Reed switch motor with solar panel

Difficulty level: 2 (simple, but requires the use of a soldering iron)

Solar Power Module could be added to almost any motor kit available at our site. It provides enough power for them to work under direct sunlight; however the main purpose of the solar panel is recharging the batteries. It also adds a switch for your motor.

pdficon_smallPrinter-friendly assembly instructions in pdf format.

If you want to purchase this inexpensive and simple kit, click here.

If you want to know more about this module, click here.

Read all instructions carefully and check the Safety Rules before you start!


You may receive one of two slightly different solar panels with identical electrical parameters.

  1. Solder the Schottky diode to the solar panel. Note the polarity of the diode! Thin silver band depicts the cathode.

    Solar panel - Step 1

    Solar panel - Step 1

  2. Solder two pieces of wire as shown. Tape them to the board.

    Solar panel - Step 2

    Solar panel - Step 2

  3. Attach the bracket to a solar panel. Assemble the switch on the bracket. Solder the wire from the Schottky diode to the middle point of the switch and tape wires to the bracket.

    Double sided tape provided with your kit may not provide permanent adhesion. If you plan to use this solar panel for a long time you may want to use epoxy glue instead, or stronger tape such as VHB made by 3M.

    Solar panel - Step 3

  4. Attach the bracket to the board using included screw, washer and a nut. If you order the solar panel with the motor kit your board will have a countersunk hole; if you buy it separately you need to drill a hole for the screw.

    Solar panel - Step 4

    You may also use double sided tape.

  5. Disconnect battery holder positive wire (usually red) from the motor and solder it to the middle point of the switch. Solder disconnected motor wire to the lower contact of the switch.

    Solar panel - Step 5

  6. Connect the remaining wire from the solar panel to negative wire from the battery holder.

    Solar panel - Step 6

The solar panel could be used with QuikLock motors built from kits #13-14. The connection is basically the same. You will need to drill a hole through the base plate to attach the solar panel.

Solar panel with QuikLock motor #13

You may use 3 or 4 AA rechargeable batteries. For 3 batteries you need to use a jumper wire in the battery holder. We recommend using NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) batteries; do not use Lithium-ion or any other expensive batteries.

Here is the electrical diagram of the solar panel connection:

Solar panel electrical diagram

Under direct sunlight all the motors (except conventional) built from our kits should work even when there are no batteries.

The batteries are being recharged even when the switch is off.


  1. I am concerned about breaking the solar panel with too much heat. What is the temp of your soldering iron?

    Thank you!

    • We did not experience any problems with the temperatures slightly above the melting point of standard 60/40 solder. Probably 190-200 degrees Celsius.
      Just do not apply that heat for extended period of time.

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