jarodium
Posts: 8
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:11 am

Hello Stirring

Having a look at battery cars, from previously thread reads, I've concluded that is the way to go to power up a RaspPi 24/7.

I will follow up on your suggestion and search for boat batteries.

Thank you
Regards

bblood
Posts: 42
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:06 am

Hi, I have a similar project in the works. I have a rpi, webcam, and arduino running out in a chicken shed....all powered by the same 45 watt solar setup and an rv battery. I am adding functionality periodically, and would like to setup a we server with graphs like you have...any chance you could share the code? I I am only measuring battery voltage now, but will be adding current produced/consumed indoor/outdoor temp. My rpi is connected to my LAN with wifi....this has proven to be a bit unreliable...still trying to get to the bottom of it. I have one webcam running motion...I had been emailing myself the images generated when movement was detected, but....but it was annoying. For a while I ran 2 cameras, but there was some sort of USB conflict which would give me a gray screen on one after a while, so I unplugged one. My battery performance is no where near as good as yours...I think wifi is a power hog....I am way out on the fringe, range wise.

Keep us posted!
Bill

adream
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:12 pm

an interesting project, well done

i have a question, what scripts are you using to generate the bandwidth and cpu usage charts ?

also, i have been running a squeeze server for a few months too, but suffered from sd card corruption and low performance
i installed rasbian, especially the new version with active overclocking, this is much faster and more stable than squeeze. so if your after a long uptime perhaps this is the time to go to the more modern distro, the sooner you do it the longer your uptime :-)

well done again though, great work

adrian
http://212.159.76.122:81/serendipity/

bblood
Posts: 42
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:32 pm

Just a quick update on my remote server....I haven't been able to rectify the wifi issue....The root of the problem is that the whole usb system goes down and the only way to bring it back....that i know of, is to reboot the rpi....so, i have a cron running every 5 minutes to check for an inet addr: line in ifconfig....if no addr, I have the cron script reboot the rpi. This is working pretty well....although a bit brutish...must be a better way....but the reboot will solve all the issues associated with the usb core dropping as i have a number of other usb devices plugged in.

My arduino is running great, I have added temp sensing and i have a python script fetching the temp and battery voltage every 10 minutes and appending the results to a log file...this is the script to gather the info from the arduino, which looks like:

59.76 degrees F :Voltage = 12.22 2012-09-26 16:00
59.18 degrees F :Voltage = 12.22 2012-09-26 16:10
59.18 degrees F :Voltage = 12.20 2012-09-26 16:20
59.18 degrees F :Voltage = 12.17 2012-09-26 16:30
59.76 degrees F :Voltage = 12.22 2012-09-26 16:40
59.76 degrees F :Voltage = 12.12 2012-09-26 16:50
59.76 degrees F :Voltage = 12.22 2012-09-26 17:00

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/env python
#from __future__ import print_function
import serial
import datetime
now = datetime.datetime.now()
from time import sleep

s = serial.Serial(port='/dev/ttyACM0', baudrate=9600)


sleep(2);   #wait for arduino to be ready
s.write('a')  #this tell my arduino sketch to send the info over the serial
sleep(1)     #wait for the info to arrive
print s.readline().strip(), #output the values to the screen...
print now.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M")
#append the date and time

adream
Posts: 23
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Contact: Website

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:00 pm

random dropping of usb and or ethernet, is often caused by voltage drop..
what power rating and voltage is your supply ?
http://212.159.76.122:81/serendipity/

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:49 pm

adream wrote:random dropping of usb and or ethernet, is often caused by voltage drop..
what power rating and voltage is your supply ?

I use a car charger that has 2 usb ports...one rated at 2 amps, the other rated at 1 amp. I power the rpi with the 1 amp and i made a powered usb hub from a non-powered hub that is plugged into the 2 amp port...my wifi dongle, usb webcam and arduino are plugged into the hub. I haven't measured voltages on the rpi, but I have tried different power supplies, and continue to have random issues...I will eventually make my own regulated 5 volt supply with good components and see if that helps.

