Solar Power Devices

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Testing the solar panels


In this week I am testing the solar panels for their current delivery and voltage output under different solar and indoor conditions. This will determine how much load my solar panels can drive and how many devices I can hook up with its power on my solar BOT. And this will determine the selection of the motors to drive the BOT. And a choice between Arduino Nano or Arduino UNO controller should be done.


The power consumption of the Adruino Specifications


Parameters Arduino NanoArduino UNO
Voltage Output3.3V or 5V5V or 3.3V
DC Current per I/O Pin (datasheet)~40mA~ 40 mA
DC Current for 3.3V Pin (datasheet)--~50 mA
In sleep mode (datasheet)--~ 35 mA
Measured Current at no extra load (measured with 10milli-ohm shunt)130mA (powered by mini usb power)300mA (powered by USB A2.0B)
USB Overcurrent Protection (datasheet)-----500mA


The above tests show that Arduino Nano has less power consumption than UNO but is also limited in ports and functionality. But since solar panels are also not able to deliver much current a power hungry controller will not fit the needs of the Solar Bot. So I will carry on further with Arduino Nano.

Fig: Testing Arduino Nano with 10 milli-ohm shunt measuring through 3.3V power pin


Solar Panels Load Test

Fig: Test the current delivery of the Solar Panels


Fig: As mentioned by the Solar Panel Supplier

The Test Setup

Fig: Solar Panel 1


Fig: Solar Panel 2 with Must have Ice-cream


Fig: Both Solar Panels Connected in Series


The Voltage Measurements


Fig: Voltage delivery of each Solar Panel


The Solar Panel Current

Fig: Measurements in Strong Sunlight


Fig: As the heat of the Sun starts to go down



Fig: Solar Panel Measurement Indoor Light


Fig: Solar Panel Series Current Measurement Outdoors


The solar panels are delivering good current output and it can be presumed that they will be able to drive decent amount of load.


Next Step will be to power up the sensors with Arduino Nano together with the motors and check the power delivery by the Solar Panels at full output load.