So the battery is not getting charged during the day, again. As the battery is new, I decided that it must be either the charge controller, or the panel is at the wrong angle.

Last weekend I took my weather station of the dock post and put it on the chimney on top of the house. This should give me significantly more accurate measurements especially when it comes to wind speed and direction.

So a week or so ago, someone invited Irma to Orlando. She huffed and puffed and did not manage to blow the house down, nor did she blow SolarDock into submission.

Essentially all that happened was the post caps came off the tops of the posts (they are not permanently attached yet). The power cables acted very effectively as tethers so they didn't go into the lake or otherwise get lost.

So over the last few weeks, I have noticed some strange graphs from the monitoring system.

You get a disco!

After faffing around with trying to eek the last bit of charge out of the battery, this weekend I decided there _had_ to be something wrong with it. I took it (and a bunch of old UPS batteries) to batteries plus, UPS batteries for recycling and the solar dock one for testing.

I did some measuring of currents in the various fuses, as well as some open circuit voltages...

At the time it was sunny, and the panel was producing an open circuit voltage of 19.5v.

By removing the load fuse and putting the meter in its place, I could measure the current of the load in various configurations... Bearing in mind we are referring to the gazebo and 5 post caps, here are the numbers...

Full on (255,255,255) = 5.8A, so I replaced the 10A load fuse with a 7.5A one. On the bench, one postcap at full bore was measuring between 400mA and 450mA.

For sure using single emitter LEDS would have been easier and cheaper, but that would have seriously reduced the cool factor.

For the Fourth of July, I made a slight change to the colours, seen here is the dock in the "standard white" as well as the specific colours from tonight

I am seeing a problem in the monitoring charts, at 10.5v on the battery, the charge controller switches the load off. Which seems to happen at about 2200-2230. I need to get a good indication of how long it's been sunny the last few days, so I can see if this is a big problem with the positioning of the panel or simply that we haven't had much direct sunlight, or if I need to get the daytime consumption lower (actually I will probably do this anyway)

The meter monitor software I am writing is going to be essential here, I must be able to measure the current into the battery

Well, it’s all done. I installed the main controller this evening, and took control from the house. I need to install latest firmware on the boards that were previously installed so that blending and broadcast work, and at some point automate the lighting and dousing into my HA set up, oh, and do the cap where the weather station is but apart from these few loose ends it’s all over bar the shouting


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