Project Curacao – Solar Power RaspBerry Pi / Arduino Project
Project 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
Articles on Project Curacao
Raspberry Pi Solar Power System
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!).
The Weather Subsystem
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.
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.