Monday, July 8, 2013

Research Proposal

Names: A Manicka Praveen, Arjun Appavoo, Liaw Xiao Tao, Looi Chi Han
Class: S2-04_____
Group Reference: B

[    ] Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research
e.g. Investigation of the anti-bacteria effect of chrysanthemum

[    ] Measure a value: Experimental research (I)
e.g. Determination of the mass of Jupiter using planetary photography

  ] Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)
e.g. Investigation of the effect of temperature on the growth of crystals

[    ] Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics
e.g. Modeling of the cooling curve of naphthalene 

[    ] Observational and exploratory research
e.g. Investigation of the soil quality in School of Science and Technology, Singapore  

X ] Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research
e.g. Development of a SMART and GREEN energy system for households  

Title: The Construction of a fully automated solar house

The Engineering Problem

It is said that we are nearing the state of energy shortage or crisis. Power cuts will be more common even in developed countries. There will be a high level of inconvenience. We may not be able to use electrical appliances such as lamps, air conditioner and even our television. In the future, engineers may opt to manufacture eco-friendly solar houses to conserve energy. Our team are trying to do the same by building an automated solar house that is eco-friendly.


The solar house will be able to save up more than 50% of energy compared to a normal house.

Specific Requirements

1.Lighting Control-The lighting control system will be based on Arduino programming with the use of one or more control devices. It is widely used in terms of location. It can be used indoor and outdoor in a commercial, industrial and residential area. The purpose of this system is to provide the suitable amount of light at different locations and at different times. They are used to minimise unnecessary energy usage. Some industrial spaces use this to support green building and energy conversation programs. The light sensor can be programmed in many ways.The most common ones would be according to the time of the day or by sunrise and sunset. We are using a light dependent resistor to control the lighting system based on different light intensity ranges. For example,if the lux is below a certain level,the lamp will turn on. However, if the lux is above a certain level, the lamp will be dimmed or turned off. However, if the user has a choice to use the manual system.

2.Green Aircon System- It uses thick paper with water pumping through it to cool down the air passing through it using evaporation. It uses only a little bit of electricity when the valve releases the water to flow to the paper.

3.Water Harvesting System-Water flows into the funnel during a rain and turns the turbine to generate electricity and the water can be used for plants/paper air con/normal water usage (Filtered). Water harvesting is the collection and accumulation of rainwater for reuse for normal water uses such as bathing,watering and cleaning. It also can be pumped through a turbine that is connected to a generator to generate energy. This system acts as an alternative source of water during regional water restrictions or during droughts. When the water is collected,the water flows through a active carbon filter which reduces the salinity and the presence of iron salts in the collected water.  Advantages:1)Makes use of the natural surroundings to cope with the demand for drinkable water.

i)Reduces the chance of flooding,storms,landslides(because of erosion) and many other natural disasters.
ii)Relatively simple to install in households.
iii)Quality of water is better compared to surface water of water bodies.
There have been a few modified models of the water harvesting system. One of them would be the RainSaucer which looks like an upside down umbrella. It collects rain from the sky. This prevents the rainwater from being contaminated.

4.Solar Panel- The solar panels would be used to convert light energy from the sun and convert it to electrical energy. This would be our main source of energy. Solar energy is readily available and it is also quite powerful.

5.Lamp- It would be positioned upward towards the concave mirror so that the light is evenly spread throughout the house.

6.Fan- Four computer fans at each side. Drill a hole at each fan position. Its purpose is to suck air from the outer atmosphere and to cool the house by expelling the air through the paper aircon.

7.Window Panes- The window would be activated by a pulley system. When, the air is too humid, past a certain degree, the windows would be opened. But if there is rain, then the windows would close and not let water enter the house.

8.Paper- The paper is for the paper airconditioner


1.Simple Solar Panel with Normal Power Supply.
2.Wind energy-not applicable for Singapore.
3.Sound Energy from nearby traffic.

Best Solution: Automated Solar House using Arduino Sensors.

Materials Needed
1) Plywood
2) 2 Computer Fans
3) Lamp
4) Solar panels
5) Paper
6) Arduino Control Systems
7) Light sensor
8) Window Panes
9) Motion Sensors (2)
10) Wires
11) Metal contact/clips
12) Release Valves
13) Pipe
14) Fiberglass
15) Transitions coated glass
16) Wind turbine
17) Propeller Blades
18) Solar panels converter
19) Batteries
20) Metal Pole
21) Metal Sheets
22) Hinges
23) Knobs
24) Pulley Systems
25) Water turbine
26) Soil
27) Water filter
29)12V to 9V down converter
31)Cylinder Tube


Please proceed to this document for the procedures:

Analysis of Data:

Everything will be recorded to a CCTV Camera for a period of time

Electricity during the day (Solar Panels)
->We can test whether the solar panels are charging the batteries by disconnecting the wind turbine and checking the footage of the voltmeter connected to the battery to determine whether the battery level increased or decreased. If the level increased, that means that the solar panel is charging at a rate faster than the battery is being depleted. If the level decreased, that means that the solar panel is charging at a slower rate than the battery being depleted and the circuit must be modified.

