Jeff writes in with a quickie solar project…
I recently purchased two remote control cars for my nephews from a dollar store. The cars came with three rechargeable AA batteries and also a cheap AC charger that connects to the car, but unfortunately grew hot when plugged in (a classic wall wart). So I’m giving them the cars with a solar panel and withholding the AC chargers. The best part is how easy it was to make it all work as I piggy-backed on the car’s built-in charging circuit.
6V Solar panel – 1.3 Watt – These panels come to us from Voltaic Systems, makers of fine solar-powered bags and packs. These are waterproof, scratch resistant, and UV resistant. They use a high efficiency monocrystalline cell. They output 6V at 200 mA via 3.5mm x 1.3mm DC jack connector. The substrate is an aluminum / plastic composite, specifically designed to be strong and lightweight. They can easily stand up to typical outdoor use including being dropped and leaned on.