Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Solar Power - On a budget

Update on solar power -
Early September 2009 -
I inclined my solar panel to be at a more optimum angle. My charging power increased about 20%. :)

September 29 2009 -
I have been looking for a better way to monitor my solar power usage, my battery charge, and power used on my solar power system. The core piece to this project is an inexpensive multi-channel Data Acquisition Device. I located one that is WELL within my price range.
It arrived today! :)
I Opted to use the Dataq DI-194RS Data Logger available at the link for $25 for the whole starter kit.
This is a 4 analog input, 3 digitial input data logger kit. It seems to be designed primarily for educational institutions, but does everything I need for about 10% of the cost of similar items elsewhere.

With this I will be able to monitor Current in and out of my battery, battery voltage, and load current. That's a lot of functionality for $25! :)

I will then write a custom app to log and view the data in a useful way.
(Current Status View, Battery Charge percentage, Amp-Hour and Watt Hour remaining, etc.)