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Gadget Freak Case #260: Arduino Solar Charge Controller

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JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Innovation?
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/4/2014 3:58:25 PM
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* * laughing * * --- Yes, that makes more sense.  An Altoids can would be too conductive and cause issues!  But there is no telling what fast-grab items wind up in these gadgets!

debasish
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Iron
Re: Innovation?
debasish   9/4/2014 3:12:39 PM
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No it is a plastic box..looks very similar to a altoid box.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Innovation?
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/4/2014 12:48:00 PM
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Is that a can of Altoidtm Breath Mints used for the Housing-?

gof
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Iron
Re: Innovation?
gof   9/4/2014 12:09:00 AM
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William, DrBob,

While I agree the arduino is overkill from a functional standpoint, it provides an interesting lesson on the "what" of the project (modes of charging, protections, etc).  For many novices, the ease of seeing this from a microcontroller viewpoint is much easier to understand. The author in this case spent a lot of time putting together the instructions (and running dialog on where he had gaps).

Since you both are obviously passionate on how this could be translated to a much more robust and simple solution, perhaps collaborate on a quick, simple alternate design using analog components.  I know I for one would love to see the comparison (obviously no display, but more likely status indicators). It might inspire emerging makers who see the simplicity of arduino implementation to take that next step beyond the prototype/concept design.

I'm sure DN would publish such a follow up article.

 

Nancy Golden
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Re: Micro Defense
Nancy Golden   9/3/2014 4:31:36 PM
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Great points, tekochip - the versatility of microcontrollers make them a great choice for adding additional features that can mean the difference between an "ok" project that will do the job but with only barebones functionality and a very useful project that offers additional features that increase efficiency and usability.

tekochip
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Micro Defense
tekochip   9/3/2014 3:48:44 PM
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I have to defend the use of a microcontroller.  I was faced with the same problem for charging the battery in my lawn mower and opted for a micro.  There are a few advantages to using a micro:

A display.  You can have a status display showing State of Charge and anything else you might wish to monitor.  The SOC can get a little tricky with some cells like NiMh, so you can use Columb counting to measure what goes in and what goes out.

Flexibility.  A micro gives you easy flexibility in changing the way the cells are charged and monitored.

Low current.  When I first started working on my own charge monitor I found that most systems were pulling mA of current at idle and I really wanted something in the uA range.

 

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: Innovation?
Nancy Golden   8/21/2014 6:22:18 PM
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I think this project is pretty cool and nevermind the debate about using a microcontroller versus discrete components; I see this as a fun project - not something to be mass- marketed. Many of my homespun projects are not more cost-effective than other solutions but are just plain fun or an excuse to learn something new.

William K.
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Re: Innovation?
William K.   8/15/2014 11:01:57 PM
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Debasish, I find it difficult to imagine that using an arduino processor board and the computer to load the program is less expensive than using a few analog components for a PWM charge controller. Possibly the Arduino by itself may not be much more expensive, but without a computer of some kind to load the program it will do nothing useful. So it is a "cost of implementation" issue, not just a cost of components issue. And that is where discreet analog technology wins.

debasish
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Iron
Re: Innovation?
debasish   8/14/2014 1:28:08 PM
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Sir I agree with you.

For pwm signal generation point of view the cost can be reduced by using simple opamp.But when one want to interface lcd display or think for data logging/monitoring  then it is very complex.But using mcu all these things are very easy.

Though in this project I have not given all these things but you can see the lcd display.

link for lcd : http://www.instructables.com/image/FD9G198HXVPWH8X 

 

debasish
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Iron
Re: Innovation?
debasish   8/14/2014 1:18:00 PM
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I have given so many schematics for clear understanding.please see the Build Instructions

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