Prepared Society Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I wanted to run an electric go-kart off of solar energy at high noon, how big of a panel would I need to attach to it?
 

·
performing monkey
Joined
·
4,230 Posts
use whatever the biggest you could fit on it, it wouldn't be large enough to actually run the motor, it would only be good for charging the batteries, which is what you would run the motor off of anyways
 

·
YourAdministrator, eh?
Joined
·
8,000 Posts
I am learning about solar systems by implementing it. From what I know so far (and technology is changing quickly), heat lowers the solar-panels ability to convert sunlight to power. Cold raises the solar-panels ability to convert sunlight to power - but - in the winter months there is less sun to work with.

For a pure-solar system to power up an electric motor, I don't know if there is anything currently that generates enough power to move a cart. For the best use of DC-power to power up a motor, use a golf-cart style motor / battery system and mount a large solar-panel to the highest point on the scooter. The solar-panel will push power into the batteries as the power is being drawn out of the batteries.

You will want to have a charge-controller between the solar-panel and the batteries. That will limit back-feed to the panels and will protect the panel from too much "power pull" from the motor.

Attached is a picture of my solar-panel on my trailer. It is an 80 watt panel producing about 7.5amps during the peak of power generation.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What if I used a gear ratio that let it move the kart very slowly almost at human walking speed and it was a very light kart?
 

·
YourAdministrator, eh?
Joined
·
8,000 Posts
What if I used a gear ratio that let it move the kart very slowly almost at human walking speed and it was a very light kart?
Gearing would either give you more torque or more speed. By running the motor at a high-speed and using gearing to drop the speed very low would create a high-torque situation. The high spinning motor would pull more power out of the batteries / solar.

I have a 12-volt powered cooler made by Koolatron. It has a fan on it with cooling fins to keep food cold for a long time when camping. It works very well as long as there is sufficient power to keep it going. My 13-watt solar-panel does not have sufficient power to run it directly. Running my solar-panel to a battery-pack (300cca) barely has enough power to run the cooler, and, the cooler will kill-off the battery about an hour.

My 80-watt panel puts out enough power at high-noon to run the cooler directly, barely enough power to run the cooler at sunrise / sunset. Just remember, the motor on the fan of the cooler barely pulls 4.5amp of power. The motor that would be required to move a scooter would probably pull in excess of 20amp. To have barely enough solar-power to run that kind of amperage would require 3 80-watt solar panels (each panel producing approx. 7.5amp) covering an area of approx. 24 square feet.

To make the most of possible electricity, use a single solar-panel to charge up deep-cycle batteries (12 batteries at 1-volt each or 2 batteries at 6-volt each or a single 12-volt "caterpillar" battery) and run the scooter for hours at a time on battery power.

In a few years, solar-systems might be at a point where a small 4x10" panel would be able to provide 40amp of power at high-noon - but - till that technology is widely available we must rely on stored power instead of direct power.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,512 Posts
You know if you did it solar style it would probably work and be bad ass at the same time.



Just replace that top wing with solar panels and put some batteries in the back and an electric motor. Front wing could take some panels too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
Have you ever considered using both solar cells on the roof and contactless dynamos on the wheels to recharge the batteries? Might extend the range on whatever you try.

This way, you will be getting a current when you are moving and when you are sitting in sunlight.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top