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 may be for you!
Each participant will receive a free kit with all the parts needed to build a solar-powered LoRa node. You’ll assemble the kit, 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
Registration opens Monday, April 3rd at 8:30 p.m. We’re expecting this workshop to fill up quickly, so we’re keeping a waiting list. If you register but can’t attend, let us know ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t reserve kits for folks who miss the workshop, but Iffy Books will have a limited number for sale after the event.
Supplies for this workshop are funded by a grant from the Engaged Humanities Studio at Swarthmore College.
Registration for this free workshop is full. Thanks for your interest! You can join the waiting list here.
We’re also offering a paid version of the workshop on Sunday, May 14th at 1:00 p.m.