Close
0%
0%

SOLAR DISPLAY CASE v2.0

A Weatherproof case housing three portable monitors allowing for increased productivity no matter where the user is working from.

Similar projects worth following
The Solar Display Case makes a multiple display setup portable, energy efficient, and accessible. Multiple displays help increase productivity and multitasking by giving the user more room to organize their workspace, however, traditional multiple display setups are bulky, energy inefficient, and nowhere near portable, making it difficult to transition the location of your workspace. The Solar Display Case solves this issue by mounting three 17 inch low-voltage portable monitors inside of a rolling briefcase with a hinged design for easy storage and transportation. The Solar Display Case gets it's name from the solar panels fixed to the exterior of the case and on the three monitors so it continues to store power regardless of whether it is in use or being transported. The briefcase used for this project also has the ability to roll making it accessible to everyone. The Solar Display Case is perfect for anyone looking for additional productivity without sacrificing portability.

2021 HACKADAY PRIZE CHALLENGE TWO: REFRESH WORK-FROM-HOME LIFE

In a world like we see in the hackaday prize images, individuals are required to work in a variety of environments. Since we are always multitasking, it does not make sense to only be limited to one screen when working on the go. The Solar Display Case solves the issue of having to compromise productivity for portability by using 100 watts of solar energy to charge a 50,000 mAH powerbank in order to power three low-power portable monitors and an additional source device so you can experience all of the advantages of a multi-monitor setup no matter where you are.

Inspiration

This project was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic first hit, many employers and employees in tech and other industries had to transition to working remotely, and experienced difficulties moving their multi screen setups home due to complex wiring and bulky monitors. Many businesses just decided to provide employees with a stipend to purchase new equipment for their home office to solve this problem. As an IT Director I understand how much a multi-monitor setup impacts productivity, so I sought out a better solution that could save companies money in case another disruptive event such as a pandemic forces employees to relocate their display setups. What I created ended up being so much more than a way to trim the budget, my creation gives the user the freedom to work wherever they please.

Specifics

The Solar Display Case consists of:

1. Three 17'' Inch Portable Monitors

2. Five 20 watt solar panels for a total of 100 watts of input

3. A weatherproof, wheeled briefcase for transportation

4. One work light for working at night.

5. Lithium-Ion Battery back consisting of 1650 Cells.

4. IO Panel with 3 Female USB Ports (For Powering Monitors), 3 Female HDMI Ports(For Connecting Monitors to Source Device), One AC Port for charging a laptop or other source device, One Fan to Cool the Battery.

Design Features

  • The final build will have solar panels mounted to the back of each display in addition to BOTH sides of the case, making the case completely solar.
  • Three Monitors with open hardware IO panel configuration so mixing source devices or power delivery options is possible.
  • Wheeled design so the case can be transported without exerting too much energy carrying it.
  • 100 Watts of Solar Energy will Charge the battery faster than the monitors deplete it, making long remote working stints in the field possible.
  • The inclusion of an AC port also allows you to charge your source device, at the cost of depleting your battery life faster, but no worries! The Solar Panels will recharge the case even during transport since two of them are affixed to the outside of the case, so you can rest easy knowing your power gradually being replenished while moving to the next work site. Long trip between sites? Strap the case to the top of a vehicle or put it in the back of a pickup truck and your case will continue to restore power to itself. 

Usage

I designed the Solar Display Case so it is simple enough to be used by anyone anywhere for any purpose. Some specific fields where it would be useful include:

  • 3D Modelers
  • Developers
  • Digital Artists
  • Drone Pilots
  • Graphic Designers
  • Industrial Professions
  • Law Enforcement
  • Military
  • Penetration Testers
  • Photographers
  • Preppers
  • Researchers
  • Scientists
  • Video Editors

Want to code on top of a mountaintop? Done. Want to explore remote areas with your drone with an amazing field of view? You can. Want to screen share during your company meeting and be able to see the reactions of your co-workers while you create your amazing graphic design project in real time? Do it. The possibility and applications this project have are limitless. The Solar Display Case has removed a huge hinderance to productivity, and will change the way we work and communicate for the foreseeable future.

textured_output.obj

Raw 3d Scan. Can be used in open source tool blender. Download Here: https://www.blender.org/download/

obj - 8.72 MB - 07/19/2021 at 13:04

Download

textured_output.jpg

3D Scan texture.

