solar challenge : progress

by admin

The goal of this solar challenge is to keep it simple and stick to the requirements. In my opinion this is a great way to learn various tools that will be extremely useful in the future. The idea is to log small variations of the Earth’s movement and its atmosphere – I don’t even know if this is possible but, considering the size of the data logger and the amount of energy spent to keep this system up using solar power make, I have to say it won’t do any harm having it sit outside for a couple o months, a year maybe, gathering some data of the environment.

To do this challenge I chose to work with two sensors: the UV sensor and the 10-DOF board both from Adafruit. The latter is a combination of four sensors: an accelerometer, a magnet, a gyroscope and a barometric pressure sensor. This will give me plenty of data to work with in the future. To keep track of time (real, global time) I am using a real time clock from Sparkfun, that will allow me to print a date and time tag along with the values logged, and even if the system goes down for a while, this clock has a battery that lasts for 20 years, so, until that time, I’m safe. Lastly, I chose to use a micro SD card break out board (also from Adafruit) as the memory where the data is logged. The main reason I chose this rather than an EEPROM is because it is much more practical to stick the card into a computer than reading from a memory chip, plus, I have 16gb of space.

Right now, I have all sensors, clock and SD card working together, along with the Arduino sketch. Until next week, I shall focus on the solar bit of the challenge: assembling the circuit for the PV – charger – battery. I still need to clean up the code, but it is definitely working as it should.

The circuit – without the SD card board – was drawing 0.03A. I still have to measure how much current the SD will draw, but I expect everything to work well with the 3.7V 1.5A battery I have. And I still need to explore the JeeLab library!

IMG_0445 IMG_0457 IMG_0458 IMG_0490 Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 3.10.17 PM