Raspberry Pi keeps tabs on your solar power setup

raspberrypi-solarlogger

[Brian Dorey] has been adding green power solutions to his home for some time now, and as things have progressed, he has experimented with several different iterations of data loggers. The latest system watching over his solar power setup is a Raspberry Pi armed with a custom-built I2C analog/digital converter.

The Rasp Pi is responsible for monitoring several different temperature sensors related to his solar water heating and storage system, but that’s just the beginning. It also keeps watch over his roof-mounted solar electric panels, his battery bank, and its charge controller. For good measure, he also monitors his home’s temperature and his water tank’s recirculation pump because, why the heck not?

All of the collected data is relayed to his web server where it is handsomely displayed for his perusal and analysis. [Brian] has made his code available here, so you can monitor your home in the same fashion with little fuss.

Comments

  1. problemchild68 says:

    Simply the best RPi build so far. Nice simple PCB well done. Using a proper ADC rather than an MCU bodged on. The Data logging and web presentation looks nice and sensible. A good use of a RPi to do more, more simply than merely throwing an Arduino in to the mix.

    Good work!

  2. jc says:

    He didn’t custom build an ADC, he just stuck already made mcp adcs on a custom-designed pcb. And yet again, we are witness to ugly userspace hackery instead of using the proper kernel interfaces. HAD isn’t ready for embedded linux, apparently. You’re spreading examples of exactly the things that create problems today, in regards of software, making it look ok. Not cool.

  3. jc says:

    btw. my opinion is that if this was done correctly, result would be a kernel driver that allows you to just read the exact voltage value in lm_sensors.

    • problemchild68 says:

      yeah well the point is that this code is in development and really I think comparatively immature. No doubt he’ll be doing more work on it.

      If this was on the pre defined I2C bus it would be good to have a driver for the ADC so that the kernel can be asked to scan the bus and then enumerate the devices. For all I know it may already be done some where!! Who knows?!

      Any way if he’s still in the first throws of experimenting I think userspace IS the place for his code rather than nuking the Kernel every 5 mins.

      Any way kindly volunteered JC I’m sure we’ll all be benefiting from your code soon.

      • jc says:

        yes, ADC driver in kernel, i2c bus driver is already there for most controllers, for those dallas temp sensors theres the ‘w1′ bus driver – driver for those should be done above that.
        Those drivers should interface with hwmon probably.

        And for making it work in lm_sensor without any multipliers/dividers/etc then probably a platform driver (if he considers his design to be final – or some config file for lm_sensors).

        And no, I won’t do anything with that. I was merely suggesting HAD chooses projects that do proper work and not encourage ugly kludges that make the linux embedded world such a hell.

      • problemchild68 says:

        Is that Kernel code written for that Microchip ADC or just some common framework. Either way I think it’s more work than some throw away.

        I do however agree with you that it would be nice to have more in Kernel support for RPi stuff but I I dont think this was the place for it afterall it was just some code to scratch an Itch. Most of the stuff is done in the DB and web front end any way and I’m simply not going to be putting these into the Kernel ;)

      • jc says:

        problemchild68:
        the common framework that allows to read voltages/temps/etc is hwmon. With it, you also gain automatically benefit of many programs that can view gauges, make graphs for you, log your data, etc.

        Actually looking through hwmon drivers:
        SENSORS_LM75 supports Microchip MCP980x already ! So he didn’t even bother using a proper premade driver !

        As for those dallas 18B20 sensors – looks like they aren’t there. A nice opportunity to contribute. If I had those and wanted to make something like he did, I’d love the opportunity to do it. I really don’t understand why people are so evil.

  4. fucter says:

    @jc he released the source code, go and help his design out

  5. Reechard says:

    This is exactly the kind of thing the Pi was designed for. This couldn’t have been done with a microcontroller because it wouldn’t have enough horsepower behind it, but at 1/10 the cost of a lot of other embedded full-power machines.

    • problemchild68 says:

      @Reechard, Agreed that this is just the right kind of use for a RPI, but for reasons of a nice software stack networking storage etc. The actual horsepower required for reading the ports etc is minimal.

      This for example has like 10% the CPU of theRPi and still I feel more than good enough.

      http://www.acaltechnology.com/index.php?page=news&id=5515

    • problemchild68 says:

      Any way the point is that for £25 a pop you can just throw them in to any solution you may fancy and simply not worry. Some of the High Street vendors are charging nearly this for a simple Arduino. By the time you have added an Ethernet shield it’s simply no competition

  6. MS3FGX says:

    Very nice project, though I wonder why the Raspberry doesn’t just host the website itself, it certainly has more than enough power.

  7. microzoa says:

    Interesting – Would love something similar to monitor my home brewing temperatures – fermentation, etc..Cheers!

  8. technotepad says:

    Great project, maybee you can use some of the mysql code from my soalrdatalogger project to embed in yours ;) I have made a few projects like this, storing arduino sensor data in mysql tables and show these data on a webpage, also on smartphones.

    solardatalogger 0.9 beta: http://techmind.dk/arduino-singleboard/solcelle-datalogger/

    and now working on solardatalogger mkII : http://techmind.dk/arduino-singleboard/arduino-solar-datalogger-mkii/

  9. It’s amazing what people are doing with RaspPi’s today. I’m still an original buyer from the first batch and I’m still finding new uses for It. Really awesome.

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