The NM Park Bench is a Solar Powered Park Bench that allows four people to simultaneously charge their devices using inductive charging units powered by solar. As an added delight, LEDs light up the seat in response to sounds in the environment. The bench also has motion sensors that power on the LEDs when someone is sitting there but turns them off to save power when nobody is present. The bench can be further modified to include Resin protected LCD screens that can connect to an application to showcase the city's website and show train and bus ETA's, time and date, weather reports, emergency information, and anything else the city would like to display.
Construct the bench. It needs to have a canopy where the solar panels can be installed, the canopy can be supported by pipes to allow cables above to run down into the bottom of the bench. The seat is a resin pour that glows in the light, and the seat is very heavy. It will need support. It also needs to be housed in a frame with an inner wall where the LEDs will be installed to make the bench glow. The compartment underneath the bench should be sealed and weatherproof, with holes on the armrests where the pipes run up, secured to floor flanges. The wires will run down through the pipes and through the holes in the armrests down into the compartment beneath the bench where everything will be plugged in. The armrests should be large enough to also have holes where the inductive chargers will sit flush with the armrest. All cables should run down inside the bench underneath the seat.
Run tests on your components
Use the bench tests git repository to test out your sensors and LEDs before permanent installation.
Install the components in the bench
I installed the LEDs using double-sided Gorilla Glue tape along the inner frame underneath the resin seat. The lights must be powered by 5V and will run off their own battery.
Install the 10W solar panels on the canopy. Install the mono mic underneath the canopy, and install the Garmin LIDAR Lite V4 motion sensors on either side beneath the canopy to sense when someone is sitting. (Remember to solder your wires to the motion sensors before installing them)
Run an aux cable down from the microphone, through the bench pipes, and plug it into the MSGEQ7 board. Install the Boron Microcontroller and solder all pin connections. Test on a breadboard first before soldering to ensure the setup is correct.
Install the charge controllers between the solar panel and battery. Connect the battery nearest the lights to a buck converter to step the power down to 5V. Remember that sending more than 6V to your LEDs will damage them. Connect the other battery to its charge controller and run the other two buck converters off that battery to power the microcontroller and inductive charging units. Run one buck converter to a DC splitter and connect the charge controllers to that. Run the other buck converter to the Li+ port on the Boron.
Connect the lights directly to power on the buck converter and connect all grounds on the same circuit as the microcontroller. The buck converter ground, LED ground, and microcontroller ground are all on the same circuit.