Monday, April 5, 2010

Solar Power for Big Foot Eyes

If you recall... its been a long couple weeks of rain.

And, we still are working out a power supply to light up eyes for a Big Foot chainsaw carving...

Here is a small LED lamp with a built in solar panel - these are very common lately and pretty inexpensive.

So... we tore out the batteries, wiring, and looked deep into the innards.
It is an interesting sign of our times that for less than $10 you can get LEDs, rechargable NiMh batteries, solar panel, and case. Way cheaper than if you bought all the parts individually. And a charging circuit included.

This is probably why "hacking" has grown so popular in the last 10 years instead of "engineering" - no need to design from the ground up, when so many components and devices are available cheaper and easier to "hack" into what you want.
Anyway - off of the soapbox and into the hack!
We quickly located where the LED voltage is supplied from, and soldered in our own wires for 2 new LEDs...
The solar panel comes in one side, into a dual-transistor charging circuit for the recharge batts... and an output to the LEDs is what we will tap into.

Here is the package re-assembled and reduced to just the solar panel, batteries, and our wiring.
We tested it with a LED - it lit up and we are good to go!
The panel will be "inset" into Big Foot's head (up above 13' high, where no one but the birds aiming for him will ever see it). The wires will wrap around the ears and into the eyes.