Build an ALL SOLAR Remote Controlled Boat RC Boat Using Solar Attic Fan Parts -Rescue Boat-





Introduction: Build an ALL SOLAR Remote Controlled Boat RC Boat Using Solar Attic Fan Parts -Rescue Boat-

About: I would love to find a job where I could play with fabrication tools all day and be creative. Anyone have a suggestion?

You can build an ALL SOLAR remote controlled boat using solar attic fan parts.

Have you ever been to the lake to watch the guys with the Chris Craft or Sail Boats? They're sitting around talking 90% of the time. Why aren't they running their boats more? Because the batteries only last about 20 minutes. So, if they spend a few hours at the lake they really only running the boats a fraction of the time (I know because I built a Chris Craft). So, here's what I made so I can have my hands on a controller the entire time I'm there.

This boat has absolutley ZERO batteries.

You'll need to buy one of those up coming popular Solar Attic Fan kits. It comes with the solar panel and a fan. You won't need the aluminum fan blade or shroud but you'll use everything else. I got mine on ebay for under $100

You'll also need basic RC electronics such as a matched radio and receiver, ESC and a servo. These are all things the typical RC modeler and model store have on hand.

Step 1: Easy Build

I don't have pics of it going together but you can get the idea from the pics. I used aluminum flat stock for the side supports and 4" plastic pipe for the pontoons. I got some steel rod the same diameter as the shaft of the motor for the drive shaft and the propeller is a 2.5" from Dumas. Mount the motor with a U-clamp from the hardwar store and build a bushing to hold the shaft near the propeller.

Step 2: Wiring

I made the rudder out of the same aluminum flat stock and just bolted it to the servo horn. Nothing fancy there. I didnt even need to use any kind of voltage regulator. The solar panel puts out 19V max and most ESCs are made for higher voltage so its an easy wiring job. Hook the panel up to the ESC power, hook the motor up to the ESC Motor Out, plug in the connectors to the receiver and its done.

Step 3: Performance

So, yes, it's very slow but at least I have something to do inbetween run times at the lake. As long as there is sunshine I can drive this boat because it's 100% SOLAR POWERED.

It also makes a GREAT rescue boat. If someone flips over or stops working I can just putt out there and bring them back in.

Send me pics if you build a differnd style!



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Very smart and cool. I started building an RC boat last week using PVC pipes and stumbled upon this tonight... I was thinking of putting a solar panel on mine too to charge the batteries while the motors weren't being used... did you use any sort of isolation device between the charger and batteries on your battery version?

    i like it,,,i have a RC too but it has powerd by a salt water..


    would be nice to put a lipo battery in there or 2 of them. can be from the mirco r/c choppers. to supply some power. when its cloudy.

    Great information about Solar Remote Controlled Boat, but I was totally confused ! Where you get the directions and materials to build that?,And one more thing, the energy goes straight from the solar panels to the engine, or there is some kind of battery/capacitor??

    My R/C Sailboat, A SOLING One Meter, uses 4 AA batteries in the boat, And I take it to the pond and run it for three hours easy, without changing batteries. And cloudy days are the best days to sail.

    Very interesting. How waterproof and weatherproof is the solar panel and electronics? If you capsise will you wreak it?

     Can I know what is the area of your solar panel???
    also I would like to ask that is it better to place propeller half immersed in water or fully immersed??  
    and what about the propeller...I mean...propeller with 2 wings are better or the one with 4 wings??


    2 replies

    Halfway out is better. Any performance/power boat uses a "surface piercing" screw.

    A propeller is for aircraft, boats use screws

    place it fully immersed, otherwise its only hlaf the pwer being used. and how many blades it has, it doesn't matter. what matters is the pitch. but i would go with 4.

    Well Most people don't have a solar panel,So that will cost you at least 40 dollars for a cheap,low Amperage one

    The solar panel and motor will cost about $200 on ebay. It's a 12V 20 watt panel and you can see it's pretty slow. Anything less would probably not move. If you buy the cheapest Radion and Receiver, ESC and servo you can find used on ebay you'll probably spend another $80. The properler was $45 and other materials were about $20. I built a much better design that's a lot faster but don't have video of it yet. See my other instructibles to find it. -Peter

    Ouch,12V at 20 watts is...about 7-9 amps,Thats allot,You probably used An AC motor,they are not too efficient on DC electricity.

