Solar powered vehicle control?

Hi,

I am working on an electric vehicle with 36 Volt 350 Watt BLDC motor and LiFePo4 battery. It is also equipped with a solarpanel with 50 Watt effect. Here is my problem, and I am new to Arduino/Genuino boards:

I have searched internet for days after a control unit for electric vehicles with both Solarpanel Control Unit (SCU) and Battery Management System (BMS) combined with a BLDC motor control in one single unit. There is simple none available!

There is a possibility to split the unit in two parts with BMS/SCU and motor control but then I will loose the possibility to monitor charging and motor performance in one display. This seems to be a very limited market so the only option is to build a board myself and I am not capable of doing such electronics.

When I started reading about Arduino/Edison/Raspberry boards I was thinking maybe this is the solution. Can someone give me more information where to find such projects or how to make a single unit with solar charging, battery management and BLDC motor control of the Arduino?

Thanks.

Why do you want a “single module”? Multiple modules with good quality cable connections are what most people use.

fhansson925: I have searched internet for days after a control unit for electric vehicles with both Solarpanel Control Unit (SCU) and Battery Management System (BMS) combined with a BLDC motor control in one single unit. There is simple none available!

Probably because there would only be a couple of customers for such a device. And if there was one it would probably be too powerful, not powerful enough, for the wrong voltage for you etc etc...

You need to combine the relevant building blocks, which means you can choose good matches for you particular application. Solar charging and battery management are often combined these days for off-grid supplies, so that's likely to be fairly findable. And motor controllers aren't exactly rare.

If you want to monitor, make sure each module has some sort of data connection or you can add sensors for current/voltage etc.

A 50 watt solar panel (even assuming it is 36v) is not likely to provide much energy for a 350w motor - unless the motor is only used occasionally and the solar panel is exposed to the sun consistently.

I confess I don't understand the problem. If you have a solar power regulator managing the power going into the battery why is there a need for anything else.

What is the battery management system intended to do? Presumably it just shuts off power to the motor if the battery voltage falls below some threshold.

What do you want to do with an Arduino? An Arduino can measure voltages and it can be programmed to produce control signals depending on the measured voltages. But it cannot, on its own, control more than 5v or currents greater than about 20mA. You need other electronics for that.

...R

jremington: Why do you want a "single module"? Multiple modules with good quality cable connections are what most people use.

Like I said I want to monitor the solar panel, battery charging and motor performance in one display not three different displays connected to three separate units. But there is more things like size, weight and price that makes it much better suited for my vehicle.

fhansson925: Like I said I want to monitor the solar panel, battery charging and motor performance in one display

You could arrange for an Arduino to collect and display data even though it was not controlling anything.

It would not be too difficult to spend more money on a solar monitoring project than you could ever hope to recoup by better management of the solar panels based on that data.

...R

fhansson925: Like I said I want to monitor the solar panel, battery charging and motor performance in one display not three different displays connected to three separate units.

I have a few battery chargers with displays but I've never had an ESC with a display.

As Robin2 said, use the Arduino to collect the data and use whichever display you want to display the data.

If there were an all in one unit, you'd have to replace the whole thing when one part of it went bad.

What type of battery are you using, ie AH capacity
For a 36V Lipo battery it must be using at least 10 cells in series, and the BMS needed would be dependant on the maximum charging rate for the battery.
Is the battery going to be solely charged by the Solar Panel, or by some external charger?

Hi,

What is your electronics, programming, arduino, hardware experience?

Do you have a concept drawing of how what you want will be connected together. What size are your batteries, have they the capacity to give you any decent range with your motors?

Thanks.. Tom... :)

Thanks for all the replies, too much to answer you all.

What I try to accomplish is a system with a 36V, 350W BLDC motor and a 12Ah LiFePo4 battery that is charged by a 220V/50Hz wall charger (Europe standard) with the possibility to use a 50-80W solar panel for charging when sun is shining. I will therefore need a SCU, BMS and ESC. Here is the problem, all three are quite expensive devices ranging from $100-$200 each and reducing weight and size is important for this vehicle. On top of it all I want a single display to monitor everything. Best would be an option to use WiFi or Bluetooth to an Android device or smartphone.

My idea was to use an Arduino board as a main computer to either control or just monitor everything. Possible or not I don’t know since my knowledge into this board is limited. I’m an educated mechanical engineer but my knowledge in electronics is basic and programming Linux is also very basic so I think it will be a too difficult project to build something from scratch. Finding a complete solution would be the best or similar projects to modify. I have not found any good projects for this type of application though so therefore I’m asking.

Talking performance, I can run for an hour or 25 km on a battery charge. Charging battery takes 2 hours with wall charger and probably 6-8 hours with solar panel. Perfect for going to work and back home a sunny day. :slight_smile:

fhansson925: but my knowledge in electronics is basic

I suspect that the biggest part of your project will be the electronics rather than the programming and the electronics is almost certainly beyond the scope of this Forum.

...R

Robin2: I suspect that the biggest part of your project will be the electronics rather than the programming and the electronics is almost certainly beyond the scope of this Forum.

...R

Agree, so therefore I want similar projects or some advice what is the best way to go. The conclusion so far is to use separate units for controlling and an Arduino board for monitoring. Might also keep total cost down since I can more freely choose different manufacturers of units and use a smartphone or Android device to display data. Fact is that the cost of one Arduino is less than one display unit. :)

Thanks!