April-May Module Alterations and Wood Prototype Update
Nearing the date for the much anticipated EurekaFest at MIT this summer, the construction of balsa wood prototype modules instead of using 3-D filament has been well underway along with other technical alterations (Check March blog for further details for the material switch). We are still working on perfecting them and completing the hinged lid.
Along the way, to maximize efficiency, connections in the module were changed and power rails will be modified. We also came up with a new electrical system by moving the location of the battery on the terminal block to get rid of an unnecessary solder joint as well as to make it easier to build. This new circuit is being implemented in our new wooden modules. One of the major feats so far is successfully charging our marine batteries with our modules. It took some testing and understanding but with a charge controller we were able to charge a battery. This alteration is significant to our module as it could prove to the efficiency of it, making it a big step in our progress.
Along with those significant items our team is working diligently on, we need to calculate how many modules will be needed to charge the batteries in an efficient amount of time. Each module produces up to 0.25 amps and with the battery capacity of 100ah it would mean a module would not be fully charged until 400 hours or more. This time could be significantly reduced if the modules were connected in parallel series. The photocopier would be able to run for at least two hours using the deep cycle batteries. The microbial fuel cell aspect of the module was decided that it would not be implemented as it was difficult to record current. While this change did remove a certain uniqueness to the module, it did allow for the size to be slimmed down and further help with the sustainability aspect.