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  Good Idea done Badly - [Issue 1, September  2009]

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Bad Solar Powered Birdbath Design

My wife wanted a small water feature in her garden.  I looked around and decided to buy her a birdbath with a solar powered water spray.  The photo on the box showed a nice pattern of water jets from the center of the device.  I assembled the thing with some difficulty.  As usual, the instructions were written in broken English with poor illustrations.

The pipe fittings did not fit the pump assembly, so I had to improvise.  This seems to be common for many products imported from China these days. We leveled the bath and filled it with water.  When I finished, the sun was nearly directly overhead, so the pump motor sprang to life and did indeed produce a nice spray of water.  Later that afternoon, I noticed that the thing had stopped.  I went out and looked at it.  I quickly spotted the problem.  The shadow of the center nozzle had bisected one of the 16 solar cells.  This shadow killed the electrical power output from the solar panel and thus killed power to the pump motor.  A better solution would have been to move the solar panel to a separate assembly, which could then be mounted facing the sun.  In our Colorado location a due south direction at a 45 degree angle collects the most sunlight.  My wide decided to leave the standing water in the birdbath and forgo this fountain feature until I could buy a suitable solar panel.  I will then rewire the fountain pump using that panel as the power source.

Leveled the birdbath The water spayed up gently Then a shadow caused the spray to stop

Issue #1:

September 2009  First Issue

Page 1 Back
Envelope
Circuit
Diagnosis
Experimenter's
Corner
Good Idea
gone Badly
New Products Rants &
Raves
What the World
needs Now
Wily Widget


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