Running RPi on Solar Panel and battery

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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:19 pm

Running RPi on Solar Panel and battery

Postby ipish » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:26 am

Hi guys, I am quite new in electronic projects and my basics are quite limited. I've been reading a lot regarding this topic (refer to the tittle) and I am currently working out to buy the suitable solar panel and battery for my project. The price is expensive, so I need to ensure I made the right choices.

1. My project
We assume the battery need to power the RPi for about 15 hours (assume 5pm – 8am without sunlight in Malaysia) without having the solar panel charging the battery. This means, it will rely on the battery solely for 15 hours. the power consumption is ~5.25 W or ~1200mA (with wifi dongle,camera,and IR sensor connected at GPIO)

In brief, a proper Power Supply to the RPi must be rated at 5V regulated, 2A and that the power consumption would be around 5.25 W.

How to proceed in calculating suitable Solar Panel, regulator and Battery?

2. Running RPi from Solar Power (and battery) Example

From viewtopic.php?f=63&t=13901
“…I used a 50 watt solar panel, a 20 Ah Lithium battery, and a charge controller that was made for that particular battery. I also used a USB car charger to convert the 12 volts from the battery down to 5 volts… this setup is working perfectly. I've had several cloudy days with no issues. The Pi keeps on running! I also see the controller charging the battery (and running the Pi) when there is fairly low light, so I think the 50 watt panel was the way to go…”

But this might be an overkill?

4. Some choices

Solar Panel ... -Std-P.htm
This one gives 12V 20W

12AH, 12V

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Re: Running RPi on Solar Panel and battery

Postby cottonpickers » Sun Dec 28, 2014 7:54 pm


The pi can actually take a range of voltages. I've tested it down to 4.0v and up to 6v (the circuits are mainly 3.3v inside)

1.2amps is huge and I don't think it will need all this juice. A raspberry B+ is abot 200ma and you should be able to get dongles that are not so power hungry.

One option may be to use my timer to shut down the pi at night. This can likely halve the need for solar panels and energy storage. WHy not play around with a small panel first or even just use some batteries to get some real life data and go from there (to save you over specing what you need) I'd love to know how you are getting on!

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