Solar-Storm

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Solar Storm is the result of a conceptual design study for a Hybrid-Solar cell powered MAV. And as far as I can search through the internet Solar Storm is the smallest solar MAV (which is autonomous) in the world (please correct me if I am wrong...).

Frame is especially designed for its particular flight conditions by using computer aided drafting and moulds have been milled precisely with a 3-axis CNC in order to achieve the designed shape and surface quality. 20 S32 Solar cells bonded under vacuum by the help of a silicon based special glue from MAP-Coatings.

You can also check out Fire Storm page to see a version without solar cells.


Solar Storm


Specifications

  • Span: 500 mm
  • Weight: 300 g
  • Solar cells: 20 cells, serially linked for a maximum theoretical power of 6.5W
  • MPPT: Custom designed Maximum Power Point Tracker

Performances

24 September 2009

The third flight of Solar-Storm (with 1320mAH battery) has just finished :) Achieved endurance is:

  • New Endurance: 90 minutes.

11 September 2009

Solar-Storm has only 2 test flights yet. First to tune :) and second to measure the endurance.

The numbers we got from the first flight test (by using only 730mAH battery) are encouraging:

  • Endurance: 53 minutes
  • Average level-flight consumption: 11-12 W
  • Average power from Solar cells: ~4-5 W

Note: It was a partially cloudy day, sun was hiding behind the clouds for 20 minutes of the flight.

The following plot show power numbers for 7 minutes. From top to bottom, the curves show:

  • (purple) The voltage (V) of the solar cells array
  • (orange) The power (W) of the solar cells array extracetd through the MPPT.
  • (green) The total current (I) consumed by the whole system
  • (blue) The current (I) going out of the battery.

We can observe on the last curve that the battery was sometimes charged in flight !

Solar Plot

Solar-Storm will be capable of flying more than 145 minutes at its designed conditions. But not tested yet :)

Acknowledgements

Thanks a lot to MAP Coatings Company for helping us in the hard bonding process of solar cells on to the wing.