SD 2 Documentation - Department of Electrical Engineering and
Group 7
South Africa Power (G7-SAP)
Power Generation
By:
Steven Bularca
Genesh Chen-Shue
Armel Nidjeu
Aldo Puente
Prepared For:
EEL4915 Senior Design II
University of Central Florida
College of Engineering and Computer Science
April 29, 2013
Table of Contents
1.0 Executive Summary .................................................................................................. 1
2.0 Project Descriptions .................................................................................................. 2
2.1 Project Motivation and Goals ................................................................................. 2
2.2 Objectives .............................................................................................................. 5
2.2.1 Safety .............................................................................................................. 5
2.2.2 Efficiency ......................................................................................................... 5
2.2.3 Ease of Use ..................................................................................................... 5
2.2.4 Charge Controller ............................................................................................ 5
2.2.5 Batteries........................................................................................................... 6
2.2.6 Inverter............................................................................................................. 6
2.2.7 Solar Panels .................................................................................................... 6
2.2.8 Enclosure ......................................................................................................... 6
2.2.9 Wires ............................................................................................................... 7
2.3 Project Requirements and Specification ................................................................ 8
2.4 Block Diagram........................................................................................................ 9
2.5 Timeline ............................................................................................................... 10
2.6 Milestone Discussion ........................................................................................... 11
2.7 Budget and Finance Discussion........................................................................... 17
3.0 Research Related To Project Definition .................................................................. 19
3.1 Existing Similar Projects and Products................................................................. 19
3.1.1 Solar Panels .................................................................................................. 19
3.1.2 Charge Controllers ......................................................................................... 31
3.1.3 Batteries......................................................................................................... 35
3.1.4 Inverter........................................................................................................... 44
3.1.5 Encasing ........................................................................................................ 54
3.1.6 Sensors.......................................................................................................... 55
3.2 Relevant Technologies......................................................................................... 59
4.0 Project Hardware and Software Design .................................................................. 61
4.1 Solar Panels......................................................................................................... 61
4.1.1 Solar Panel Specifications ............................................................................. 61
4.2.2 Solar Panel Mounting .................................................................................... 62
4.2 Charge Controller ................................................................................................. 64
4.2.2. Battery Voltage and Current Sensors ........................................................... 65
4.2.3. PV Voltage and Current Sensors .................................................................. 66
4.2.5. DC-DC Converter ......................................................................................... 69
4.2.6 Power Supply................................................................................................. 72
4.3.7 JTAG/UART Add-on Board ............................................................................ 73
4.3 Batteries ............................................................................................................... 76
ii
4.4 Inverter ................................................................................................................. 81
4.5 Monitoring System ............................................................................................... 87
4.6 Encasing .............................................................................................................. 89
4.7 Wiring ................................................................................................................... 91
4.8 Design Summary ................................................................................................. 93
5.0 Project Prototype Construction ................................................................................ 95
5.1 Parts Acquisition .................................................................................................. 95
5.2 Bill of Materials ..................................................................................................... 96
5.3 PCB Vender and Assembly................................................................................ 104
6.0 Project Prototype Testing ...................................................................................... 106
6.1 Solar Panel Testing ............................................................................................ 106
6.2 Battery Testing ................................................................................................... 110
6.3 Inverter Testing .................................................................................................. 112
6.4 Sensor Testing ................................................................................................... 115
6.5 Wiring Testing and Precautions ......................................................................... 117
7.0 User Manual .......................................................................................................... 118
7.1 Setup.................................................................................................................. 118
7.2 Operation ........................................................................................................... 118
7.3 Monitoring and Logging...................................................................................... 119
Appendices ................................................................................................................. 120
Appendix A - Copyright Permissions........................................................................ 120
Appendix B - Works Cited ........................................................................................ 125
Appendix C - List of Figures ..................................................................................... 128
Appendix D - List of Tables ...................................................................................... 129
Appendix E - List of Equations ................................................................................. 130
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1.0 Executive Summary
The Group 7 South Africa Project (G7-SAP) is a power system intended to make
energy from renewable fuel to help the Pomolong Township of South Africa
power their community center. The power system will also store any power
generated and provide interfaces to the community center that allows for easy
practical use of the power.
The main purpose of The G7-SAP is to allow an impoverished village to be able
to be entirely energy sufficient by giving them the tools to help sustain
themselves through the means of a green energy solution. The power system is
user friendly and easy to monitor and maintain, because it is intended to be used
by individuals with little to no technical background.
The ultimate goal of this project was to create an off-the-grid stand-alone
photovoltaic (PV) system that utilizes maximum power point tracking (MPPT) to
maximize efficiency. Photovoltaic systems have many inherent losses, so it is
essential for the maximum power to be extracted. The intent was to create an
extremely efficient charge controller that is able to monitor the power generated
by the photovoltaic array and deliver the maximum amount to the battery bank
during varying atmospheric conditions. This combined with a modified sine wave
inverter ensures that the community center is able to use every little bit of power
generated.
In order to achieve the desired functionality, several major components were
integrated into the final system. First, compact power generation devices were
researched and implemented such that they produced practical amounts of
energy, and were easy to use requiring no specialized knowledge. A power
storage subsystem was also designed and implemented to provide an efficient
means of transferring the power generated into a stored and ready to use form
available for use. This includes a charging system utilizing maximum power point
tracking, as well as the most efficient battery given the typical anticipated usage
patterns of the project. An inverter was also designed and implemented that
converted the stored energy into the familiar AC and DC sources that the end
consumer would prefer. A monitoring system was also planned to be designed
and implemented which allows the user to have a convenient way to know how
much power they are generating, how much energy is stored, and other
diagnostic information. All of this was done while still employing all of the best
electrical safety principles, given that this system is intended for to be used by
villagers with minimal technical education.
1
2.0 Project Descriptions
The project descriptions section of this paper is intended to describe both
tangible and intangible parts of the project, such as reasons for undertaking this
project, how long it will take specific objectives, and brief descriptions of different
components of the project as a whole.
2.1 Project Motivation and Goals
There is great need of electricity in the small South African community of the
Pomolong Township, which is occupied by the less fortunate people of South
Africa due to the aftereffects of apartheid. They are cut off from the rest of the
world because they do not have electricity that will enable them to use electronic
devices such computers, cell phones, and TVs. Due to the extreme poverty in
the community, they cannot afford the cost of power utilizing the power grid from
the local utility company. Even if they could afford the cost of power, the
township is not close to the power grid. When added together, the combination
of these factors have put the people of the Pomolong Township in a difficult
situation. To solve this problem, a device that utilizes renewable energy to
generate power for this village was planned and designed. This device will allow
the villagers to have a source of energy that is be self- sustainable.
Now that the problem and the solution are known, research was done to
conclude which source of renewable energy should be chosen to be harnessed
for this Senior Design project. Some of the sources that were considered were
wind, hydro, solar, and mechanical/kinetic energy. After research of the area, it
was observed that there is not much wind flow in the area and that
mechanical/kinetic is not the best choice for the Pomolong Township. The use of
hydro was not feasible, since the project will be located in the Pomolong
Township community center, meaning that the project cannot be located near a
river or other major water system. Also, there are droughts and South Africa has
a sub-tropical climate system. With all other sources invalidated, utilizing solar
energy as a renewable energy source was the only realistic choice.
In the present time, an internet connection is critical to the accumulation of
knowledge, and through a projector people will be able to learn by watching
educational videos, presentations, and documentaries. Being able to connect to
the internet will give the villagers the opportunity to gain knowledge, which in turn
will give them the tools and the power to improve their standards of living. They
will be able to have tutorials, guides, eBooks, etc. at the tips of their fingers. Not
only will the energy source project help in educational ways but it will give the
township a source of entertainment as well. Movies will be shown during the
evenings where township people can relax after a long day. Imagining a day
without energy is hard to picture for most first world citizens where energy is
2
almost always present, but for the Pomolong Township and many other places
on Earth this is not something that is readily available or even expected.
According to United States-Central Intelligence Agency, about 30% of the
population of South Africa is 0-15 years of age. In addition, the life expectancy is
about 49 years of age [1], which is attributed to many reasons such as food
shortage, clean water, and lack of medical supplies. However, one of the major
motivating reasons why this project was chosen was to fulfill the lack of
education, which was seen as the underlying factor for such substandard living
conditions. Simple things such as knowing why one should wash their hands as
to more complex things such as how to make a homemade water filtration
system can be learned from the internet. An internet connection can help in
other things that are overlooked such as employment. According to the United
States-Central Intelligence Agency, about 24.9% of South Africa's population is
unemployed. This number is very high and through an internet connection,
employment search can be easier. The amount of internet users in South Africa
is ranked 54th in the world which is considerably low considering its population
size [1], but a consistent power source is needed before consistent internet can
even be considered.
