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hello everybody,

please suppport & share our mission;igg.me/at/smartplants

today i would like to share with you how I solar charge my smart plant pots. a smart plant pot looks just like a regular plant pot but it can email you when your plant needs attention (too hot/cold, thirsty, sleeping etc.)

and with the solar charge upgrade, it can alarm you forever !!

a self sufficient smart plant system..

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we will need;

solar cells - http://www.ebay.com/itm/5V-0-8W-160mA-Mini-Solar-P...

zener diode - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Values-2V-47V-1-2W-0-5W-Ze...

female usb - http://www.ebay.com/itm/10Pcs-USB-Type-A-Female-4P...

battery pack - http://www.dx.com/p/universal-1-x-18650-battery-bo...

batteries - http://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-18650-3-7V-UltraFire-45...

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chopsticks

foamboard

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hot glue

solder

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this instructable will teach you how to make a solar charger for your power bank. this scenario can easily be adapted to other projects that need re-charging.

Step 1: Frame

get the hot glue gun ready.

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start by tracing 2 solar cells side by side on foamboard.

after tracing cut out the board, save the cut out and use it as the back wall.

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hot glue the back wall to the sides, and cut and extra foam on sides.

Step 2: Wires

put your solar cells in to the frame and turn it around

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figure out where the pins are located, draw and cut out some holes.

Step 3: Legs

find some chopsticks and glue them to each side of the frame as legs.

Step 4: Solder

measure some wire and snip the ends. solder cells in parallel.

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don't forget to insert the zener diode on the positive leg just before the female usb socket - direction matters.!

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use some hot glue to hold everything in position while testing

Step 5: Test

i was able to get upto 6.5V from a 23W CFL bulb and 5.85V in full sun.

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here you can also see the cells charging the powerbank using CFL lighting once again.

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Step 6: More About the Circuit

this instructable is about how to power the explained system below using solar energy.

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power bank is the most crucial element of our system. it is a battery holder and a charger in a sleek protective case.

it accepts 5Vin to recharge and provides 5Vout to power things up.

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connected to it, arduino nano is reading sensor data (water level, temperature, light level). the data is uploaded to thingspeak.com, where it gets plotted into graphs.

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if the collected sensor data is above/below certain levels, the system alarms the user both in person by changing color, and also sends a tweet to your email account.

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click here for more information on my smart plant systems.

Step 7: Conclusion

please vote for me in the Make Energy contest. I need a 3D printer to be able to finish my educational kits.

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our kits teach how to program microcontrollers and build circuits. a solder-free electronics learning kit, suitable for any age group.

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and after finished with the kit, the user will have a functional device that teaches them how to grow plants. no prior electrical/gardening experience required.

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meet the Plant Doctor family.

<p>Love the way of using solar energy.</p><p>Nice project :)</p>
<p>Cool!!! Thank you for sharing. I always forget to water my plants, and they die all the time. I should try this.</p>
<p>thank you for your interest Paul, would love to see your work !!</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: Please support & share our mission; http://igg.me/at/smartplants . the Plant Doctor is a non-profit, open source online research laboratory specializing in electronics+plants. Our vision is ... More »
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