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Solar powered toy bicycle (first project need advice)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by ohm, Jan 16, 2014.

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  1. ohm


    Jan 16, 2014
    Hello fellow electronics enthusiasts :)

    Names Matt, this is my first post and I would really love some guidance and instruction on how to go about creating my first project.

    What I am wanting to do is this ..

    I have purchased a toy bicycle because I was really into mountain biking last year and its really a reminder of that, what I want to do is, ... place the bike on top of a project box and have 2 cut outs below the wheels, in these cut outs inside the box I want to have a roller under each wheel on a pully system with a band from a motor, which will be powered by a 9v battery and topped up via a solar panel.

    I would also like to add a white led light on the front of the bike and a red one on the back to give the bike lights, the idea is the project charges through the day and at night time maybe with a light sensitive switch it then switches over to the battery and the wheels start to turn and the lights come on.

    Is any of that possible ? have I bitten off more than I can chew for my first project ? I have many questions unanswered..

    Would a solar cell even charge a 9v battery ? how would I go about installing the motor, rollers and band system correctly inside an empty project box ? what kind of low voltage LED's would I need, the list goes on and on :(

    Here are some pictures of where I am starting from, this is a total new hobby for me, I know I will need more things which am happy to get as I need them.



    Any ideas where I should start ? maybe with a project box and if so any ideas where I can get one.

    As you can see I am new here lol but I am eager and excited to learn and really want to create this.

    Any help much appreciated, I will continue to update as I go if I can get started.

    Many thanks in advance :D
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    I had a solar powered model something (not at all) similar to this.

    It had a man on a bicycle who would pedal when the sun shone on the panel.

    I would recommend you go for entirely solar powered at first. Find a smal motor and an appropriate solar cell and then make sure the motor turns when the panel is exposed to sunlight.

    Initially, you might just rest the wheel on the shaft of the motor. Does it have sufficient torque to turn the wheel? If not, you'll need a larger panel, more powerful motor, more sun (one or more).

    If it works, you can try some modifications to the drive arrangement knowing that anything is going to load he motor up more (which may get you into the equation above)
  3. ohm


    Jan 16, 2014
    Hi Steve.

    Thanks for that :)

    The motor I bought is as follows :

    Mabuchi RF-500 Motor - 1.5 to 12 VDC - Solar Motor

    • Brand new motor manufactured by Mabuchi
    • Model: RF-500TB-12560
    • Operates on 6 VDC nominal
    • Recommended operating voltage range 1.5VDC to 12VDC
    • No load speed is 2,700 RPM
    • No load current: 20 mA
    • Full load (maximum efficiency @ 6VDC) performance characteristics:
    • Speed: 2180 RPM
    • Current: 84 mA
    • Torque: 11.6 g-cm (1.13 mN-m)
    • Power output: .26 Watts
    • Stall torque: 60 g-cm (5.88 mN-m)
    • Stall current: .35 Ampere
    • Can be operated in either direction, simply reverse power supply polarity
    • Dimensions (not including shaft): 24.7 mm long x 32 mm diameter
    • Shaft dimensions: 8.8 mm long x 2.0 mm diameter
    • Comes with solder eyelets for easy connection
    • Features 2 threaded mounting holes (JIS M2.6x0.45)
    • Weight: 45 grams
    • Popular motor used in many electric devices: CD Players, DVD Player, VCRs, etc.
    • Low voltage and low current requirements make it a perfect motor for solar experiments

    Not really sure what any of that means lol :eek:

    The spec of the solar panel I bought is as follows:

    5V 70mA MONOCRYSTALLINE Mini Solar Power Cell PCB Panel Charge Battery 4 LED

    • Voltage: 5V
    • Current: 70mA
    • Watt: 0.35W
    • 11cm x 2.7cm
    Small Monocrystalline solar panels with leads,ideal for educational use and experimenting, these can be joined together in series or parallel to make larger panels with higher voltage or current as required which can be used for battery charging or powering leds,fans,motors,waterpumps etc,these are particularly useful used singularly for battery charging in solar garden lights but can also be used to make an odd sized panel or a panel of a certain voltage,a good use could be for battery charging on model aircraft,boats, etc.

    I am still waiting on the above solar cell coming from China, I wanted one specifically that shape for the project box I am going to be using.

    I could probably get 2 of these on side by side thinking about it.

    Looking at the numbers, does it suggest 1 or even 2 would power that motor or charge a battery / capacitor to do the job ? I really like the idea of free energy I think its great.

    I have got a small 5v solar cell here and when I put that to the motor in direct sunlight despite the cell giving 4V the motor didn't turn yet it does with a AA 1.2v rechargeable battery.

    I initially thought if its got enough volts it will work but now I am starting to wonder, is it milliamps that I need and maybe milliamps are the torque that will drive the motor not voltage ? that would explain why a 5V solar cell couldn't budge the motor but a 1.2v AA rechargeable battery could ? or maybe I had loose wires or something, so far it doesn't make sense.
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