Our energy project is to be placed in the townships community center, which will
be able to host most of the township. The project is designed to be weatherproof
and robust, even though the project will probably be under a roof. After
reviewing the energy requirements, a goal of about 500W an hour at operation
time was made. The township will be in need of the equipment for about 4 hours
in the evenings. This means that during the day the solar panels will be
gathering energy and at night the Pomolong Township will consume the stored
energy. Given the location of the village, it was estimated that about 6 hours of
sunlight a day will be available, and two 250W solar panels were designed and
are planned to be used. The goal is to store approximately 3000W a day. This
should be more than enough to power the instruments of the people of Pomolong
Township. The ability to monitor the charge of the batteries, to check if the
charge of the batteries is low, will also be planned. The battery life depends on
complete depletion of batteries, so knowing the levels of charge are necessary at
all times.
Another goal is to make the system portable ergonomic, and as compact as
possible. Since there will probably be no access to sunlight from inside the
community center, ensuring that the project is easy to move in and out of the
community center is a major design consideration. As stated before, the systems
enclosure is weatherproof and durable enough to last a long time.
In conclusion, there is strong motivation to make an efficient and reliable energy
source for the people of Pomolong Township. Giving them power and the
benefits that come along with it are desirable. If successful, other areas in South
Africa can benefit from this project and the idea of renewable solar energy can be
3
expanded. There are many areas around the world which have no power but
can harness a natural resource for their power needs. This project can be used
as a base that others can model in order to help provide power to other
impoverished areas of the world.
4
2.2 Objectives
There are several objectives that need to be addressed for the completion of the
project. The following are objectives and explanations:
2.2.1 Safety
The absolute most important objective is safety, because ensuring that the
system is safe protects lives and mitigates damages. There are many
precautions to make when it involves electricity, because even though electricity
is beneficial and the entire point of this project, it will mean nothing if the device is
not safe. To ensure safety, precautions such as fuses and safety designs will be
implemented. If the project were not safe, then the villagers that are being
helped would be worse off than if nothing had been done at all.
2.2.2 Efficiency
A major objective of this project is for the power generating system to be
extremely efficient, because the resources are scarce and utilizing every bit of
energy gives the townspeople more time to enjoy the electricity. The more time
the villagers have socializing and utilizing the facilities, the greater the impact the
project will have. With all of these considerations, inefficiency is not an option.
2.2.3 Ease of Use
Keeping in mind the technology aptitude of the users, ease of use became an
unavoidable objective. Overall design will cater to being simplistic, portable, and
color coded to prevent and reduce user error. A monitoring system on an LCD
screen connected to the charge controller and indicating all conditions of the
project such as current levels, voltage levels, and temperature will be included
2.2.4 Charge Controller
One of the objectives is to successfully capture as much sunlight energy as
possible. This is done through a MPPT charge controller system. The reason
behind this controller is to vary the electrical operating point of the modules so
that the modules produce the maximum power possible, regardless, of the
climate conditions. This is very critical for the system because this eliminates the
need to manually alter the current and voltage coming from solar panels. To do
this, the MPPT charge controller changes the incoming current and voltage and
matches it to the batteries voltage and current, resulting with the maximum
power.
5
2.2.5 Batteries
Batteries are also important to the project design. Deep cycle batteries are what
were implemented for the project, because deep cycle batteries are made to be
complete drained and completely recharged. They are made to cycle between
being completely full and almost empty charge positions many times. However,
the AH (amperes per hour) needs to match the system as best as possible with
minimal deviations, or there may be safety problems with the system. The
ultimate goal was to find the right number of batteries to include in our system,
because too many batteries will never be fully charged and too few batteries will
be completely charged too quickly.
2.2.6 Inverter
The inverter is a part of the system that is critical to the project. The inverter
takes the power from the charged batteries in the form of a DC input. The
inverter then outputs AC which can be used by instruments such as laptops, TVs,
and cell phone chargers. In order to get the most stable flow of current from the
batteries, a modified sine wave inverter was designed. If the AC is not in a sine
wave then some instruments plugged into the system may not function properly
such as printers, chargers, and laptops.
2.2.7 Solar Panels
Solar panels are the part of the system which captures solar energy and converts
it into usable power. Simply put, if the solar panels stop working then the rest of
the system will be useless because there will be no input energy. No expense
will be spared on the solar panels. The best quality solar panel made with grade
A Mono-crystalline silicon solar cells were obtained. The difference between
Mono-crystalline and Poly-crystalline cells is important, because Mono-crystalline
cells are cut into thin wafers from a singular continuous crystal that is only used
for this purpose. Poly-crystalline cells are made by melting the silicon material
and pouring it into a mold [2]. This means that Mono-crystalline cells are more
efficient because they have fewer impurities.
2.2.8 Enclosure
A robust, weatherproof, and safe enclosure to keep all of the entire system
secure is a crucial part of the project. A gutted computer chassis was used to
encase the inverter and the charge controller. The solar panels will be mounted
to the community center, but will be designed to be detachable in order to be
6
more convenient for storage. Batteries will be covered in a wooden container
with vents, to prevent harmful gas accumulation. The equipment was designed
to be easy to access for maintenance or any other reason.
2.2.9 Wires
Finally, the highest quality wiring possible was used. Wiring can be dangerous,
and if the incorrect wire gauge is used for anything other than its intended
purpose, the results would be disastrous and potentially fatal. This is critical
because a hot wire can cause a fire and/or damage the system. For the
batteries, low gauge wire were used and a medium to high gauge wire were used
for the electronic components. As far as wire material, copper wiring were used
because it is the preferred choice for any electrical application and has proven
itself through time.
7
2.3 Project Requirements and Specification
The main requirements for the solar energy power generator are to provide the
township of Pomolong with about 500 Watts of power an hour for about 4 hours
every evening. Thus, the solar panels will charge the batteries with power during
the day and at night the power will be used. The output is 220V power as
opposed to 120V that is used in the United States. Even though newer
electronics and laptop adapters are able to work from 120-220 V, this will
guarantee that all electronics in South Africa be able to work with the system.
Safety is a major concern, so the highest measures were implemented. Batteries
were ventilated, and the highest quality wires were used throughout the system.
All electronics were kept in metal enclosures to protect them from adverse
weather a temperature changes. Last but not least, fuses and other electrical
safety designs were incorporated into the design to prevent electrical fires due to
overcurrent.
The complete system incorporates solar panels, a charge controller, batteries,
and an inverter. Each has important requirements in order for the system to work
together and for the objectives to be achieved. The following table summarizes
the requirements and specifications for our project:
Table 1 Specifications
Spec. #
Specification
1
Ability to capture about 6 hour of solar energy by our 500 W
solar panel system. Solar panels will be two 250 W solar panel
each which will be mounted on the roof of the community center
of township.
2
Must be able to power up to 500 W electronics for a period of 4
hours daily.
3
Must be robust, weatherproof, safe, long lasting, and easy to
maintain.
4
There must be a gauge to measure battery charge.
5
Inverter must support input of 12V and output 120V
6
Batteries must last at least 4 years. They will be placed in
parallel making a 12V unit. Each battery will be 12V.
7
Charge controller must implement MPPT for the solar energy
capture.
8
2.4 Block Diagram
Figure 1 Project Block Diagram
9
2.5 Timeline
By the final week of Senior Design I, the 120 page research paper will be
completed. As the following table displays, the majority of the research and part
selections will be completed by the end of the first semester. The second
semester would be dedicated to hardware assembly and testing. The project will
be completed in its entirety and the final project will be operational and will output
usable power.
Table 2 Senior Design 1 Project Milestones
Week Action
Description
#
1
Choose Project
Think about different ideas for projects and what
needs to be worked on.
2
Group Selection
Pick team members for the group
3
Project Selection
Arrive to a final decision on the project to be
constructed
4
Identify Parts
Start selecting parts to be implemented for the
project
5
Initiate Proposal
Using the information from the previous week,
begin documentation for parts proposal
6
Research Project
Begin researching every aspect of the project
including hardware components, assembly,
circuitry, and location of final residence
7
Research Project
Same as above
8
Begin
Documentation
Begin writing documentation of the project
9-12
Continue
Documentation
Start writing schematics for the project and
studying individual components and continue
writing documentation
13
Review
Documentation
Draft
Turn in
Documentation
Review the documentation and make final touches
Order Parts
Start ordering parts for the project
14
15
Turn in the documentation for Senior Design I
10
2.6 Milestone Discussion
During the first weeks of the semester, brainstorming began for various project
ideas. Several ideas went by. Some were very far-fetched while others were
very practical. However, it was decided that the best idea would be to wait and
listen to some of the projects presented by the sponsors. Dr. Wang's
presentation for supplying power to people in need was really attention grabbing
because it was challenging but at the same time humanitarian. Once all the
presentations were over, a conclusion was made to work on a renewable energy
source for the township of Pomolong in South Africa.
During the first few weeks, research of the project began. At first, a dual
powered system with wind power and solar power was the focus of the research.
However, after research of the location of the township of Pomolong, it was
concluded that there was not enough wind for a wind powered generator to be
beneficial. The wind was very minimal and it would take a big wind turbine with
blades approximately15 feet long to make the power generation of the required
scale viable. Thus, it was decided that concentration solely on solar power would
be the best option. The benefits of solar power are plenty. The only real
downside is that during low sunlight and night time it generates little to no power.
This was an unavoidable problem that had to be endured.
