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solar bug robot

Solar Bug 1 Tutorial

solar bug robot

Before you begin:
Please identify the parts needed for this tutorial.

Printable Version
Download PDF Version (2.23MB)

Tools Needed:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Small pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Knife
  • Wire Cutters
  • Super Glue / Epoxy
  • Heat Gun or blow dryer
  • Basic soldering skills
Parts Checklist:
  • (2) Namiki Motors (eccentrics removed)
  • (2) Fuse clips (motor mounts)
  • (2) Shrinkwrap Tubing (used for traction)
  • (1) Push pin support - "Front Wheel"
  • (1) 2" length extra wire
  • (2) Photodiodes
  • (2) 2.2K Resistors
  • (2) 0.22uF Capacitors
  • (2) 3906 Transistors
  • (2) 3904 Transistors
  • (2) 1381 Voltage Detectors
  • (1) 4700uF Capacitor
  • (1) 100K Potentiometer
  • (1) Sanyo Solar Cell
Namiki Motors Misc Parts Photodiodes 2K Resistors 22uF Capacitors 3906 Transistors 3904 Transistors 1381 Transistors 4700uF Capacitor
100K Potentiometer Sanyo Solar Cell


Step 1: Getting Started
Pay careful attention at all times to the wiring diagram. Be sure to look through every picture before attempting the step. Viewing all the pictures before you start will help you to understand each stage. Every picture in this tutorial may be clicked upon to open a larger view. Remember to allow enough time between step one and two for glue to properly dry.

You will need for this step:
  • Super glue or Epoxy
Step 1
Wire Diagram
Getting started Glue the 1381 Voltage Detectors together as shown. Glue the 3906 Transistors together as shown. Glue the 3904 Transistors together as shown. Glue the 1381 Voltage Detector bundle to the 3906 transistor bundle as shown. Glue the 3904 transistor set to the 1381 and 3906 bundle.


Step 2: Creating a Ground Loop
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Step 2
Wire Diagram
Allow enough time to pass such that the glue has time to set. Bend Pin 3 of the left 1381 Voltage Detector as shown. Bend Pin E of the left 3904 Transistor out away from the transistor bundle, and then up forming an L shape. Bend Pin E of the right Transistor out flat with horizontal. Bend Pin 3 of the right 138 Voltage Detector out away from the transistor bundle, and then up forming an L shape. Bend Pin 3 of the right 1381 Voltage Detector such that it lies flat across the left 1381. Bend Pin E of the left 3904 Transistor such that it lies flat across the right 3904. Bend Pin E of the right 3904 Transistor as shown so it touches Pin 3 of the right 1381. Bend Pin 3 of the left 1381 Voltage Detector as shown so it touches Pin E of the left 3904 Transistor. Solder the connections noted. Trim excess wire from the newly formed ground loop.


Step 3: Connecting Transistors
This step is best thought of as two separate stages. Wire one side of the transistor bundle at a time, and be sure not to interconnect the two sides.

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Step 3
Wire Diagram
Bend Pin 1 of the left 1381 Voltage Detector as shown. Bend Pin C of the left 3906 Transistor as shown. Bend Pin B of the left 3904 Transistor as shown. Bend Pin B of the left 3904 Transistor as shown. Trim excess wire prior to soldering. Bend Pin 1 of the left 1381 Voltage Detector as shown. Trim excess wire prior to soldering. Solder the connections noted. Trim excess wire from the newly formed ground loop. Bend Pin 1 of the right 1381 Voltage Detector as shown. Bend Pin C of the right 3906 Transistor as shown. Bend Pin B of the right 3904 Transistor as shown. Bend Pin B of the right 3904 Transistor as shown. Trim excess wire prior to soldering. Bend Pin 1 of the right 1381 Voltage Detector as shown. Trim excess wire prior to soldering. Solder the connections noted. Trim excess wire from the newly formed ground loop.


Step 4: Attaching 100K Potentiometer
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Step 4
Wire Diagram
100K Potentiometer Bend the lead wire from the 100K Potentiometer as shown. Bend the lead wire from the 100K Potentiometer as shown. Bend the lead wire from the 100K Potentiometer as shown. Bend Pin E of the right 3906 Transistor forward till it touches the middle pin of the 100K pot. Bend Pin E of the left 3906 Transistor backwards making sure it makes contact with Pin E of the right 3906 Transistor. Solder the connection. Solder the connection. Trim excess wire as shown.


Step 5: Add Photodiodes
Again, it is best to approach this step as two separate stages. Solder each Photodiode as pictured, pay careful attention to note the polarity of this part.

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Step
Wire Diagram
Silicon PIN Photodiode.  Please note polarity. Solder one Photodiode to the 100K Potentiometer.  Make sure that you solder the negative terminal of the Photodiode to the pot. Trim excess wire from the 100K Potentiometer lead. Solder the other Photodiode to the 100K Potentiometer.  Make sure that you solder the negative terminal of the Photodiode to the pot. Trim excess wire from the 100K Potentiometer lead. Bend Pin 2 of the right 1381 Voltage Detector out and over the other wires such that it just touches the positive terminal of the newly connected Photodiode. Solder the connection. Trim excess wire as shown. Bend Pin 2 of the left 1381 Voltage Detector out and over the other wires such that it just touches the positive terminal of the newly connected Photodiode. Solder the connection. Trim excess wire as shown. Another view of the newly attached Photodiodes. Trim excess wire as shown. Trim excess wire as shown.


