Experimenting with Supercapacitors

Table of contents

design challenge profile

In this competition, participants will have the opportunity to experiment with Cornell Dubilier's supercapacitors and compete for some great prizes.

Supercapacitors, also known as ultracapacitors and electric double layer capacitors (EDLCs), are high-capacity capacitors with capacitance values greater than common types of capacitors such as electrolytic, ceramic, paper, etc. They are commonly used as energy storage and delivery devices that offer millions of times more capacitance than traditional capacitors. They deliver rapid, reliable bursts of power for hundreds of thousands to millions of duty cycles—even in demanding conditions.

Supercapacitors are ideal for applications ranging from wind turbines and mass transit to hybrid / EV vehicles, consumer electronics, energy harvesting devices, and industrial equipment. Available in a wide range of sizes, capacitance and modular configurations, supercapacitors can cost-effectively supplement and extend battery life, or in some cases, replace batteries altogether.

Using a kit of supercapacitors provided by our sponsor Cornell Dubilier (CDE), this competition focuses on the green technology applications of supercapacitors. Before we talk about what the participants will receive in the challenger's kit, and the great prizes they are competing for, let's talk about how to enter this competition, the program’s timeline, how participant blogs will be judged, and some common FAQs.

Eligibility & How to Enroll in the Competition

Any element14 member is eligible to enroll. You need to submit an application entry form by the enrollment due date, July 17, 2023. If you are not a Community member and are interested in enrolling, please Join Here. Then complete all the required information on this application form and click SUBMIT.

The Kit

element14 is offering 7 kits FREE of charge. To be eligible to receive one of them, you must submit an application by the enrollment deadline (July 17, 2023).

Product Description Buy Kit
EDS104Z5R5C, Supercapacitor, 0.1 F, 5.5 V, PC Pin, -20%, +80%, 5 mm, 1000 hours @ 85°C Buy Now
DGH105Q2R7, Supercapacitor, 1 F, 2.7 V, PC Pin, -10%, +30%, 3.5 mm, 1000 hours @ 65°C Buy Now
DGH505Q2R7, Supercapacitor, 5 F, 2.7 V, PC Pin, -10%, +30%, 5 mm, 1000 hours @ 65°C Buy Now
DGH106Q2R7 Supercapacitor, 10 F, 2.7 V, PC Pin, -10%, +30%, 5 mm, 1000 hours @ 65°C Buy Now
DSF305Q3R0, Supercapacitor, 3 F, 3 V, PC Pin, -10%, +30%, 3.5 mm, 1000 hours @ 65°C Buy Now
DSF705Q3R0, Supercapacitor, 7 F, 3 V, PC Pin, -10%, +30%, 5 mm, 1000 hours @ 65°C Buy Now
DSF256Q3R0, Supercapacitor, 25 F, 3 V, PC Pin, -10%, +30%, 7.5 mm, 1000 hours @ 65°C Buy Now
VMF406M3R8, Lithium Ion Capacitor, 3.8 V, 40 F, 0.25 ohm, ± 20%, Radial Leaded Buy Now
VMF256M3R8, Lithium Ion Capacitor, 3.8 V, 25 F, 0.3 ohm, ± 20%, Radial Leaded Buy Now
VPF406M3R8, Lithium Ion Capacitor, 3.8 V, 40 F, 0.25 ohm, ± 20%, Radial Leaded Buy Now
EDC105Z5R5H, Supercapacitor, 1 F, 5.5 V, PC Pin, -20%, +80%, 20 mm, 1000 hours @ 70°C Buy Now
EDC474Z5R5C, Supercapacitor, 0.47 F, 5.5 V, PC Pin, -20%, +80%, 5 mm, 1000 hours @ 70°C Buy Now
EDS224Z3R6H, Supercapacitor, 0.22 F, 3.6 V, PC Pin, -20%, +80%, 10 mm, 1000 hours @ 85°C Buy Now
D00413 Parts Storage Box (1 box per kit) Buy Now
SC10050 Solar Panel 5V 100mA (1 panel per kit) Buy Now

Note: The challenge kit does not provide everything that will be needed for this competition. The challenger will need to have the resources and equipment, as well as other minor parts to build their testing systems.