Research on solar powered systems began in earnest. From the research, the
system was simplified into manageable parts. All the parts that were needed to
build a complete system were studied in full. After a week or so of research, it
was decided that the main parts of the project would involve solar panels, wiring,
a charge controller, an inverter, and batteries. From then on, pricing data was
collected in order to form a proposal. Keeping costs low was a major factor when
drafting the initial proposal. From what was seen, the most expensive part of the
project was going to be the solar panels which took up almost half of the budget.
The second most expensive part of the project were the batteries which are a
crucial part of the project. The rest of the parts were much more cost efficient
because the executive decision to build them from scratch.
From then on, vast amount of research was done, and documentation for the
research section began. Collecting part numbers, conducting research on the
location of the project, and designing sections of the project took up the majority
time of the Fall semester.
Throughout the Fall semester which started in August and ends in December,
most of the focus was spent on research. In order to have a successful project, it
was established biweekly that every member of the Senior Design group needed
to provide an update on work currently being worked on, and a complete
evolution and process of their work. This enabled the group to be on the same
page and work with the same pace. Between September and November the
primary focus was to conduct thorough and well-documented research. The
11
majority of the research was done between October and November as depicted
in the table below.
Table 3 Research Milestone
MPPT
Microcontrollers
Charge Controller
Inverter
Batteries
Solar Power
Research
10- OCT
22- OCT
31- OCT
10- NOV
15 - NOV
29 - NOV
The design phase overlapped with the research section. The design phase also
overlapped with the parts acquisition portions of the project. The design began
once each section was researched and the parts that need to be purchased were
identified. As indicated in the chart below, the design stage will take place in the
final weeks of Senior Design I and will continue through the first month of Senior
Design II. During the Christmas break, the parts will still be investigated as the
design progresses. Initial design concepts were presented in the Senior Design I
documentation.
12
Table 4 Design Milestone
Batteries
MPPT
Microcontroller
Charge Controller
Inverter
Solar Panels
Design
26-NOV
5-DEC
12-DEC
28-DEC
8-JAN
12-JAN
16-JAN
22-JAN
Over winter break as certain aspects of the design were finalized, some parts
were ordered for early prototyping in the Spring semester. Parts acquisition
increased significantly following the break and continued until April. The goal was
to have ordered all of the necessary parts for the project by mid-February. The
parts necessary for the packaging of the final circuit board and electronics were
acquired later, as shown in table below, once the design was been tested and
the final board was fabricated.
13
Table 5 Acquisition Milestone
Circuit Board
Sensors
Batteries
Micro Controller
Solar Panels
Acquisition
19-DEC
27-DEC
5-JAN
12-JAN
20-JAN
23-JAN
28-JAN
4-FEB
The table below shows the schedule for prototyping. This phase began
immediately following parts acquisition and also included component level
testing. Once a part was acquired, the component testing consisted of individual
parts testing to confirm that it works and provides reasonable information. This
was especially important with sensor implementation, to make sure they were
scaled correctly and provided meaningful data. The circuit design was first
prototyped on a solder less breadboard. As previously stated, the development
of the packaging did not commence until the main modules were finalized.
14
Table 6 Prototype Milestone
Charge Controller
Inverter
Microcontroller
Batteries
Solar
Prototype
13-JAN
20-JAN
7-FEB
14-FEB
23-FEB
9-MAR
18-MAR
26-MAR
The final stage of the project consisted of testing. The testing plan and methods
covered component level, module level, and system level testing. The table
below shows that testing should commence in March, overlapping with the final
stages of prototyping. The testing and documentation encompassed all of April
up until the last week in which the final presentation took place.
15
16-MAR
19-MAR
22-MAR
29-MAR
5-APR
16-APR
20-APR
26-APR
16
Entire System
Hardware
Packaging / Transport
Safety Procedure
Batteries Charging
Solar Panel
Table 7 Testing Milestone
Testing
2.7 Budget and Finance Discussion
The main purpose of the project is to design a robust solar energy power
generator. To do this, fully functioning solar panels, a charge controller,
batteries, and an inverter are needed. The proof of the final project was a
working standalone photovoltaic power system. The following is the preliminary
Budget which includes the parts that were obtained in order to create an off-grid
photovoltaic power system.
Table 8 Budget
Part
250 Watt Solar Panel 72 Mono Crystalline Cells
33 Volt 7T2300-2
Vendor
Helios
Quantity
2
Price ($)
700.00
T105-RE 6V 225 Ah Flooded Battery
Trojan
3
400.00
Charge Controller based on MPT612
N/A
(Designing
1
300.00
Pure Sine Wave Inverter
N/A
(Designing
1
300.00
Chassis and Weatherproofing
N/A
(Designing)
1
100.00
Miscellaneous Electronic Components and
Wires
N/A
N/A
195.00
Total: $1995.00
As explained before, the project can be broken down into four main sections. It
is divided into solar panels, the charge controller, batteries, and the inverter.
Two 250W 33 V solar panels were obtained and set up in parallel to deliver a
constant voltage level of 12V to the system. For the second section of the
project, the charge controller and other minor electronics will be discussed in
detail. Before ordering the printed circuit board there was a period of testing and
building of the completed circuit on a solder less plug-in breadboard. Once the
circuit on the breadboard was tested to perform all of its required, it was found to
not be very cost effective to order a PCB for the charge controller so it was built
using perf boards. The third component is composed of the batteries which did
not require allot of design. They were be wired up to the system in order to
create a fully working photovoltaic power system which has the ability to store
and distribute power. The fourth component, the inverter, was also fully
designed. Like the charge controller, the circuit was first designed and tested on
a solder less breadboard. Once the required tasks were checked to be fully
working, then the final circuit board was ordered.
17
To fund the South Africa project, sponsorship and funding by Progress Energy
which give grants according to energy sustainability projects, was heavily relied
upon. Since the project involves a renewable and self-sustainable energy source
it falls in accordance to their Senior Design project funding requirements.
Groups wanting to claim this sponsorship along with the funding had to submit
proposals which included the above budget table along with project objectives,
specifications, a block diagram, the project's impact on renewable energy and
sustainability, and the timeline of project completion.
18
3.0 Research Related To Project Definition
The research related to the project definition section of this paper is intended to
show all the research done on all of the parts of the project. The research done
will show what was discovered to already exist and comparisons in options
available that will affect the overall design of the project.
3.1 Existing Similar Projects and Products
This project is not the first time that an MPPT charge controller has been used to
control the charge levels coming from photovoltaic panels going into a battery
bank. In fact, this general idea was derived from the numerous other projects
that experimented with this concept. Although the ideas and technology used for
this project are not completely unique, the condition in which this project is being
applied for has the potential to make the greatest societal impact.
Previous senior design projects conducted by students at the University of
Central Florida in the summer of 2009 [3] provided insight into a solar project that
fulfilled the requirements of a UCF senior design. Another UCF project designed
in the fall of 2011 [4], made further advancement by using an MPPT charge
controller in their design. This documentation provided a large amount of insight
into the processes and features needed to design a stand-alone charge
controller. The third most influential project was the Pure Sine Inverter project
designed a senior design group from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the AB-C term of 2006 [5], which showed all the advantages of a pure sine inverter, as
well as providing a good basis for a model design.
This project has been influenced by the ideas above, but the incorporation and
application of these ideas are unique to this project because this project will be
used for an actual group of people who actually need power in reality. This
project is turning efficient but abstract ideas into tangible tools that render
assistance to those most in need.
3.1.1 Solar Panels
With the knowledge that the goal of this project is to produce power, it became
necessary to find a reliable energy source to be utilized as fuel. Using energy
from the sun through the use of photovoltaic panels was an obvious idea to think
about because South Africa is known for being sunny. The object of this
research section on energy production due to the conversion of solar radiation
into electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect is to
display the current status of solar technologies and to discuss the best options
that can be used for this project. This can be shown by an exhibition of the latest
improvements in photovoltaic cell technology, price comparisons of current
19
models of PV panels, and climate conditions of the Pomolong Township that may
affect the final decision making processes.
3.1.1.1 Photovoltaic Cell Technology
The first way to obtain solar energy is with Concentrated Solar Power. This way
involves the use of mirrors and lenses to intensify sunlight. The thermal energy
from the intensified sunlight is used to heat up water to produce steam. The
steam is used to turn steam turbines connected to a generator, which then
produce electricity. This method of generating energy from solar power is a
strong competitor for large scale power, but uses many unique parts that are
hard to replace. This kind of device is not as scalable as photovoltaics, making it
less practical for use in the South Africa Project.
The second way to obtain solar energy is by using photovoltaics. With
photovoltaics photons are absorbed by a photovoltaic cell, which contains a
semiconducting material such as silicon. The energy from the photon is then
transferred to an electron in an atom of the photovoltaic cell. The energized
electron is then able to escape its bond with the atom and generates an electric
current [6].
Photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells are primarily made of crystalline
silicon. When the cells are interconnected they form a solar panel that produces
a direct current. Aluminum is used to build the panels in order to increase their
durability. The cells are then placed behind tempered glass which keeps the
cells safe, durable, and protected against adverse weather conditions. A clear
resin is used to insulate the back of the solar cells and also keep them in place
against the top panel glass. It is clear that solar panels are made to be robust
and sturdy and that many manufacturing designs have been made with the
understanding that the panels will spend the duration of their use out in the
elements.
