This exercise lets children directly feel the energy in sunlight.
A dowel shaft can be attached to a motor with a piece of tubing slid onto a motor shaft bushing (or the motor pulley mounted backwards, as shown here). Hold the motor and shaft loosely in your upturned palm, with the tubing slightly bent. With your other hand aim the attached solar panel toward the Sun.
The motor and shaft assembly will vibrate in the open palm of your hand – a primitive sun-drum.
Consider that the solar panel is about 12 – 15% (1/8) efficient, and the motor is about 50% (1/2) efficient…so only about 1/8 x 1/2 = 1/16 of the total received solar energy is transformed into vibrating mechanical energy.
If solar cells were 100% efficient, and the motor 100% efficient, you would need a panel only 1/16 this size to produce the energy you feel in your hand.
That is to say, the energy you feel in your hand is the energy in a small postage-stamp area of sunlight.
“Your cars are incredible, they are so much fun and are a really effective way to show how an electric circuit works with a solar panel as the power source.”
“The solar cars worked GREAT. This activity was a huge hit with the campers and we were able to generate some excellent discussion and learning about alternative energy, climate change, etc, etc.”
“I really appreciate your concern with quality. It will ultimately make a better experience for our students. Thanks again!”
“About our solar panels -By far the best that I have found”
“Hi…just want to let you know that the school project was a big success! He got an A+ on it… especially because it was an original idea.”
“These kits are a lot more hands-on than the last group I purchased and I am sure the students will enjoy the project quite a lot more.”
“The kids LOVED these kits!”
Junior High School teacher in Ohio
“I am very pleased with the materials and have been showing the panels and motor to others already their reactions are consistently one of being amazed.”
On building a solar boat: My friends are amazed at the power and motor speed of solar.
The car kits did arrive in time. The workshop was a hit! Kids had a great time assembling the kits with their parents. After the workshop, we brought the cars outside and the kids experimented with adjusting the solar panels and changing the direction of the car. It was great to watch their young minds at work! Thanks for a great product!
“By the way, I really appreciate your well designed SolGear kits – they are proving very useful with our education programs teaching solar PV and electric motor efficiency.”
“I’ve always appreciated how much your kits bring out the “maker” in kids! … I’m over the moon that we will get to be using them.”
“We had our *Bring Your Child To Work Day* last week. The kids (ages 7 – 13) had a great time learning about solar power and building their cars. Hearing the younger kids squeal with excitement as their cars began to move on the patio was priceless. Having the spare parts in the kits was helpful too. Overall the kits were GREAT!”
“I just wanted to send a thank you for the fast shipping of the solar car kit I ordered. It is a blessing to get good value and fast service.”
About our customer support: “Thank you so much for using your valuable time to help us even though we were unprepared. You do not know how much of a difference you made in our project. We think that your products are FABULOUS!!”