Solar Energy Lesson

What you will learn:

  • How solar energy is harvested from the sun
  • How to program the micro:bit to measure solar energy

You will need:

  • 1 Mobillyo with solar panel
  • The sun
  • 1 computer
  • 1 USB cable

Lesson duration: 15 minutes

Mobillyo rev2

How solar Energy Works

  1. The sun’s light rays hit the solar panel.
  2. The solar panel transforms the sun’s light into electricity to charge the lithium battery.
  3. The lithium battery powers the micro:bit.

What if?

What if there is too much sun?

The “Battery Charger” circuit U4 turns off the electricity from the solar panel.

What if there is not enough sun?

The “Low battery Turn-Off” circuit U7 turns off the “Voltage Regulator Circuit”  U5 and no more energy flows out of the battery.

Mobillyo600l

Connections:

  1. Connect the solar panel to the Mobillyo.
  2. Connect the USB cable from the micro:bit to the computer.

Activity:

Place the solar panel face down on any surface. Do not connect the USB port on the Solar Battery.  Run the program and observe the number of LEDs that light up. Slowly move the solar panel towards the sun and observe the change in the LEDs.  Rotate the solar panel right, left, up and down and find the orientation where the maximum energy from the sun is converted to electricity.

Mobillyo rev2

Pseudo code

1- read solar panel Voltage

2- Send value to Mobillyo App text display.

3- Move solar panel to align with the sun until the maximum value is displayed.

4- read solar panel current

5- subtract  1-2 and multiply by the scaling factor to obtain mA current

6- Display current on the Mobillyo app in the text area.

Write the Arduino code needed to perform the above functions.

Conclusion

Learning to control solar power with computers like the Mobillyo opens up a new, plentiful and non-polluting energy source.

More lessons to come.