Let's Make Robots!

Taranzilla - Solar Charger

To make use of my new purchased parts I just tried to build a solar charger based on a Miller solar engine. The circuit found here (thanks ignoblegnome) and it's very easy to build. I used the simple circuit with just 1x transistor (PNP), 1x resistor, 1x diode, 1x LED, 2x solar panel and1x rechargeable battery 4,5V, solid wire, Polymorph, old cap.

As a preparation of my power station (solar, wind and thermoelectric [Seebeck-Effect] power generation) i needed to understand how the Miller Solar Enging is working. It's an easy circuit and does not require fancy parts, just simple electronics. As I also want to improve my design skills (if there any ;-) ) and not put this on a boring PCB. That was the moment when Taranzilla was born. The name came in my mind from two old movies i liked (guess which).

What else to say, just make your design of a sculpture or whatever you have in mind (except a flat PCB), solder your circuit together and merge both in an esthetic way.

Short description of the circuit for those who does not want to check this other website. During daytime or influence of light sufficient enough for the solar panel generating power, the battery will be charged. As soon as the brightness falls under a certain value (this value is the voltage generated by the solar panel which makes the transistor switch) the transistor switches and turn on the LED. The diode in the circuit is to stop the reflow of the current into nthe solar panel during the night. So the battery will not being discharged by the panel but just trought the LED. (English speaker, please correct me if I write BS here ;-) )

The pictures should explain some things too.

Start with some wire

Bend and solder some legs...

Solder wire to the solar panel and secure it with glue (i ragged one solder pad already)

The whole body acts as ground while the arc is VCC (PLUS) ...


Solder your circuit together and makle sure there are no shorts. The pins helps me to fix the whole thing on a cork plate

...easy attaching with Polymorph so that it does not have a conductive connection witht he rest of the body...we don't want to have any shorts in our design right???


Body, solar panels, circuit and LED are done...but where is the battery?

The battery is soldered right to the body and supported by 2 wires. It's a half of a 9V block battery (rechargeable).

Well, that's it...had much fun and got new ideas doing this.



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Nice macro shots....and nic project. 

I just bought a few spools of 2mm copper wire (2mm diameter aka AWG12) with the intent of building a boardless robot in the same construction style as your bug/critter.

Cool, lets see when you're on it.