Instructions for How to Make a Solar Powered RC Car

Written by jordan gaither
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Instructions for How to Make a Solar Powered RC Car
Solar-powered panels provide all the electricity you need. (solar battery image by Tomasz Plawski from

Remote-controlled, or "RC", vehicles are beloved by enthusiasts around the world. However, they are also notoriously power-hungry, and will decimate even the hardiest batteries within a matter of hours.

Luckily, the renewable-energy craze has a fix. By harnessing solar energy in conjunction with basic tools and materials found at any local hobby shop and electronics store, you can construct a battery-free RC vehicle in a matter of hours.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 4-inch by 4-inch square of wood panelling
  • Two 3-volt DC motors w/rubber wheels
  • Two 3-volt solar panels w/wires
  • Soldering iron and 2 per cent silver solder
  • Double-sided sticky tape
  • One free-rolling rubber wheel and mount
  • 2-channel remote control circuit w/remote

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  1. 1

    Position and mount the DC motors across from each other on the wood panel. Line them up and secure them with their mounting hardware.

  2. 2

    Tape the solar panels to the wood with one strip each of double-sided sticky tape placed on the underside of each solar panel.

  3. 3

    Mount the final, free-rolling wheel to the very front edge of the wood panelling to provide balance.

  4. 4

    Mount the remote-control circuit to the back of the wood panel with two strips (or more) of double-sided sticky tape. Wire the solar panel's positive and negative wires to their respective terminals on the circuit board. Solder the connection.

  5. 5

    Wire the RC circuit's power output wires to the positive and negative wires (respectively) on the DC motors. Solder the connection.

  6. 6

    Place your construction in bright sunlight. The solar panels will charge and the car will run, steerable with your remote control.

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