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# Automatic steering system for a model solar powered car

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#### boylesg

Ways to get more out of a solar panel

My son's high school competes in a model solar car race and I am going to contribute to it.....put my hard earned electronic knowledge to the test.

What tricks of the trade are there to get more amperage out of solar panels?

Can anyone point me in the direction of some appropriate websites?

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Typical solar cells generate voltages from 0.5 to 2-3Volts; then they are series-connected for more voltage. Current capability is defined by the cell area, so for a higher current, larger cell are used. Connecting cells in parallel is not recommended; only cell blocks can be paralleled, with protective diodes.

Typical solar cells generate voltages from 0.5 to 2-3Volts; then they are series-connected for more voltage. Current capability is defined by the cell area, so for a higher current, larger cell are used. Connecting cells in parallel is not recommended; only cell blocks can be paralleled, with protective diodes.

Know of a good website that goes through all this?

Are the PV panels mounted on the car? If so then space is limited. Look into the 'high-output' panels. Of course they are higher priced.

In simple terms you will match the panel to the motor, volt-wise and current-wise. If the motor uses 6V at 500 mA (presenting a 12 ohm load), then your panel should be rated 6V at 500 mA (or higher). Don't use a panel rated 3V at 1A, nor 12V at 250mA.

Before you obtain the PV panel, it may be better if you get the car running first, with a motor which has sufficient power to move it. Minimize friction in the drivetrain. Maximize efficiency. Track the volt and current draw in all situations.

If you use the fragile crystalline type cells, they should be guarded from getting bent, knocked, etc. The mounting should not be too rigid nor too flexible.

Are the PV panels mounted on the car? If so then space is limited. Look into the 'high-output' panels. Of course they are higher priced.

In simple terms you will match the panel to the motor, volt-wise and current-wise. If the motor uses 6V at 500 mA (presenting a 12 ohm load), then your panel should be rated 6V at 500 mA (or higher). Don't use a panel rated 3V at 1A, nor 12V at 250mA.

Before you obtain the PV panel, it may be better if you get the car running first, with a motor which has sufficient power to move it. Minimize friction in the drivetrain. Maximize efficiency. Track the volt and current draw in all situations.

If you use the fragile crystalline type cells, they should be guarded from getting bent, knocked, etc. The mounting should not be too rigid nor too flexible.

The cars run long a guide rail and I have had an idea of how to implement a steering system for the car to minimise drag when travelling around the bends.

I.E. Guide wheels on sprung pivots with eletrical contacts at the top with these as inputs to an arduino microcontroller which in turn operates a stepper motor that turns a disk with the the front axles mounted on it.

And yes the solar panels are mounted on the model car.

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