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Quite a neat device. It's basically an inflatable ball with a weighted base so that it floats (or hangs) with the solar panel facing up, and sunlight passing through the globe charges the battery.
It's not very bright, but still very visible as an illuminated feature. The colours can be selected with a remote control.
One of the biggest surprises about this globe is that it is based on a NiMh battery. The 1.2V to 3.3V step up chip is a 2309S five-pin device that seems to be designed specifically for solar applications. I drew a blank when I searched online for it.
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I'm not even sure how to start this video, it's about a solar powered glowing, orb and the orb is huge. It's got a little hanging thing in top, it's got the button in the bottom and when you put it in a pool, it floats yeah. It's too big, isn't it it's too big for the bench right, okay, tell you what we'll size it down a bit by deflation at one moment: please, okay! That's it deflated it's much more manageable now and can theoretically restore to its full glory. So this is an inflatable pill globe and it comes in this box uh, which is nice and compact for such a large thing.

Notable things for best results place in bright, sunlight for six to eight hours. Do not over inflate to attempt to remove wrinkles wrinkles fade after one day a wee bit of space here be useful in cold water. You may need to reinflate globe what they mean by that is that the uh, the air, will expand and contract. So if you over inflate this and you put out in sunshine, if the air heats up inside, it could actually put it under pressure.

It could build up quite a lot pressure inside and likewise when it's really cold it'll shrivel up, so you might have to inflate it. According to the weather, i'm not sure how much tolerance there'd be. What you also get is a little pin and a set of instructions in german and uh english for some odd reason and a remote control, interestingly, to note uh when you turn it on it does the automatic dusk thing, but it always reverts to the slow color Change so, basically speaking at night time, if you want it to be red, every night you're going to have to go out and boop press that button, and it goes right, ah mental, off pumping stark of pumping automaticism right anyway. We're not here for instructions we're here to open it up, and i could slash the whole thing, but i'm quite tempted to just basically take the knife and just slit around this is this could be cardboard inside.

I think this is going to be cardboard. I suppose it doesn't matter it's sealed. I would expect in two layers the layer for the electronics and the layer into the globe itself. Is it cardboard yes, it's cardboard or is that that looks like mdf, a little disk of mdf, that's interesting to match my bench.

That's lovely right what we got this switch is kind of also sealed to keep it central. I'm not sure i'm going to do with that. Oh, oh and then the electronics hold on. Oh, the electronics inside oh bit, tricky right! Tell you what i think the electronics are inside.

Let's get the knife back in again. I shall get this bit off. First there that bits off. Oh there's another pouch here i may still be able to get it without actually puncturing the whole thing, not that i'm really planning on floating this in the pool, largely because i don't have one here, it is.

Is it still intact? Yes, it is, you can actually cut the electronics out useful to know down goes that random beach ball. Oh look at this. They put a bit of a holographically that sort of patterned tape across that plastic to diffuse the light. I have to turn it on now.

Don't and then cover the solar panel. Oh it does it creates that sparkly effect. I don't know if you're getting that hold on. Let me just zoom down and we'll see if you can get the sparkly effect cover see the sparkling there.

It's not terribly visible, but you get the drift it is. Actually i thought it was just going to be. Oh, it's! Actually, let's get this off. Oh, it's kind of ripped not to worry.

Oh, it's not bad. It's not bad! It's a fairly decent solar panel. That does rely on light coming through the outer globe. Then we've got a little eight pin chip with an infrared receiver, a little inductor here for stepping the voltage up from a 1.5 volt cell.

I thought this was going to be lithium. That's actually not a bad thing, little boost converter, is it perhaps uh creating a supply of 5 volts or 3 volts we'll find out once i take it to bits, i should actually just take it to bits shouldn't i and take pictures, and then we can take A closer look at the circuit board. I shall do that one moment please, the reverse engineering is done. Let's explore this appears to be a dedicated 3.3 volt power supply chip.

Here that is designed to work with solar panels and nickel metal hydride cells and the way they turn it off is very odd, doubly odd, in fact, but it generates a 3.3 volt supply when the unit is turned on and that 3.3 volt supply is always active. When the unit is switched on, but the microcontroller over here can also detect output directly from the solar panel. As i shall show you in the circuitry there's an infrared receiver with its own decoupling, capacitors uh for stability and it uh receives the remote control information and converts it into the well. It just puts out a stream of data which the microcontroller then actually processes.

There are three leds with a single 100 ohm resistor, and these leds are red, green, blue and warm wide. They are all in parallel and one oddity there is that, because there are no resistors, it's going straight to the microcontroller. It's relying on its internal resistance of its little output, mosfets and because of that, to balance the voltages, the red one. Actually, this extra diode in series to add 0.6 volts to the red leds, and that is more or less it here is the.

