How much current?

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This shows how to DIY a high-side current sense device, might be handy for people doing battery or solar hacking! for low-side, a rail-to-rail opamp is plenty good (check out our solar-charger tracking project) but highside measuring is a pain…


Assembled

This is actually not any sort of product or public project (!) – its something we designed to help me evaluate solar panels and how they act when charging batteries. Normally this requires a lot of multimeters and its a bit of a pain to do if you have to constantly change out panels. So we decided we would build a specialized tool that would assist us. Here is what we wanted!

  • Portable! Its hard to test solar panels inside
  • Ability to log to an SD card for long-term data analysis (to be added later)
  • Keep track of the solar panel voltage
  • Keep track of the battery voltage
  • Keep track of how much current is going thru the panel to the charger

We figured if we had to build this, someone might find my notes useful. However, this documentation is primarily intended to demonstrate how to use the enclosure we carry in the adafruit shop.

This design is intended for ~6V panels, single Lithium Polymer cells and chargers. It can very easily be adapted to any kind of panel and charger, you’ll just need to adjust the resistor dividers and such!

Read more!


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2 Comments

  1. What are the ‘analog electronics’ you use to double the current?

    Can they be applied to the panels on my roof?

  2. Hey cool, back in EE I MADE an analogue meter, designed and tested it on paper

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