Paper Air Con
->We can test whether the paper air con is working effectively by placing the box in a room with a constant room temperature with a temperature sensor inside. If the air con is effectively cooling the air in the house, the temperatures recorded will dip and will be lower than room temperature most of the time. If it does not work effectively/at all, the temperature recorded will be very near room temperature.

Wind Turbine
->We can test whether the wind turbine is charging the battery by disconnecting the solar panels and connecting a voltmeter checking the footage of the voltmeter whether the voltage increased. If the wind turbine is charging the battery faster than it depletes, the voltage will increase over time. If the wind turbine is charging the battery slower than it depletes, the voltage will decrease over time.

Rain Turbine
->We can test whether the rain turbine is working by disconnecting the solar panels and wind turbine before hooking up a water tube to simulate rain and a voltmeter to check the voltage of the battery. Over a period of around 1-2hours, if the rain turbine is charging the battery at a rate faster than it depletes, the voltage will be higher after the 'rain' compared to before. If the rain turbine is not charging the battery faster than it depletes, the voltage measured will be lower after the 'rain' compared to before.

Electrical Circuits
->We can test whether the whole circuit is working by connecting everything together and checking the footage after a few days to see if the light bulbs and fans turn on or off as intended along with the data of temperature and voltage of the battery. If they work as intended, the circuit is stable and requires little or no adjustments to improve. If they do not, we have to find out the root problem and make changes to our circuit.

->We can test whether the battery is charging faster than it is depleting by connecting everything together and checking the data of the voltmeter after a few days. If the voltage is higher than initial voltage, that means that the battery is being charged faster than it is being depleted. If the voltage is lower than initial voltage, that means that the battery is being charged slower than it is being depleted and therefore further changes must be made to conserve more electricity.

Hydroponics (If time permits)

->We can test the distribution of the water to the plants by checking if the soil is damp at all times and not too wet (water overflowing) from the footage. If that is so, the distribution is good and it will require no more changes. If there are puddles of water overflowing or if the soil is too dry sometimes/most of the time, the distribution is not equal and it must be modified. To ensure accuracy of testing whether the two far ends of the soil has equal moisture, we would test their moisture levels by using a moisture sensor.

Risk assessment and management
1. List/identify the hazardous chemicals, activities, or devices that will be used.

 We would be using drills, saws, screws, screwdrivers, pliers, hot glue gun and epoxy. We would be using the tools mainly to make ledges and cut holes to fit in the solar panels and other sensors and electronic devices. We would also be using wires for all the sensor and systems.

 2. Identify and assess the risks involved.

 While using the tools one might easily cut themselves with the sharp blade which might cause severe bleeding and also infection because of the wood shavings from the wood cutting. The wood shaving may also enter someone's eyes or mouth. The wires may come into contact with water which might cause a electrocution which might even lead to death.

 3. Describe the safety precautions and procedures that will be used to reduce the risks.

While cutting, it is best to not keep fingers or any part of the body close to the blade. This is mostly because the blade can easily slide off and cut the fingers of the person using it. While using the drill, there would be wood shavings on the drill. It is best to use a brush and sweep off the wood shavings and not use our hands. We should also make sure the wire has no cuts while handling it. If there are cuts, the power should be turned off before handling it.

 4. Describe the disposal procedures that will be used (when applicable).

The wood shavings should be put inside a plastic bag and disposed. This is to make sure the wood shavings does not fly in the wind while being disposed

 5. List the source(s) of safety information.

 - Safety tags on the drills and wires.

 - Safety measurements in the Research lab and ADMT studio.


Wikipedia (2013, July 04). Renewable energy. Retrieved from

U.S Department of Energy(2013, July 04). Energy Basics: Concentrating Solar Power. Retrieved from

U.S Department of Energy(2013, July 04). Energy Basics: Solar Energy Resources. Retrieved from

U.S Department of Energy(2013, July 04). Energy Basics: Wind Energy Technologies. Retrieved from

U.S Department of Energy(2013, July 04). Energy Basics: Hydropower Technologies. Retrieved from

U.S Department of Energy(2013, July 04). Energy Basics: Microhydropower. Retrieved from

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