If you want to try a bit of reverse engineer yourself well, there was a resistor here for some reason. Instead of soldering the solar panel onto this pad, i think the wires were amply long enough if they had they sorted it on to the side of a 100 ohm resistor and as i was trying to get the thing out, because everything was glued in it pulled The resistor off the board, it's no problem, but this is the top of the circuit board, and this is the bottom. The bottom of the circuit board is notable for having three switch positions, one of which doesn't even have any pads, and they have odd configurations. It's as if this is a generic circuit board format, with switches and known positions for a standard range of lights, and then they just add the tracks and stuff to suit.

But having those switch pads on that location was just used as a way of reusing. An existing circuit board and not much to say about this. The big squish here that looks like a fingerprint was actually really hard glue very hard to remove that i had to use solvent and scrub it. So that's why the pads reboot be around there to actually take this picture.

Okay on to the main menu, which is the schematic. The schematic uh starts with the solar panel i'll draw the little beams of sunshine coming on to that, and the solar panel goes to this chip, and presumably it has a diode inside uh to charge the the cell well, i know because i tested that when i Saw that is this bright enough. I don't know if it's bright enough. I think it should actually brighten up a little tad by cheating, horribly and nudging it up to that level.

Yeah that'll do that's better. Then there are two resistors across the solar panel, 100 ohm resistor and a 100k resistor. The 100k resistor uh goes to the enable of the microcontroller i've. Just thought of something that's odd, because the the actual power of this are shunted, and that means that through the diode of that that's odd, that is strange almost going to cap that down to 0.6 volts, i shall investigate that.

I'm going to investigate that right now. One moment please: yes, it is, as i thought, um so effectively when the unit is turned off. It can theoretically charge the nickel metal hydride cell, but this there'll be a hundred ohm resistor and a diode to ground effectively, which will uh pass a bit of current uh. Maybe that will regulate the charging when it's actually turned off, so it doesn't charge as fast.

I wonder if they thought about that. That's quite an odd thing. Anyway. The solar panel uh charges the nickel metal hydride cell via a diode in this chip, and it has that resistive divider here that feeds a microcontroller to tell it when there is sunshine that the solar panel has been illuminated really bizarrely, the switch that turns on and Off actually breaks the circuit between the inductor, that's used to step the voltage up and the chip.

So i guess the chip's still pulsing inside to actually try and step the voltage up, but there's nothing on the inductor to actually do that, because the switch is open at the same time when this switch is open to turn it off. This switch here closes, the two orange boxes show they're linked and it just shunts the positive rail to the zero rail to make sure the processor resets and that's where that sneaky path is effectively going through the diode to the positive and then down through that to The negative very strange, the 3.3 volt is there and during daylight the microcontroller gets that signal from the solar panel. That says stay off because you know the sun shines out. They won't see the light, but when it gets dark and it's uh reduces below a certain threshold, the microcontroller will turn on when it turns on.

It goes into a slow, color fade sequence, but you can then use remote control to actually uh signal it. How much? Oh, i know why i wonder if that's something i didn't check one moment please and resume okay, so if you turn off the switch, obviously it shorts, the wheel out and the mic controller forgets the current program setting if you bridge it out. Oh, let me show you this: let's switch it to say, for instance, warm white pal little warm white chips, not very bright, but the current through this will be tiny. I think they've just used three to get greater efficiency.

If i then get the little resistor substitution box, which is set to 100 ohms uh, i got this over 30 years ago, possibly 40 years ago. I got it a very long time ago from tandy, i don't think they're still selling it. So it's seen it's been through the wars, it's uh it'd be nice. If they didn't again.

If i go from here and replace that original resistor there and it indicates that the sunlight is out, but then the sunlight goes in. It comes back in the previous color. So it does remember the previous setting when you do that it, when you're just using the solar, enable that's quite nice. Now where was i the infrared sensor, which has decoupling capacitors? It's got a 10k pull up resistance output and 100 ohm resistor, which looks all black here, because i initially didn't draw it, and then i drew it and looked like a fuse.

So i colored it in that's just what i did. The microcontroller has a local decoupling. Capacitor uh note that, because there are cement, decoupling, capacitors and switches, i've actually drawn these little blocks as the zero volt rail here, zero, volt, rail or negative is just used as a reference for other voltages like 3.3 volts. In this case, it will be about 2 volts because it's only have to charge the 1.2 volt cell via the diode.

