Solar Power Supply

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Ton_vN
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Solar Power Supply

#1 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Feb 2019, 08:53

DIY is nice & interesting (for technical people) and may save money, but :| sometimes one simply is not willing (or not having the time) to make the effort ......

In that perspective looking for a ready-made solar power supply to 'feed' my ESP8266s.
Basic requirements:
- suitable for operation outdoors, either in open air, or in box with transparant cover
- incl. battery, to have power supply in the night and during less favourable light conditions
- battery capacity of > 2000mAh
- unattended operation, with simulateaous charging of the battery while power supply to the device
- protection against 'deep discharge'

Anyone experience with such kind of Solar Power Supply at affordable price?

Would this device fit the requirement, with an attached solar panel with micro-USB-connector?
Or would this version be the more 'general' solution (also with an attached solar panel with micro-USB-connector?

Sektflasche
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Re: Solar Power Supply

#2 Post by Sektflasche » 26 Feb 2019, 12:36

Hi,

if you want to build it by you self, I used this project: https://www.instructables.com/id/Solar- ... r-Station/.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#3 Post by Ton_vN » 28 Feb 2019, 21:06

Thanks @Sektflasche

Instructive reading!

Unchanged WEMOS_Pro + TP4056 + Panel + LiOn-battery seems good solution for my first application:
read-out of light levels.
;-) No need to work at night, just need to start at dawn, bridge some darker periods during daytime, and fade out in the evening.
In that perspective perhaps a more powerful solar panel will be an improvement, for earlier 'wake-up' in the morning, and to have some spare/reserve capacity in the darker season, in combination with a slightly bigger battery.
Last edited by Ton_vN on 15 Apr 2019, 09:08, edited 1 time in total.

Vic20
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Re: Solar Power Supply

#4 Post by Vic20 » 05 Mar 2019, 19:43

Hi

I enjoy the challenge of hacking existing solar devices to fit ESP8266 projects inside.

My latest uses one of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079QFVFJC
Image

It uses a protected Li-Ion 18650 so all you need is a 3.3v LDO regulator to drive the 18650
Room inside for a BME280 and light sensor to make a fully waterproof solar powered weather station and still have the working security light.

With the ESP waking every 10 minutes to upload to thingspeak, the device has been happily running and keeping the battery fully charged for 3 months now.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#5 Post by grovkillen » 05 Mar 2019, 19:50

I guess you could monitor the PIR as well? Thanks for sharing!
ESP Easy Flasher [flash tool and wifi setup at flash time]
ESP Easy Webdumper [easy screendumping of your units]
ESP Easy Netscan [find units]
Official shop: https://firstbyte.shop/
Sponsor ESP Easy, we need you :idea: :idea: :idea:

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#6 Post by TD-er » 06 Mar 2019, 12:12

Please note that the last build has some options to allow for "CPU eco mode" (sorry, could not think of a better name), which does reduce power requirements of the CPU significantly.
It does have a few drawbacks, but for that we have the documentation ;) https://espeasy.readthedocs.io/en/lates ... l#advanced

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#7 Post by Ton_vN » 09 May 2019, 13:49

In the perspective of independent setup to link WEMOS-PCB with battery 18650/3100mAh and with Solar Panel 5V/5W (all purchased through AlieX), experimenting with a battery-shield for WEMOS D1Pro , but that just raises questions ......

Regardless whether Solar Supply or grid-oriented supply is used, it looks as if the battery is not being charged.
Assumption is that the shield (like TP4056) operates separate from the WEMOS_PCB, but is that true?
Because it is kind of UPS, for which it is not uncommon to handshake with their 'client'.
Related experiences with this shield?

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#8 Post by Ton_vN » 09 May 2019, 14:09

@TD-er

The description of 'CPU Eco mode' seems to indicate that the CPU is 'taking a nap' if not requested to do something.

Considering 'ECO-mode' I would have a different look at this aspect.