This project used solar panels, because it was concluded to be a more practical
and durable measure for use in South Africa, where replacing specialized parts
are difficult, and protecting fragile parts are not possible.
Further research on the different kinds of panels, their costs, and their levels of
efficiency were required in order to select the best solar panels to use for this
project. Panel placement and panel temperature were also important in
increasing the efficiency at which solar panels capture solar energy.
3.1.1.2 Types of Photovoltaic Cells
This section is going to describe the different kinds of photovoltaic cells available,
and what makes them different. The amount of different kinds of PV cells is
20
daunting, which makes organizing them into groups the first thing that should be
done in this section. Solar cells can be generally be grouped by generation of
their technology. Silicon is first-generation technology and Thin-film is secondgeneration technology. Silicon can be further subdivided into being either Monocrystalline or Poly-crystalline. Thin-film is further subdivided into Galliumarsenide, amorphous silicon, Cadmium telluride, and Cadmium indium selenide.
A third-generation technology is also emerging in the form of Polymer solar
panels. This new technology is an extension of Thin-film technology and is
currently being heavily researched, because of a potential decrease in production
cost, but the technology is still under development.
In order to discuss the strengths and weakness of each of the major kinds of
photovoltaic cells, each of the cells will be reviewed in detail chronologically. The
first solar cells that were commonly used are Mono-crystalline silicon cells.
Although they are no longer commonly used, this first-generation technology is
the oldest and most tested photovoltaic. As its name suggests, Mono-crystalline
solar cells are made from the same silicon crystal, ensuring that minimal
impurities, irregularities, and imperfections are maintained. To produce this kind
of silicon, the Czochralski process is used. To do this, a crystal silicon seed is
dipped into molten silicon and withdrawn slowly. At the end of this process,
when the molten silicon crystallizes around the seed, a two meter long cylindrical
single-crystal ingot is produced. The ingots are then doped in proportions based
on intended future use and cut into wafers. The silicon wafers can then be used
for semiconductor devices or for photovoltaics.
The main advantage to this type of production is that when the impurities are
minimized, the photovoltaic cell is more efficient. Efficiency is a based on
percentage of how much current is produced given the amount of light that is
absorbed. Mono-crystalline cells can achieve efficiency of about 17% [7]. Due to
their high efficiency, these panels are expected to have an above average life
expectancy, and are usually rated to last for around twenty-five years, with some
actually lasting fifty years.
Despite being efficient when used, Mono-crystalline cells are expensive to
produce, because the Czochralski process results in excessive waste of silicon.
As a result of this waste the production cost is high, so the price per panel stays
high. However, you can maximize the amount of watts per square foot of panel
used, since these panels are so efficient. This is an important design feature if
limited space is an issue. Another one of the disadvantages of Mono-crystalline
solar panels are that they are very fragile, and care must be given during the
shipping and installation processes. Although the cost to produce these panes
have increased, most online solar panel retailers have recently dropped the
prices for these panels due to decrease in demand, making their prices
competitive with the prices of the Poly-crystalline panels. With higher efficiency,
and similar cost to its competitors, Mono-crystalline photovoltaic cells are ideal
for the South Africa project.
21
The second kind of solar cell that was commonly used are Poly-crystalline silicon
cells. In the present market, Poly-crystalline solar cells are the most popular for
home installations. They are popular because they are cheaper to produce than
Mono-crystalline panels. To make these cells, molten silicon is cast and cooled
in a rectangular shape. The rectangular block is made up of tiny silicon crystals
that look like broken glass. This block is then sliced into thin sheets. Compared
to Mono-crystalline cells, the process to make Poly-crystalline cells is much
cheaper and faster. This means it is more profitable, but there is a tradeoff to
this reduction of cost. Poly-crystalline cells are typically less efficient than their
Mono-crystalline counterpart, having an efficiency to convert photons to electrons
of approximately 10% [8]. This reduction in efficiency is due to a decrease in the
grade of silicon as well as an increase in the amount of imperfections. The
imperfections cause energy to be lost at fusion points between two adjacent
crystals. This loss in energy causes a decrease in efficiency.
The third kind of solar cell that will be discussed is part of the second-generation
technology of Thin-film cells. Before going into detail about the various kinds of
Thin-film photovoltaics, a brief summary of Thin-film technology is necessary.
Thin-film solar panels are made by placing thin layers of semiconductor material
onto glass or other similar material. The reason they are called Thin-film is
because of the amount of semiconductor material used, giving the appearance of
a thin film in the form of a flexible semiconductor laminate. The flexible laminate
makes the panels bendable. This makes the Thin-film cells easier to mount on
uneven surfaces and also makes them durable during extreme weather
conditions. Being weather resistant is a major reason why Thin-film technology
is increasing in popularity because panels need to be continuously exposed to
weather elements. Thin-film cells even work when they are damaged, but at a
lesser rate. This is a major advantage over silicon panels, because if a single
cell of a silicon panel is damaged, the entire thing ceases to work entirely.
To add on even more advantages, Thin-film cells are much lighter than their
silicon counterparts. This makes them easier to mount and work with for
residential use.
Another important feature that Thin-film solar panels exhibit that must be noted is
that they do not have a significant decrease in performance when exposed to
high temperatures or when in there is shade due to their material properties.
With all of this in mind, it is generally easier to design solar panel systems with
Thin-film technology because of their advantages in weight, durability, and
usability in generally adverse weather conditions. At this point, it may seem
pointless to use first-generation technology over the send-generation Thin-film,
but Thin-film photovoltaics also have disadvantage. The largest quantifiable
disadvantages that Thin-film cells have are their low efficiency at converting light
to electrical current. The efficiency of Thin-film technology is generally around
7% [8]. This is significantly less efficient than Poly-crystalline silicon and about a
third of the efficiency of Mono-crystalline silicon. Additionally, Thin-film solar
22
panels are fairly new compared to their predecessors, so how they endure the
test of time has still not been seen. Hopefully, Thin-films prove to be as good as
the lab models suggest.
Although a general review on Thin-film technology has been made, there are
different kinds of Thin-film technology, and discussing the physical properties that
make them unique will prove beneficial in deciding the optimal technology that
should be used for the South Africa project. The first Thin-film that will be
discussed specifically will be amorphous silicon Thin-film, mainly because of their
widespread use and popularity. Amorphous silicon Thin-films were among the
first thin films and were originally popular for use in small electronic devices that
needed a small amount of power like pocket calculators. These are inefficient
and are not practical for larger scale power generation. The reason that this
particular photovoltaic was mentioned was because of its historical significance
to the advancement of Thin-film technology, and because of its impact on most
Thin-film panels researched today.
There are three major kinds of Thin-film photovoltaic cells that are currently
popular in the market, and they will be discussed in full. The first Thin-film that
will be discussed in detail will be the Copper Indium Gallium Selenide panel, also
known as CIGS. These panels are made in the general method made to make
Thin-films, where the compound is layered on glass, but their fabrication process
is vacuum based. The advantages of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide are that
they do not lose as much efficiency as their temperature increases compared to
their crystalline counterparts, giving them an edge in warmer climates. To top
that off, the CIGS compound has a panel efficiency of around 10% to 15% with a
peak of 19.9% [9]. Because of these impressive numbers, increases in the
production of CIGS panels are projected to increase in the future. The only
downside to using these panels currently are that they are expensive and scarce
due to being relatively new, being in low supply, and having an expensive
fabrication process.
The next Thin-film that will be discussed will be the Cadmium Telluride Thin-film
panel, also known as CdTe panels. They were one of the first semiconductors
that were used in Thin-film technology to improve the low efficiency experienced
with amorphous silicon. CdTe panels are produced similarly to CIGS panels.
They are the most common type of Thin-film solar panel on the market, due to
being the most cost-effective Thin-film solar panel to manufacture. Similarly to
CIGS panels, CdTe panels also perform better in higher temperatures and lowlight conditions compared to crystalline panels. As for efficiency, Cadmium
Telluride Thin-film panel range in efficiency from 7% to 12% with a peak of 16.5%
[10]. The major disadvantages of these panels are that they are dangerous to
the environment because Cadmium is toxic, and they are expensive because
Tellurium is rare.
23
The final panel that will be discussed in detail are Gallium Arsenide Thin-film
panels, which are also known as GaAs panels. GaAs panels are very similar in
properties to CdTe panels in respect to the fact that the materials to make the
compound are rare and dangerous, and the fact that GaAs panels maintain their
performance in higher temperatures. GaAs panels are made up of a mixture of
Gallium, which is a rare metal and Arsenic, which is a poisonous metalloid. The
reasons that GaAs panels are so special are their efficiency. Their efficiency
ranges from 20% to 25% with a peak of 30% [11]! According to the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory, the high efficiency was a result of GaAs having
an almost ideal bang gap. Using these panels reqires a tradeoff, and for most
people, the prices for Gallium Arsenide Thin-film panels are far too high for the
benefit of the impressive increase in efficiency.