JPEG Image - 2.16 MB - 07/19/2021 at 13:03

Preview
Download

heic - 2.65 MB - 07/19/2021 at 13:03

Download

heic - 2.08 MB - 07/19/2021 at 13:03

Download

heic - 1.88 MB - 07/19/2021 at 13:03

Download

View all 19 files

  • 1 × Weather Proof Case with Wheels Waterproof container to store and transport all of the components. $90 Retail, $35-$40 wholesale.
  • 5 × 20w Solar Panels For storing energy from the sun. $50 per panel, can be reduced wholesale.
  • 3 × 17'' Portable Monitors Can be purchased wholesale for ~$90-100, or sourced from recycled laptops.
  • 3 × HDMI Cords To connect the monitors to the IO Panel.
  • 3 × Female HDMI Ports For connecting source devices to monitors.

View all 14 components

  • Solar Problems and Solar Solutions!

    Brian Whitsett08/05/2021 at 17:23 0 comments

    Solar panel doesn't fit inside case :(

    Unfortunately, the solar panel will be too big to fit inside the case even if I modified the frame. So I had to come up with a SOLution… okay no more puns I promise.

    But first, let me kick this log off but saying a quick thank you to the judges of Hackaday Prize for taking the time and effort to evaluate at my project. Words cannot express the gratitude and excitement I feel to be a finalist for Hackaday Prize 2021! Thank you a thousand times over.

    Now, the main issue is the size of the panel I originally purchased is too large to fit inside the case. However, in v1.0 I acknowledged my concerns over the overall weight of the project too, and now that I am a finalist I have to consider mass production methods and how we can keep the cost of raw materials to a minimum. With all of this in mind, I hit the drawing board to search for an answer to all of these problems. Needless to say I solved all of them!

     The Fuji F-WAVE is a flexible solar panel boasting ~100 Watt performance at a level of efficiency that exceeds monocrystalline panels

    This panel is extremely thin and flexible, making it perfect for mounting on the backside of the monitors while still being able to fit inside of the case. F-WAVE panels are also significantly lighter than monocrystalline panels so there will be less strain on the hinges holding the monitors and the weight of the overall project will be reduced as well. The high durability of the F-WAVE panel makes it perfect for use on the outside of the case too. The EVA film on traditional monocrystalline panels can crack much like glass, but the flexibility of the F-WAVE panels boasts the ability to absorb impacts that may occur from drops or accidents during use or transportation. The idea of the Solar Display Case is to be able to transport and use the displays in any conditions and to remove the burden of worrying about protecting your displays during transportation or constraining them to only being used with a static power source. The Fuji F-WAVE panels make this possible by providing a (literally) flexible and durable solution to our solar panel woes. 

     Using the F-WAVE panel is not only functionally beneficially, but also financially too. The F-WAVE panel comes in a 100 Watt roll -much like a carpet- and can be cut into smaller sections or panels. My original design used monocrystalline panels that retailed for $50 per 20 Watt panel, where as the cost of the F-WAVE is $127 for a 100 Watt roll including shipping. Since we will be cutting our 100 Watt roll into five 20 Watt panels, that leaves us at a unit cost of $25.40 per 20 Watt panel resulting in savings of 50% BEFORE wholesale pricing is factored in. Although I was bummed out when I saw the panel I ordered wasn’t going to work, I was able to pivot my mistake into an opportunity for improvement and was able to come through with an even better solution! Paying less for a superior product is definitely a win. 