Quite a nice solar panel, i have to say the solar panel is okay. It's a good, generous size, one. It's all covered in smooth because uh i've been using solvent to remove the voluminous quantities of sticky tape off the back of it. The 100 ohm resistor for the leds they're all in parallel and there's the extra diode in the red one, because the these ones all have a for voltage of roughly about 3 volts while 2.5 to 3 volts.

This one has a forward voltage of just about 2 volts, so they add that to diode, and it takes up to just over 2.6, which kind of matches the others, and that means they can uh. They they're gon na and even current shared the red isn't going to be dominant. Is there anything more to say it seems so simple? Now i've reversed engineered it, it took a lot longer. The to a reverse engineer did to explain as you'd expect the current uh.

It draws isn't terribly high, it's very low power thing. It really is just designed for ambient glow. It's not going to light the universe. I have to confess now: don't i it was so dim that i thought maybe the battery's low, because i haven't charged it and for the thumbnail it was coming out grainy.

So for the thumbnail i cheated and i put a flashlight behind it. It surprised it angled. So it lit up and made it all look bright, white and brought the levels up to the point that green has disappeared, but actually in a dark room. It's not too bad, it's quite a visual effect.

So there we have it uh. It's kind of it's a gun: now i've ripped it i've slashed it. I've got the circuit board out, but that was it uh that that round ball floating thing. It's quite nice that the sunlight goes through from the top that little wooden disc is presumably a weight.

Just a cheap, easy weight and rigidity at the base, but that will also make the globe float in the water with the solar panel roughly level and then the actual light travels through the plastic from all directions onto the solar panel to actually charge the battery. So it's not bad, it wasn't super expensive. I think it was about 10 or 15 pounds shipped from china, but it's quite a novel thing, but i don't have a pool. Having said that, there is a little uh toggle on top.

You could hang it under a branch or perhaps gon na say or a good place in your garden, one puff of wind and it's a way. But there we go the solar floating globe.

14 thoughts on “Solar floating inflatable orb teardown with schematic”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars joseramirez says:

    Clive, I would've loved to see this working before you wrecked it. I do recognise though that sadly, the lack of sunshine in the UK probably prohibits that.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Siders says:

    one night I saw some thing glowing in a tree at my farm looking with a scope it was a balloon next day it had fell out inside was a small light no idea where it came from but a few others were found in the area .

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tiny Tony Maloney says:

    Reckon you could adapt the split open orb to a shower cap. 😉
    Recycling at its best.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Kapteeni Hai says:

    fill with helium and release on the color cycle setting if you want ufo sightings to spike

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Emily35 says:

    A mirror (or second camera) on your bench would have been great for this video, just so we could watch your facial expressions as you continuously paused to think.

    Even with audio alone, I could feel your brain working hard and sensed a glow appearing in your eyes each time you said "I wonder" or "hang on a moment".

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Phil Davies says:

    Dunno if the remote system is the same as the one I have played with, but if you power off with the remote, when you power it on with the remote again, it will restart in the last used mode/colour.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Edoardo Battaglia says:

    Hello man, i like your videos and i wanted to ask a thing: if it's possible to protect my computer and printer from short voltage drops (a few tenths of a second) without having to spend a lot of money in taking an ups… It happens when air conditioners and hair dryers are turned on in the house and my 3d printer freezes forcing me to throw away hours of printing and a lot of plastic 🙁 thx for the support.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Manuel Longo says:

    Another gadget dismemberd on the great altar of sacrifice (Clive's bench) for our (the viewers) and Clive's knowledge. Hail Clive!!

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Lumibear says:

    Lovely video of quite a unique object, thank you Clive, and what a lovely thumbnail, it looks like a press release for a 1970s scifi series, I can hear the guitar pedal effected analogue synth tonalities now… “PEEyow! Peeeeyoow! PLLLLEEEEEEOOOO°°°°oooooorrrrrrrrrrrrawwww!” Run from the evil corporation!

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Malte Sartor says:

    For me as a german native, Clives reading of the badly translated instructions is funny as hell.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars 888johnmac says:

    ' we're not here for instructions , we're here to open it up ' .. this you-tuber knows his audience very well , lol

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Bob Imnottellin says:

    After something like 6 years I finally have a request. Amazon sells LED pole mounted lights that face downward. Everyone loves how bright they are and I would not. Would calm it down if you could show me how. Even a self described downlight wants to be seen from space. Ugh.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars kjm 1955 says:

    What a complete waste of materials that is typical of anything made in Chyna with the ultimate destination of landfill.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Nicholas Valentine says:

    The sort of thing that would be good to buy 50 of and with some large sacks of dry ice, lob into your town's ornamental/park pond!

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