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☀️🔋 Let’s Make a Solar-Powered Chat Network (overflow workshop)

May 14, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

A black-and-white illustration of a smiling cartoon mushroom holding a solar panel, with the sun overhead. In the background, a backpack with a LoRa radio on top leans against a hill.

On Sunday, May 14th at 1:00 p.m. we’ll re-run our workshop ‘Let’s Make a Solar-Powered Chat Network’ for anyone who didn’t make it to the workshop the day before. We don’t have funding for this event, so you’ll need to buy a solar chat node kit from the shop (details below) or bring your own hardware.

Here’s the workshop announcement:

We’re looking for help to build a wireless, solar-powered chat network across the Philly area! Are you interested in learning about off-grid solar power? Do you have a sunny place on your roof, in your yard, or near an upstairs window where you can leave a small radio transceiver? This workshop is for you!

You’ll assemble solar-powered LoRa node, mount it in a weatherproof enclosure (provided by you), and use the Meshtastic app to start sending encrypted text messages. Here’s what the kit contains:

• Heltec LoRa32 v3 w/case
• 5V 6W monocrystalline solar panel
• TP4056 battery charger module w/ header pins
• 18650 lithium-ion battery
• Battery clip
• MCP1700-3302E low-dropout (LDO) regulator
• 100uF electrolytic capacitor
• 100nF ceramic capacitor
• Micro breadboard
• 1.25mm JST connectors
• DuPont jump wires
• USB-C cable
• USB extension cable
• Heat shrink tubing

This workshop includes some light soldering, suitable for beginners. We’ll provide soldering irons and lead-free solder. If you don’t feel comfortable soldering, we have a solder-free option for assembling the kit.

To complete this project, you’ll need to bring a weatherproof enclosure for your LoRa node. An opaque, light-colored material is best to keep the temperature down. Avoid metal containers, which may block radio communication. At the workshop we’ll show you how to cut a hole in the bottom of your enclosure to pass a power cable through. Here are some items that would make good enclosures:

• a plastic ammo box from Harbor Freight
• a waterproof container for boating, such as an Otter Box
• an empty Gatorade bottle painted white
• a food storage container with a good seal
• a plastic bucket with lid


(If you're using a credit card, the name should match.)
(Prices include tax.)


May 14, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Iffy Books (319 N. 11th St.)
319 N. 11th St. #2I
Philadelphia, PA 19107 United States
View Venue Website


Iffy Books