Tutorial:  Building an IOT ESP32 Solar Powered WiFi Night Light – Part 1

Tutorial: Building an IOT ESP32 Solar Powered WiFi Night Light – Part 1

Here is your chance to build a solar powered  WiFi remote control ESP32 based nightlight for use outdoors.   The full Solar Powered Nightlight kit comes with mounting pylons and a water proof enclosure.

This is a great beginners Kit!

This is an easy to build kit with no soldering required.

The Solar Powered Night Light is WiFi controllable using the REST interface built into the software.  For example:

Sending the command inn a browser (of course, using your IP# for your Solar Night Light):

https://192.168.1.154/

you will get (assuming you have the right IP Address)

{"variables": {"solarVoltage": 1.52, "batteryVoltage": 4.14, "solarCurrent": 0.00, "batteryCurrent": 2.40, "loadCurrent": 1.20, "loadVoltage": 4.97, "currentLEDMode": 0, "darkLight": 0, "Version": "005"}, "id": "", "name": "SDL_ESP32_BC24_SOLARNL", "hardware": "esp32", "connected": true}

Look at all that information! Data! This tells us a lot about the solar power system and what is going on with the system! Not only it is cool to look at, it makes a great science project too.

This is a five part tutorial series:

 

The Kit contains the powerful ESP32 dual core processor mounted on the BC24 24 RGBW Programmable LED board with Grove Connectors!   No Soldering!

You can see and buy the entire kit here.

 

Features:

    • – Solar Powered
    • – ESP32 based
    • – WiFi Connected
    • – Monitors and reports:   Solar Panel Voltage and Current / Battery Voltage and Current / System Voltage and Current
    • – Full featured REST interface – Do All sorts of things!
    • – Can read Solar Data from the device
    • – Has three modes of display.  Rainbow, Clock and Fire
    • – Can be turned on during the daylight
    • – RGBW Programmable LEDs

 

Solar Powered Nightlight

What is the BC24?

BC24The BC24 is a flexible way to display all sorts of data while being able to communicate with other devices and the Internet.   It is a board that you can plug in your sensors and create new things!

The BC24 consists of three major parts:

1) Dual CPU ESP32 Central Processor with WiFi and Bluetooth

2) The 24 RGBW Programmable LED Pixel Circle

3) No Solder Grove Connectors for expansion!

The RGBW (Red Green Blue White) Pixels are completely programmable (millions of colors) and includes a bright white LED to give you pure warm white.   These programmable pixels are 100% compatible with NeoPixels.

The Grove connectors allow you to easily and safely connect hundreds of sensors (and more Pixel strips if you want!) with no soldering.   And you CAN’T plug them in backwards.   Fewer boards in the Box of Death.

You can get the BC24 here.

What is SunAirPlus?

Ever wanted to build your own Solar Powered Raspberry Pi or Arduino system?   SunAirPlus is a 3rd Generation Solar Charging and Sun Tracking Board designed specifically for ESP, Arduino and Raspberry Pi systems.  .

The SunAirPlus board takes Solar Power from 6V Solar Cells, charges a 3.7V LiPo Battery Pack and

supplies 5V power via a USB plug to the Raspberry Pi and Arduino.  It supplies up to 5W (1000mA @ 5V) of good clean power to your USB connector.  You can even charge your phone!   The board has solar panel charge control system, a voltage booster, two A/D converters and an INA3221 on the  SunAirPlus Board.

It has the charge control systems and GPIO interface circuitry systems for voltage level shifting and for servo motors as well as aiding in stepper motor control. SunAirPlus contains more robust ADS1015 A/D converters, INA3221 voltage and current sensing circuitry and an optional stepper motor controller.

SunAirPlus Hooked Up to Raspberry Pi 2 B

SunAirPlus Hooked Up to Raspberry Pi 2 B+

It has the following other interfaces built into the board:

  • – Built-in I2C data gathering chips for system currents /voltages
  • – Built-in I2C Interface for Solar Tracking Photoresistor devices
  • – Built-in Interface for Servo motor or Stepper motor
  • – Built-in Interface for Limit Switches

Below is the block diagram of the SunAirPlus board.

SunAirPlus Block Diagram Showing INA3221

SunAirPlus Block Diagram Showing INA3221

What does this Solar Night Light Project do?

The Solar Powered Night Light  program has three different modes:

  • Rainbow Display Demo (Mode 0)
  • Fire Simulation (Mode 1)
  • Digital LED Clock (synced with NIST clocks for high accuracy) (Mode 2)

The program remembers which mode last selected via the REST interface. Mode 2 requires a WiFi connection. FIVE red lights will flash if you go to 2 without a WiFi Connection.

Here is the project in action:

Here is the block diagram:

 

Coming Next?

In the next article, we look at the parts list and what each of them is used for in the Night Light Project.

 

 

 

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