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yv1hx
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:24 am

Be sure you have a common ground reference between the different power supplies, this can be a lot of source of problems. Also, the power supplies have good regulation? If you have a oscilloscope you might have a look ...
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jolebole
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:48 am

Kick ass project. Bravo! I just bought two Pi's. I didn't had to wait for months like most of the people. I got them in 4 days. I'm starting to explore the great new world of Pi!

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:02 pm

Just logged in remotely and saw this.....doh! Something looks fishy....voltage quickly drops...and quickly comes back up....been running stable for a month or so....

Code: Select all

Voltage = 11.42 2012-10-13 00:00
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 11.33 2012-10-13 00:10
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 11.37 2012-10-13 00:20
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 11.33 2012-10-13 00:30
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 11.23 2012-10-13 00:40
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 11.13 2012-10-13 00:50
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 11.12 2012-10-13 01:00
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 10.92 2012-10-13 01:10
32.49 degrees F :Voltage = 10.79 2012-10-13 01:20
31.91 degrees F :Voltage = 10.63 2012-10-13 01:30
32.49 degrees F :Voltage = 10.24 2012-10-13 01:40
32.49 degrees F :Voltage = 9.98 2012-10-13 01:50
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.43 2012-10-13 02:00
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.22 2012-10-13 02:10
31.91 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-13 02:20
31.91 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-13 02:30
31.91 degrees F :Voltage = 9.40 2012-10-13 02:40
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.37 2012-10-13 02:50
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.40 2012-10-13 03:00
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.37 2012-10-13 03:10
30.75 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-13 03:20
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.33 2012-10-13 03:30
30.75 degrees F :Voltage = 9.40 2012-10-13 03:40
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.32 2012-10-13 03:50
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.37 2012-10-13 04:00
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.37 2012-10-13 04:10
30.75 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-13 04:20
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.38 2012-10-13 04:30
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.38 2012-10-13 04:40
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.32 2012-10-13 04:50
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.33 2012-10-13 05:00
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-13 05:10
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-13 05:20
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.33 2012-10-13 05:30
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-13 05:40
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.37 2012-10-13 05:50
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.35 2012-10-13 06:00
29.01 degrees F :Voltage = 9.32 2012-10-13 06:10
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.32 2012-10-13 06:20
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.33 2012-10-13 06:30
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.25 2012-10-13 06:40
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.24 2012-10-13 06:50
29.59 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-13 07:00
30.75 degrees F :Voltage = 9.27 2012-10-13 07:10
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.35 2012-10-13 07:20
30.75 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-13 07:30
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-13 07:40
30.17 degrees F :Voltage = 9.27 2012-10-13 07:50
30.75 degrees F :Voltage = 9.32 2012-10-13 08:00
31.33 degrees F :Voltage = 9.37 2012-10-13 08:10
31.91 degrees F :Voltage = 9.33 2012-10-13 08:20
31.91 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-13 08:30
32.49 degrees F :Voltage = 9.35 2012-10-13 08:40
32.49 degrees F :Voltage = 9.43 2012-10-13 08:50
33.65 degrees F :Voltage = 9.67 2012-10-13 09:00
33.07 degrees F :Voltage = 10.03 2012-10-13 09:10
33.65 degrees F :Voltage = 10.31 2012-10-13 09:20
34.81 degrees F :Voltage = 12.64 2012-10-13 09:30
34.81 degrees F :Voltage = 12.56 2012-10-13 09:40
34.81 degrees F :Voltage = 12.69 2012-10-13 09:50
35.97 degrees F :Voltage = 12.70 2012-10-13 10:00
35.97 degrees F :Voltage = 12.77 2012-10-13 10:10
36.55 degrees F :Voltage = 12.77 2012-10-13 10:20
37.13 degrees F :Voltage = 12.62 2012-10-13 10:30
38.29 degrees F :Voltage = 12.83 2012-10-13 10:40
38.29 degrees F :Voltage = 12.90 2012-10-13 10:50
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ciudadverde
Posts: 20
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:30 pm

It's very important that the battery capacity be big.If is small ,the volt of battery don't must be below 11v. and the battery will go to trash.How many Ah have the battery. mine is 100ah and my solar panel is 20w

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:07 pm

I have a brand new 150 AH rv battery and 45 watts solar panel....my sensor is a voltage divider/arduino....I am thousands of miles away from the rpi...we have low sun angle and rainy days....hope it can hold on...

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:42 am

Ok, I fear my setup is vastly under powered....my solar rpi is located 45 degrees North latitude, days are getting short, and rainy. Even still, I am surprised 45 watt isn't enough...The pi is still running, but battery voltage is back down in the 9v range and there isn't any sun in the forecast until Wednesday....2 more days of rain....and nights...if I had to guess, I would say I need to double my solar and battery capacity...that would be rediculously expensive for a simple project...probably cost over $500. I would really like to replace my rpi model B with a model A when they come out as I heard they consume less power.

Code: Select all

 Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
 
Type 'startx' to launch a graphical session
 
You have new mail.
Last login: Mon Oct 15 01:26:09 2012 from xx.xx.xxx.xx
[email protected] ~ $ cat solar-log.txt
43.51 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-15 00:00
44.09 degrees F :Voltage = 9.27 2012-10-15 00:10
43.51 degrees F :Voltage = 9.27 2012-10-15 00:20
43.51 degrees F :Voltage = 9.28 2012-10-15 00:30
44.09 degrees F :Voltage = 9.22 2012-10-15 00:40
43.51 degrees F :Voltage = 9.27 2012-10-15 00:50
43.51 degrees F :Voltage = 9.24 2012-10-15 01:00
43.51 degrees F :Voltage = 9.30 2012-10-15 01:10
44.09 degrees F :Voltage = 9.20 2012-10-15 01:20
44.09 degrees F :Voltage = 9.24 2012-10-15 01:30
[email protected] ~ $ 

prodata
Posts: 155
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Contact: Website

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:13 am

A 45W panel plus a 150Ah battery ought to be just about enough to run a Pi 24/7/365 at 45N. (Though the battery won't last long if you allow it to discharge down to 9v, especially if it's not a deep-cycle battery.) More specifically, the battery ought to be OK but arguably the panel could be increased to say 60W, but 45W ought to be sufficient for October - we're still well away from the most tricky part of the year for solar panels (in the N hemisphere).

But it's difficult to know for sure because I can't see the full details of what you're running. Is it just a Pi or are there additional components in the system, eg switch or router? If so, it's likely to be these other components that may be sucking the power out of the system. What's the full inventory of what's being powered from the solar PSU? It may be that the Pi is just a minor player in the power consumption stakes.

Then the two other key elements of running an efficient solar PSU are:

1. Having a high-efficiency DC-DC converter to convert the battery 12v DC (I presume) to 5v for the Pi. You could potentially be wasting half the energy unless you use a high-efficiency (at the correct current consumption) converter. Also using an MPPT charge regulator rather than a cheap one will ensure maximum efficiency in getting power from the panel to battery.

2. The panel angle may be sub-optimal. For systems intended to run year-round, the panel needs to be closer to vertical rather than horizontal so that it makes best use of the winter sun. (Maximising the summertime energy harvesting is irrelevant for a device like this - as long as the system is generating adequate power in summer then that's all that matters, maximising winter power is what's important. Though some users will vary the panel angle at different seasons to optimise seasonal harvesting, but this is a hassle on a long-term basis and often complicates the panel installation.)

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:12 am

Here is the solar setup....
http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-pane ... 68751.html
I can't remember the exact battery I got, but it is a marine/rv deep cycle battery...150-180 ah I think....it wasn't the smallest deep cycle rv battery they had... My panels are set at 11 degrees tilt and face 196 magnetic....they have full exposure to the sun, when we have sun. I checked the output from the charge controller in full sun and measured 3.5 amps....not bad....

I am powering the rpi, an arduino board with temperature and voltage sensors, and a wifi dongle.....I think the dongle is the hog in the system....not much I can do about that. My rpi power supply is a car charger type that has 2 USB ports. One port powers the rpi, the other powers the home made powered hub that the wifi dongle is plugged into....I tried a legit powered hub, but found that is was really power hungry.

I may have to make another circuit for the arduino that will shut down the rpi if voltage drops below a certain level, then powers it back up once the battery is charged again...

Update....voltage now at 7v....at 0600 rpi time....not looking good

bblood
Posts: 42
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:39 am

It died....last time I checked....0720....6v on the battery....0730....unable to log on....maybe if the sun comes out it will boot back up....

Next step for me is to build a bette power supply, and work on a circuit for the arduino to power off the rpi when batty voltage drops to 11v.....then wait for ....13.8. I guess for a restart.

VictorG
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:13 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:16 am

Have you thought about using a computer like this for a distributed computing project?

poing
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:21 pm

bblood wrote:...the other powers the home made powered hub that the wifi dongle is plugged into....I tried a legit powered hub, but found that is was really power hungry.
Can you share how you made the powered hub? I'm busy with an embedded project running off of a battery and also found the two hubs I tried to be (relative) power hogs. During testing I found the heat generated by the hubs was about the same as from the Pi itself.

bblood
Posts: 42
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:42 pm

I used a cheap 4 port unpowered hub from Walmart as the hub. I cut the black and red wires from the usb wire and spliced them to an old male usb connector that I cut from some unused device...This connector is plugged into the power supply. This way, when the hub is plugged into the pi, only the data lines are connected....and ground, indirectly, through the power supply. The hub, and anything plugged into it get power straight from the power supply.

I agree about heat generation....The 7 port powered hub I tried seemed to generate as much heat as the pi itself....maybe more...honestly, I think the wifi dongle consumes as much as the whole rest of the project...

Update to the project....I building a wind turbine from an old treadmill motor to get me through the winter days/nights....solar just can't run a pi up here :|

poing
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:55 pm

OK, I use a Pi now with mounting holes and 256MB RAM (forgot the revision number) which you canfeed power through the normal A-USB sockets. So I do not use the micro USB port at all.

Then I have two hubs, one powered and one unpowered. I can use both with a 5V LiPo battery and a Y cable (one plugged into the battery, the other in the hub) to feed the Pi, so I do not use the power adapter for the powered hub. I noticed during tests in a padded bag that both hubs became about as hot as the Pi, so my guess is the electronics in the hub for distributing the USB ports use the power.

With your setup I'd say take the new Pi revision, feed it from one A USB port and plug the WiFi dongle in the other. That would eliminate the hub saving possibly half the power. If you use a Y cable you can use that to attach both the Arduino and the power.

munklefish
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:47 pm

Like many people here(evidently) I have plans for running a solar set-up. Now Im no mathematician or expert in this earea but from what Ive read over the last couple of days is:


Pi Consumption:

5volts
.7amps / 700ma

so 5 * .7 = 3.5Watts estimated max consumption

3.5 * 24hrs = 84 watts power consumption per day.

A solar power is not 100% efficient and so 85% efficiency appears to be a good consideration, meaning that if you wanted to produce enough power for 1 days worth of RPi uptime would need a 100 Watt solar panel to produce that amount of charge in 1 hour.

Eg (100w * 1h = 100) * 0.85efficency = 85WH

Now in the UK during the winter months it estimated that there is essentially just 2 hours of sunlight for charging purposes.

100w / 2h = 50

So a minimum of 50W panel is required for running 1 RPi during the winter months.

However, we have a battery, so arguably in the months prior to the early stages of winter we have more useable sunlight to product excess electricity that can be stored in the battery. However as we get into Winter properly those battery reserves would run out and we'd need to get the charge in just 2 hours.

So, that leaves 2 questions...

1) What is the typical efficency of a 12v to 5v convertor?? We'll need to factor this in on top of the 50W

2) Is anyone smart enough to work out how long the residual battery storage would last based on uk daylight hours using an arbitrary wattage panel below 50W as the year progresses into winter. <-- Winter requires the 50W+ plus regardless, since any surplus battery stored power would rapidly deplete in winter??? Just seems a bit overkill if in August you could use a 10W panel due to the extra sunlight hours..
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zl1afz
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:41 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:17 am

I'm running a 120W panel hooked up to a 120Ah SLA battery that runs my Pi, a Linksys WRT54G, ADSL modem(Dlink 502T) and a Ham radio set (Yaesu FT8900). Load with all running is around 1.2A (14-15Watts) I dont make it through our winters here in NZ without topping up and really need to put another 120W panel up and probably at least double the battery :( .

