Project Pinwheel Design Diary: Entry VI

When I look at things, I try to get a feel of its design and see if it makes sense. For things far out of my reach, I mentally reverse engineer them until...boy, I'm tired of typing.

The way I design products is a little odd. First, as a consumer, I pay acute attention to all the stuff I have. In short, I question everything.

  1. Why does my Logitech Harmony remote have buttons on the side [of its LCD] when a thumb can easily create prints all over the screen?
  2. Why is my TV's power button on the front but volume and channel buttons on the top?
  3. Why does my lamp have a pull string which usually makes the lamp move when I want to turn it on and off?
  4. Why do stores sell warm white bulbs (the ones that look yellow) and only a few people know about full spectrum light bulbs?
  5. Why does our GE refrigerator cause the bottom freezer to slightly open when the top door is shut?
  6. Why does the stupid DirecTV remote never turn the TV and receiver on simultaneously and I have to manually turn on both?
  7. Why does light affect the Nintendo Wii sensor bar? Didn't they think...ahh...too late for that.
  8. Why does Opera work better on a cellular phone than a phone's built-in browser?
  9. Why the fluffin muffin do my Dymo jewelry labels keep getting stuck!?!!??! (I use these to print Positive/Negative labels) AHHH!
  10. Why do manufacturers stick the word "value" on things that are garbage? A good warning sign, eh? I see you Wal...

Design. It really makes a difference. While Project Pinwheel may not be as powerful as others, its design must be better than everyone's.

How its built is something that will take a while because I have to learn about things I don't know now. That is, I have to research metals, wires and other stuff to look for details in what I need.

For example, I know that it has to be weatherproof. I need to look for weatherproof material, so I look up a list. If among those weatherproof things are made of highly toxic paint - pass. It has to be a good balance of all things required of its application while being as safe to use as possible.

One thing I rarely do is write. It seems odd for me to say that because I've written the manuals for everything on this website. I just find it boring to even read anything let alone write but ahm, I know others don't share the same position. Besides, if I write something, at least I can do my best to make it as clear and understanding as possible.

Being poor also has its advantages to cater to writing; I can't buy parts so I doodle on memo pads what I want it to look like or how it should function. Let me tell you how I understand a thing when designing a product.

Take cars. There are thousands of cars. I know I want to make a solar charger for them but I don't know much about cars. How do we proceed from here?

Look at various cars. Find common attributes among those until you can develop a set of standards each, for the most part, conforms to; look beyond cars and see if those same standards apply. Good? Move forward. If not, keep researching.

How do you design something for an application you have no experience in? After all, if I were to design a solar charger for a car, I should know intimate details about how it works. And I did after understanding the common characteristics of modes of transportation. Understanding its flow of energy and distribution became my advantage because I've had a strong affinity for electrical components as a child.

What may be most tricky is that I had to mentally reverse engineer a mode of transportation to understand what it's doing. I don't have a car and I've never had one. Using the criteria I found common among vehicles, I could begin a design.

After a while, the 12 Volt Solar Charger: First Edition was born. I never tested it on cars; it was used at its final design on the Toyota Camry in April 2010 you can find in our photo gallery. Today is November 30th, 2010 - the charger is still connected to the car and is operating "wonderfully," as the owner states. This was the first time the 12 Volt Solar Charger ever came in contact with a car and it greatly still exceeds my expectations because of its design.

The biggest downside to this is time - it really takes a lot of time to research what you don't know and in addition, get it right the first time. I'm alone but have to think as a team by creating subconscious instances of myself to question everything.

Ok, that's all for today, my fingers hurt, LOL