First of all, I´m sorry if I have some english grammatical mistakes because it´s not my mother language but I can understand it perfectly.
I´m thinking on making a solar weather station with an Arduino. I´m been researching for the last weeks about solar energy and power consumption and I have a general idea and a big mess in my head XD
In the last year I have tried to learn as much as possible about basic electronics with many books but I still lack some basic knowledge.
- Use a Raspberry Pi connected to Xively with a nrf24L01 antenna on it (http://dx.com/p/2-4ghz-wireless-nrf24l01-module-150867#.UvupGvl5Mcc) as a receiver.
- Use a barebone Atmega328p at 8 mhz using low power mechanism as explained by Nick Gammon (Gammon Forum : Electronics : Microprocessors : Power saving techniques for microprocessors) to send weather information to the raspberry pi through another nrf24L01
- Power the arduino through a solar panel like the one in the following link (http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Retail-packaging-5V-6V-130mAh-165mAh-0-8W-Solar-Panel-Solar-cell-Solar-System-With/1339738242.html)
- Do not use any product from Adafruit nor similar shops because they are very expensive in my country $) and I can’t find cheap distributors that could send the items without a huge fee =(. I love their products but I can’t afford their cost. Sometimes I can find similar products but for the solar project, I have not been lucky.
- Take advantage of the previous problem to learn more about electronics.
About the solar circuit I have found many ideas. I have taken the main background knowledge from the awesome post of heliosoph (Solar arduino - heliosoph). Then I also got ideas from other webs:
This looks like the simplest way: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/2008/simple-solar-circuits/
This also looks pretty simple but still seems like too simple: http://voltaicsystems.com/blog/solar-charger-tutorial-part-3/
I have progress until the solar powered Atmega. I have learned how to change the bootloader and how to communicate the arduino with the raspberry. I’m a bit stuck with the charge regulator.
So, the main problems now are how to build the charge regulator for nicd batteries or lipo with basic components that I have access to (diodes, zener diodes, transistors, voltage regulators) and how to control the voltage to the microcontroller and the antenna with “low power consumption philosophy” (I suppose I have to avoid voltage regulators for this ). I have connected a voltage meter to xively and, in a very cloudy day of winter I have reached peaks of 5 volts and I have got an average of around 4,5v (enough to kill the antenna).
Ok, I’m sorry if the post has been a bit long but I’ll share all the progress and knowledge adquired during the project to all