3.1.1.3 Factors that Affect Performance
When it comes to the overall performance of solar panels, the ideal conditions of
a lab are not present in the real world, and the efficiency of any given panel could
be affected by an array of possibilities. Factors that could change performance
are important, because solar panels are the largest investment in the project, and
performance is one of the major considerations when implementing a
photovoltaic in a design. To best understand the factors that affect performance,
this section will look at the physical properties of solar panels, as well as discuss
the conditions that could alter those properties, making the photovoltaic less than
ideal.
To describe the physical properties of solar panels, a brief overview of the
photovoltaic effect is necessary in order to explain factors that can change the
physical property of a solar panel. Simply put, the photovoltaic effect is the
physical phenomenon that allows a photovoltaic cell to convert solar energy into
usable electricity. The photovoltaic cell is usually constructed of some light
absorbing semiconductor material like silicon. All semiconductors are associated
with a specific energy band gap [12]. The energy band gap is the potential
difference between the lowest energy level on the energy conduction band and
the highest energy level on the energy valence band. The conduction energy
band is the range of energy that allows an electron to become free from an atom.
The energy valence band is the range of energy where the electrons on an atom
are not free. When electrons are in the energy valence band they are considered
to be in steady state. If given input energy, the electrons can become excited. If
given enough energy, they will jump to the energy conduction band, and will be
considered to be in an excited state. The electrons in the energy current band
are responsible for the direct current that is produced by the solar cells. In the
case of solar cells, the input energy will be solar energy in the form of packets of
photons containing different levels of energy corresponding to the different
wavelengths in the light spectrum. When the input energy matches the energy of
the band gap in the material, the photons with energy levels equal to the energy
band gap are absorbed by the semiconductor, the photons with energy greater
24
than the energy band gap are. The photons with higher energy levels than the
energy band gap are dissipated in the form of heat and the photons with lower
energy levels than the energy band gap are not absorbed at all. With this in
mind, when designing a solar cell, choosing a semiconductor material with an
energy bang gap as close to the center of the solar radiation spectrum would
yield optimal results. The full solar radiation spectrum ranges from infrared to
ultraviolet. Unfortunately, there is no semiconductor found to date that responds
to the full solar radiation spectrum. There have been solar cells recently invented
that can respond to the entire spectrum [13], but they are unavailable for
widespread commercial use.
Another way that a solar cell can be viewed would be to compare it to a diode.
Photovoltaic cells can be compared to a diode because of the p-type and n-type
semiconductor materials used to fabricate them are similar in application to the pn junction in a diode. Like diodes, there are two metal contacts attached to each
side of this p-n junction. When the electron-hole pair is formed across the p-n
junction, a forward voltage is created between the two photovoltaic cell terminals.
Crystalline or first-generation photovoltaic cells are usually protected from the
outside elements with a protective layer of glass or clear plastic cover. A clear
layer of silicone is used to attach the rest of the cell to the glass. An antireflection
coat covers the n-type terminal. The n-type terminal is then connected to the ntype silicon. Below the n-type silicon layer is the p-type layer needed to form the
p-n junction in-between them. The p-type terminal is beneath the n-type layer,
and lies on top of a conductive contact. The entire structure and process can be
seen in the image below.
25
Figure 2 Silicon Solar Cell Structure and Mechanism [14]
Reproduced with Permission under the CCLA 3.0.
Solar panels in all sorts of various makes and models are not very efficient at
converting solar energy, noting that the highest efficiency made is 30%, which is
not even available for general consumer use. Due to this solemn realization,
panel performance and any means to increase it are very important to this
project. All solar panels suffer from naturally caused issues that may decrease
performance such as temperature, electron-hole recombination rate, and light
absorption efficiency. How these different factors affect performance were
addressed.
The first factor that was addressed was electron-hole recombination. The rates
of electron-hole recombination for Mono-crystalline photovoltaic cells are the
main reason why they perform better than Poly-crystalline cells. In Polycrystalline photovoltaic cells, the impurity concentration and the structure
abnormality associated with multiple crystals of silicon increases the electronhole recombination rate. If the electron-hole recombination rate is increased, then
the efficiency of the panel decreases.
26
The next factor that was taken accounted for was temperature. Temperature is
another negative factor that affects solar panel performance. Crystalline silicon
panels suffer the most when their cell temperature rises. When the temperature
of the semiconductor rises, the conductivity also rises. If there is an increase in
conductivity, the electric field of the p-n junction decreases. If the electric field
decreases, then the voltage across the photovoltaic cell decreases. Less voltage
across the solar cell results in a smaller power output and lower efficiency [15].
New research is being done using non-silicon semiconductor materials on thin
film panels to circumvent the restriction that occurs as a result of a reduction of
panel sensitivity due to temperature. The ideal weather conditions that will put
solar panels at their peak performance are cold and sunny days. Those kinds of
days are not typical in most places in the world. Understanding this, the project
took the temperature effects on the selected solar panel with great consideration.
Every Solar panel has a temperature coefficient and an I-V curve that describes
its I-V characteristics. The temperature coefficient is the rate of power reduction
for every degree above the operating temperature. The standard operating
temperature is 25 degrees Celsius.
The I-V curve that describes the
photovoltaic’s I-V characteristics shows the relationship of current and voltage for
different degrees of temperature.
The area under the I-V curve is an
approximation of the maximum power that the photovoltaic would produce if
operating at both open-circuit voltage and closed-circuit current. From the figure
below, it is shown that total photovoltaic cell power diminishes as the
temperature of the panel increases.
Figure 3 I-V Curve [16]
Reproduced with Permission under the CCLA 3.0.
27
As seen previously and in the figure above, solar panel temperature must be as
close to an operational temperature of 25 degrees Celsius in order to optimize
efficiency. Right now, research is underway to on developing cooling methods
that will maintain low temperatures in solar cells. There are currently two major
ways to cool the cells. The two major ways in maintaining a lower solar panel
temperature are active cooling methods and passive cooling methods. An
example of an active cooling method would be pumping a coolant or a refrigerant
through the backside of the solar panels. An example of a passive cooling
method would be attaching a heat sink or cooling fins to dissipate heat from the
panels. The problem with most cooling methods available right now is that the
efficiency gained by utilizing them does not offset the cost to implement them.
The last inefficiency associated with solar panels that will be discussed is their
ability to absorb light. Most solar panels cannot use the entire light spectrum to
convert light into current. Light energy is lost in several ways. Some energy is
lost from photons being reflected. To mitigate this loss, an antireflection coating
is used on almost all solar panels. Some energy is lost because the photons of
light do not get absorbed because they do not have the right wavelength to
match the semiconductor band gap.
As a result, more than half of the light spectrum available becomes useless to the
solar panels. To help fix this issue, band gap engineering has been developed
as one of the leading methods used to increase light absorption efficiencies.
Electrical design engineers maximize power by maximizing photo current or
photo voltage individually.
Photo current is maximized when the amount of photons of light from the solar
radiation spectrum captured are maximized. To perform this method, a small
energy band gap is selected so that photons with low energy can excite electrons
in the energy conduction band. The downside to using a small energy band gap
is that it lowers the photo voltage and photons with higher energies become
dissipated as heat instead of being converted into electricity. Photo voltage is
maximized when the electrical design engineers choose a higher energy band
gap. The problem with this method is that photons from lower energy levels than
the energy band gap will not be captured or absorbed. This will result in a lower
photo current which will reduce the total output current. The two competing
energy band gap methods are balanced by choosing optimal band gaps near the
middle of the energy spectrum for solar radiation.
High-quality silicon wafers, with a band gap of 1.1 eV, and GaAs, with a band
gap of about 1.4 eV, are readily available and have nearly the optimal band gap
for solar energy conversion in a conventional single-junction solar cell [12].
28
3.1.1.4 Climate Conditions of the Pomolong Township
The Pomolong Township is located at 28°14'39.82"S, 29° 6'46.02"E, which is 265
kilometers southeast of Johannesburg, South Africa and 304 kilometers
northwest of Durban, South Africa. The closest developed town to Pomolong is
Harrismith, which is 7.6 kilometers south, so there isn't a lot of climate data for
the exact area of the township, such as precise numbers regarding hours of
available sunlight to the township.
Figure 4 Geographic Location of Pomolong Township in Relation to Harrismith
Reproduced under Google provision
Imagery ©2012 TerraMetrics, Map data ©2012 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google The average sunlight hours of Johannesburg is 8.67 hours per day and the
average sunlight hours of Durban is 6.58 hours giving the Township
approximately an average of 7.63 hours of sunlight per day, which makes it a
great location to utilize the sun as an energy source. With that said, it is
important to know how much energy from the sun will actually be supplied to
Pomolong. To do this, a little bit of knowledge of irradiance and how it affects
solar panels is needed.
Why do solar panels perform better in the middle of the day versus morning or
evening? It was discussed earlier that solar panels actually decrease in
efficiency as the temperature goes up, so it is known that the increase in
29
performance is not due to an increase in temperature. In actuality, the intensity
of solar radiation or irradiance is the main reason which explains why solar
panels perform better in the middle of the day versus in the morning or in the
evening. Solar radiation is the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the sun.
