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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    Since 2020, Hannah is guest professor of the Spiel&&Objekt Master's program at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch in Berlin

    From 2013-2015 Mika was a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley

    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab

    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Example Projects

    Solar T-shirt II

    Here is the second version of Solar T-Shirt with components directly sewn on with conductive thread. It is also using slightly different circuit than the other solar t-shirt.

    The new schematic is the following. Please not that it is using FLED (Blinking LED) instead of diode on other one. In this example I used 2N3906 as PNP transistor and 2N3904 as NPN transistor.

    Download PDF >>solar_Tshirt_schematic.pdf

    This circuit is based on the suneater BEAM bot circuit. From this link, you can see the original circuit schematics and the detail explanation of how it works.

    Here is how to make the solar t-shirt

    Solar Cell (4V)
    Capacitor (2200uF) *2 (or 4700uF *1)
    FLED (blinking LED)
    2.2k ohm resistor
    coper tape
    small piece of form sheet
    small piece of neoprene
    small piece of normal fabric
    conductive fabric
    conductive thread
    fusible interfacing (iron-on)
    normal thread
    plastic flower (or feather.. something light for decoration on motor)
    2 pairs of poppers

    sewing needle
    soldering iron
    iron and iron board
    thin nose plier
    hot glue and hot glue gun
    hammer or popper fastener

    Decide the circuit layout on the t-shirt and mark the circuit traces.

    Glue on the fusible interfacing (iron-on) on the back of the conductive fabric by ironing on with backing paper. Cut the conductive fabric into the desired shape and place it on the T-shirt as you planed the circuit traces. Fix it on the place with iron.

    When two traces over wrap, use normal fabric with fusible on the back to cover the bottom conductive trace. Then place the top conductive trace. Fix them firmly by ironing each layer. The normal fabric layer isolates the two conductive fabric traces that are over wrapping.

    Make a small loop with a wire and secure the connection with solder. Cut it in short pieces to make an extension legs with loop. This will be the part you will be sewing to the fabric with conductive thread. Connect the legs to the component’s legs with soldering iron. If the component’s leg is long enough, you can directly make a loop on their legs and secure the connection with solder. (see the picture of resistor and LED legs). It is easy to make loops with thin nose pliers. For Solar Cell, I also added extra extension legs on top side with hot glue, so you can fix it on T-shirt from 4 corners.

    Now, to make a holder for the motor. Take a small piece of form sheet ( I’ve bought A4 sheet of it at local stationary shop for 60 cent) and wrap around the motor. Fix it tight with sticky tape.

    Place a small piece of coper tape beneath the power tab, and solder it together to extend the power tab to the copper tape.

    Take small Neoprene piece. This will be the shell of the motor holder. Mark the coper tape location, and drew the outline of the motor holder on the neoprene. place small pieces of conductive fabric where coper tape will be located.

    Make sure that coper tape and conductive fabric are facing each other. Sew the edge of the neoprene together with normal thread to close it.

    Place some hot glue on the tip of the turning head, and stick the ornament. In this example, I used plastic flower, but you can also use feather or other light weight objects. Fasten poppers on the motor holder’s tab for connection to the t-shirt. You can also directly sew them onto the t-shirt.

    Place the motor in place.. and finish!
    The flower turns as you stand in the sun. And if you cover the solar cell, or go into the shadow, it stops turning.

    (Thanks to the model: Andy!)

    Here is the layout of this example project.
    You do not have to layout it the same way. As long as you stick with the circuit schematic, it is free to layout it the way you like it.

    Download PDF >>Layout example

    Here is the other layout example.

    3 Comments so far

    1. Lukas on December 21st, 2010

      Funny thing. Thought bout doin sumthin with solar energy one day, too. Note: There is sum instructions on instructables.com howto connect several pieces of scrap solar panels, say, if you connect a network of chipped solar panels, you should be able to use it for round faces like shoulder parties. I thought bout sumthin like an armor from the gothic-game: http://i40.tinypic.com/29xhmia.jpg
      If it’s possible to run such a scrap solar network, one should be capable to run even bigger stuff on clothes, i guess.

    2. Jenny Wong on May 7th, 2012


      May i know how you place the components on the shirt? you sew it on the conductive fabric or you stick it with glue?

      Anyway, this is a great DIY solar shirt! 🙂

    3. priyanka on January 5th, 2013

      what is area where this t-shirt design may fail….

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