Engineering School Innovations: Solar-powered Electric Bicycle

July 18, 2012
The Green Power Club at Central Dauphin High School converted a bicycle to run on electricity and built a solar charging station to power it.

Project: Adapt a standard 10-speed bike into an electric bike and build a solar charging station to charge the bicycle’s battery pack. This project was done as part of Phoenix Contact’s xplore New Automation Award.

Students in the Green Power Club at Central Dauphin High School (Harrisburg, Pa.) involved in this project are: David Williams, co-leader; Danielle Williams, co-leader; Mike Ragan; Joey Consoli; Max Ruello; Andrew Engle; and Harrison Katz.

Description
The team converted a regular 10-speed bike into an electric bike. They then built a solar charging station and embedded it with Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline controller to monitor and control the charging of the electric bike’s battery. The students programmed the Nanoline so that when the bike’s battery is finished charging, the Nanoline will send a text to the rider’s cell phone to let them know it is done.

The students selected the Hill Topper Easy Electric Bike Wheel Kit with a 10-speed Raleigh Venture bicycle as the starting point. They removed the front wheel and front brake assembly and installed the electric one. They wired the bike and attached an SLA (sealed lead acid) battery with a 10-mile range and handlebar controller.

Next, they built the solar charging station. The system uses a basketball goal base and pole as a substructure. Solar panels are mounted to the pole, wired to a charge controller, and used to charge two deep cycle 12-volt batteries in the battery bank.  The solar panel system used the Morningstar Sunlight 10 controller, which provides daytime charge control, turns on an exterior light at dusk for a select time period and shuts it off if the battery bank gets too low.

Automation Equipment
• USB Module – USB connection
• Cable, serial (USB connector)
• GSM communication expansion module
• GSM UMTS antenna
• Logic Module 24 V dc power and I/O combinations
• I/O expansion module – Analog Input
• I/O expansion module – Digital I/O
• Simulator
• Step power input AC-100 240 V
• 8-port standard function switch for industrial Ethernet (FL Switch SF 8 TX)
• Relays

Video
Watch videos of the construction of the solar charging station and an explanation of how the electric bicycle is charged.

Automation World would like to thank Phoenix Contact for connecting us with the students at Central Dauphin High School to report this innovation.

If you know of an engineering school project we should feature, contact [email protected].
 

About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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