How to Make a Solar Energy Model

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    • 1). Purchase a DC powered motor to use in your model. Motors that operate on DC are designed for use with battery power, as opposed to being plugged into the wall. You can obtain a DC motor from your local hobby shop, or from any old battery operated toys that are no longer being used. It does not have to be a large motor since you are just making a model of solar energy (see Resources below).

    • 2). Buy a solar panel large enough to supply power to your DC motor. These panels are often referred to as photovoltaic cells (see Resources below). The purpose of the solar cell is to take energy from the sun and convert it to DC power. This power is then transferred to a generator or a rechargeable battery, where it can be used to provide power for your motor or other appliances.

    • 3). Connect your solar panel to a rechargeable battery. Start by connecting a wire to the negative terminal on your solar panel and running it to the negative post on your battery. Next run a wire from the positive terminal on the solar panel to a diode, which will prevent energy from leaking out of the battery. Connect an additional wire from the diode to a resistor, which will prevent the battery from being overcharged. Finally, connect a third wire from the resistor to the positive post on the battery. You can purchase a diode and resistor at Radio Shack or a similar electronics store.

    • 4). Wire your DC motor to the battery. This is a straight process involving two wires. Run one wire from the negative terminal on the motor to the negative post on the battery. Run a second wire from the positive terminal on the motor to the positive post on your battery. Your circuit is not complete, and consists of a rechargeable battery being energized by solar power and feeding current to your DC motor.

    • 5). Test the motor. Supply the solar panel with a source of light. A reading lamp is often sufficient, but direct light from the sun works best. When the panel is exposed to light, the motor should begin to operate. Many people like to attach small fan blades to the motor to add to the visual effect of the energy being converted to DC power.

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