View Full Version : solar powered robots

07-23-2008, 09:51 PM
ok so i've been thinking for a while now about solar power.. and i noticed that its allmost everywhere i have a cheap calculator that uses it and people use solar panels for their houses and for any of you who have seen the movie walle.. he also runs on solar power and so i want to make my bioloid run on solar power.
i dont know a lot about robots.. or wireing but i wouldent think it would be to hard to attach a little solar pannel on his back and attach it to his battery..so i would charge the battery.. i mean i just saw a 20 dollar cheap robot toy at toy's r us the other day that uses solar panels so i mean... :D how hard could it be..
what do you guys think?? i allready have 2 solar panels from toys i got when i was a kid that pushed a little car arround i wounder if i could hook them up to my bioloid??

07-23-2008, 11:57 PM
If you're not looking to melt your bioloid down (assuming you're using LiPO), make sure you clean-up that power first.

Shouldn't take more than probably six months in the sun for a couple toy solar panels to charge a couple thousand milliamp hour LiPO pack.

Why don't people do it? It's horrendously inefficient and horrendously awful for the environment. Have a look sometime at what goes into extracting that silicon...

A decent sized solar array with the latest technology for charging an RC battery pack in a reasonable amount of time is probably 3'x2'. A bit large for your bioloid to lug around.

07-24-2008, 12:19 AM
thats too bad.... i thought solar panels put out more power than that..
i thought maby like a solar panel the size of a deck of cards would be enough to charge my bioloid in a couple of hours.. or even make him run for like 5 hours straight insted. so it would be chargeing the battery while he was running.. but i dident realy look into it. with power output and everything..
i just thought of it off the top of my head.. maby in 10 years when they have better solar panels

07-24-2008, 02:41 AM
A company a few 100 feet from here is developing new solar panels (you may have heard of it, Imec) and supposedly they created panels with significantly higher efficiency, I don't have any real world numbers but I do know it was a lot higher than the average 15 / 20% solar cells I've heard about.

Another cool thing they're working on is solar-cells in a spray-can.
Build a roof, apply some electrodes, spray out a few cans, and voila, instant solar power.

But it's a research facility, so it'll prolly be another 20 yrs for time-to-market..

07-24-2008, 02:57 AM
thanks ScuD!! ya i was hopeing for a robot that could run for longer without rechargeing or to breakaway from a wall socket all together.. ya ill check them out.. do they have a web site?
maby when im 25 they will have something that i can buy. :D

07-24-2008, 03:23 AM
its www.imec.be but as I said, it's a research facility (university spin-off) and they only produce products for research purposes, you can't actually buy anything from them.

You may however find more info on their research and maybe the company they're doing the solar-cell research for, that way you could find out where it'll end up.

Keep in mind though, those guys are developing the Intel chipsets that'll be "brand-spanking new" in 5 years or so, so it's not like you can expect those solar cells any day now.

07-24-2008, 03:24 AM
On a side-note, if you'd like to explore solar bots, look into BEAM robots.

Though they're simple little critters they're mighty lots of fun and you learn quite a lot about electronics in the process.

Google for "beam solar engine" and sorts.

07-24-2008, 05:30 AM
thanks for your help ya i looked at imec and also found a few articles arround on google.. their idea sounds good and i cant wait till its for sale but as you said.. it will be some time..

haha o and i love those little solar bots.. i own like 3 of them but they are walkers..
here is the sight if you wana see what started the whole idea..

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://electronickits.com/robot/bioloidlsmall.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.electronickits.com/robot/robot.htm&h=400&w=305&sz=16&hl=en&start=8&um=1&tbnid=jf0dOii8Z7_exM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=95&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhumanoid%2Brobots%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den% 26sa%3DX (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://electronickits.com/robot/bioloidlsmall.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.electronickits.com/robot/robot.htm&h=400&w=305&sz=16&hl=en&start=8&um=1&tbnid=jf0dOii8Z7_exM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=95&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhumanoid%2Brobots%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den% 26sa%3DX)

07-24-2008, 05:54 AM
About 15 years ago or so, Honda was touting a spray-on solar panel. The neat thing about it is that you could spray it in multiple directions, so that parking in the shade didn't kill the whole charging array. They were using it on their alternative racer.

No idea what ever became of it, but this sounds pretty similar. It looked back then like Honda was about ready to release it - guess not.

Still, unfortunately, doesn't answer how eco-unfriendly they really are...

07-24-2008, 05:57 AM
Still, unfortunately, doesn't answer how eco-unfriendly they really are...

Agreed.. I think the solar-panel hype is way overrated.

Plus, I wouldn't want to spray those things myself... blow your nose and you have a solar-powered handkerchief :o

07-24-2008, 12:36 PM
No doubt! Electric Snot Therapy? :D :D