The Experiments with Renewable Energy Hardware

The solar cells are a major component of the Renewable Energy building materials. These are used for the direct current experiments. Each solar cell generates approximately 0.4 volts at 100 mA (milliamperes) under no load. Take a look at them now. There are eight of them and they fit into a convenient holder that allows you to hook them up in a number of series and parallel arrangements. Don't worry about what appear to be damaged cells with lines and streaks; this is how they come. Also look at the back of each solar cell to see the + (positive) and - (negative) screw terminals. When the cells are placed in the enclosure you can also view the + and - terminals through the holes provided on the back (a very nice touch). In addition to the solar cells, a DC motor and a plastic propeller are provided to act as a load on the cells and the rechargeable batteries.

For the alternating current experiments, we will use the three-phase AC alternator along with the accompanying 3-blade wind turbine. With just a slight breeze the wind turbine will drive the AC alternator to produce upwards of 3 to 4 volts of rectified DC voltage. And that's what the first AC experiment is all about; that is, learning about half-wave and full-wave rectification. The final AC experiment will demonstrate the advantages of three-phase versus single-phase power.

To round out the building materials, you will find two AAA nickel cadmium batteries, a battery holder, a variety of resistors, capacitors and integrated circuits that act as the glue that holds everything together. Again, refer to Appendix D for the full parts list.

So now that you know what you have to work with, let's get started on building our foundation and superstructure; a software version, that is.

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