile phone and have an interest in environmental issues. Since my product is using renewable energy converts to electrical energy, the clients will consider more about the environmental impact that they can influence Earth. I wish my product can give a positive effect on the earth and every single person in the world.