Nemanja Asanin, “Realization and Testing of a Charge Regulator for a Solar Sculpture”
Mentor: Brian Armstrong, Electrical Engineering
As science and technology continue to advance, we begin to configure new ways of molding these advances into unique applications. Artist, Richard Taylor is designing a sculpture that will be solar powered and charge a lead acid battery during the day, then produce a visual display that will be triggered automatically at night. My research is a part of the charging regulation of the solar sculpture, which can be useful for near an unlimited amount of applications, my first task was to construct the circuit, piece by piece to ensure each section is working properly. Along with constructing the circuit, a PIC microcontroller is implemented to gather voltage and current values of the solar cell and battery, then correctly perform certain tasks based on the values recorded. Once the circuit and programming are complete, testing and data collection are the second major part of my research, and will make sure that the microcontroller is outputting the necessary signals for the circuit to properly charge and discharge the battery. One key constraint of the solar sculpture is it should last ~50 years, exceeding the lifespan of most electrical devices, and with a charging circuit that has the potential of reaching this goal, the implications of this design are limitless.