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STEM Education [+]

Plus Kynd Kit
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Gratitude Practice

Let's start by taking a moment to practice gratitude.
  • How has STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) positively impacted your life?

  • Who is a teacher, role model, or mentor that positively impacted your life, and why?

Unpack the Box

  • Take everything out of the box.
  • Lay everything out so you can find what you need to build the kit.

Disclaimers

Please read and accept the following disclaimers BEFORE building this kit. 

Tutorial Video

  • Click HERE for a short overview video of building the solar charger components. There are also step by step instructions below
  • If at any point you need more help, you can access the troubleshooting guide HERE.

Prepare the Solar Panel

1. Find the following items:
  • Solar Panel
  • Permanent Marker
2. Mark the positive and negative connections
*We use several different panel types. Some will already have the terminals marked. If yours do not, follow along below.
 
  • Turn the solar panel over so you can see the connection points. Arrange the panel so the wording is upright.
  • The left terminal is positive (+) and the right terminal is negative (-).
  • Mark the terminals with a marker.
3. Remove the clear protective covering from the front of the solar panel.

Prepare the Wires

1. Find the following items:
  • White Wire
  • Scissors
2. Strip the white outer coating off of the wires down approximately 2″.
  • Do NOT cut into the black and red wires under the white coating.
  • Do this to both sides of the wire. 
3. Strip the black and red wires down approximately 3/4 of an inch.
 
Tip: If you don’t have a wire stripper you can easily use scissors. Make a small cut around the silicon without cutting through the wire, use your hand to pull off the plastic
 
  • Do NOT cut into the black and red wires under the white coating.
  • Do this to both sides of the wire.
 

Prepare the Conductive Tape

1. Find the following items:
  • Conductive Tape
  • Scissors
2. Locate the long strip of copper conductive tape.
3. Cut two strips of conductive tape approximately 1″ long.

Attach the Wires to the Solar Panel

1. Find the following items:
  • Solar panel
  • Wire (stripped)
  • Two strips of copper conductive tape
2. How to:
  • Split the wires and bend them so they can attach to the connection points.
  • Attach the red wire is positive (+) to the positive terminal and the black wire is negative (-) terminal.
 
  • Tip: Twist one end of the wire into a loop for better surface connectivity.
  • Use the strips of copper conductive tape to hold the wires in place
  • Press firmly on the tape to hold the wires down securely.
  • Tip: Wires must firmly and securely touch the surface of the +/- points!! You can use several pieces of tape to improve it. The stronger the connection between panel and wires, the more stable the circuit.
 
* BE SURE THE COPPER TAPE STRIPS AND WIRES DO NOT TOUCH
 

Quick, test the connection

  • Turn the solar panel over and expose it to a strong and direct light source such as a lamp.
  • Take a diode – hold the long pin to red wire & short pin to black wire.
  • The diode will light up if the connection is stable and the curcuit is correct.
*If the diode doesn’t light up, see the troubleshooting page.

Secure the connection

After you confirm your connection is good, it is time to secure the wires to the back of the solar panel.

  1. Locate the black electrical tape which is either rolled around one of the permanent markers or in a small roll. 
    • Cut two strips of electrical tape approximately 2″ each.
  2. Use the tape to secure the wires to the back of the solar panel.
    • First, run one piece of tape over the copper wires, covering both pieces.
    • Then, run one piece of tape across the top of the solar panel to secure the wires in place.
    • Make sure no wires or copper tape are exposed.

Quick, test the connection again

Apply the diode to the wires again to confirm your connection is still stable.
Need help? Access the troubleshooting guide here.

Connect the Charging Board

1. Locate the USB Charging Board
*The appearance will vary from board to board. Yours may not look like the picture below.
2. Find the positive (+) and negative (-) connections on the back of the USB Charging Board.
3. Connect the wires to the USB Charging Board
  • Tightly roll the ends of the wire so they slide into the small openings of the USB Charging Board.
  • First, put the red wire into the positive (+) opening.
  • Put the wire halfway into the opening and twist the wires around itself to secure it in place.
  • Next, put the black wire into the negative (-) opening.
  • Again, put the wire halfway into the opening and twist the wires around itself to secure it in place.

Confirm the USB Charging Board Connection

  • Hold solar panel under direct & strong light source.
  • If the connections are secure and your panel is capturing enough light, the small red LED on the top of the USB Charging Board will light up.
Need help? Access the troubleshooting guide here.

Build the Charger Housing

1. Locate the box that came inside the larger packaging. 
2. With the brown side of the box facing up, fold in the small side flaps.
  •  Do this on both sides. 

Attach the Solar Panel

1. Locate the adhesive velcro dots.
  • One strip is the velcro hooks and one strip is the velcro loops. These dots match up to hold the pieces in place securely.
2. Place one velcro dot in each corner on the back of the solar panel.
3. Place the four matching dots on top of the dots you’ve placed in each corner.
  • *Tip: Apply the velcro dots while leaving the backing on and peel the backing off after the dots have been velcroed together.
  • This will leave the adhesive backing of the dots exposed to attach the solar panel to the lid of the box.
4. With the adhesive backing exposed, place the solar panel in the center of the lid of the box.
  • Position the solar panel so the wire is running into the bottom of the box.
  • Press down firmly on the corners to secure the velcro dots to the box.
  • Test that the box closes with the solar panel attached to the lid.

Mount the Charging Port

1. Decide which side you would like to mount the charging port on.
    • Do not mount it in the center of the box or the lid of the box will not be able to close.
2. Mark the width of the charging port on the side flap.
3. Pull the flap up slightly so you can cut a rectangular opening in the flap.
4. Fold the flap back down into position
5. Mark the outside wall of the box.
6. Fold up the inner flap again
7. Cut a matching opening in the outside wall of the box.
8. Apply the last velcro dot to the back of the USB Charging Board.
  • Put one dot on the USB Charging Board first.
  • Apply the second dot and remove the backing to expose the adhesive back.
9. Place the USB port through the opening in the side of the box.
  • Once in place, press down firmly so the velcro dot is secured to the box.
10. Confirm the port is accessible from outside the box.

Test Charging (optional)

As in all things solar energy-driven, the science is meant to work with a strong and natural light source. Solar-powered devices operate under full sunlight.

 Particularly phones require quite a bit of energy and the chance to test your charger may only be possible in some cases.
You can give it a go and try to power up a phone or small (5volt) USB device – have fun experimenting with different light settings! 
But don’t be discouraged if you can’t get optimal conditions to power a phone. Your recipient child will have plenty of time to wait for a full sunny day, to make the science come alive and keep experimenting with the best conditions!
 
Tip: Different phone types require different energy inputs [e.g. iPhone is harder to power up than Android]

Decorate the Box

  • Use the enclosed markers and stickers to decorate the inside and/or outside of the box that hold the charger.

You did it!!!

Thank you for building a Kynd Kit by Project Helping! We hope you enjoy your solar powered phone charger and learning more about solar energy.