# Title Team Members TA Documents Sponsor
15 Automated Self-cleaning Solar Panel
Area Award: Solar Energy
Terry Green
Yann-Tyng Lin
Yousaf Abdul Salam
Our project is to design an automated solar panel cleaning mechanism that detects obstructions (bird droppings, leaves, etc.) on the panel and automatically cleans them away. Since solar panels are outdoors, they are prone to shading due to natural debris. For large solar installations in remote areas it could become difficult and/or expensive to monitor and clean hundreds of large solar panels. Because of the build-up of dirt on a cell in a solar module, hot spots are created and heat is produced instead of electrical power. This reduces efficiency and life-time of the solar panel. Our project would greatly reduce the amount of service calls for cleaning, resulting in lower operating costs in the long run. The project will be implemented using current and voltage sensing on individual solar cells in an array to provide performance feedback that determines if a cell has become shaded. Cloud shading will be taken in to account by programming and observing whether a whole group of solar cells have become shaded or just isolated cells. We will be adapting the car windshield cleaning mechanism for optimal cleaning (direction, speed, frequency). A soap/water mixture will be sprinkled during the cleaning cycle. Periodic cleaning will be programmed to occur in intervals based on the tradeoff between power consumption and cleaning effectiveness. For example, solar panels located in areas with high bird populations would require more frequent periodic cleaning. Our project will incorporate power electronics, microcontroller programming and control systems for motors.

Electronic Automatic Transmission for Bicycle

Tianqi Liu, Ruijie Qi, Xingkai Zhou

Featured Project

Tianqi Liu(tliu51)

Ruijie Qi(rqi2)

Xingkai Zhou(xzhou40)

Sometimes bikers might not which gear is the optimal one to select. Bicycle changes gears by pulling or releasing a steel cable mechanically. We could potentially automate gear changing by hooking up a servo motor to the gear cable. We could calculate the optimal gear under current condition by using several sensors: two hall effect sensors, one sensing cadence from the paddle and the other one sensing the overall speed from the wheel, we could also use pressure sensors on the paddle to determine how hard the biker is paddling. With these sensors, it would be sufficient enough for use detect different terrains since the biker tend to go slower and pedal slower for uphill or go faster and pedal faster for downhill. With all these information from the sensors, we could definitely find out the optimal gear electronically. We plan to take care of the shifting of rear derailleur, if we have more time we may consider modifying the front as well.

Besides shifting automatically, we plan to add a manual mode to our project as well. With manual mode activated, the rider could override the automatic system and select the gear on its own.

We found out another group did electronic bicycle shifting in Spring 2016, but they didn't have a automatic function and didn't have the sensor set-up like ours. Commercially, both SRAM and SHIMANO have electronic shifting products, but these products integrate the servo motor inside the derailleurs, and they have a price tag over $1000. Only professionals or rich enthusiasts can have a hand on them. As our system could potentially serve as an add-on device to all bicycles with gears, it would be much cheaper.

Project Videos