loading

Here's a project that can let Mom, Dad, & Jr. or Princess all play together in the back yard by improving a Power Wheels electric car and upgrading it to green technology and renewable energy.

A while back, I had gotten a PowerWheels Jeep, but it didn't have a battery or charger. And it always seems that these toy cars end up getting left outside anyways, AND it's a little bit of a pain to pull out the battery to recharge.

Since I already built a full-size electric car AND I am interested in renewable energy, this was the perfect chance for me to build my own low-voltage SOLAR-POWERED ELECTRIC CAR!

The project integrates the PowerWheels with a battery, PV Solar Panels on a custom rack, and a solar charge controller, to design a child's solar-electric car.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this project you are going to need some fairly typical tools, but you may or may not have worked with solar-electric components before. That's OK, the whole system is low voltage, and pretty easy to work on.

Here's the Materials:
  • Fisher-Price POWER WHEELS ride-on toy or similar
  • 20AH, 12V sealed lead-acid battery
  • 2 ten-foot sections of 1/2" electrical conduit (for the solar rack)
  • Harbor Freight 45 watt Solar Panel kit or equivalent ( http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-solar-panel-kit-68751.html )
  • 8 x 1.5" stainless steel 1/4-20 machine screws, with matching washers and lock-nuts
  • 2 x 5/16" x 5" bolts with matching fender washers and lock-nuts
  • 2'x1' of plexiglass, plastic, or other sturdy, waterproof material
  • Scrap tubing to make spacers
  • Self-tapping sheet-metal screws
  • 4 x mending plates
  • Assorted electrical connectors, ring and spade terminals
  • 30-amp in-line fuse
  • Zip-Ties
  • Spray paint

Tools:
  • Tape measure
  • Drill & assorted bits, including screw-driving bit
  • Pipe cutter
  • Angle grinder and vise
  • Wire strippers and crimpers
  • Welder
  • Wrenches and Sockets (7/16" and 1/2")
  • Typical safety equipment and PPE (work gloves, safety glasses, hearing projecting, etc.)
<p>Couple questions (I apologize if you answered them and I missed them): 1) how long does it take to fully charge the battery, and 2) how long does the battery stay charged (if not in the sun)? My boys want to make one for an indoor competition. Thanks so much - Stacy</p>
<p>Hello Ben I came across you video while researching an idea for an agriculture project. Great build first of all!! I know this was three years ago but the Lord just recently gave me an idea for a project using a solar powered Power wheels motor and frame for our youth agriculture program. I would like to know if everything worked out for the long haul like you wanted and what would you do differently. Man this is a fantastic idea did you ever consider patenting it and selling to Hasbro as an add on? or doing retro fits?</p><p>with the panels and frame charge controller etc what was you total cost? Its a blessing you were able to weld it and do all the work your self. Once again great job very innovative!</p><p> I would love to hear from you thanks Minister Drew from Camp CARVER <a href="mailto:themightymen@hotmail.com" rel="nofollow">themightymen@hotmail.com</a></p>
That is sick!!!! Although it would be even more awesome if you made it gas powered!!!
Hi everyone, <br> <br>After thinking about it for a while, I think I could build a version of this entirely out of plywood and stock electronic parts from scratch. <br> <br>It could be sold as a kit. (Precut wood parts flat-packed, with with electric motor, and a few other required parts.) <br> <br>What would you think of that?
Awesome! And I love the sheep in the jeep, so cute :)
Excellent build as ever ben!
this is a FANTASTIC idea !
Isn't it good when you can combine your hobbies with things your kids like to do? I find it's a lot easier to get build time when &quot;it's for the kids&quot;. Really nice build - reminds me that I need to learn how to weld.
Great job!! What is the top speed/ range? <br>
5 miles per hour<br>One backyard ( I guess that generally Power Wheels are considered an hour or so run-time )<br><br>My little girl usually plays with the car for up to 20 minutes, and the battery is fine for the whole time she's playing.
I LOVE IT! Very well done. <br> <br>I'm not sure what I loved more in the video... You riding it, or the comment about you having to teach her about the brakes! lol ;-)

About This Instructable

24,996views

158favorites

License:

Bio: Ordinary guy with no special skills, just trying to change the world one backyard invention at a time. See more at: http://300mpg.org/ On ... More »
More by bennelson:Medieval Coloring BookPrincess Castle Bunk-BedWet & Underwater Product Photography
Add instructable to: