It’s been a few days now since I built and installed the solar energy power station. Everything is still working well but I do have some concerns.
It’s bothering me that I don’t know how much energy the solar panel is producing and I don’t like that the battery will not show how charged up it is.
The amount of power being passed from the 60w solar panel can be tested using a volt meter and I’ve managed to find a cheap one from EBay which will hopefully turn up in the next few days.
The battery I bought does have a ‘level’ indicator on it however its not very good at all. They are a few batteries with indicators built in to them, if you come across one which is just a dot which will go green when fully charged I would avoid it.
To solve the ‘is my battery full or empty’ problem I have again, from EBay, I’ve bought a battery level indicator. It’s a simple device that I can attach to the battery which should give me a much clearer indication on how full (or empty) the battery is. It will also allow me to see how much energy a larger device has used which will be useful information when conducting some tests.
On a very positive note however the solar charging station is giving power to the battery no matter what the weather. Living in the North East of England we have has some really bad rain lately and it’s been over cast for a couple of days but when ever I look at the charge regulator it’s always charging the battery which is good news.
As you can see from this picture I’ve been testing the solar energy charging station with some common devices. I’ve already tried charging the ‘atom’ laptop which (it was not a big surprise) worked very well.
I would guess the amount of electricity being drawn is now very big so this setup would have no problems in charging the laptop.
Regardless of the laptop you have this setup I have will charge it up, because I bought a rather large 2,000 w inverter anything that draws less than 2,000 w can be plugged in. I don’t think there are many laptops which will want more than that!
The second device I tried to plug in was my Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
Again very little surprise that as soon as it was plugged in the device started to charge up.
I’ve charged the Tablet up once fully and there is no time difference between having it plugged in to the mains or to the solar charging station, the obvious difference is the solar charging station is, in a sense, costing me no money.
Although not great tests it is a sure way to see if the setup is working and providing me with electricity.
I’m now waiting for the few other smaller items to turn up and then i will try something a little bigger. By trying something larger I will see if the solar charging station can cope with the load and how much it depletes the battery as knowing the limit on the battery will of course be very helpful for future use.