A REEL Power (Renewable Energy Education Lab) Lesson © LearnOnline, Inc. www.learnonline.com
Sunlight versus Artificial Light tm
This lesson demonstrates the difference between sunlight and artificial light as it strikes a solar panel. It shows that sunlight provides a constant source of voltage and current while artificial light produces “ripples” due to its AC nature.LEARNING OUTCOME
Students learn that solar panels can “see” the difference between sunlight and artificial light. Sunlight presents a nearly steady voltage output while artificial light contains “ripples” on the voltage. The ripples are a result of the 60 Hz AC that powers the light bulbs and fluorescent lights. Students come to understand that: 1. Alternating Current (AC) that powers theirclassroom lights causes variations in light output at a rate of 60 times per second. 2. Solar panels can detect the light variance while the human eye cannot with the reasons to explain why. 3. Fluorescent light output varies more than incandescent light output along with the reasons why.
Students setup the equipment to measure both sunlight and artificial light in the classroomusing a solar panel along with the Smart Meter – Data Logger tm and the classroom computer. Students place the solar panel near a window to capture sunlight and then near incandescent (regular light bulb) and fluorescent lights to capture artificial light. During the course of the lesson students measure and record voltage, current, resistance, power and energy with the Smart Meter Page 1 A REELPower tm (Renewable Energy Education Lab) Lesson © LearnOnline, Inc. www.learnonline.com
– Data Logger tm and then print out plots of the data on a printer or download data files gathered on the computer to be included in reports about the lesson.
This lesson is appropriate as an introduction to solar energy data interpretation for students in grades 5–10.LESSON TIME
This lesson should take between 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on discussion time about the experiment.
Make sure that students do not stand on chairs or table tops to position the solar panels near the light source as injury could occur from a fall.
Qty 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 Description Solar Panel Smart Meter – Data Logger tm USB cable Clip leads 100 ohmresistor Classroom Windows PC computer with REEL Power tm software (MACs must have Parallel’s “Desktop 3.0 for Windows”) Printer (optional)
1. Install the graphical software on the classroom computer. 2. Refer to the Smart Meter – Data Logger tm Tutorial for extra help.
Page 2 A REEL Power tm (Renewable Energy Education Lab) Lesson © LearnOnline, Inc. www.learnonline.comEQUIPMENT SETUP
1. Setup the equipment as shown in Figure 1 below. Wire the opposite side of the solar panel so that all 3 modules are in series in order to produce maximum voltage. You can use clip leads or the wires with looped ends to hookup the two inner solar modules together (+ to -). Then attach a clip lead from the left-most negative (-) post to the Black Input terminal on the SmartMeter – Data Logger tm and another clip lead from the right-most positive (+) post to the Red Input terminal on the Smart Meter – Data Logger tm. Also add a 100 ohm resistor to the Output terminals – the polarity doesn’t matter.
Figure 1 – Initial Equipment Setup
Page 3 A REEL Power tm (Renewable Energy Education Lab) Lesson © LearnOnline, Inc. www.learnonline.comTEACHING THE LESSON
1. Plug in a USB cable between the Smart Meter – Data Logger tm and the classroom computer and set the switch to the USB position so that it receives power from the computer’s USB port. Set the power switch to the USB position and verify the sign on message on the LCD screen. 2. Click on the REEL Power tm icon to bring up the software menu. Then click on the MPP Auto...
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