Perhaps it is already available somewhere as specific software, but not found:
why not install a scheduler in the ESPEasy-software, which is controlling the following aspects (as Example)?
1) forcefully put in deep sleep the processor for predefined times, set in a menu of ESPEasy
That can be e.g. not operating during specific hours of the day, or for a specific time per hour (set as start & stop times).
2) during 'awake'-period, the processor has to be alerted by specific call, and until that time is half-dormant,
;-) more-or-less 'taking a nap', listening only for the alert-signal. After alert, it is active for a preset period to perform a few scheduled functions.
2) if needed during 'sleeping-time' [e.g. to change the menu mentioned under 1) ], wake-up the processor by the Reset-button to open a window of 30 minutes

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#9 Post by Domosapiens » 10 May 2019, 23:21

Ton_vN wrote:
09 May 2019, 13:49
Related experiences with this shield?
Yep, ...my experience
charging the battery via USB does not work when the Wemos is not switched on.
30+ ESP units for production and test. Ranging from control of heating equipment, flow sensing, floor temp sensing, energy calculation, floor thermostat, water usage, to an interactive "fun box" for my grandson. Mainly Wemos D1.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#10 Post by TD-er » 11 May 2019, 21:56

@Ton_vN

We already have deep sleep in ESPeasy.
But that only can be set to a specific interval.
At boot (wake from deep sleep), the wifi connection is initiated and after that the rules may be processed.
So at this moment it is not possible to set some proper time schedule to wake.
Without WiFi or GPS, the unit simply has no knowledge of time.

What we can do, is to add a check for the battery voltage when waking from deep sleep and then consider just to go to sleep again if the voltage is too low.
But that should be a new feature. It isn't implemented yet.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#11 Post by Ton_vN » 12 May 2019, 16:07

@Domosapiens

Your message puzzles .....

If the Battery Shield gets PowerSupply through it's USB-interface, then the WEMOS is On, which is OK.
But the question is, why is the BatteryShield not charging the battery, parallel to the WEMOS?

1) If the BatteryShield is autonomous, do I need to set 'something' on the shield? What?
Only thing detected is link J1 which may be set to get 1A-power instead of normal 0.5A
2) If the BatteryShield in some way is dependent on the WEMOS, how/what?

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#12 Post by Ton_vN » 12 May 2019, 16:12

@TDer

Your response triggers me to reconsider.

You are right:
'deep sleep' is really deep sleep, and no wake-up other than a basic timer deep down in the processor, in no way from the outside world.

Perhaps the idea I suggested is more 'light sleep', reducing the activity of the firmware to a small scheduler-kernel, enabling a defined kick to start, either from the outside world, or from an internal, programmable timer, not so deep down as the timer for 'deep sleep'.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#13 Post by Domosapiens » 12 May 2019, 21:01

Ton,
In my case: the BatteryShield is charging the battery, parallel to the WEMOS
When I charge the battery through the shield, the Wemos starts (see also schematics)

Battery full? green LED.
Charging ... red LED


Situation 1:
Wemos On, running on battery (4.17V), plug-in USB on shield, Red light goes on.

Situation 2:
Wemos Off, plug-in USB on shield, Wemos starts, Green light on (4.35V)

Situation 3:
Wemos On, running on battery (4.52V), plug-in USB on shield, Red light goes on.
After a few minutes, Red becomes Green (now 4.34V)

Charging the battery via USB does not work when the Wemos was not switched on.
Something the TP5400 decides based on 5V Vin versus 5V Vout versus Vbat ???
(did not study the datasheet)

Seen this ?:
https://wiki.wemos.cc/products:d1_mini_ ... ery_shield
Schematics
https://wiki.wemos.cc/_media/products:d ... v1.3.0.pdf?

For a solar panel experiment, I used this step-up booster:
https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/5V-2-1A- ... 4918y1IVvX
in this way

Code: Select all

Solar-----Booster------Wemos
             |
          Battery
30+ ESP units for production and test. Ranging from control of heating equipment, flow sensing, floor temp sensing, energy calculation, floor thermostat, water usage, to an interactive "fun box" for my grandson. Mainly Wemos D1.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#14 Post by Ton_vN » 12 May 2019, 22:33

@Domosapiens

;-) Reading your messge, apparently I have Situation 0:
USB-Power to shield => red LED => power to WEMOS & no Power to Battery

From your message, I get the impression that my test-setup might be the problem.
In this setup the feed to the BatteryShield through it's USB-interface has been tried by means of several 'original' devices providing USB PowerSupply.
Apparently the output of all these devices always is below the internal threshold of the BatteryShield to enable charging of the battery.

