Wireless Power Transmission, Part I

Jamison and I are starting an engineering project1Jamison’s project is based on the Instructable, “Low-Power Wireless Charging. for his school’s science and engineering fair. This is the second year his school’s fair accepts engineering projects. Instead of doing a science experiment using the scientific method, we get to engineer:

  • Identify a problem
  • Research how others have solved it
  • Develop our own solution
  • Refine our solution

We want to transfer electrical power over a short distance without a direct, hard-wired connection. Here’s where we’re starting our research:

This should be fun. :-)

But wait — there’s more

See all posts on Jamison’s Wireless Power Transmission project.


I hope we haven’t bitten off more than we can chew. It does look like a lot of fun. I didn’t realize that Intel’s done so much on this topic until after we decided to do it. Oops!

Last year, we made a trebuchet for the science/engineering fair.

Hello Brent

We three are eighth graders at Lake Braddock Secondary School. We have entered a project called ecybermission for school. Our idea is similar to yours. We have decided to use methods of wireless transmission, a heat lamp and a solar panel to power a remote control car. However, we hit a dead end on the solar panel part. Do you have any thoughts?


Wow! That’s sounds like a lot of fun (and a huge project). I don’t know a lot about indoor solar cells, but I’d start by searching Instructables. I also ran across a Hack A Day article on testing indoor solar cells a couple of weeks ago.

I’m concerned about your choice of light for powering the solar cells. I suspect solar cells are sensitive to light in frequencies other than infrared.

My final concern is the amount of power you should expect to get through your system. Not a lot goes through the relatively inefficient wireless tuned coils that Jamison built. We were able to power the LED using a Cockcroft-Walton generator. That increases the voltage, but not the overall power.

Solar power is a great topic to understand. If you want to get a seat of the pants feel for how much power the sun can provide, I recommend reading [gblink isbn="0393337111"]Physics for Future Presidents[/gblink]. It’s a great book!

Hey. So we have a couple of parts for our experiment, but we were wondering how we can put it all together to make wireless energy. We have a battery, copper wire, LED’s, and capacitors. The only thing we don’t really get is how to use the capacitors. If you could help us figure out what should connect to what, we would really appreciate it! Oh yeah, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hKidYAuWNE is the link to the wireless energy transfer that we are trying to replicate. It’s hard to figure out where the capacitors go. Thanks!

George, I’m not sure where those capacitors should go for that circuit. He doesn’t provide schematics. The other thing I’d be concerned about is the high voltages involved. As he notes, taking apart a CFL ballast and plugging it in can kill you if you touch it. Be careful!

George, the circuit that is displayed when the video says “power consumption” is the oscillator. It converts the direct current from the battery to an alternating current, which is necessary for the coils to work. There is a schematic in the video’s description. There’s also a web page discussing the circuit in more detail, but it’s in Czech. An important point to remember when reading the schematic is that Europeans use a comma instead of a period for the decimal point. Good luck!

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