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Design For A Cause 2021

7 Posts authored by: makervanlabs
Having broken my Nano33, I decided to switch back to the regular Arduino Nano. But I decided to stay with the adaptations to 3.3V, and use the 3.3V output of the Arduino Nano as the analog reference. That would allow me to keep the code and schematic changes in place.   Originally, I had the idea to use a generic BLE smartphone app to output and visualize data. The regular Nano does not have any BLE connectivity, so I needed to find an alternative way to present the information. I decided ...
Having started out with the 5V based Arduino Nano, I needed to make some adjustments to make my circuit work with the Nano33, which runs at 3.3V. I thought I would have to adjust the voltage dividers, but at a ratio of 10:1 (100kΩ and 10kΩ resistors), they leave me with a maximum input voltage of 36.3V, which is more than enough.   This only left me having to adjust the voltage supply and the output of the ACS712, as described in an early post. For the supply voltage, I went with ...
I've been thinking about how to connect the MicroGrid Connection Unit with a smartphone or similar device to read data or write configuration. The Arduino Nano 33 IoT offers both BLE and WiFi connectivity, but from my understanding they cannot be used at the same time unfortunately. Building something that presents a website using WiFi might be simpler, but it also feels a little bit inconvenient to connect to a dedicated WiFi network just to interact with the connection unit. So I decided to ev ...
The current prototype of the MicroGrid Connection Unit uses a regular 5V Arduino Nano, and an ACS712 current sensor to measure the current flow to or from the grid. Unfortunately, the Nano33 IoT is running at 3.3V instead of 5V, but the ACS712 doesn't work at that voltage level. At least it's not really intended to. So there are a few options to deal with this: Finding a different current sensor Run the ACS712 at 5V, and "step down" the output using a voltage divider Doing something completel ...
Having done a rough design of the MicroGrid Connection Unit, the next step was to build it on a breadboard and start writing some code. I decided to use a regular Arduino Nano for the first phase, in order to not risk breaking the Nano33 IoT. They are mostly pin compatible so that should be only a small adjustment later on.   One thing I noticed that I missed in the orginial design post was a way to measure current, which I feel is rather critical. I had some ACS712 modules on hand, so I ...
In the first post, I shared an overview of the different options of the Connection Unit I'm looking to build over time. For now, I want to start with the simplest version, which is supposed to connect a solar system to a grid of (roughly) similar voltage, say a 12V solar setup to a 12V micro grid (which will be the configuration I'm planning to test this in). Here's the important part of that first drawing again: In the progress of constant learning since making that sketch, I came to realize ...
Hello there! Here's the introduction to my project for this year's Design For a Cause challenge, the MicroGrid Connection Unit. I want to create a device that allows to connect existing DC power systems to a small grid, e.g. to allow multiple caravans with solar systems to each other. Let's go into how I got to this idea. The Problem Festivals and camps sometimes happen out where there is not enough electrical infrastructure to support them, so generators and other power generating equipment has ...