7 days in the Caribbean Sun – Project Curacao Results!
Everything is running well on Project Curacao deployed in the Caribbean island of Curacao.
The box has been up for about a week now and the results are coming in.
What is Project Curacao?
Project Curacao is a massive Raspberry Pi/Arduino solar powered project first published in MagPi magazine. It was first deployed in March 2014, lasted until a RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) incident in November 2014, came back to Washington for a refit and is now back in the Caribbean.
Project Curacao uses the following SwitchDoc Labs products:
To see what is going on the box basking in the sun, we are going to look at three different RasPiConnect screens. RasPiConnect is the control panel App that we use to monitor and control the box. There is a tutorial here for RasPiConnect.
The Solar Power System
Below is the RasPiConnect screen for the Solar Power system for the Raspberry Pi Model A power system in Project Curacao.
A couple of things to note here. First of all the solar charging voltage above is current 5.69V coming off the Solar Panels. Anytime that voltage goes over about 5V it means that the battery is just about full which means we have a good full charge. You can see that the Pi is currently taking 285ma (the WiFi is currently transmitting – usually it’s down to about 200ma) and very little power is coming from the battery.
The other really interesting thing to note is that the graph above shows the solar voltage spiking above 5V every day for the past 7 days. This means that the battery is getting a full charge every day. It also means that we could add another battery to the system and probably run the Raspberry Pi more than the 12 hours we are currently running it, maybe some days all night. Cool, eh? Note that the BatteryWatchdog Arduino is running 24 hours a day and samples the Weather Rack wind sensors every five minutes, storing the results to FRAM that is read out by the Raspberry Pi when it wakes up.
The WeatherRack Wind Sensor System
Below is the RasPiConnect screen for the Project Curacao system set to show the wind history.
This screen shows an overview of the entire Project Curacao system. It shows that both computer and solar power systems are working well and have fully charged the battery systems. Woohoo for system design!
You clearly see the diurnal pattern of wind in Curacao. More wind in the day, less at night. 80% humidity. Note that the inside humidity sensor is broken and I never got around to fix it. I should have used the humidity sensor on WeatherPiArduino rather than a DHT-11.
The PiCamera Subsystem
Last is the PiCamera subsystem. Below is the RasPiConnect control panel for the camera.
Ack! The camera shutter is the top of a Tidy-Cat Kitty Litter Cap (Thank you Panther the Cat for your contribution to Project Curacao) connected to a servo motor. It opens up for the picture and then shuts to keep the salt spray off of the plexiglass covering the PiCamera.
Unfortunately, it has slipped down and partially covers the camera. We logged into the Raspberry Pi remotely and changed the servo positioning (it has a feedback resistor for position feedback) but we can’t move it any more up than this. Luckily, in two weeks a guy will be down near the box and can physically move it so it will work correctly again.
Note the graph shows you just how well behaved the Raspberry Pi is running the RasPiConnect software and the Project Curacao software.
More on the results in about 3 weeks!