Project Curacao – Solar Power RaspBerry Pi / Arduino Project

Project Curacao

New Solar Panels on Top of the Project Curacao Box – WeatherRack in Background

IMG_03751Project Curacao, a massive Raspberry Pi / Arduino solar powered project has been deployed for 16 months on Curacao, a small tropical island in the southern Caribbean ocean.

It’s been an up and down  several times (but mostly up!).   The performance of the system has been excellent, except for a slightly loose connection to 2 out of the 3 solar panels to the Raspberry Pi.   This causes issues, as might be expected, but the power management system in Project Curacao has been handling it well.   Right now, we have a run of 2 weeks that the offending wire has been connected leading to boring power graphs, but great data!

Blog Postings on Project Curacao

Solar Power

Project Curaçao under Development

Latest Blog Article is here: Project Curacao Survives Storm.

All Blog Articles on Project Curacao

Articles on Project Curacao

MagPi Magazine241

 

RPG_14_shop_image_UK_listitemRaspberry Pi Geek Magazine

Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine Issue 4:  Sizing a wind turbine to power your Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine Issue 5:  Mixing Wind Turbines With the Tropics

 

Major Subsystems

Raspberry Pi Solar Power System

Here is the Raspberry Pi Solar Power System (shown on RasPiConnect):

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Raspberry Pi Solar Power Curves

Note the peaking of the solar voltage each day.  This means that the battery for the Raspberry Pi is fully charged.  When the battery is charged, the solar voltage climbs as the current isn’t needed by the battery.  All this is controlled by a SunAirPlus Solar Power Controller/Data Collector.   We like data.

Pi Camera Subsystem

The Pi Camera subsystem takes a picture every hour, on the hour (all times UTC).    You can also take a picture on demand, and even make videos (you wouldn’t believe the drain on the battery for video!).

Project Curacao - Solar Power

Pi Camera view of the Caribbean Ocean

The Weather Subsystem

WeatherPiArduino with Included DS3231/EEPROM

WeatherPiArduino with Included DS3231/EEPROM

Note:   There is a new version of the WeatherPiArduino available:  The Weather Board.

Project Curacao monitors the temperature (inside and outside), humidity (inside and outside), wind speed/direction and rain (using WeatherRack and WeatherPiArduino).   When the Raspberry Pi is shutdown, the BatteryWatchDog Arduino merrily keeps sensing these values and stores them in a FRAM (nonvolatile storage!) and reads them out to the Raspberry Pi when is rebooted.  So you get 24 hour coverage.  Below is the wind results, clearly showing the diurnal rhythm of the Caribbean breezes.

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Wind Patterns in Curacao

The BatteryWatchDog Arduino Power System

Because the BatteryWatchDog system has been behaving well, the below is a pretty boring picture.   To see something much more crazy, look at this article which shows the system responding to RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) from a Ham Radio Contest and failing.   This got fixed in the June upgrade.  We shall see when November rolls around again.

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Happy Arduino Solar Power Supply

 

Detailed SwitchDoc Labs Pages on Project  Curacao

Project Curacao – Introduction – Part 1

Project Curacao – Solar Power System – Part 2

Project Curacao – Arduino Battery WatchDog – Part 3

Project Curacao – Environmental Subsystem – Part 4

Project Curacao – Camera Subsystem – Part 5

Project Curacao – Software System – Part 6

Project Curacao – Installation/First Months – Part 7

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