The Solar Kings

Team Information

Car Name

Car Name: The Tech Inferno
Team Name: The Solar Kings
School Name: NSU University School
Team Members Names:
Liam C, Adam T,

Design Documentation

Top View without Solar Panel

Side View #1

Side View #2

Back View

Front View

Special Features of Car

Project Log

DateHoursTasks / Work DoneObstacles EncounteredModifications to Car

1We came up with ideas for what our car would look like and began gathering materials.Since it was our first time building a solar car, it was not easy to come up with a plan.
8/301We cut out the body and made a place to store the ball.  We chose the panel, motor, wheels and axles we are going to use.It was hard to get the body straight.  We also had to make a lot of decisions about materials to use.The chassis was cut out
9/61We put our wheels and a gear on the axles. We made lines straight lines for the axles using a T-square then attached the axles. We also measured the motor. The axles fell off after we put them on.We added the axles to the car body.
9/201Our axles came off but we were able to rebuild them and attach them again.We added extra glue to the axles so they would not fall off anymore.
9/271We put the motor on the car.The gears did not line up at first.Motor added to the car body.
10/181We attached the alligator clips to the battery wires then attached the battery pack to the car.It was hard to put the alligator clips on. We should have done the circuit before gluing on the motor.Battery and wiring added to the car body.
10/251The wire connection broke so we fixed them and made the car run againWires separated and we had to fix them.We taped the wires down so they would not come apart again.
11/151We connected wires to the motor so we could run the car.Although we fixed the wires last week, they came apart again. Very frustrating.We connected wires again.
11/291We tested our car and it worked.We were starving and it was hard to focus and when we tried to peel the oranges that were our snack that was hard too.
12/61We attached our guide wire and tested our car on the guide line.It was hard to attach the guide wire and get it lined up straight.We added the guide to the car body.
1/31We brainstormed an idea on how we could attach the solar panel.It was hard to attach the guide wire and get it lined up straight.
1/171We built the idea that that we brainstormed and added it to the car. We decided to make two pieces of balsa wood attached to wire that could move to let the panel face the sun on either side and in front of the car.It was hard to build because the holes for the wires were too small. We wanted to make sure the panel could face the sun so that made it hard.Solar panel mount was added to the car body.
1/241We attached the solar panel to the mount using Velcro and tested the car in the sun.We had trouble hooking up the panel.Solar panel was added to the car body.
1/301We added design features like a point to make it more aerodynamic and rubber bands for my wheels to give it more traction.We had trouble attaching the point in the front.We added a point to the front of the car and put rubber bands on the wheels.
2/281We made the decision to add a push button to our car to make it easier to start. We wanted to get times using our solar panel but another team got hot glue on our panel so we were not able to test the car.Another team accidently got glue on our solar panel so we were unable to get times today.Added a push button switch. Our car now has no solar panel.
3/61Our teacher got us a new solar panel and we attached it.We went outside to get times with our new solar panel but it was a dud.
3/131Our teacher got us another solar panel. We re-velcroed the panel so that the velcro pieces lined up correctly.It took a lot of work to attach the panel. We used many pieces of Velcro and we had to make it all line up.New solar panel added to wooden panel supports.
3/171We were able to get good times with our new solar panel but the car is turning.The new solar panel had a bad connection and my car was turning so we had to make the wheels straighter. At the end of the day two pieces broke off of our car.
3/181We were able to reattach the two pieces that came off, but another piece broke. So frustrating.Another piece broke.
3/191We were able to get our car running straight by using the heat gun and nudging the wheels.We had to figure out how to nudge the wheels correctly to make the car go straight.
3/201We switched out our solar panel again and had to do all of the Velcro again.  Then we found out that one of the alligator clips was not connected well to the wire. That bad connection could have been why it did not run well.  We ran our cars on both solar and battery today and our car ran straight and fast. We worked on the webpage.We found out that one of the alligator clips going to the panel had a loose connection.  That might have been the reason it seemed like the panels were bad.We changed the solar panel again.
3/211We worked on the Webpage.
3/221We worked on the Webpage.
3/232We worked on the Webpage.
3/242We worked on the Webpage. Our alligator clip broke so we had to replace it. We also ran the car and got some videos of the car running. The sun was great today. We got our fastest time so far. We ran 19 M in 7 seconds. We think it is because of our new tilt of the panel. After break we will practice using a voltmeter to find the best angle for our panelWe had to replace a broken alligator clip. We tilted the panel downward in the front for better aerodynamics and a better line to the sun. Our teacher soldered our wires.

