My name is Jenny I am a rising senior at Lighthouse Charter High School in Oakland. For my starter project I made a MiniPOV3 and for my main project I made a remote controlled solar powered speaker. Throughout high school my love for technology and engineering has grown. It started when I took my first robotics class and finished top in my class to when I went to a summer coding program and spent the summer at GE learning all about programming and the jobs available for me if I pursued Computer Science. Now my knack for tinkering is stronger than ever and I plan to continue on this path and pursue a career creating and innovating. I took on a new challenge by participating in BlueStamp seeing as I have been working mostly with the software part of things it was interesting to learn to solder and work on the hardware components to build an individual project.
For my main project I decided to create a solar powered speaker because I am fascinated with the way solar energy is created into electrical energy that can be used to power all sorts of mechanics. To begin I had to do a lot of research beginning with the type of speaker I was going to use. I began with a speaker that needed 5 volts or .19 Amps, once I knew that I was able to determine the type of solar panel I needed to use that could produce up to 6 volts. To moderate the transmission of power from the solar panel to the speaker I needed to modify a mintyboost because it already has a capacitor able to output 5 volts to the speaker.
To complete my project I had to create a new box for the speaker and I chose to have my box laser cut. This meant that I had to create a file on Adobe Illustrator that had the precise measurements I needed. This called for a lot of rapid prototyping using cardboard and tape to see if the measurements I drew out made the box I had planned. I also added a design on the side of my box to personalize it even more. After I received the parts for my box I put all the components in, tested it, and had my own solar powered speaker.
For my first milestone I was able to connect all the parts and have the speaker working using solar power instead of the battery that it came with. To reach this milestone I had to rewire the solar panel to be connected to a 2.1mm DC barrel plug in order to then be able to be connected to the solar charger that will covert the solar energy into usable energy. This new usable energy flows through the mintyboost which allows a regulated stream of current to flow into the speaker through a mini USB cord.
For my starter project I built and programmed a MiniPOV3 which basically spelled out a word in the air when waved around using LEDs. To begin I had to gather and understand what each part of the kit was responsible only then could I begin soldering the pieces onto the printed circuit board (PCB). The first things I began to solder on were the resistors which control how much current runs through the PCB in order to prevent the passage of too much energy which would cause the board and its components to burn out. I then soldered in the zener diode which controls the direction the current is flowing in. In this project its purpose was to allow current to flow to the LED’s and no where else therefore it was important to remember that it was polarized and place it correctly on the board in order to avoid short circuiting my project. The microcontroller is a programmable piece that runs a continuous program through the board when it is powered. Then the battery holder which gives the whole project and lastly was the DB-9 female connector and the LED’s. The connector allowed me to connect the MiniPOV to my computer and the LED’s were responsible for the actual flashing and illusion of the text. Once I finished soldering in I also needed to go reprogram the chip and make it to spell out anything I wanted.