The Prizes

Prize Prize Category

Grand Prize Winner

Grand Prize

Approximate Value $1550 USD*

  • MP700852 Spectrum Analyzer
  • MP710259 US DC Electronic Load

Runner Up

Runner Up

Approximate Value $1058 USD*

  • MP720025 US Digital Oscilloscope
  • GoPro HERO10 Black Sports Camera

Finisher Prize**

Finisher prize

Approximate Value $100 USD*

Adafruit Circuit Playground Express Advanced Pack
*Or local equivalent
**Grand Prize and Runner-Up Winners will not receive a finisher prize.

The Dates

Project Phases Dates
Application Period 16th June 2023
Application Deadline 17th July 2023
Applicants Selected 19th July 2023
Introductory Blog Due 11th August 2023 (Up to 60 points)
Extra Credit Blogs Due 14th Sept 2023 (Up to 20 points each or 100 points total)
Forum Participation Due 20 Sept 2023 (Up to 40 points)
Final Summary Blog Due 21st Sept 2023 (Up to 300 points)
Winners Announced September 2023
Prizes Shipped September 2023

Application Tips

An important thing to remember is that you are also competing against others to become a participant in this program. Therefore, everything starts with the application.

The key to writing a winning application is to provide as much meaningful information about yourself as possible. Try answering each of the following questions in your application:

  1. Describe your technical background.
  2. Why are you interested in this challenge?
  3. Have you participated in the element14 Community? If so, please provide some links to what you have done (forum posts, blogs, reviews, etc.). If you are a new member, answer "New Member."

All interested element14 members must submit an application entry form before the end of enrolment. See the The Dates above.

Technical Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do I need to do to win the Grand or Runner Up Prize?

You need to post the mandatory introductory and final summary blogs and any extra credit blogs you choose to write. The judges and element14 will award points for each. The two participants who earn the maximum number of points will win the top prizes.

Can I still be eligible for the Grand Prize or Runner Up Prizes if I am not selected for one of the 7 kits?

Yes, on the condition that you purchase the kit parts and perform experiments with them, and post your blogs in the Experimenting with Supercapacitors Group.

Do I have to post more than 2 blogs to successfully finish the competition?

No. To finish the competition, you have to write and post two mandatory blogs to the Experimenting with Supercapacitors group. If you want to, you can post up to 5 more optional blogs for extra credit.

How do you determine who wins the competition?

We award points for blogs based upon their quality, creativity and technical merit. See the judging section for details.

Tips on Writing Your Application

The key to writing a winning application is to provide as much meaningful information about your proposed experiments as possible.

The application entry form should be adequately detailed to give a good idea of what you plan to do and how you plan to pull it off. By answering each of the following questions in your application, you will provide enough information:

(a) Describe your technical background.

(b) Why are you interested in this competition?

(c) What kind of experiment(s) do you plan to perform? (Be as specific as you can)

(d) Have you participated in the element14 Community? If so, please provide some links to what you've done. If you are a new member, answer "New Member."

All interested element14 members must submit an application entry form before the end of enrollment date.

Here are some other suggestions for completing a winning application:

  1. Please complete all required information (contact information, etc.) Always use the email address that is associated with your element14 member account.
  2. Answer all of the application questions. Incomplete applications are deemed ineligible.
  3. Tell us why you want to be selected.
  4. Before deciding what you want to write, think about the following things: You are entering a competition. The most persuasive applications are the ones that attract the eye of the judges.
  5. Be as detailed as possible, but don't write a book.

A single sentence application will never be selected. This competition is not a game of chance. The applications are thoroughly read and reviewed by the program manager.

