Theo-Highlights in the build process

Hey there,

Fifth blog post here. It’s been over two months since the summer mentorship started, and little over a month before the final event. In this blog I want to briefly share some of the highlights during the process so far.

Throughout the process, I think the best part is the rewarding feeling when I can get a part in the project to start working. No matter what it is: whether it’s getting something as simple as getting the plates to stick to the case or it’s something more complicated like getting the circuit components to work, it’s always  great feeling when something clicks, and sometimes when something isn’t right, it’s an encouragement to try harder because the solution could be just around the corner.

I think the most difficult part would definitely have to go to the circuitry design. More specifically, I would say the most difficult part was getting the piezoelectric plates to charge the power bank. It was very hard to measure because of the tiny amounts of current produced by the plates. In addition, the multimeter was slowly charging the power bank while measuring it. Also, I used a capacitor originally as my powerbank, but capacitors lose charge very rapidly, so I ended up losing more charge after a session of charging then gaining.

Eventually, I ended up using a battery instead of a capacitor, but it still wasn’t exactly working, and now that I think of it, one of the biggest issues probably was that the voltage of the piezo plates were not regulated. The piezoelectric plates generated over 50 volts of charge, but the battery could not take that much voltage, and because the current was so small, the battery completely ignored the current and didn’t take any of the input. In addition, I could not find a suitable voltage regulator for such low current applications to limit the voltage of the piezoelectric plates. In the end, though, I was able to find the correct components to do the job, and it worked in the end. It was really nice in the end being able to figure it out, and I am very happy about my results.My mentor has been extremely helpful the entire time, and I am especially thankful for Michael from 3M’s help on helping me find a suitable regulator.

Thanks for reading!