Insolation is the amount of solar radiation received on a particular surface area
over a period of time measured in power per surface area. To put it in
perspective, the amount of insolation from the Sun on Earth’s surface averages
at 1368 W/m2. The figure below shows the irradiation levels of South Africa.
Figure 5 Irradiation Levels of South Africa
30
Since insolation affects performance it is important to find out how to mitigate low
insolence and to find out how to increase insolence. Although the Pomolong
Township is relatively sunny, they do not have a high level of irradiance. There
are a few methods that can be made to increase solar panel performance to
make up for the low levels of solar radiation. There are direct methods and
indirect methods.
Direct methods are like solar tracking, which involves having sensors on solar
panels and motors that point the solar panel in the direction of the highest
intensity of sunlight. Solar tracking optimizes the amount of sunlight that makes
contact with the solar panel by making sure that the panel is always facing the
sun. Another direct method to increases solar radiation is by using light
concentration. Light concentration is when mirrors or lenses are used to intensify
the sunlight on the solar panel.
Indirect methods to increase solar panel performance include using a Maximum
Power Point Tracking system, also known as MPPT. This system maximizes
delivery of electricity by managing the charge of a battery bank in relation to the
solar panels. MPPT systems are charge controllers that use an MPPT chip to
optimize the output voltage of the photovoltaic panels to match the voltage levels
of the batteries. To do this, the MPPT charge controller constantly maintains the
power of the solar panel as it monitors the voltage level of the batteries. As the
voltage level of the battery increases, the charge controller decreases the
amount of photovoltaic panel output voltage while increasing the photovoltaic
output current. This setup ensures that the photovoltaic's power level remains
relatively constant without causing possible problems with the batteries.
3.1.2 Charge Controllers
A charge controller circuit was required in between the PV panels and the battery
bank to perform crucial protection functions, as well as implementing the
maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithm in order to extract as much
energy as possible out of the PV panels. Several approaches exist, varying from
a purely analog topology to using micro-controllers, Arduino, and specialized
integrated circuits.
3.1.2.1 – 555 Timer
One of the simplest charge controllers considered during research was based on
the ubiquitous 555 timer. This controller used the 555 timer IC to compare the
battery voltage to a predefined level which was determined by a potentiometer.
When the threshold was reached, a transistor would switch on a relay which in
turn diverted the PV energy to a dummy load. One of the implementations which
were looked at that utilized this chip also included switches for manual operation
of the controller. One switch was for diverting the load to the dump resistors, and
31
another switch for diverting it to the battery. Additionally, monitoring LEDs were
included; one for indicating the controller is in dump mode, another for indicating
the controller is in charging mode.
Some of the advantages of the 555 timer based charge controller are cost,
availability, and simplicity. The 555 timer is one of the most mass produced and
most popular integrated circuits in history. Thus, it is extremely cheap. One of
these can be purchased for just a few cents just about anywhere on Earth. The
simple design and high component availability would make this charge controller
extremely reliable, easy to build, maintain, and repair. Not much electronics
knowledge would be required to understand and repair this charge controller.
While the 555 timer itself is very highly available and would have made the
charge controller cheap and easy to repair, the same cannot be said for the rest
of the solar generator system. The PV panels are costly components and the
pure sine wave inverter is a complex circuit. Thus, trying to optimize only one
part of the system for low cost and high reliability is not practical. Furthermore,
the 555 timer based circuit is just too simplistic. It does not have any sort of
charge profile to maximize the battery life, circuit protection, logging and
monitoring support, nor does it implement any maximum power point tracking
algorithm for efficiency. With a lack of these essential features, the 555 timer
based charge controller was not chosen for this project.
3.1.2.2 – Arduino PPT Solar Charger
The next charge controller implementation which was considered during research
was built around the Arduino platform. The Arduino PPT Solar Charger is a small
circuit board module which piggybacks on top of the Arduino board. It uses the
Arduino’s microcontroller to implement the maximum power point tracking
algorithm, control the DC-DC converter, and provide optional logging and data
output. In this sense, the charge controller is modularized.
This is the first implementation found during research which contains the required
MPPT algorithm. Since the maximum power point is not fixed for any solar panel,
the feedback loop for the DC-DC converter differs than that of converter found in
a traditional power supply. While a DC-DC converter for power supply
applications uses a fixed input/output voltage ratio, for a solar charge controller
the ratio is constantly in flux due to the constantly changing maximum power
point. Thus, MPPT controllers typically use software algorithms to control this.
The Arduino PPT uses an iterative approach known as the Hill Climbing
algorithm. The Hill Climbing algorithm works by first increasing the conversion
ratio of the DC-DC converter, and measuring the wattage output by the panels. If
the output is greater than the last measurement, then increase the conversion
ratio again and measure again. Otherwise, if the output is less than the last
measurement, then decrease the conversion ratio and loop again. This
implementation loops through the algorithm at about 1Hz.
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While it is slightly more complex than the 555 timer based controller and does
provide the desired MPPT behavior, as well as support for monitoring and
logging, the Arduino PPT solar charger was not chosen for use in this project
because there is still little to no circuit protection, and the use of an Arduino was
considered to be a cop out in the context of a computer engineering senior
design project.
A micro-controller based IC approach is preferred, which makes it easier to
provide digital real time charge information and data logging, as well as current
and voltage monitoring for circuit protection. All of these features can be
implemented with only a moderate increase in circuit complexity. Several
integrated circuits exist with embedded micro-controllers which are specifically
made for use in solar charging applications. Three of the chips considered were
the Texas Instruments BQ24650 Synchronous Switch-Mode Battery Charge
Controller, SM72442 Programmable MPPT controller also by Texas Instruments,
and the NXP Semiconductor MPT612 Maximum Power Point Tracking IC.
3.1.2.3 – Texas Instruments BQ24650
The BQ24650 offers a highly integrated charge controller with MPPT capability
by input voltage regulation, three phase charge profile, as well as charge status
LED indicator outputs.
The MPPT algorithm is implemented slightly differently in this chip compared to
the Arduino solution. In this setup, the input voltage is monitored in the feedback
loop, not the input/output ratio. This is known as the Constant Voltage algorithm
and is considered by Texas Instruments to be the simplest MPPT method. The
BQ24650 automatically reduces charge current to maintain MPP behavior. If the
solar panel cannot provide the power required to run the charge controller, then
the input voltage begins to drop. If the sensed voltage drops below a certain
threshold, the controller will reduce charge current to attempt to maintain the
voltage. If the sensed voltage drops further, charging is disabled entirely.
While the BQ24650 has a lot of the features required for this project, specifically
the MPPT algorithm and basic protection and monitoring, it was not chosen
because of the lack of flexibility and documentation. It did not quite compare to
the other two chips with regard to availability of reference designs, application
and design notes, and software programmability.
3.1.2.4 – Texas Instruments SM72442
The SM72442 Programmable MPPT controller, also by Texas Instruments, was a
close second in the charge controller decision process. Part of the SolarMagic
33
group of components, the SM72442 features an integrated 8-channel, 12 bit A/D
converter used to sense input and output voltages and currents for protection
and monitoring, as well as a four PWM gate drive signals for a 4-switch buckboost converter. Along with the SM72295 Photovoltaic Full Bridge Driver, this
controller can operate with efficiencies up to 99.5%. The MPPT performance of
the SM72442 is very fast. MPPT is achieved by varying the PWM duty cycle of
the switching transistors to maximize energy transfer, and convergence to the
MPP is achieved typically within 0.01. This enables the controller to maintain
MPP behavior even under the most erratic and fast changing conditions.
This chip does have the required MPPT behavior like the BQ24650 and also
provides programmability. It was not chosen in favor of the MPT612 because of
increased complexity using four PWM signals, a full bridge driver, and using it
would have required the entire controller be redesigned using the SolarMagic
family of components.
3.1.2.5 - NXP Semiconductor MPT612
Thus, the MPT612 from NXP was selected as the charge controller of choice. It
not only includes all of the features of the BQ24650, is simpler than the
SM72442, but an application note from NXP Semiconductor also provides
detailed design information, equations, and parameters for a prototype
development board. In other words, this charge controller was chosen because it
is the “goldilocks” of all of the controllers researched.
The MPT612 has an embedded RISC processor with patented MPPT algorithm
included. It also supports over voltage and over current protection, thermal
protection, has programmable libraries for different charge profiles, alarm
conditions, and vast documentation and flexibility for use in any environment and
with any size panel and battery bank.
34
Figure 6 MPPT Charge Controller Reference System Block Diagram [17]
Permission Pending
The core of the charge controller is the buck-boost DC-DC converter which
transfers energy from the PV panels to the battery in short pulses via a switching
MOSFET which is controlled by the MPT612. The duty cycle of the MOSFET is
varied by the MPT612 based on the demands of the MPPT algorithm. The other
elements of the charge controller include the voltage and current sensors, a
power supply and clock generator, gate driver, and serial/UART communications.
3.1.3 Batteries
For our project the batteries are required to store and smooth out the electricity
from the renewable source. The five factors that will be considered while
choosing the batteries are: (1) Cost, (2) performance, (3) safety, (4) size and (5)
availability. The main purpose of this section is to give a general review of
different kinds o batteries, and to highlight features
35
Table 9 Factors for Choosing Battery
Cost
At most $125 can be allotted to one battery.
