Hi everyone, my name is Adam and I’m an engineer at Dexter Industries. I hacked a dSolar adapter for the 9v power coupling on our NXTBee Pro and Wifi units. I thought it would be fun to power some of our radio communication devices with the sun. It’s very simple to make, and John thought it was a cool and useful idea, so he asked me to write a how-to.
The solar panel is usually used to power the NXT unit, motors, and other sensors through the NXT. One 4w dSolar panel is usually enough for the NXT and two motors, but if your LEGO MINDSTORMS creation is big and uses a lot of power, you might need 2 panels and a dParallel to connect them.
It’s possible to power an NXT brick and an NXTBee Pro or Wifi unit with just one panel, but you’ll need strong sunlight. You’ll also need either a cloudless day or a cap bank; because the draw is near the panel’s maximum output, any dip in output can cause your whole creation to shut off. The other solution is to run a 2-panel setup with a dParallel, it has 4 ports so there’s enough space for both panels, the NXT power cable, and the Bee Pro/Wifi power cable.
If you give this project a try, we’d love to hear about it. You can email me at adam <at> dexterindustries dot com or post a pic on our facebook at www.facebook.com/dexterindustries.