This page is a summary and a table of contents for my projects that deal with powering an arduino system with photovoltaic energy. As these boards run on rather low power the arduino platform is a good choice when you want to create a PV-powered microcontroller system. Optimizing the system is the way to make the whole thing efficient in terms of resources and money.
Solar energy for your arduino
This series of posts is about powering your arduino and peripheral components with a standalone PV system. The system layout and dimensioning rules for PV systems with a storage battery apply for a wide range of power needs and also for a small arduino with some DC powered devices. Look at these posts:
- Basics: Which components we need and how the system works
- Load: How to determine and optimize electricity consumption of your application
- Battery characteristics: What the battery does and what is important to us
- Battery selection: Which type and size to choose
- PV module basics: Electrical characteristics of the solar panel
- PV module dimensioning: Determining the best module size
- Charge regulator: The thing that keeps it all together
- Building a real sysem: About safety, wiring and more
Solar arduino: minimalistic system
How small can a solar-driven arduino system be? This is the main question in the “Minimalistic Solar Arduino” project. Building a system with lowest energy consumption and a minimum of components is the approach to having a very efficient solar-powered controller. For the first tests a standalone ATmega328P (the controller in the arduino Uno board) gets it’s power from a capacitor. Total uptime is measured to investigate the effects of different power-saving techniques:
- The start: How to set up a standalone arduino from scratch and how to do the measurements
- First tests: A first comparison of the controller running all the time, the use of sleep mode and testing low-voltage detection
- Reducing power consumption: How to optimize the system in run mode and in sleep mode
- Optimized tests: How far will we go with the optimization
- Wake up from interrupt: How to wake up from sleep with external interrupt
- Timing with external clock: A RTC is used for better timing and reducing supply current
- Adding external memory: A I2C serial EEPROM brings more memory space and reduces power consumption
- Using page mode: The external EEPROM can be written in page mode. This reduces power consumption a lot!
- Towards a real system: The capacitors are removed, a supercapacitor takes their places.