The Judges

element14 members volunteer to judge the competition. Typically, our judges come from our Top Members group. (In some cases, we use members who are experienced engineers, but not a Top Member.) For this competition, the judges are:

Top Member: DAB
Don spent 35 years in the aerospace industry working on many advanced projects. His range of experience covers nearly every scientific field and most ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. He has a very broad interest and knowledge in science with extensive analysis in image, multispectral and hyper-spectral analysis. He has also worked on a wide range of embedded computer applications, including integrated search and rescue systems.

Member: anniel747
Entering the exciting electronics world at 7 as a hobbyist and a lifetime in the aerospace and defence electronics R&D I now have my own full time home business with a well equipped workshop.

Judging is based upon a point system described below:

  • Introductory Blog: You must complete the introductory blog and post it to element14 by July 17, 2023 (17:00 CST). This blog should describe what experiments you plan to conduct and any other relevant information that would be of interest to a judge or a blog reader. To get you going, we will award 60 points if you fulfill these conditions.
  • Final Summary Blog: This blog is a standalone, detailed blog that covers the premise of your testing, a description of your experiments, testing methodology, the results of your experiments, and what you learned (e.g., tips, tricks and lessons learned) all WITHIN the blog. You can provide links to your extra credit blogs in a References section. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not treat this blog as a table of contents or index to your other blogs; if you do, you will not score as high as if you included all the important information in a single final summary blog. This blog will go to the judges. It is worth up to 300 points, based on the judge’s discretion.
  • Extra Credit Blog: These are blogs that support your experiments and add into your total points. Each extra credit blog can earn up to 20 points. They will be judged in the following manner:
    • You will be awarded 15 points for explaining the technology providing a closer look or in depth discussion of an experiment.
    • You will be awarded 10 points for providing "getting started" steps or a tutorial that explains how to do something that’s relevant to one of your experiments.
    • You will be awarded 10 points for providing a kit unboxing or other product photos/videos.
    • You will be awarded 1 point for a general update (e.g. I received the kit) or a progress update (e.g., I have been delayed because I am waiting on another part).
    • You will be awarded 5 points if you align your blog to accepted best practices of search engine optimization (SEO). Here are some good examples to imitate:
      1. Example 1: A Comprehensive Guide to Fuses
      2. Example 2: DMX Explained DMX512 and RS 485 Protocol Detail for Lighting Applications
  • Forum Participation: element14 will review the forum associated with this challenge and award up to a total of 40 points for the following:
    • 10 points for asking a question regarding your experiments
    • 15 points: for providing substantive assistance to another participant
    • 5 points for making a general comment

The Challengers

You will be able to see how you compare to other participants via a tracking table, which was updated on October 5, 2023.

Intro Blog Final Results Blog Extra Credit
Blog 1
Extra Credit
Blog 2
Extra Credit
Blog 3
Extra Credit
Blog 4
Extra Credit
Blog 5
Forum Participation Total Points
BigG - Super flashes with super caps
60 200 20 20 0 0 0 10 310
deimosmuc - Ultracap Solar Powered Sensor Node
0 100 0 0 0 0 0 0 100
dougw - Super Capacitor Meter
60 230 20 20 20 20 20 40 430
JWx - Supercapacitor energy storage system
60 157.5 20 20 20 20 20 40 357.5
lui_gough - Satisfying Supercapacitor Curiosity Through Experimentation
60 290 20 20 20 20 20 40 490
misaz - Solar Temperature Sensor
60 255 20 20 20 20 20 40 455
redcharly - Irrigation monitor using LoRa
60 110 0 0 0 0 0 0 170

Where to Ask Questions?

For any general or technical questions about the competition, please post a comment on this page. It is monitored by element14.

Bookmarking this page is a good way to keep up-to-date with the competition.

The Terms

Please read the full terms and conditions attached below.

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