Solar Power Replacement
Name: Chad J.
Date: November 2002
A student of mine wants to replace a battery source in
her remote controlled truck with ONLY solar energy. The battery pack is
at 9.6V running at about 1A. Can she take multiple solar modules
(already put together) that equal the sum of the battery source (9V and
1A) and connect those to the truck and have it run?
Your present battery energy source is 9.6 watts (voltage x current). You
would have to check the power rating of any alternative energy source, e.g.
solar cells, to see if they can provide that power. My instincts tell me
that 9.6 watts is pretty large, but I am not sure.
I would be very careful with this project. The battery has other
properties than providing 1A at 9.6 V (not 12V?). It is a relatively
stable source of voltage. With all the computing installed in cars
these days, I would worry about sudden jumps in voltage. Also
starting a car takes a LOT more current than running it, hundreds of
amperes on a cold winter morning. In fact, I would expect a running
car uses considerable more than 1A with the radio, fans, seat heater,
and rear window defroster all going.
You could, however, use solar cells to recharge the battery. This
would save the gas needed to power the generator when it is under load
generating power to run the car and recharge the battery. It might
even be possible to remove the generator belt and rely entirely on the
solar cells for recharging the battery. I would be careful, though.
Best, Dick Plano
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