Serial Communication Interface

Solar Energy System Research - (pt. 2)

(Summary Doc Download at Bottom Of Page) 

Background Info

The work outlined below was conducted over the summer of 2017. The project was an attempt to create a low power solar panel maximum power point tracker (MPPT). The project failed due to a DCDC driver, but much experience was gained in the knowledge of power electronics, good programming practices, and data storage systems and analysis. 

Project Overview

The projects objective was to create some sort of DC-DC power optimizer, as well as set-up a whole monitoring system and graphical interface, to control the system and monitor its current and previous performance.

Skills Gained

Hardware Skills: 

I gained much experience in learning about the basics of switched mode power conversion, and the design of such systems. In this project I implemented a DC-DC buck converter, that could hold the solar panels at a constant voltage, typically set at 16V, as a rudimentary attempt to perform power optimization. 

Software Skills:

I gained much experience in writing my own python modules to work together to create a functional system. These modules handled things like data logging, data display, mppt control, and software version control.

I also gained great experience in finding and using other standard modules for python as well as Arduino, in order to do things like create a GUI, set variable PWM frequency. 

Lessons Learned

The biggest take away from this project was that at the end of the project i still had a lack of knowledge on how every section of these electronics should be have int he frequency domain. A major downfall of my DC-DC buck converter was in a mosfet driving circuit, which failed to produce the intended output signal. 

In the future, I plan to study power electronics in more detail, in hopes to learn how to perform time and frequency domain analysis on these electronics and how to perform simulation to verify circuit design/optimization before building the circuit.

Summary Document

Click the PDF link to the right to download the summary document for this project.

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