About

heliosoph means that I do a lot with solar energy like photovoltaics and other renewable energies and that I’m interested in philosophical questions like why we are here and so on. My concern is not only about renewables but also about finding and creating new forms of living and of responsible use of what we have here on this planet.

Also being a tech geek I work with electronics, microcontrollers and have a general interest in technical stuff. I like very much machines for advanced production methods like laser cutters, 3D printers and robots especially for non-standard applications.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Alex Ellis

    Hi, I’ve really enjoyed reading these articles on solar and low power consumption Arduino. I own a few nano clones and have just bought a DIP Atmega328 chip to try and follow your arduino on a bread-board suggestion to kill some drain.

    I am looking to write a data logger – as rudimental as possible, which could sit in my garden/shed recording weather data and then transmit over RF to a base station inside my house only a few meters away – maybe 5? I’ve ordered two 2w 6v solar panels from China and I also assembled a small array to play with from garden solar lights.

    What would you suggest I use for RF? I’ve looked into a number of options, but wanted something low power/easy to use.

    Is it easy to use 2×2.7 super capacitors along with the Chinese PVs to eliminate batteries? Does that even makes sense?

    Final question was – while PV is cool and I really want to play with my – a friend of mine suggested an arduino similar to above could run off D-cells or Alkaline AAs for months/years without additional charge from PVs.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Alex

    Reply
    1. heliosoph

      Hi,

      thank you for your post and sorry for my very late reply.

      Personally, I don’t have any experience with RF transmitting devices but there are some modules around using 433MHz. This is what I would check first.

      The solar panels you selected are more than enough when you have only your supercaps to store the energy. About the supercaps: connect a Z-Diode with a voltage lower than the maximal voltage of the capacitors in parallel to prevent overcharging them.

      With the batteries: It depends on your power needs. You can measure this when using a supercap and measuring the voltage drop (without the solar panel connected!). 1F is 1As/V. This means when you have a supercap with 1F and the voltage drop is 1V from start then you have consumed 1As (1 Ampère * second). While doing this test be sure to connect your voltmeter only during the measurement and not permanently. Then look at the capacity of your AA batteries (normally given in mAh = milliampère * hours) and you can calculate how long they will last.

      Best regards

      heliosoph

      Reply
  2. Nick

    I have a project where I am thinking of using a super-cap as the power source. The super-cap would be connected to a 5v step-up regulator which in turn will be connected to this push button power switch ( https://www.pololu.com/product/751 ) When the power switch is activated my arduino will turn on and be able to turn itself off by sending a signal to the power switch. I was wondering what is the best way to make sure I don’t overcharge the super-cap when it has reached full capacity, using a solar panel to charge it.

    Reply
    1. heliosoph

      You could take a zener diode in parallel to the supercap. E. g. 5.1V or 4.7V for a 5.5V supercap. Be sure to choose the dissipation power of the zener as high as the panel’s max power. When the cap is charged to the zener voltage the panel’s current will flow through the diode.

      Regards,

      heliosoph

      Reply

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