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

Blending is cool, I'm glad I decided to do that. It really makes it feel like a finished item. I am still toying with the idea of turning the node clocks down when the lights are off (back to minimizing power consumption). I run them flat out (32Mhz) to keep the PWM frequency up, but when the duty cycle is 0% it won't matter how fast it is. I can turn them back up when needed too. I'll have to see how the battery lasts, particularly when there is no sun.

The panel is mounted, and connected to the charge controller. The battery is in its final resting place, and connected to the charge controller. The dock wiring at the moment in not connected to the charge controller. The main controller can read voltages on both channels and is mounted on the bottom of its enclosure on my bench. The remaining cap lights are next on the list, and will be installed tomorrow.

Reading the last post about how I will need to split intensive calculations over more that a single cycle, I can see people wondering I made the choices I did with the availability of the Raspberry Pi Zero and ZeroW. Here's some explanation


Subscribe to RSS - blogs