    12V at 20 Watts is exactly 1.6 Amps. Solar power is Always DC Power. AC motors don't work at all with a DC power source

    Umm Yes they do,Just in case (Justin,Case,Ha)You don't know what AC is i will explain.
    On the terminals,One is positive and One is negative(No durrr),The one with Positive changes to negative and the one with negative changes to positive,IT repeats this process at 60 Hertz,Thats what AlternatingCurrent Means.
    Now,These motors have so spin in the same direction no mater what polarity is recived,If you hook it up to a battery they will spin,If you hook it up in reverse they still spin,in the same direction,And DC Motors,Direct current,The polarity is always the same,And If you feed it AC electricity what happends,Nothing!,It will Only vibrate,Due to the Current Alternating,The Electricity.
    1.6 Amps is about the 1.5 of a standard remote control car,they are usually 900MAh If it is 1000 Mah,Or 1 Ah ,If you draw 100 Miliamp Hours,It will work,for 10 Hours,If you draw,1000 Miliamp Hours,It will last,1 Hour.
    If you draw 20 miliamps it will last,1500 Hours,about the current a standard LED will draw,And that is about,A week and then Some.

    Bottom Line,Your boat should go Very Fast,And IT should Be enough TO power a laptop,Via The battery replaced with the cell The Laptop batts range from3 to 5 Amps,Lasting about 3 hours,Meaning the laptop Constantly Draws a bit less than an Amp,And,Yes,THat means you could Power(Probably without CD-ROm or floppy) A laptop With the Phone line,I was just thinking about that,the phone line is a bit less than an amp,and i got my (old) Laptop to run on a 900 Miliamp Battery(THe RC car one i was telling you about.)

    What the heck does the speed of this boat have to do with the power consumption of a lap top or phone line? Some RC boats can use 100+ Amps. Yes, that's not a typo. One Hundred Amps or more. Boats take a lot more energy to move than cars. And speaking of cars. You say RC cars use 1.5 amps? None of the cars I have use that little. Maybe the $10 radio shack ones. Even my smallest car (Losi Mini-T) has a 1400mah battery pack and only last about 15 minutes which means it uses an AVERAGE of about 5 amps. That's average. During acceleration it uses 30 to 40 amps and it's a tiny car. The 10th scale cars use 4000mah batteries (that's 4 amp hours) and last 15 minutes. That's an average of 16 amps and peaks in the hundreds. Check out the ratings on any RC car ESC (that's the Electronig Speed Control) that powers the motor. They are all capable of hundres of amps because that's how much they need. I think you're confusing amps and amp-hours. You can probably get a laptop to run on a 100miliamp-hour battery but it will only last a couple minutes. You must also not be familiar with boat dynamics. This is a big heavy boat. I would imagine even the perfect combo of motor and propeller would take 10-20 amps to get it to plane. I would love to be proved wrong. Yes, I know what AC is. Technically, house AC doesn't behave exacly like you say. The white wire running through your house is neutral (like a ground and often tied to ground in new homes) so it never techinally is positive or negative. And the black wire changes from +120Volts to -120Volts. If you take two white wires that are out of phase of each other it will give you 220VAC. Regardless of the technicality of AC current, AC motors will not run on DC current. It's a physical imposibility. And AC motors CAN change direction. They have to be three phase just like RC brushless motors. You simple switch two of the three wires and it changes direction. I know what you're saying, RC cars use DC batteries so how can they have a brushless AC motor. Well the brushless speed control converts DC to three phase AC-type current using pulses. AC motors do not spin with DC current. DC motors do not spin with AC current. Unless you have a motor that claims to be AC but has a rectifier in it that converts it to DC then I suppose you could use either type but technically that's a DC motor and they just convert AC to DC. You see, DC motors have brushes that contact the stator which change the magnetic feld in the rotor as it rotates. This reacts to the opposing magnets glued to the inside of the motor can. AC motors have coils attached to the inside of the can and the alternating current creates the magnetic field to pull the rotor around. There is no way either motor will run on anything other than it's intended for. Open up any motor. If it has brushes then it also has coils of wire wound around the rotor (the part that spins in the middle) which means it's DC. If it has coils around the inside of the case then it's AC. Simple as that. If you think AC motors can run on DC then PLEASE show me. Show me a motor you have that you can hook up to AC and then DC and it will spin using either.

    Ouch,overkill,Big time. Anyways,You May see "AC" Motors out there,Sometimes you see them with a built-in transformer to change it to DC,And i have AN AC motor,From a vacuum cleaner,I use it all the time with A Lead acid battery i have. Also,I got a bit off topic,I tend to do that :P Also,I don't Have The 5 Hours it would Take to read your whole comment