Alex is trying to figure out how many solar panels would be necessary to generate enough power to drive the scooter at an acceptable speed.  He's got an old Merit scooter that they don't even make any more, and I can't find a label on the motor to identify what it is or where it came from.  Any idea how much power these motors draw?

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I looked quick - the replacement motors I found online don't have the power ratings. I bet if you called them, they could give you the rating off one.

The motor is probably oversized somewhat and wouldn't give you a great answer anyway.

If you really wanted to know, you could hook up an amp meter and measure the draw under different driving conditions.

I think you'd need a pretty big panel. Looks like a 24V panel is about 5 foot by 3 foot. They rate it at 5 amps, but I assume that's under ideal conditions, like perfect sunlight and optimal orientation to the sun.

Good luck. Sounds like he's an engineer in the making....

Thanks, Keith.  I do believe that he wants to be an engineer. As new as I can tell, the motors range in power from 1/4 to a full horsepower.  This dude is making it work:

I'd worry more about the battery (or batteries) than the motor.  You probably don't want a panel to drive the motor directly since a passing cloud could strand him in the middle of an intersection.  Instead, I'd look at using solar panels to charge the battery.  Consider having two batteries, one being charged, the other in use, and swap them out.


So instead, what you want to do is look at the capacity of the battery.  You then need to figure out what size of panel(s) you'd need to charge a battery given your typical amount of sunshine.  Its a lot of math, and details, and planning, but that's something an aspiring engineer should love.  As Keith linked to, there are lots of panels out there, and they will provide an idea of how many watts the panel can provide, but as he mentioned, that will be under ideal conditions.  You might be able to reliably get 50% or so of that, depending on a great many factors.

I agree - if you actually wanted to build one, you'd want to charge batteries, not power the chair directly. That's what the guy in Paul's story is doing.

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