At least I cannot otherwise explain that de LED is red, but the charging voltage for the battery is (a too low) 0.45V.

ToDo: check the USB power supplies .....
And find a more powerful one (or at least one with more voltage).
Puzzled, because you generally should not feed through a USB-interface with a higher voltage than 5V.
Last edited by Ton_vN on 15 May 2019, 10:44, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#15 Post by Domosapiens » 13 May 2019, 00:17

A few streets away .... at Ikea .... 2Amp USB charger.

Just to make sure ..
You need to feed the battery shield USB plug .... not the Wemos plug
LED is red, but the charging voltage for the battery is (a too low) 0.45V.
Sounds like a dead board, ... a dead battery, ...polarity reversal .....
30+ ESP units for production and test. Ranging from control of heating equipment, flow sensing, floor temp sensing, energy calculation, floor thermostat, water usage, to an interactive "fun box" for my grandson. Mainly Wemos D1.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#16 Post by Ton_vN » 13 May 2019, 13:39

Indeed, IKEA is near, as well as few other possible suppliers.

Connections & Polarities all ;) multiply tested as OK.

Tend to agree with conclusion:
Because Battery + WEMOS 'behave' OK => BatteryShield seems DOA for at least the battery charging circuit.
If no battery attached the output from the shield is still not more than 0.45V

Time to switch from BatteryShield to separate Protection Board TP4056 in this Setup.
Last edited by Ton_vN on 15 May 2019, 10:34, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#17 Post by Domosapiens » 13 May 2019, 21:17

Ton,
that protection board is lacking a booster.
Thus low voltage from the solar panel will not be used without the booster.
30+ ESP units for production and test. Ranging from control of heating equipment, flow sensing, floor temp sensing, energy calculation, floor thermostat, water usage, to an interactive "fun box" for my grandson. Mainly Wemos D1.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#18 Post by Ton_vN » 15 May 2019, 10:30

@Domosapiens

Understood, but with normal daylight the solar panel should sufficiently charge the battery to provide supply during next night and some more time.
My first application will be for a setup with light-sensors, which anyway hardly require attention & power during the night .....

First test without booster:
if needed, insert later.

Raises the related question how to simply reduce the WEMOS' measuring rate & processing during the night, to save energy.
Last edited by Ton_vN on 15 May 2019, 10:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#19 Post by Wiki » 15 May 2019, 10:41

Booster makes no sense because if the solarpanel delivers not enough power for the TP4056 it will not deliver enough power for a booster either.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#20 Post by Ton_vN » 15 May 2019, 10:54

Possibly this booster is better suited to feed the battery-charger, but what is the probablity that the output of the solar panel exceeds 2,5V, but not reaches 5V?

Just a trade-off:
wait some time vs. extra circuit

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#21 Post by Wiki » 15 May 2019, 11:11

These kind of boosters are consuming a lot of power even in idle. Better use a 6V rated solar panel and just attach the TP4056.

If possible use the deep sleep, use the eco option of the current ESP Easy (Tools/Advanced section) and apply some modifications like described here: viewtopic.php?p=32183#p32183

Using deep sleep f.i. 30 minutes, awake time a few seconds will give you a running time of up to 80 days just with a 3000 mAh 18650.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#22 Post by chemmex » 16 May 2019, 10:08

Even better will be using switched charger such as TP5000. Even though it doesn't have MPTT, it can catch low sun condition provided the panel OC voltage is between 5-6V

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#23 Post by Ton_vN » 18 May 2019, 09:42

;-) Making use of 1 extra component perhaps this is a simple(r) way to get better power supply & charging:
1) power source = 1* solar panel slightly oversized with output >7V, or put 2* 5V solar panel in series
2) feed panel output to cheap 3-leg power circuit like 7805-regulator
3) feed regulator output to charger board TP4056

1) and 2) in combination provide a strong & stable 5VDC-input much earlier & longer than just 1 5VDC solar panel
=> in 3) the battery as buffer is needed shorter time => more capacity to bridge gaps.

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Re: Solar Power Supply

#24 Post by Blunt » 12 Jun 2019, 05:14

There are many types of solar power, but it is not necessarily necessary for solar lights. On the contrary, solar panels are more important.

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