It is always wonderful to have some useful appliance that do not require frequent charging and wire clutter. The solar powered all weather helmet is one of such wonderful innovation. You can ride your favorite bike even in night with full lights on. You do not have to fit the lights on bike and certainly do not have to remove them when you park outside to save it from being stolen. The helmet does not require any external charging. All you need is to ride in daylight with your helmet on and you will have always charged helmet with considerable light power to ride even in night. The all weather helmet need no external charging. It even works in rainy seasons. The fitting is not at all tricky. However, considerable time is spent on fine circuitry. If you want to have this solar powered light helmet for yourself, then you can follow the procedure to make one for yourself.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time required: 4-5 hours working time. 24 hours for glue drying and another 24 hours for spray paint drying.
3. Soldering gun
4. Insulation tape
5. Solder and Flux
6. Circuit board
8. Silicon Solar Charging unit
9. LED bulbs ( Two 10mm Rainbow LED, Two 10mm Red LED, Two 10mm yellow LED,
10. Wire cutter and stripper
11. Waterproof LED mount
12. O ring LED Mount lens
13. Battery holders for 3 AAA batteries
14. 3AAA rechargeable Batteries
16. Two 9 volt battery connectors
17. Soft casing from any old mp3 shutter
18. Black shoe goo
19. Super glue
20. Black wrap
22. Black spray paint
Since, most of the tools and the helmet you may be already with you, so the cost is not high on that side. However, to purchase all other things you may need up to 50 dollars. If you do not have tools, you can borrow them from friends or buy them from local hardware shop.
STEP 1: LED Mounting
If you have a breadboard, then test your LED bulbs all together to check whether it is working with 3 AAA batteries or it will need 4 of the same. After that put shoe goo in the mounts. Place the mount, the vent of helmet in such a way that it does not block the aeration. Solder the wire on LEDs and put the wires inside via the air vent. Fix the mount on the helmet and glue the LEDs on to the mount. You can decide the arrangement of LEDs according to your need.
STEP 2: Installing the solar panel
For installing the panel, you need to reinforce the leads of the solar panel on the Black shoe goo and connect the leads with wire via soldering.
STEP 3: Fixing the black Velcro.
Put the fuzzy side of the Velcro outside with the inner side towards the helmet. Take six pieces of Velcro and align it perpendicular to wire leaving the panel. Mount few more Velcro on panel Velcro to give strength and alignment. Fix the solar panel on the sticky side of Velcro and place the whole arrangement on the top of the helmet. Press it fix on the helmet. You can also use glue to give strength to the attachment. The glue will also prevent water damage and leakage.
STEP 4: Working the electrical connection
Fix the soft case on the Velcro and fix it on the helmet. Connect the wire on to the battery holder and put shrink tubing on them. Once you have soldered the wires, you need to connect the LEDs to the battery holder. After, that panel needs to be connected to battery holder. Solder the wires to connect panel with the battery holder. Put the shrink tubing on the wire joints. Then cover the entire wiring with tape. Once the assembly is ready, you need to connect the switch to the main power supply. Cover the assembly with shoe goo. Mount the switch on the black shoe goo or you can use the super glue to connect the switch on to the side of your helmet. Put on tubing on the wire.
STEP 5: Finalizing the helmet
Spray paint on the entire assembly with black paint or the matching paint to your helmet color. Therefore, that wire clutter, scratches or goo merges with helmet. Once the painting is done then let it dry for 24 hours. Put the batteries and let it stay one sunlight for 5 to 6 hours. Your solar powered helmet is ready.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: Do the wire, batteries and circuitry hurt you while wearing the helmet?
Ans: No, all the connection, wiring and fixing of bulb is to be done on outside the helmet or in the vents.
Q2. Does it even work on rainy season?
Ans: Yes, it certainly works in rainy season. As the 3 AAA batteries do not require heavy sunlight for recharging, they do retain charge for quite a long time when it is fully recharged.
Q3. How much time the charge holds?
Ans: The charge holding depends on the number of cells used in the assembly and their recharging time. If it gets proper sunlight, then it can stay charged for up to 6 to 8 hours, otherwise on rainy days you get a minimum of 4 hours with 6 hours exposure to the outside light.
1. Work Carefully with your solar panel as it is prone to breakage.
2. Velcro and superglue both prevents water leakage, so use them both for building the electrical assembly.
3. Test the LEDs and required number of batteries on breadboard. If you want to use more number of batteries for longer charging time then put some resistors to distribute the load.
Things to watch out for
1. Be careful while working with soldering gun.
2. Do not burn the plastic of the wire while working with the heat gun.
3. Remove the solar panel before spray paintings, so that it does not get coated with paint.