With solar more is better and its amazing how 15 measly watts equals 360Watt/hours over a day!

If you remember that batteries really only like to be discharged to around 80%, throw in the number of days you want to run without sun and convert everything to watt/hours - you can start working out what you really need.

e.g. a 120Ah 12V battery is storing around about 1440 watt/hours of energy(12Vx120Ah ish) - but you only want to use 20% of that. In my example I can barely go 24hrs without 3 hours of full sunlight before exceeding the 20% threshold.

When the sun does shine i need to have enough solar to recharge again asap or I'm risking deep discharging of my expensive battery.

I went through a couple of batteries learning the hard way :).

Cheers

Jon

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:08 pm

poing wrote:OK, I use a Pi now with mounting holes and 256MB RAM (forgot the revision number) which you canfeed power through the normal A-USB sockets. So I do not use the micro USB port at all.

Then I have two hubs, one powered and one unpowered. I can use both with a 5V LiPo battery and a Y cable (one plugged into the battery, the other in the hub) to feed the Pi, so I do not use the power adapter for the powered hub. I noticed during tests in a padded bag that both hubs became about as hot as the Pi, so my guess is the electronics in the hub for distributing the USB ports use the power.

With your setup I'd say take the new Pi revision, feed it from one A USB port and plug the WiFi dongle in the other. That would eliminate the hub saving possibly half the power. If you use a Y cable you can use that to attach both the Arduino and the power.

This sounds like a good idea....I also have a webcam plugged into the hub though...my little hub really doesn't seem to consume much power...the seven port powered hub I have is lit up like a Christmas tree with led lights...power consumption was not a design criteria as it was meant to be plugged into a wall socket....power consumption of an unpowered hub was hopefully a consideration as it would be powered by the USB and as such, share the limited current from the bus with any devices attached.

I really should check current draw with my meter...

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:45 pm

zl1afz wrote:I'm running a 120W panel hooked up to a 120Ah SLA battery that runs my Pi, a Linksys WRT54G, ADSL modem(Dlink 502T) and a Ham radio set (Yaesu FT8900). Load with all running is around 1.2A (14-15Watts) I dont make it through our winters here in NZ without topping up and really need to put another 120W panel up and probably at least double the battery :( .

With solar more is better and its amazing how 15 measly watts equals 360Watt/hours over a day!

If you remember that batteries really only like to be discharged to around 80%, throw in the number of days you want to run without sun and convert everything to watt/hours - you can start working out what you really need.

e.g. a 120Ah 12V battery is storing around about 1440 watt/hours of energy(12Vx120Ah ish) - but you only want to use 20% of that. In my example I can barely go 24hrs without 3 hours of full sunlight before exceeding the 20% threshold.

When the sun does shine i need to have enough solar to recharge again asap or I'm risking deep discharging of my expensive battery.

I went through a couple of batteries learning the hard way :).

Cheers

Jon

I am lucky to see 3 hrs of sunlight a week....solar is a no-go for me....even when the sun shines, this time of year it is at a low angle...it may take a week and a half to charge my battery even with no load on it...it is windy here...I just built a charge controller...need a few more items to get my wind turbine up and running....

bblood
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:54 am

Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:34 pm

Well, its been a while since my last post, but this project has been running ever since! I haven't done anything to it.....it has run without intervention for a couple years now...to get around the power issues, i put a relay timer in the circuit that shuts down the pi at night and powers it back up in the morning.....i have a cron job issuing a sudo halt command prior to the relay tripping power.

The original battery is in pretty bad shape and i have noticed that it will deplete after a few cloudy days, but the relay protects the pi to some degree....then when the sun shines, the pi boots back up and soldiers on....

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slmaws
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Re: Web Server running only on Solar Power

Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:13 pm

It's really amazing project. Can you post a link to the relay timer which are you using?
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