Step 6: Add 0.22uF Capacitors
This step can be a little confusing. Study the wiring diagram thoroughly and then view all the pictures in this step. Attach each 0.22uF capacitor separately. Solder one wire of the 0.22uF capacitor to the negative wire of the Photodiode and the other wire of the 0.22uF capacitor to the ground loop. Repeat for both capacitors.

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Step
Wire Diagram
Bend the 0.22uF Capacitor as shown. Solder one wire of the 0.22uF Capacitor to the positive terminal of the right Photodiode. Trim excess wire as shown. Trim the other wire from the 0.22uF Capacitor leaving just enough length to solder the clipped end to the ground loop. Solder the connection as shown. Bend the 0.22uF Capacitor as shown. Solder one wire of the 0.22uF Capacitor to the positive terminal of the left Photodiode. Trim excess wire as shown. Trim the other wire from the 0.22uF Capacitor leaving just enough length to solder the clipped end to the ground loop. Solder the connection as shown.


Step 7: Add 2.2K Resistors
You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
Step
Wire Diagram
Another view of Step 6-10. Bend Pin B of the right 3906 Transistor out and over the other wires as shown. Bend Pin C of the right 3904 Transistor out as shown. Solder the 2.2K Resistor between Pin B of the right 3906 Transistor and Pin C of the right 3904 Transistor. Trim excess wire from the 2.2K Resistor as shown. Another view of Step 7-5. Bend Pin B of the left 3906 Transistor out and over the other wires as shown. Bend Pin C of the left 3904 Transistor out as shown. Solder the 2.2K Resistor between Pin B of the left 3906 Transistor and Pin C of the left 3904 Transistor. Trim excess wire from the 2.2K Resistor as shown.


Step 8: Add Namiki Pager Motors
Be sure that you allign the fuse clips in step 8-2 such that the motors will clip into place as shown in 8-6. Also an electronics soldering stand, available at Radio Shack, would be very useful for step 8-3

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Heat gun (or blow dryer)
  • Electronics Soldering Stand
Step
Wire Diagram
Use a heat shrink gun or blow dryer to shrink wrap the heat shrink tubing provided to the motors shafts.  I find that about 3 layers works very well. Remove the side tabs from both fuse clips as shown.  Allow the soldering iron to heat the fuse clips quite a bit before soldering.  Be sure to solder the clips together as shown, so that the motors will easily snap into place. I find that using an electronic parts stand with alligator clips is very useful for this next step. Solder the two fuse clips togethger then add the 4700uF Capacitor.  Solder the negative terminal to the fuse clip as shown. Another view of step 8-4.  Also, see step 8-6 for an underside view. Snap the Namiki motors into the fuse clips as shown. Another view of step 8-6. Glue the transistor bundle brain to the 4700uF capacitor as shown. Strip the red wire of the right motor and the blue wire of the left motors of their insulation. Solder the red wire of the right motor to the positive terminal of the 4700uF Capacitor. Solder the blue wire of the left motor to the positive terminal of the 4700uF Capacitor. Remove the insulation of the blue wire on the right motor as shown. Remove the insulation of the red wire on the left motor as shown. Solder the connection. Trim excess wire. Solder the connection. Trim excess wire.


Step 9: Add Power System
In this step you will complete the robot. Take your robot outside in full sunlight for best results. Allow the solar cells to charge and fire the 4700uF capacitor a few times before gluing into place. DO NOT glue the solar cell in place until you have fully tested your robot. The robot may turn only to the left or only to the right. To fix this: use a small flat-head screw dirver to adjust the 100K potentiometer. If the robot heads towards the left, turn the "arrow" on the 100K potentiometer slightly (10 degrees at a time) to the right, and vise versa. Tune the potentiometer until the robot uses both motors to reach the brightest light source. In step 9-15 you may glue the solar cell in place.

You will need for this step:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder
  • Wire Cutters
  • Epoxy
Step
Wire Diagram
Bend the positive terminal of the 4700uF Capacitor up so that it just touches the Pin E of the 3906 Transistor. Solder the connection. Trim excess wire from the positive terminal of the 4700uF Capacitor. Solder one end of the extra wire provided to the ground loop. Stip the insulation from the extra wire as shown. Solder the other end of the extra wire to the negative terminal of the 4700uF Capacitor. Trim only the excess wire fo the small green wire. View of the underside. Glue the push pin support to the front of the 4700uF Capacitor. Remove about an inch of insulation coating the solar cell wires. Solder the connection as shown. Solder the red positive lead from the solar cell to the positive wire of the 4700uF Capacitor. Trim only the excess wire fo the positive lead of the solar cell. Trim excess wire from the negative terminl of the 4700uF Capacitor. Only after you check all connections and make sure that the solar bug does charge and move correctly glue the solar cell in place.

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