Battery-powered toy cars, while a historic staple of any decent toy collection, are notoriously power hungry and can cut quickly through a battery supply. Happily, the advent of consumer-grade solar products like solar panels, as well as regular hobby electronics being made readily available to enthusiasts, means you can build a simple, three-wheeled solar-powered toy car in a solid hour's work with minimum expense and labour, using basic tools and materials.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2-by-2-inch square of wood panelling
- Two 3-volt DC motors with rubber wheels
- Two 3-volt solar panels with wires
- Electrical tape
- Double-sided sticky tape
- One free-rolling rubber wheel and mount
Mount the DC motors opposite one another on the same surface of the wood panel. Align the wheels with one another as best you can, and secure them with their mounting hardware. (The wheels and motors can be purchased at hobby stores that sell remote-control vehicle parts.)
Twine the ends of the solar panel's wires around the wires of the motors, one panel to each motor. Make sure the wires are connected positive-to-positive and negative-to-negative. (The solar panels can be purchased from online sites.)
Tape the panels to the wood with one strip each of double-sided sticky tape.
Mount the final, free-rolling wheel to the very front edge of the wood panelling to provide balance.
Place your construction in bright sunlight. The solar panels will charge and the car will scoot off across the ground.
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