Performance The batteries are expected to be able to store the maximum of
energy coming from the power source.
Safety
The batteries have to be safe for the people and the environment
as well.
Size
Small or regular size batteries are preferred to facilitate
transportation.
Availability
The batteries should be easy to find in South Africa.
3.1.3.1 Primary and Secondary Batteries
Batteries are categorized into two major types: primary and secondary. Primary
batteries are disposable because they “irreversibly (within limits of practicality)
transform chemical energy to electrical energy” [18]. Secondary batteries, on the
other hand, are rechargeable in that “they can have their chemical reactions
reversed by supplying electrical energy to the cell, restoring their original
composition” [18].
Primary batteries have higher energy densities than secondary batteries and are
usually utilized when recharging is not demanded. However, the solar system in
the Pomolong Township project requires recharging, so secondary batteries type
will be the focus of battery research.
There are a plethora of chemistries to choose from within primary and secondary
batteries. The most prevailing chemistries used in batteries are lithium, lead, and
nickel. Batteries are also rated according to the following attributes: capacity in
ampere-hours (AH), voltage, specific energy and power, C-rate, and cold
cranking amps (CCA). More details concerning such attributes will be addressed
in the following sections.
3.1.3.2 Chemistries in Secondary Batteries
The most common chemistries used in secondary batteries are nickel cadmium
(Ni-Cd), nickel-metal-hydride (NiMh), lithium-ion, and lead-acid.
36
Ni-Cd batteries utilize nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as
electrodes.
They have many advantages when compared with other
rechargeable batteries. Ni-Cd batteries are able to tolerate deep discharge for
long periods; they also have a higher number of charge/discharge cycles. Size
wise, they are smaller and lighter than comparable lead-acid batteries due to
their much higher energy density. However, the disadvantages of Ni-Cd
batteries are not negligible. Performance speaking, there is a significant
negative correlation between the internal resistance and the cell temperature,
which can result in considerable charging problems. Besides, Ni-Cd batteries
also suffer from a “memory effect”, which “causes them to gradually lose their
maximum energy capacity if they are repeatedly recharged after being only
partially discharged” because the batteries “appear to ‘remember’ the smaller
capacity” [19]. Other than unsatisfactory performance, Ni-Cd batteries are more
expensive than lead-acid batteries due to the higher cost of nickel and cadmium.
Furthermore, the fact that Ni-Cd batteries contain between 6% and 18%
cadmium, which is a toxic heavy metal, makes them an environmental hazard.
Ni-MH batteries are very similar to Ni-Cd batteries in that they both use nickel
oxide hydroxide as positive electrodes; however, Ni-MH batteries use a
hydrogen-absorbing alloy instead of cadmium. Therefore, they have many
advantages of Ni-Cd batteries without endangering the environment or any
higher forms of life. Besides, they are comparable to lithium-ion batteries in
providing specific energy and power with a significant lower cost to produce.
One of the most particular advantages of Ni-MH batteries is their performance for
high current drain applications, where “over the duration of single charge use
they outperform primary batteries [20]. However, one disadvantage of Ni-MH
batteries makes it unsuitable for the Pomolong Township project: the high rate of
self-discharge. Research shows that “Ni-MH batteries lose up to 20% of their
charge on the first day and up to 4% per day of storage after that” [21], which
would waste a considerable amount of energy that is painfully collected from the
solar panels.
Lithium-ion batteries have a unique characteristic. Their ions move from the
negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge, and go back to the
negative electrode when charging. As one of the most popular secondary
batteries for portable electronics, lithium-ion batteries have “one of the best
energy densities, no memory effect, and only a slow loss of charge when not in
use” [22]. Size wise, they are much lighter than other secondary batteries and
come with a wide variety of shapes and sizes. However, one disadvantage of
Lithium-ion batteries disqualifies them to be a part of the power generation
system: high cost. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than any other
secondary battery type. Due to limited budget, lithium-ion batteries are not an
option for the Pomolong Township project.
Lead-acid batteries, on the contrast, have the lowest cost and highest price-topower ratio among the four secondary battery types. They are the oldest
37
secondary battery technology, and they are the most widely available in the
world. Performance speaking, lead-acid batteries have low internal resistance
and can deliver very high currents. They are also tolerant to abuse and
overcharging. In short, lead-acid batteries are currently the best option due to
cost, availability, and functionality.
Thus for G7-SAP, the research focus is on the lead-acid batteries.
3.1.3.3 Cycles in Lead-acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are divided into three categories: starting, deep-cycle, and
marine.
Starting lead-acid batteries are designed for starting automotive engines.
Obviously, their most significant specialty is the ability to output a high current
with almost no delay. In order to achieve this ability, starting lead-acid batteries
have many thin plates designed to maximize surface area, which allows for
maximum current output. However, they are also vulnerable to deep discharge
and “repeated deep discharges will result in capacity loss and ultimately
premature failure”.
Deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, on the other hand, have thicker plates. Although
they do not output as high current as starting batteries do, they can endure
frequent discharging and recharging without degradation.
Marine batteries have thicker plates than starting batteries, but thinner plates
than deep cycle batteries. They are designed to serve as a compromise
between the two lead-acid batteries above, and therefore have a current output
and life time lying between starting batteries and deep-cycle batteries.
Since the goal of the Pomolong Township project is to construct a power
generation system, high endurance in frequent discharging and recharging are
more important than high current output. Therefore, deep-cycle lead-acid
batteries are chosen for the design.
Batteries are also rated in amp-hours, which are usually abbreviated in the label
by AH. An amp-hour is one amp for one hour. The generally accepted AH rating
time for period of batteries used in solar power is the 20 hour rate, even though
the 6 hour rate and 100 hour rate can also be used. The amp-hours should be
specified at a particular rate because some vendors have chosen to rate their
batteries at the 100 hour rate, which makes them look a lot better than they really
are. For instance, see table below.
38
Table 10 Sample Battery Specs
Battery type
100 hour rate
Trojan T-105
250 AH
20 hour rate
225 AH
8 hour rate
n/a
Us battery 2200
n/a
225 AH
181 AH
Concorde pvx-6220
255 AH
221 AH
183 AH
Surrette s-460(L-16)
429 AH
344 AH
282 AH
Trojan L-16
400 AH
360 AH
n/a
Surrette cs-25-ps
974 AH
779 AH
639 AH
The internal resistance of a battery affects its performance. The higher the
internal resistance, the higher the losses of energy will be while charging or
discharging the battery. In other words, the batteries with a lower AH will
discharge very fast while the one with the higher AH will discharge really slowly.
That is why batteries with high amp-hour are served as an optimal choice for the
Pomolong Township project. Decisions have been made that the batteries rated
at 20 hour rate are chosen for the design of power generation system.
3.1.3.4 Types of Deep Cycle Batteries
There are three types of deep-cycle lead-acid batteries: flooded, gel, and
absorbed glass mat (AGM). The comparison among the three battery types
above in their advantages and disadvantages are listed below:
39
Table 11 Advantages and Disadvantages of GEL Batteries
Advantage
Disadvantage
Totally Maintenance-Free
Higher Initial Cost
Air Transportable
Heavier Weight
Spill Proof / Leak Proof
Water Cannot Be Replaced If
Continually Overcharged
No Corrosion
Typically Cannot Be Used To Replace
Flooded Or AGM Types Without
Adjusting Or Replacing The
Applications Existing Chargers.
Superior Deep Cycle Life
Automatic Temperature-Sensing,
Voltage-Regulated Chargers Must Be
Used And Charge Voltage Must Be
Limited (14.2 To 14.5 Volts Maximum
At 25°C/77°F
Installs Upright Or On Side
Very Low To No Gassing Emission
Compatible With Sensitive
Electronic Equipment
Superior Shelf Life
No Recharge Current Limitation At 13.8
Volts
Rugged And Vibration-Resistant
Very Safe At Sea With No Chlorine
Gas In Bilge
Operates In Wet Environments Even
Under 30 Feet Of Water
Will Not Freeze To –20°F/-30°C
40
Table 12 Advantages and Disadvantages of AGM Batteries
Advantage
Disadvantage
Totally Maintenance-Free
Shorter Cycle Life Than Gel In Very
Deep Cycle Applications
Air Transportable
Automatic Temperature-Sensing,
Voltage-Regulated Chargers Must Be
Used
Spill Proof / Leak Proof
Water Cannot Be Replaced If
Continually Overcharged
No Corrosion
Charge Voltage Must Be Limited (14.4
To 14.7 Volts Maximum At 25°C/77°F)
Installs Upright Or On Side
Compatible With Sensitive Electronic
Equipment
Very Low To No Gassing Emission
Excellent For Starting And Stationary
Applications
Work Well Under Extreme Cold
Conditions
Superior Shelf Life
Fast Recharge Ability
Rugged And Vibration-Resistant
Very Safe At Sea With No Chlorine
Gas In Bilge (Due To Sulfuric Acid And
Salt Water Mixing)
Operates In Wet Environments Even
Under Water
-Typically No Need To Replace Or
Adjust The Applications Existing
Chargers When Replacing The
Batteries.