Design Drawings

Design Drawing: Top View

Design Drawing: Side View

Final Car Specifications

Car Size with PanelLength: 33.5 cmWidth: 16.4 cmHeight: 12.5 cm
Weight with Panel240.8 g
Wheel SizeFront wheels: 2.8 cmBack Wheels: 3.8 cm
Gear Rationmotor gear: axel gear
20 : 60
= 1 : 3

Materials Used

ItemApprox. Cost
Solar Made Solar Panel (3V) 38.25
small white gears, wheels and axels3.99
Solar Made Motor (3V)5.25
balsa wood for base, car point, solar panel support board, guide support3.99
straw pieces for bearings (4) – 2 straws
style straw for decoration (2)
battery pack with switch0.26
push button switch3.85
piece of black binder comb to hold guide wire0.07
alligator clips (4)0.56
front wheels (orange and black)2.50
back wheels (black with rubber bands for traction)1,00
wooden blocks (1.2 inch (4) and 1/8 inch (1))1.00
two axles (front and rear)2.25
copper colored wire.25
yellow craft stick.10
masking tape, scotch tape, duct tape
velcro to attach solar panel.50
hot glue
Recycled materials:
plastic cup to hold the ping-pong ball
Total Cost: 66.13

Test Results / Trial Runs

Test Runs 1 – date: 2/29/24

Weather conditions:
Ran on panel or battery?

Observations of results: Our car was turning left.

Any recommendations for improvements: Since our car was turning left. We have to nudge the bearings to straighten the axel so that it will go straight.

AttemptTime, S (seconds)Distance, M (meters)Speed, M/S

Test Runs 2 – date: 3/9/24

Weather conditions: Mostly sunny.
Ran on panel or battery? We ran on panel when it was sunny and on battery when it was cloudy.

Observations of results: Our car is still turning but not as much. At least it finished now.

Any recommendations for improvements: We have to figure out how to make it go straight. There is also a problem with the wiring. Sometimes it doesn’t go. We think it might be the connector on the panel.

AttemptTime, S (seconds)Distance, M (meters)Speed, M/S
1 – battery16.8201.19
2 – panel19.5201.03
3 – panelDNF

Test Runs 3 – date: 3/10/24

Weather conditions: Cloudy so we ran on battery in the hall.
Ran on panel or battery? Ran on battery.

Observations of results: Our car is still turning.

Any recommendations for improvements: The car is still not running straight. We have to make sure the axles are straight.

AttemptTime, S (seconds)Distance, M (meters)Speed, M/S
1 – battery9.0716.51.82
2 – battery9.3116.51.77

Test Runs 4 – date: 3/20/24

Weather conditions: partly cloudy
Ran on panel or battery? panel

Observations of results: Our car ran very well. During one race, our rubber band came off.

Any recommendations for improvements: Before running the car this time we decided to tilt the solar panel towards the front to catch more sun. That improved our speed.

AttemptTime, S (seconds)Distance, M (meters)Speed, M/S
1 – panel8.18202.44
2 – panel9.06202.21
3 – panel8.19202.44

Test Runs 5 – date: 3/24/24

Weather conditions: mostly sunny
Ran on panel or battery? solar panel

Observations of results: We got our fastest time today. It went really straight, then sometimes turned a little. We have to figure out why that is happening. It made a difference that we angled the panel down in the front.

Any recommendations for improvements: We tried to run the car with and without rubber bands. It didn’t improve the speed or the turning. Since our panel is adjustable, we want to use a volt meter to find the best angle for the sun.

AttemptTime, S (seconds)Distance, M (meters)Speed, M/S
1 – panel7.00192.71
2 – panel8.13192.33
3 – panel11.78: low light191.61 low light
4 – panel7.59192.50
5 – panel8.31192.28
6 – panel7.37192.57

Video of Our Car Running

Car Features Video

Additional Information

Electrical Schematic: This is our schematic of the electrical circuits. It is the same DC motor in both drawings.

A 3D Version of our Solar Car below the actual car

One thought on “The Solar Kings

  • Very unique way to mount your solar panel, congratulations on thinking outside of the box!


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