Introduction: The Darth Solar Powered Space Engineer's Clip Board & Backpack Enclosure

The Darth Solar Powered Space Engineer's ClipBoard & Backpack Enclosure

Step 1: Don't Forget Your Clipboard!

The Solar Powered Engineer's Clip Board Enclosure.

Power your Raspberry Pi on the go! Or other things like cell phones.

Each solar panel is 0.5 Watts, there are 6 panels. The Solar Powered Engineer's Clip Board's Total Solar Array Power equals a total of about 3 Watts output regulated down to a constant 5 Volts. An Automatic Step

Up / Step Down Buck Converter is used to regulate the voltage to a constant 5 Volts USB standard voltage.

In good sunlight this unit produces at least 1 Amp of current @ 5 Volts constant.

The clipboard is a nice plastic Kobalt Contractor's Clip Board from Lowe's.

The Solar Panels are the cheaper model from Radio Shack. They do have higher wattage solar panels similar in size too.

The step up / step down voltage regulator was found on

I salvaged a 12 Volt universal Micro USB phone charger minus the voltage step down circuit. (basically the red and green wires that turn into the Micro USB. for your phone. The Red wire is POWER. The Green wire is NEGATIVE.

Your imagination is your own...

Step 2: Lets Get Started!

First we get our materials.

ClipBoard #

Nice plastic Kobalt Contractor's Clipboard Enclosure from Lowe's.

Figure out how to layout your Solar Panel Array. Place the solar panels on top of the outside of the clipboard and mark the locations of the solar panels. Then mark the locations of the 2 wires for each solar panel. Drill holes big enough for each solar panel's wires including the solder blob on the back of the solar panel. Run all the wires through their holes. Now you attach or adhere your solar panels to the clipboard. You can use some kind of glue and the combination of clear tape like I did, or something else. If you glue them, rest something heavy on top of them to make sure it contacts well. Let it setup and dry for the recommended time.

Solar Panels #

Radio Shack

Buck Convertor Voltage Regulator #

Wire #

I used light copper stranded clear speaker wire from the Positive and Negative Termination Junction Box Enclosures (purple in color).

Termination Junction Box Enclosures #

Available at Lowe's. Nice, easy to use, and weatherproof. There are (2) enclosures. One for. ALL of the Positive Solar Panel wires and one for ALL of the Negative Solar Panel Wires.

Cool Darth Vader Cinch Sack Back Pack #

Available at 5 Below ! Simply cut and fit to your Kobalt Contractor's ClipBoard.

Thats basically the Bare Bones System. Anything else you add is up to you!

Arduino (s)

Raspberry Pi (s)


Inputs / Outputs / Jacks / Ports / etc

WiFi / Cellular / Satellite uplink / Ethernet Port / Telephone 56k modem / Power Grid Tie in WiFi / House Power Tie in WiFi / etc

Lights / LED's / Strobes / etc

Papers?? Well it is a clipboard.

Battery Bank

Prototype Boards / Breakout Boards / Variable Power Supply / etc.

Step 3: Terminate Your Connections!

Terminal Enclosures #

Each solar panel has one Positive and one Negative wire. Connect them all in Parallel. I used these Cool little screw type terminal enclosures. They have 3 holes that each have screw down terminals to compress all the wires in each hole. They are all connected on the same bus bar. Use one enclosure for all the Positive wires and one enclosure for thr Negative wires. Twist the Positive wires together and then terminate them within the enclosures with the screw terminals. Do the same for the negative wires but in its own Negative wire enclosure.

Step 4: Automatic Variable Step Up & Step Down Voltage Regulator

The Voltage Regulator #

Now run a single heavier wire out of the center of the terminal enclosure for the Positive to the Positive side of the Voltage Regulator Input Pin. Do the same on the Negative terminal enclosure and run that wire to the Negative side of the Voltage Regulator Input Pin.

Step 5: Recycle Your Old Broken 12v Car Charger Cable !

Salvaged 12v car charger with Micro USB tip #

Now connect your Positive (RED) wire and your Negative (GREEN) wires from your salvaged 12 volt car charger USB wire to the pin on Output side of the Voltage Regulator. Now you can plug in your cell phone or a Lithium Ion Battery pack. Or anything that runs off of 5 Volt USB.

Step 6: Now What?

I decided to wrap the clipboard in a Darth Vader Cinch Sack Backpack. It fit perfectly. I had to cut the backpack open where the clipboard opens. Just like wrapping a school book. Tape the edges on the inside of the clipboard edge. Keep it Tight and Taught when you tape it all down. Now I have to attach a unique fastener system or clasps that lock. This will keep everything securely inside the clipboard.

Now you have a self powered, self contained, Electronics Lab Backpack! Walk around outside enjoying yourself while charging your batteries. Or go biking!

Step 7: Secure the Solar Panel Wires

Duct Tape #

And lots of it ! Has been used in this instructable to secure many things. I simply taped all the Solar Panel wires down to the lid of the clipboard. I left the terminal enclosures exposed so they can be worked on when necessary. You can see the Positive and Negative wires coming out of the terminal enclosures. These wires then connect to the Input side of the Voltage Regulator. The Voltage Regulator is held in place with duct tape too.

Step 8: Insert Your Raspberry Pi

This shows the size comparison of the clipboard and an actual Raspberry Pi. Or you could charge a cell phone. The system appears to be charging a 5,200 mah Lithium Ion Battery.

There is also a large proto bread board glued to the clipboard. What is the shadowy greyish white X etched on the clipboard? That is the outline of a dead Raspberry Pi! Do not use Gorilla Gel Glue. It has a very caustic acid like reaction with everything that seems to burn the surface. The Pi didnt actually die, i still use it every day.

Step 9: What's Next?

The BoBoBot?

The Bobofet Robot.

The Remote Accessible.

The 5 Megapixel 1080 High Definition Security Camera Bot.




Lithium Ion Battery Powered USB 5v

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