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Location: USA - Florida
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Question about powering RPi from solar panel.

Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:47 pm

I've done quite a bit of searching and I can't seem to find a straight forward concrete answer. This is what I want to do:

I want to have my Raspberry Pi 3, with the NoIR camera setup out in the woods and ran completely by a power bank (portable cell phone charger, etc.) and a solar panel. At night, the RPi can get power from the power bank, and during the day, the solar panel can run the RPi and re-charge my portable power bank. Every search I've done has yielded different answers.

Can someone who knows about solar panels please help me? If I can just get a link to the items I need to buy, that would be extremely helpful. I've got a lot of projects that are going to require solar powering, but I just don't understand enough about them to know what to get.

For this particular project, I''m wanting a RPi + camera setup in the woods behind my house so I can see the wildlife that pass through (panthers, deer, coyote, hogs, etc.). I'll also be buying an antenna from since it will be out of range from my wireless network.

My other project is a trail camera that will not be a live feed, but it will be setup to be motion activated and take photos when it senses movement. However, once I know what solar equipment I need for the other project, I should be able to figure this one out on my own.

Thank you in advance! I do apologize for asking a question that I know has been asked many times. I just see a wide range of answers and I don't want to keep ordering the wrong equipment until I finally end up with enough junk to make it work! My wife stays home.... She sees all of my Amazon packages! :)

Posts: 5393
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:01 am
Location: Grants Pass, OR, USA
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Re: Question about powering RPi from solar panel.

Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:17 pm

Many or probably almost all cheap power banks cannot be charged and run stuff at the same time.

I would suggest to go with 12V lead acid batteries with a charge controller and use a EBEC or similar 12V to 5V converter to run the RPi.
There are hundreds of web sites on Google which show how to design solar systems.
Unless specified otherwise my response is based on the latest and fully updated Raspbian Stretch w/ Desktop OS.

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