Arduino Mega hanging on Solar Power

Hello,

we have a field unit based on Arduino Mega that we are running on solar power. The maximum current requirement in circuit is for a Telit GSM module. We are using a 37W solar panel with 20AH battery and 3A solar charge controller to provide 12V.

When we power on the Unit, we get data through GSM modem on our server. Problem is that the unit hangs after a while. The power LED is On but the data transmission does not happen. when we press the reset button, the unit starts sending data and hangs again after a while.

So far our theory is that the unit may be hanging during switch over from solar PV module to Battery. Another Arduino Mega board with same program but running from 12V Adapter from wall socket is running fine. So looks like it should not be an issue with GSM module drawing high currents.

Question is how can we find out for sure that Arduino Board is hanging? Do any of you use Arduino on solar power for extended periods? I would appreciate any pointers to debug this issue.

What do you mean by this "switch over from solar PV module to Battery" With any Solar Powered system, the battery should provide the power all the time. All the Solar Panel should do is charge the battery. There should never be any switchover from the battery to the Solar panel. A circuit diagram would help.

Is 3A enough for a GSM module? They take large current spikes, upto 8 times the steady transmit current as they transmit 1 timeslice in 8.

The transmit current spikes from the GSM module may simply overcome the solar panel and cause the voltage to drop too far - unless the battery is in circuit to buffer the pulses as has been mentioned.

Charge controllers usually have separate lugs for the battery connection only for purposes of "low voltage disconnect"; disconnecting the battery from the load to ensure the battery doesn't become excessively discharged. If you think that's a concern then I'd suggest connecting your circuit directly to the battery. You can always use a spare analog port on the Mega to monitor the battery voltage and stop your power-hungry activities when voltage is getting low.

Hang on, if the battery and solar charger are all 12V, what's converting this down for the GSM module???

mauried: With any Solar Powered system, the battery should provide the power all the time. All the Solar Panel should do is charge the battery. There should never be any switchover from the battery to the Solar panel.

+1

...R

Hi,

Can you please post a copy of your circuit, in CAD or a picture of a hand drawn circuit in jpg, png or pdf?

Tom...... :)

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