     From a manufacturing perspective, the F-WAVE is a perfect candidate for automated processing. After measuring the size of the roll required to produce 20 Watts of solar energy, and then use machine automation to cut the panel at the cut line to manufacture the 20 Watt panels for the Solar Display Case at a low cost of both materials and labor. Wholesale negotiations will bring down the costs of the panels and the waterproof cases which will make mass production more realistic. Geographically, most of the materials used in this project are located close together, meaning the panels can be shipped quickly from Japan to China where the rest of the assembly can take place if manufacturing was to be off-shored to further reduce costs. With some really rough calculations, a ~49% profit margin can be achieved at a $400 retail price point for a dual monitor model. 

     My mission is to create this product to fill a gap in the market....

    Read more »

  • Parts Acquired!

    Brian Whitsett07/19/2021 at 13:09 0 comments

    Since the last version of the Solar Display Case, I have been planning and acquiring parts for the second version. I am pleased to announced that I now have the case and battery and am constructing version 2.0 now! I have yet to acquire the panels and the third monitor but those are the last of the materials I need before I have everything required for the final build.

View all 2 project logs

  • 1
    Choose your case

    I knew right away that this case needed to be waterproof to protect the sensitive electrical contents inside. I searched for cases built to Ingress Protection Standards (IPxx), and settled on the fact that my case needed to be at lease IP67 to have the amount of protection I desired for this project. I also wanted my case to have wheels to make the burden of transportation a little bit easier. You can check wholesalers, online retailers, or hardware stores to find a case that meets your needs.

  • 2
    Choose your Monitors

    You are in control of the quantity and size of your monitors, but they have to fit inside your case even when folded on top of each other. If you are on a budget or environmentally conscious, use old laptop displays as your monitors. Arsenijs has a great tutorial on how to utilize old laptop displays. Make sure your case is deep enough to accommodate your monitors and the solar panels attached to the back. Design how your monitors will fold in and out of the case before moving on to the next step. Another consideration is power consumption, you must ensure your monitors will not out-draw your power source before the solar energy replenishes it. To calculate this, you can track your monitors required input power, then make sure your power bank has enough Watt Hours to support 7 Hours of use (8 hour work day - 1 hour lunch). This will ensure your battery will last as long as you need it to, with the solar energy replenished to it being a buffer to tide you over if you need to clock in some overtime.

  • 3
    Affix the Monitors to the Case

    I accomplished this using hinges so the monitors can fold back inside the case. Plan out the motion and position before making permanent changes to your project. This step is difficult because it requires a significant commitment to a design plan. Another tip is to avoid compromising the structural integrity of the case when affixing the monitors to it. In order to maintain the case's IP67 rating, I plan on gluing two pieces of wood to the inside lid of the case, then screwing the hinges into the wood so I don't actually break the seal of the case itself while still securely mounting the monitors and hinges.

View all 10 instructions

Enjoy this project?

Share

Discussions

Craig Hissett wrote 08/16/2021 at 09:20 point

@Brian Whitsett I absolutely love this project!

I'm now confined to working from home and really miss my three monitor setup from the office, but simply don't have the space at home to set up such a setup permanently. Something like this would be fantastic to roll out, fold up and crack on. I wouldn't even need the solar power, per se; I could possibly bury my laptop's dock in the case for connecting all the displays, run its power cable to a port on the case, then I'd just need to use the dock's USB C cable to plug it in.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Brian Whitsett wrote 08/19/2021 at 22:15 point

@Craig Hissett Thank you for viewing my project! I don’t believe I have this documented yet but this can also be plugged into a wall socket at home instead of just solar so thank you for mentioning that! I myself am an avid dock user and love the convenience of having just one cable to access all my displays and peripherals. In my next update, I will go more in depth about the inside of the case, and how the wiring makes it to store a dock inside the case that is already hooked up to the monitors to make your connection to the Solar Display Case even easier. Stay tuned Craig! I promise not to disappoint :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Craig Hissett wrote 08/19/2021 at 22:22 point

I look forward to it buddy :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Brian Whitsett wrote 07/19/2021 at 12:04 point

Please provide feedback or voice your concerns, your input will help make this project the best it can be!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates