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Solar power for remote IoT projects?

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(@garnold)
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While in Amazon this phone charger popped up and I wanted to get some thoughts on if it might be a good tool to keep a remote project running. Let's say we are taking about a Wemos D1 Mini as the board. Using deep sleep and having it log weather readings. 

 

Solar Charger RAVPower 15000mAh Outdoor Portable Charger Solar Power Bank Dual USB External Battery Pack Power Pack with Flashlight (IPX4 Splashproof, Dustproof, Solar Panel Charging, DC5V/2A Input) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073P5D9KD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_RRwhDb61JDHM7


   
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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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Based on the video review on the Amazon page it looks like it should work pretty well.   I don't know what the power requirements are for the Wemos D1 Mini board but I'm willing to bet that it's far less than this solar batter pack can put out.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


   
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jscottbee
(@jscottbee)
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Posted by: garnold

Solar Charger RAVPower 15000mAh Outdoor Portable Charger Solar Power Bank Dual USB External Battery Pack Power Pack with Flashlight (IPX4 Splashproof, Dustproof, Solar Panel Charging, DC5V/2A Input) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073P5D9KD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_RRwhDb61JDHM7

I'm always dubious of these type of power banks. I would think that the solar panel would not come close to charging the power bank. Based on its size, the panel it uses would be at most 1w at its peak and with the frosted photon blocking cover, it would be less. To even come close to charging the PB partially it would need direct full sun for a long time of the day. The LED's on the PB would eat away a lot of the panels output to I would bet.

This is not to say it would not power the D1 mini is deep sleep for a long time, it probably do that fine.  

Just my thoughts,

Scott

 

This post was modified 5 years ago by jscottbee

   
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(@garnold)
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@jscottbee

Then to your point, would it just be better to get a weather proof phone battery based phone charger and use that since the odds of this thing charging via the sun are slim?

I'm not against building, but I'm just surprised how hard it seems to be to get something I can put together that will work. It's almost like any time I find something that might work I watch another video saying that it will not. Some say that the charger will work, then another video will say that the same charger cannot charge while it is being discharged. There is just such a mix that it's very confusing for a new guy like me.

DroneBot, maybe a video on this at a beginner level could help? You have quite a few videos so I'll have to search the catalog and see if you might already have this done.

Kind of frustrating to be honest 🙁


   
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triform
(@triform)
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@garnold

(This is jscottbee BTW)

I understand your frustration! 

If it where me I would try the panel and rechargeable battery system from a deer feeder system. The Panel and battery cost @40-50$ or less but will do what you need as long as it gets good sunlight for @5-6 hours most days. All you would need then is a buck converter to drop the voltage to 3.3v for the ESP.  I have seen them in Bass Pro and Acadamy Sports. 

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/game-winner-6-v-solar-panel-charger#repChildCatid=5534511

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/game-winner%C2%AE-6v-4-ah-feeder-battery#repChildCatid=3747102

I'm sure amazon has them as well.

Hope this helps.

 


   
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Peter
(@phm)
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I am currently running a Arduino Pro mini on a set of 4 NiMh rechargable AAA batteries (800mA) connected to a 10x15 cm 12V solar panel placed inside behind the window. Without charge controller, so I do not expect a long life time of the batteries, as it is probably over charging the batteries on a sunny day. The Arduino sends a message every 2 minutes using LoRa. 

I'am also building a setup with a Li-po battery and a TP4056 charge controller and a small 5V Solar panel.

The trick is to reduce the power so the solar panel can charge the battery most of the time and only power is used to do the measurement and send the data. Also make sure the sensors are not using any power during sleep.

As jscottbee sead, also a led will uses enough power to drain the battery. I removed the led of the Arduino Pro mini to save a lot of power. The led used about 5mA. After removing the led the Arduino only used 50uA during sleep, 100x less.

First check the power consumption during sleep.  If this is reduced to a minimum the power uses depends mainly on the interval of the measurements.

Make sure the battery can power the device for multiple day, so even without a lot of sun and during winter time (less sun). Best would be to monitor the battery level and increase the interval time when battery runs low.

 

Hope this helps

 

Peter

 

 

 


   
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Peter
(@phm)
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This is link I found to reduce the power of the Arduino Pro mini.

https://andreasrohner.at/posts/Electronics/How-to-modify-an-Arduino-Pro-Mini-clone-for-low-power-consumption/

 


   
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