1st photo, project successfully charging kindle device
2nd photo, Components inside the project
3rd photo, birds-eye view
How the device works is not a simple process. There are 4 leads slaughtered to the 5V USB module. There are two ways that the device can charge another device, but here is when the 1N914 Diode comes into play. There is a battery pack inside the device, so when there is input from the solar panel, but no output for the 5V USB module, the solar panel charges the battery pack, instead of charging another device that can be connected. However, when the battery pack turns on, the current does not go back to the solar panel, and this is because of the 1N914 diode. It only allows for the electrical current to go one way, so the solar panel can charge the batteries, but the batteries don’t output electricity to the solar panel. After the rechargeable batteries are charged, they can charge a USB device connected to the USB module. Another way that the device can be charged is directly. When the battery pack is turned off, the solar panel can directly charge the 5V USB module. Those are the two ways that this device can charge another device.
Although it worked, I don’t define my success on this project whether the product worked or not. Sure, it is a part of my success, but I feel like I was successful because I was able to get the project done during the given class time, and I was able to overcome the challenges of lacking some of the materials as well as the shipping complications.
Some things I would do differently would be that I plan earlier. By the first lesson, I identified the materials I needed. But after the first class of building, there was a lack of materials that restricted me from moving on. However the shipping was taking an extremely long time. Because it was getting close to Chinese New Year, the shipping and TaoBao deliveries took longer, because they had to process a larger amount of requests. So this complicated things. I had to wait for the materials to arrive before I was able to proceed on my build. If I had anticipated this, I could have ordered the materials as soon as I identified them, but I did not know that the school did not have them.
As for the environmental impact of my project, this was my first time actually experiencing solar energy, and how it could serve as an alternative energy source. I feel like in the long run if we started using these sorts of alternative energy it would be efficient in using these types of renewable energy. This is a small project that only needed a couple of materials, and it was very interesting to learn how solar energy could be used in different ways.
A way that the customer could use it was in a place that would not have easily accessible energy sources, like plugs. this could be a compact device that could b used in situations like camping, to charge small devices, or even some emergency situations.
Overall, the project was very fun, and it was very interesting to learn the positive effects using renewable energy sources. It was overall a very fun project to do and I recommend it for next year as well.