We're at the last day of the Heat is On Challenge.

 

Here is the initial block diagram of my project:

Solar SPEC Block Diagram

I've implemented all of the hardware elements with the exception of only implementing a single temperature sensor and changing the sensor type to an 18B20 probe.  Unfortunately, I haven't deployed the unit to my rooftop solar array yet because I am still testing and tweaking the design.

 

SPEC Final Hardware:

Solar SPEC

 

Finale Video:

Not much interesting in watching data accumulate, so you just get a video of me talking.....

Please reference previous blogs for design details.

 

Summary

I am reasonably happy with the outcome although I know that it is only the beginning.  At least now I have a method of direct feedback of the environment of my solar array.  Only time will tell how useful this information will be.  I would like to eventually get to the point that I could accurately estimate how much total power I should be getting from the array (by using the irradiance and panel temperature).  I'll probably be surprised at how hot the panels are getting.  That's something that I had never considered before.

 

I need to incorporate some power management in the firmware (at the very least stop transmitting when the irradiance is low).  I'll need to implement that before I deploy the unit.  There were rainy periods last winter where the array would not even generate 1kWh for the full day.

 

I also realize that my printed PLA case is not rugged enough to survive an extended period on the roof.  I think what I have will allow me enough time to evaluate the design.  When I rev the design I'll try to find an outdoor electrical box that is more rugged.  I'll need to stay with plastic since I'm using WiFi.