How does a Solar Robot Work?

Every day, new and more advanced things are invented, which have never been seen or heard before, and robotics is one of those fields where progress is happening rapidly. Robots can make our lives easier if developed and designed carefully. And on top of that, making robots that operate on solar energy is even better.

We often think how cool it would be to have robots that would do things for us, such as make coffee, grab a glass of water, and more. A solar robot is a machine that runs on energy produced by sunlight called solar energy. The solar panels convert the sunlight into energy for use in different devices and appliances.

Solar energy is great because not only is it cleaner, it is readily available and more cost-effective in some cases.

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14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot | Build-Your-Own Robot Kit | Powered by the Sun
AMX3d Micro Mini Solar Cells – 1.5V 400mA Compact 80 x 60mm Solar Panels – Power Home DIY Projects, Toys & Battery Chargers (1)
10 Pcs SG90 9G Micro Servo Motor Kit for RC Robot Arm/Hand/Walking Helicopter Airplane Car Boat Control with Cable
Chanzon 9v Battery Clip Connector Holder T-Type Holder with Leather Housing and Lead Wire Pack of 20pcs kit for Arduino LED Strip
Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries (2000 mAh), Pre-charged - Pack of 16
LAMPVPATH (Pack of 8) AA Battery Holder Bundle 2Pcs Single AA Battery Holder, 2Pcs 2X 1.5V AA Battery Holder with Leads, 2Pcs 3X 1.5V 3 AA Battery Holder with Wire, 2Pcs 4X 1.5V 6 Volt Battery Holder
12" Inch Zip Ties White (100 Pack), 40lb Strength, Nylon Cable Wire Ties, By Bolt Dropper.

 

Necessary Things in a Solar Robot

Solar robots can also be made at home and tested to see how they work and function. The way to make a fully functioning solar-powered robot, a lot of things are required, which are as follows:

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

The first step towards building a solar robot would be getting some solar panels. The panels should be durable, good in quality with a high energy conversion rate. The energy that’s created from the sun through these panels is what powers the robot.

Servo Motors

Servo Motors

A servo motor allows you to control the robot and how it moves, making it act as the main engine of a robot. They are powerful and small in size. Typically, these motors are used in remote-controlled cars and airplanes to control their movements. The motor is attached to the batteries so it can start running.

Diodes

Diodes

A diode is an electrical device with two transmitting terminals that let the current pass in one direction while blocking it from the other. The diodes are responsible for passing the energy transferred from either the solar panels or batteries to the robot.

9V Battery Clips

Chanzon 9v Battery Clip Connector Holder T-Type Holder with Leather Housing and Lead Wire Pack of 20pcs kit for Arduino LED Strip

A 9V battery clip is a connector device that connects the 9-volt batteries, having two loose wires at one end and a connector on the other. The battery clips cover the top of the batteries to avoid having short circuits and are made of plastic for enhanced durability.

AA Rechargeable Batteries

Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries (2000 mAh), Pre-charged - Pack of 16

To make your robot fully operational, you should get a pair of AA rechargeable batteries and connect them with the help of a battery holder. The batteries are attached to the motor with the use of 9V connectors.

AA Battery Holder

LAMPVPATH (Pack of 8) AA Battery Holder Bundle 2Pcs Single AA Battery Holder, 2Pcs 2X 1.5V AA Battery Holder with Leads, 2Pcs 3X 1.5V 3 AA Battery Holder with Wire, 2Pcs 4X 1.5V 6 Volt Battery Holder

Once you have the batteries, you have to hold them together in one place. A battery-holder is used that gives space for the batteries to be in and ties them together. A battery holder helps keep the AA batteries in place and connects them with the robot.

Zip Tie

12 Inch Zip Ties White (100 Pack), 40lb Strength, Nylon Cable Wire Ties, By Bolt Dropper.

These ties keep the cables arranged and tidy, so they do not get tangled and become messy. Moreover, they will also be used on the panels to ensure they stay firmly attached to the ruler.This will form the structure of the robot and acts as a string to tie everything together, so they do not cause a problem.

Transistors

Transistors are used mainly for making on and off switches. They conduct current when a voltage is applied on its base, which makes the switch turn on. And if there is no voltage, the switch is turned off. These circuits serve as turning the robot on and off.

Capacitors

Capacitors are energy suppliers that are used to supply current to different appliances or mediums that require electric current to operate. These capacitors are used in a robot for supplying current to the motor.

Limitations of a Solar Powered Robot

The idea of having a solar-powered robot does not sound bad at all, but unfortunately, with the way things are right now, it is not possible to make robots on a large scale that would work well with the amount of sunlight available.

The following are the limitations of a solar-powered robot:

  • Dependent on sunlight

One of the major problems is that this type of robot runs on solar energy. It will only work as long as it is exposed to the sun and will shut off when there is not enough sunlight. This issue raises a concern that the available energy is entirely dependent on the climatic conditions of the place.

  • Not enough power

The ability of the solar cells to produce energy entirely depends on the size of the panels and their conversion rate. A robot designed for a particular job will be for either heavy duty usage or light usage.

The robots designed for heavy-duty usage will ultimately require a large amount of solar energy to function at full capacity, which is hard to achieve. Extracting massive amounts of solar energy means a big solar setup to support each robot.

  • Not Feasible For Large Scale Production

Due to many concerns with solar-powered robots and the uncertainty, many investors would not be open to investing in it. The other issue would be the high maintenance it requires along with lots of solar energy. A big setup of solar plates and PV panels is essential for this purpose, which would be very costly.

  • Less Efficient

The conversion rate of the sunlight to energy is at 25 percent max from the PV plates. This is one of the biggest reasons why these robots will not be able to operate with full efficiency.It would ultimately result in time waste and robots malfunctioning.

  • Fragile

Due to the nature of power consumption, if the robots are made heavy, they would require more energy. The best way to avoid this from happening is by making robots lightweight, which,unfortunately, leaves them fragile and easy to break.

  • Small Size

Solar robots would only operate with full functionality if they are small or their energy consumption is low. The larger the robot, the more the energy it would require, which would call for more solar panels to cover this requirement.

Are Solar Robots Worth it?

The idea of using sunlight as energy is indeed intriguing as it can be cost-effective. Where it is cost-effective, it can also be less productive. We understand that solar-powered robots would only work if they are small in size as they get enough sunlight to fully function, as compared to the bigger ones.

They are not very feasible to produce on a large scale, and they will not be very efficient and productive,too, when run on solar energy. Sunlight plays an important factor in making these robots work, and if the climate conditions are not suitable, this will become a hurdle in its proper functioning.

Moreover, they require lots of maintenance and can become very costly. Therefore, we can say that a solar-powered robot is an excellent invention,but it needs more advancements and enhancements before it can be widely used and accepted everywhere in the world.