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Solar Hive

by 3ddruckqueck Jul 26, 2015
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Hey, not sure if you're active anymore but what color LED's did you use?

Looks like I'm a bit late to the party....anyone know of the whereabouts for a working link to the PWM library? The link given in the description is broken. (http://rogue-code.googlecode.com/files/Wiring-Library-SoftPWM-V0005.zip)

Hey mate,
I hope you haven't given up home completely. If you google it out for 'SoftPWM' there should be something out there on Github or the likes. I managed to find it and then reloaded 3ddruckqueck's script and she all went tickyteeboo. The thing that screwed me over was that I was using Aliexpress or Chinese Ardiuno Nanos. Took me forever to try and understand why it wouldn't upload. Changed the board under Tools/Boards. Used Com8 and it worked fine. My prints are nearly finish (one for myself for outside and one inside for my son) and just waiting for the LEDs and switches from Aliexpress. Let me know if you found it, you probably have... It's nearly been a year.

I made my one version! Thanks for sharing.

Hey, Thanks a lot for the design and detailed instructions! I'm planning to use these as wedding decorations. I'm building up the smaller one that you attached as a sample just to see it working. I've ordered the LED's and printed out the parts and was just running through the Arduino code, when i ask it to verify it there's a load of errors, I'll add them here:

SolarHiveArduinoSketchRC5.ino: In function 'void setup()':
SolarHiveArduinoSketchRC5:30: error: 'SoftPWMBegin' was not declared in this scope
SolarHiveArduinoSketchRC5:33: error: 'SoftPWMSet' was not declared in this scope
SolarHiveArduinoSketchRC5:56: error: 'SoftPWMSetFadeTime' was not declared in this scope
SolarHiveArduinoSketchRC5.ino: In function 'void loop()':
SolarHiveArduinoSketchRC5:107: error: 'SoftPWMSetPercent' was not declared in this scope (loads of these but different line number)

Is there something I'm doing wrong?

I also want to power this off just the batteries, do i need to make any modifications or can i just not add on the solar panel?

As you can probably tell, I don't really have any knowledge of Arduino outside of editing my printers firmware, so any help would be great :)!

Hi Magic-Goat, I'm glad you like it.

The compiling error indicates you have not installed the SoftPWM library.
Basically you'll have to download an extension for your Arduino IDE so it understands what phrases like "SoftPWMBegin" ,"SoftPWMSet" , etc. even mean.

You'll find the library download and instructions on how to install it here:


For using the whole thing without a solar panel you also won't need the single diode, it's only purpose is to prevent the batteries to decharge themselves via the solar panel during night and you won't the 2 resistors which split the solar panels voltage to give an indication of the current brightness level to pin A6.

Be sure to attach pin A6 to ground ( - ) if you don't change the code ( so the lamp thinks it's dark outside).

I recommend sticking to 1.2 v ( 4.8 v in total) rechargeable batteries. Usual 1.5V will also work fine if you only use 3 ( 4.5 v in total) , using 4 ( 6V ) may put the voltage regulator (and LEDs) under some stress ( genuine Arduinos should handle it fine, some "cheap knock offs" like the one I used could get problems).

I used mine as wedding decoration just 3 weeks ago !

As a tip from experience : secure the batteries so they can't fall out of their battery holder while mounting the lamp high up into a tree and force you to intoxicatedly climb said tree to fix it later in the evening.

Have fun and all the best for the wedding !

  • Chris

P.s. Feel free contact me if any other issues emerge and please share some pictures when you've got it all working.

Thanks for the fast response, I've installed the library and now it works fine :).
(I've just noticed you put that in the instructions and i skimmed over it, sorry!)

Thanks for the help with everything else too. I'll be sure to upload pictures when it's done :).

Also congratulations on the wedding, at least the tree incident makes a good story :p

For the delightful 3d printed manifestations, this one is more successful because of its energy-saving.

How well do you think it will stand up to the elements if left outside in the weather?

To be honest I don't really know yet. Mine survived almost 2 weeks of German summer so far, up to 37°C of heat (+ sun ) and a couple of thunderstorms.
I entrenched the inside and closed every gap with silicone.

But it will fail eventually, e.g. my toggle is a weak point through which humidity could get inside.

Clear coating of all the parts before assembly may be advisable.

And it depends on the material and color the parts are made of. I'd stick with white, especially for PLA.

While ABS wins on the temperature side, UV ray resilience goes to PLA.

On the electronics side I reckon the solar cell and the batteries will noticeably degrade within ~2-3 years.

Don't mean to be that guy, but where did you get the solar panel and the LED lights from? Those are the two things I'm looking. ;)

From a big online auction house. There are some vendors from Shenzen or Hongkong that sell them fairly cheaply. If you're from Europe - I bought mine from kt-electronic.

If you're from the US I found similar ones at radioshack that should work fairly well:


You just have to make sure to stay below 1.8 V per NiMH battery - so up to 7 V for our 4 batteries. Going over that voltage will damage the batteries.

Any way you can split this in 2? My printer build surface is just a bit too small?
I use SolidWorks and I cant seem to open a scad file

What is the size of your build surface ?

I'd recommend using the customizer to create a smaller one that fits your build area. Just decrease the "cell diameter", "lengthx" and / or "lengthy" variables until it fits. Or tell me your build volume and I'll upload a .zip with all the files for a smaller solar hive.

To open the .scad file you'll need "OpenSCAD" ( http://www.openscad.org/ ). You can edit all the variables with OpenSCAD.
Alternatively you could also split it in smaller pieces with OpenSCAD by intersecting the parts with a cube the size of your build volume.

I think my build volume is 4.5-4.75" cube. I tried a customizer just now and its a hit and miss.
If you could get the cell size small enough to reduce the overall size it would be great. Thanks a bunch

Hey, i just uploaded "SolarHive_DemoAllPartsRC5_4inch.zip" which i hope will do. I split the bigger parts into four

So if you print this with honeycomb infill, would it be a Meta-hive?

Only if you print with resine

I think that this is one of the most beautiful 3d printed creations I've seen. Great work!

Fantastic work, Great Job !!