DIY Levitating Solar Motor

SoWlful Crafts' levitating solar motor keeps spinning even at night.

Jeremy Cook
16 days ago

After seeing a levitating motor, YouTuber SoWlful Crafts decided he needed one (or maybe two). However, as an electronics-focused maker, this meant creating such a device himself, and as shown in the video below he actually built three, improving on the design with each iteration.

SoWlful Crafts’ first levitating motor worked by keeping the rotor in mid-air using magnets on the base and the rotor’s shaft. To induce spinning, two copper coils of 100 turns each were wound around the shaft and energized by four 0.5V solar elements. These coils produced force against a central magnet on the bottom, allowing it to spin and spin... and spin as long as it received sunlight.

As neat as it was, it wasn’t balanced that well and didn't work in dim lighting conditions, so SoWlful Crafts went to work on a second iteration. In addition to a newly designed base, this device featured a microcontroller/encoder/IR LED setup that could control the motor’s rotation speed, record stats, and restart the motor when it came to a stop. It even had the ability to run at night via battery power and its IR LEDs, which provided unseen “solar” power to the motor.

The third iteration implements a rotor with eight solar panels and four coils, allowing for better performance in the absence of sunlight. It also has a more rigid base, meaning that the variation in temperature between summer and winter months doesn't affect the device’s shape – and thus performance – as much as it did in version two. While you might not want to make a full µC-controlled levitating motor (or three), it looks like a fun concept that could be pursued on several levels.

Jeremy Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles