Solar panel update

A while ago I wrote about my solar panel setup.  I recently revisited the site after 6 months, and lots of problems with managing things remotely.  There were a couple of problems.  First, the wireless repeater system that I was using took far more power than advertised, and was depleting the single battery, and the second issue was the panel wasn’t getting enough sun to charge the battery.

So after a lot of research over the last few months, I opted to build a tripod, move the panel out into a field where there is far more sun, and double the battery capacity.

Just in the first few days, the panel gathered more power than in the first 2 weeks of the previous location.  Of course, it was also winter, so that was working against things.  But I think this location will even be able to keep up with demands in the winter.

I’ve been able to fine tune the new wireless AP from Peplink/Pepwave (more on that in another post) and use the small RMS board (more on that too!) to control things coming on/off when there’s actually solar power flowing in, so we should be barely using any power at all at night.  Even the attached Dropcam powers on and off with the available sunlight.

So far in the last month of operation it has been working perfectly, and actually has surplus power.  I’m happy with the modifications, and have learned a lot about battery size and location, location, location with solar power.

About Steve Mitchell

I live in Seattle, WA and love sailing, technology, & playing and composing music. I started playing the piano when I was 3, and ended up figuring out many other instruments along the way. I'm an avid sailor and have a 2000 Beneteau 311 named Grace, and sail it whenever and wherever I can.

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