Instructables

Solar Powered Battle Symet - BEAM Style

Picture of Solar Powered Battle Symet - BEAM Style
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BEAM Solar Symets (a contraction from "Symmetrical Robots") were first built by Mark Tilden many years ago as a way to provide mobile plant-life to the other creatures in his Robot Jurassic Park. Being quite simple by only using one solar-engine circuit, they're quick and easy to build.

These versions use high-power Miller Solar Engine circuits, that make them spin much more madly than their pokey ancestors! If you are new to BEAM, it's a design philosophy that incorporates minimalist electronics, and often, solar power. Want more info? Check out Solarbotics.com and Solarbotics.net!

The Battle Symet borrows heavily from the original family of Symets, but these are designed to spin in a circle at much higher speeds.



 
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Step 1: Parts You'll Need

Picture of Parts You'll Need
We've made a convenient parts bundle of almost everything you'll need to build this project (not including the tools). You'll have all the mechanical and electrical components needed to start making this fun lil' robot!

Mechanical Parts

1 - High-efficiency Coreless Motor (Solarbotics part #: RPM2)
1 - Motor Mounting Clip (Solarbotics part #: MMFC)
3 - Rubber Wheels on Nylon Hubs (Solarbotics part #: RW)
2 - Paper clips

Electronic Parts
1 - 37 x 33mm Solarbotics Solar Cell (Solarbotics part #: SCC3733)
1 - 0.35F 2.5V Gold Capacitor (Solarbotics part #: CP.35F)
1 - 6.8uF Electrolytic Capacitor (Solarbotics part #: CP6.8uF)
1 - 3904 Transistor (Solarbotics part #: TR3904)
1 - 1381 Voltage Trigger (Solarbotics part #:1381C)
1 - Signal Diode 1N914 (Solarbotics part #: D1)

1 - Short length of twisted red/black wire

Tools Required
- Soldering equipment (soldering iron / solder / cleaning sponge) (HVW tech soldering tools )
- A pair of Needle-nose pliers (HVWTech part #: 43060 or 43061)
- A pair of Flush Cutters (HVWTech part #: 43040 )
- Safety Glasses - VERY important when clipping and snipping! (Solarbotics part #: 5330)

Get the parts bundle here!

Personally, I used a pencil head for the eraser :)
lharvey6192 years ago
while trying to do this myself, with parts I have at hand, I am finding that the wire insulation I have available are too loose in the above fitting, too big to fit in the wheel, or too small to fit over the motor shaft.

So, simple question: what guage wire is that sleeving salvaged from?
lharvey6192 years ago
I have been playing around with these 3733 solar cells for a while now, and think I found a better way to use them with a 1381c solar engine.

See, the 1381c is set to trigger at 2.6Vdc or so.. but the 3733 cell is a 6 volt cell! This means that the top 3v are never used, as the solar engine oscillates between 1vdc an 2.6vdc (typically), so really all you need is a 3v solar cell.

What great about the 3733 6v cell is that, as you notice on the front, it is 2 cells strung together... meaning each half is a 3v cell!

The 3733 is rated at (looking it up)6.7V, and 15ma, so, that means each half is 3.35v, and 7.5 ma. more or less. I bring this up because if you do the following mod to the chip, it will be a 3v cell, with TWICE the amperage supply! This means that a supercap should charge up faster.

The modification you need to do is pretty simple to explain even without pictures embedded. Look at the picture above of the back of the board. Along the right side is the long strip that connects the two cells together. If you scrape away at the strip somewhere in the middle, you can break that circuit by scraping away at it until the thin copper strip underneath is gone (you dont have to do the whole strip, just break its connection completely)

Then, make an X with two wires, connecting each opposite corner together. and thats it! you now have 2 cells in parallel instead of series, and now it is acting like 2 cells teaming up.

One problem that I have noticed with doing this though is this mod hampers low light operation... as a 3v cell in low light is a .7v cell... whereas a 6 volt cell in low light is still roughly around the 2.6v needed for the solar engine to still work.
Solarbotics (author) 4 years ago
Ah! I see I can attach images to the reply. Here's the schematic (remember, no R1 needed - just a wire connection is fine!)
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Solarbotics (author) 4 years ago
The solar engine is a very well documented circuit. I'll add a version to the end of the instructable. Keep in mind that the R1 resistor is no longer required.
matstermind4 years ago
could you add a schematic for the circuit?
 Mastermind,
 This one is assembled on a Solarbotics Solar Panel, with the PCB already on the back. The components are just soldered onto it.

 If you're looking for a BEAM Solar Engine schematic, Google it.
 This is a 1381 based circuit. Also checkout FLED Solar Engine.

 I prefer to freeform my robots.

 I have Solar Robots and Solar Robot Kits available.
 Also cheap Solar Cells and Efficient Motors.

 Checkout: http://www.middlecreekmerchants.etsy.com
                 & http://www.robots.stonepile.org 

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