We met Chris Jefferies a few weeks back at Maker Faire. Turns out he is using our small solar panels to power wireless sensor networks.

Chris is using open source software and hardware that could be used in a variety of applications like air quality or home energy monitoring. It looks like he was inspired by Tweetawatt and is using xBee and ASUS wifi for communication in conjunction with Pachube for data display.

Here are shots of the circuitry:

The charger and lithium-ion battery are both from Adafruit. You can get your panel there, too.

Second picture shows the temperature sensor (looks like transistor) soldered to XBee adapter, with battery and charger unit.

Here’s the setup in the wild. We like the panel mounted on top of the bird feeder.

We look forward to a detailed “how-to”, in the meantime, here’s the post.

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2 Responses

  1. Glyn Hudson

    Hi Chris,

    Great project. I have been working on something similar. Developing an open-source wireless sensor node as part of the OpenEnergymonitor project. Its been designed primarily for monitoring energy consumption, but it can also be used for temperature monitoring etc. See: http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/emontx

    I am very interested in investigating powering it from pv. The emonTx has been designed to be low power, it currently runs for over two months on two AA’s so should work well from PV. A solar powered node would be most useful for my beehive monitoring project where there is no source of power. http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/beemonitor

    Keep up the good work.

    All the best, Glyn.


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