A Do-It-Yourself Solar Powered Laptop Cooler

May 1st week and Bangalore was hot. More so with we being used to AC’s all day in office, it was pretty perspiring to sit at home. On the weekend, with so much of temperature, it was not a good idea for me to go out driving in the burning sun I thought, and took towards a favorite pastime.
Yeah, scrapping and facebooking and Gtalking. Its been hours since I began and still had my laptop with me all heated up. It wasn’t a good idea to use a laptop as a laptop but rather found out that the name ‘notebook’ suits more. Probably someone who was intelligent enough that laptops cant be used for long on laps renamed it as ‘notebook’
I thought I’l go buy a laptop cooler, and checked the price online. It was a cool 1700/- a one from Belkin with a 9v power adapter.

Being a boring friday noon, (1st may and a long weekend) I happened to spot the Solar Panel that was gifted by my company NSN as an annual gift as a part of the Go-Green initiative. Unfortunately the lamp ceased to work, thanks to the not-so-good battery provided inside.
So here I was with a project to build a Solar powered Laptop cooler.

All you need is some raw materials and some time πŸ™‚
The nearby computershop guy was happy to provide me a 12v 100mA CPU casing fan for a cool 70/- and I bought this writing pad made from cardboard that we used in school for 20/- at a nearby stationery shop. The project was to cut a hole in the pad, and fix the fan onto it and connect the DC fan to the solar panel.

From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

How to:

  • Cut through the pad with a hacksaw with the fan sweep as the diameter. Selecting a slightly offset point on the cardboard would help, as the laptop heating points are not at the middle but somwhere between the middle and the topleft corner. It would help if the area you cut is made slightly wet as cardboard gives way easily at those areas. Now drill 2 holes into the pad and affix the fan with a pair of screw and nut provided alongwith the fan.
  • Now connect the panel power cable (its assumed to have pretty long about 10-15m) to the fan. Check the direction of the airflow before drilling or fixing the fan as the fan does not reverse direction if you connect it the other way round thanks to the internal circuitboard within the fan coil
From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

The panel I used gave me an open circuit voltage of 10.09V 500mA. perfect for the fan of 12V to make it run at 80% of the speed. The fan running at full speed will not give as much airflow as 80% of the speed.

From Blogger Pictures


The Image below depicts the Airflow
:

From Blogger Pictures

The device is working great for me. I first place it on my lap with the air exit towards my face, and place my laptop on top. The temp under the laptop has reduced by 8-10 degrees which is about 30% improvement. All at a cost of 100/-
In case you dont have a solar panel, you could use an old power adapter of 12v ~350mA for instance like the one I am using is from an old cordless phone. Buying one will cost 150/-
You can also use the power from USB of your laptop. In that case you need to buy a USB port male pin and a 5V fan instead of 12V. You can get the USB configuration here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus

From Blogger Pictures

All in all, its a very generic design and you can customise it with 3 or more fans, add more LED’s to make it look like a UFO, put 4 rubber bushes on all sides to make it a tabletop laptop cooler etc etc…
It was a fun afternoon and the results were satisfying. And yeah, I managed to save 1500/- during the recession time πŸ™‚

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