First post: Useing an Uno as a smart battery charger with a solar panel

I have a 12v,7.0Ah C20 battery that i want to use to run a simple LED lighting system in my room and i want to charge it with a solar panel, this leads me to a couple of questions:

  1. is it possible to use an UNO as a smart charger to interface between the lights, battery and solar panel and have them all working simultaneously?

B) i've only done some very basic stuff with the UNO so far, blinking LEDs etc, is this project possible for an absolute beginner or should i put it off until i have more experience?

any and all input is gratefully received

For a lead acid battery/solar panel you don't need a smart charger, just a very simple voltage regulator to limit the voltage to about 13.8V. You do need some sort of protection to make sure that the battery is never discharged below about 11V, which would eventually destroy it.

How would the Arduino be powered, and what else would you like the Arduino do?

i was hopeing i could use the battery to power the UNO with a solar panel topping it up, useing the battery as kind of a buffer between the lights and the panel to keep power constant. for now all i want the UNO to do is regulate the power going into the battery and cut it off to prevent overcharging when neccecery, someday i’d like to add more batteries and more functionality to the system, a charging bank for personal tech, voice recognition to turn the lights on and off, a moterised curtain rail, but that’s long term plans.

jremington:
For a lead acid battery you don’t need a smart charger, just a very simple voltage regulator to limit the voltage to about 13.8V. You do need some sort of protection to make sure that the battery is never discharged below about 11V, which would eventually destroy it.

How would the Arduino be powered, and what else would you like the Arduino do?

My memory about charging lead battories is that firstly the current is kept at a decired maximum until the voltage across 6 cells reaches 14.4 volt. Then the current is decreased to stay at max 14.4 volt, or switch to a really low steady current.
Some minor differencs exitst between starter battories and traction battories.
Various intelligent chargers performs various kinds of cykling the battory. I use a CTEK charger that is doing that.
For Gel type battories additional causions and rules apply.

batteryuniversity.com hosts a good overview of charging lead acid batteries.

When you read the article, keep in mind that solar panels are inherently limited in the current they deliver, so if you choose one correctly, the "constant current" aspect of the charging protocol is largely irrelevant. The critical aspect is the voltage regulation, which is very simple and can be accomplished with a single voltage regulator IC, like the LM317.

The Arduino is not needed for charging, but if you do decide to use it that way, external circuitry and electronic design skills are still required.

There are many more interesting things that an Arduino could be used to do.