School Cell Booster Antenna

Bringing Cell reception to rural schools, cell boosters will amplify signals where possible, providing much needed communication and emergency needs


Solar Re-chargeable Electric Lanterns

Project will replace fire and health hazard kerosene lanterns with battery rechargeable lanterns


BYU Team

Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT, USA
Electrical & Mechanical Engineers


School Solar Power Cell Booster BYU Senior Capstone Project

Project at a Glance

Zambia Scholarship Fund’s proposal was approved by Brigham Young University’s Senior Capstone program to design a needed communications solution & Solar Power Charging abilities for schools in Northern Zambia!  This will be a humanitarian project with the goal to design and build a solar charging system that will provide a much needed method for schools in rural areas of Northern Zambia charge cell phones, lanterns, and other needs as well provide ability to enhance communications by including a cell phone booster antenna where applicable.  Initial deployment goal is to support at-least a couple of rural secondary schools with out power to include possibly Chishimba Day Secondary School and Mulobola Secondary School.  It may be explored to follow standard business practices within Rural area’s where beneficiaries of such service contribute in some way to the maintenance and support, current cell charging stations in rural area’s often charge small fee’s to those that charge their phones and such.  This business practice may or may not end up being practised at schools to help supply for upkeep and create stewardship where if the system breaks it will more likely be fixed faster due to the fact it was providing some type of economic incentive.

The priority need for this project is best described by ZSF staff Tobias below:

“LIGHT- I have also seen how people especially school going children struggle to study at night due to lack of electricity. Year in and out families mostly those who live in grass thatched houses die in an inferno as a result of the kerosene (lamp oil) used to light up the house at night. I have also seen school going children getting bitten by snakes as the go out to relieve themselves outside at night as you might be aware bathrooms are detached from dormitories (student houses).
3. Radio Project- This is another project whose benefits you cannot understatement. The mobile phones only cover a small fraction while the lager part of the country remains unreachable. For example sick people in need of emergency health services have no means of calling on the hospital to send an ambulance; bush schools face the same challenge.
Your concern on service and maintenance on radio project are genuine, however I’m sure Schools … where the facility will be mounted are capable of parting away with a small amount to maintain the equipment putting into consideration the benefit attached to it.”

Tobias Mangani (Zambia Scholarship Fund in Country Program Director)

Project Details

  • Bill of Materials – Project Materials Costs (best current estimates/quotes)
    • Note Shipping cost to Zambia is outrageous so specific measures are being taken to optimize options such as:
      • First May-June 2018 deployment volunteers will take maximum materials in carry on
      • Order of 1,008 Lanterns reduces costs dramatically and includes shipping!  However funding for 1,008 x $36 per lantern = $36,288  (this bulk order saves us over $17 per lantern and includes SHIPPING!
    • Vendor Quotes for Subsystems
      • Vendor Quotes of significance are included below.  We are working negotiations between possible options and performing a full technical analysis before final selection.
  • Power Budget
    • Breakdown of different configurations of power required from solar panels & battery system to support mobile cell amplifier, charging cell phones, lanterns, and/or tablet-laptop(s).

Please visit the project wiki for working details


Student Project Fall 2017 Presentation