41
Table 13 Advantages and Disadvantages of Flooded Batteries
Advantage
Disadvantage
Lowest Initial Cost.
Spill Able
Good For Higher Current Applications
Operates Upright Only
Water Can Be Added
Shorter Shelf Life
Excellent For Starting Applications
Fewer Shipping Options
More Tolerant Of Improper Recharge
Voltages
Cannot Be Installed Near Sensitive
Electronic Equipment
Certain Designs Are Good For Deep
Cycle Applications
Watering Will Be Required
Replacements Readily Available
Requires Maintenance And Safety
Practices
Work Well Even Under Extreme Hot
Conditions
Now that the advantages and the disadvantages of the deep-cycle lead-acid
batteries are listed, a choice among flooded, gel-electrolyte, and absorbed glass
mat (AGM) needs to be made.
Flooded batteries are the most inexpensive deep-cycled batteries and work well
under extremely hot conditions. Performance speaking, they have a low amount
of discharge rate due to their low internal resistance; they can keep the charge
even after being placed in the storage for months without usage. Their low
internal resistance also enables them to handle shock and vibration very well.
Flooded batteries are very reliable and work well with all types of design. Their
life expectancy is between 5 and 15 years, depending on the battery. For
maintenance purpose, flooded batteries are required to be watered and
ventilated in order to expel the gas that they produce.
Gel-electrolyte batteries are almost twice the price of the flooded battery.
However, they are maintenance free and do not need watering. They also do not
have the risk of leakage because they are sealed. Gel batteries works well under
the extremely cold condition. Their life expectancy is 5 to 10 years depending on
the manufacturers. Gel batteries use a recombination reaction to prevent the
escape of hydrogen and oxygen gas that is normally lost in a flooded lead-acid
battery. Gel batteries can also be operated at any position. However they have
42
a short lifespan in hot climates because the water in the electrolyte evaporates;
the water cannot be replaced since it is sealed.
The AGM batteries cost about the same price as the gel batteries. They are also
maintenance free. The AGM batteries are sealed and have a low internal
resistance. They have almost the same property as the Gel battery.
For the Pomolong Township Project, flooded batteries will be chosen for their low
cost and favorability for the Climate in Pomolong Township.
The specific flooded battery chosen for the project is the Trojan T-105 Battery
(shown below). Two will be used for the device. This battery is manufactured by
Concorde and will be bought from www.wholesalesolar.com for $139. The
battery is rated for nominal 12V and 225Ah capacity at a 20h (0.042C) charge
rate. The battery can deliver about 40 CCA and can be deep-cycled 1000 times
if never discharged lower than 50% capacity. For the project, when the battery
bank reaches 50% depth of discharge (DOD), no power will be delivered to the
load. This battery has the dimensions 7.71 x 5.18 x 8.05 cubic inches and
weighs 30 lbs. This battery is also extremely resilient to shock and vibration
forces. In addition, the Trojan T-105 can withstand very hot temperatures, which
would ruin AGM and GEL lead-acid battery. The battery also features small selfdischarge of 1 to 3% per month. This battery is a great battery for solar energy
purposes for it provides a high capacity, long deep-cycle lifetime, and efficient
energy storage.
The comparison among three types of deep-cycle batteries are summarized
below according to the six factors: (1) Cost, (2) performance, (3) safety, (4) size,
(5) availability, and (6) maintenance.
43
Table 14 Types of Deep Cycle Batteries
Flooded
Gel
Cost
UB-GC2, 6V 225
UB-GC2, 6V 225
AH is $139
AH is $280
AGM
UB-GC2, 6V 225
AH is $265
Performance 88%
charge/discharge
efficiency
90%
charge/discharge
efficiency
98%
charge/discharge
efficiency
Safety
Hazardous
Hazardous
Non-hazardous
Size
6V, 12V,24V
6V,12V , 24V
6V , 12V , 24V
Availability
Easy to find
Internationally
Hard to Find
Internationally
Hard to Find
Internationally
No Maintenance
needed
No Maintenance
needed
Maintenance Add water
3.1.4 Inverter
The inverter will enable the system to deliver power stored in the batteries to the
user efficiently and safely. This is the final part of the project and is the final
major section of the system. The main function of the inverter is to convert direct
current to alternating current, similarly found in a household power outlet.
Inverters are not only used in off grid power systems but also inside electronic
devices such as computers as small switching power supplies. There are many
types of inverters, the following is a table of the different kind of inverters [18].
44
Table 15 Different Inverter Types
Inverter Type
Description
Square Wave
Square wave output arrived with the first inverters. They have
a high distortion level and cannot power most AC loads.
Modified Sine
Wave
Also called quasi square, these waves are similar to square
waves. However, the output goes to zero for a time before
switching. This is done to closer simulate a sine wave. Most
AC loads will work with this signal, however, at a lower
efficiency.
Multilevel
These inverters output an AC signal composed of many DC
voltage levels inputs to create an even closer wave to a sine
wave. The efficiency for powering AC loads is higher than a
modified sine wave but not as efficient as a pure sine wave.
Pure Sine
Wave
These inverters are the best in their field. They produce a
nearly perfect sine wave with less than 3% distortion, which is
the same as a supplied power company’s AC signal. This
comes at a higher cost due to its complex design. All AC
loads will work with these inverters.
The table above are the main types of inverters, It is worth mentioning that there
are other less used and/or known type of inverters such as resonant, grid-tied,
synchronous, stand-alone, solar, solar micro, air conditioner, and CCFL inverters.
3.1.4.1 Inverter Applications
Inverters can be used in many applications, as stated before. Their main
purpose is to convert a DC power source to an AC power source. This can then
be used to power AC loads. However, with this in mind there are other
applications in which inverters can be used which are summarized in the
following table.
45
Table 16 Inverter Applications
Purpose
Description
Uninterruptible
Power Supply
An uninterruptible power supply is a type of backup system
which supplies AC power, when the main power source is
not available.
Induction
Heating
A low frequency AC power is converter to higher frequency
AC power which heats an electrical conducting object,
typically a metal.
Variable
Frequency drives
Controls speed of an AC motor by controlling the AC source
frequency and voltage
Electric Vehicle
Drives
Motors used in electric vehicles use inverters. Also, they
are used in regenerative braking technology which takes
energy from heat to charge batteries. Also the gas engine
charges the batteries.
Air Conditioning
Uses a variable frequency drive to control the speed of the
motor and activation of compressor.
3.1.4.2 Basic and Advanced Inverter Circuit Design
At the basic level an inverter circuit consists of a DC power source connected to
a transformer. A transformer is a power converter that transfers AC power, so it
is effectively an AC to AC converter. These are used widely for electronic
appliances that work with 110V AC in a place where there is only 210V AC
available. In order to prevent damage for the electronic appliance, a transformer
must be used. So the transformer is switched rapidly back and forth to allow
current to flow back and forth, thus creating AC in the circuit.
Back in the day, when inverters were first used, an electromechanical device had
to be used to perform the switching. So this device consisted of two stationary
contacts and a spring moving contact. The spring is used to hold one contact to
a stationary one, then a electromagnetic force pulls it to the other stationary
contact. Once it reaches the other contact the electromagnetic force is
interrupted by the contact of the spring and the other stationary contact.
Therefore, the contact of the spring is continuously moving back and forth
between stationary contacts creating a switch. This form of electromechanical
inverter switch is called a vibrator or buzzer. Of course, nowadays this method
has been replaced by transistors and other semiconductor based electronics
[19].
46
In more advance designing, there are many different circuit designs and control
strategies. Depending on how the inverter is to be used, the different inverter
designs differ. So to begin with, we specify the kind of waveform we want by
filtering using capacitors and/or inductors. For example, low pass filters are
applied to allow the important parts of the waveform but not allowing distortion to
go through the signal. If one wants to keep a constant frequency in the signal a
resonant filter can be used, the opposite can be done as well as long as the
maximum frequency supported by the filter is higher than the waveforms
frequency could ever be. Now, feedback is required around each semiconductor
switch because a path is needed for loads that contain inductance. So when the
switch is turned off there exists a path for the peak inductive load current. The
feedback can be implemented through rectifiers or anti-parallel diodes.
Now, to create the AC signal output from the Pulse Width Modulation(PWM)
technique is used. As mentioned before, to create the signal a switch that turns
on and off fast is used. To expand on that, all the electric components of the
inverter are turned on and off to generate proper RMS voltage levels. Today, a
microcontroller is used to control this switching as oppose to using a magnetic
field tied to a spring that was historically used. The following is a picture of PWM
generator.
Figure 7 Simple Diagram of PWM Generator
Permission Pending
So a triangle wave generator and a modulation sine wave generator go into an
Op-amp to produce PWM from the diagram above. The triangle generator is
called the carrier signal and it controls the frequency of the switching. The
modulation generator produces the signal that determines the width of each
pulse hence the RMS voltage level of the signal. Next, the output of the PWM
Generator will be seen.
Figure 8 Output of PWM Generator(6)
Permission Pending
47
Now, in the figure above, the carrier signal can be seen with the modulation
signal on top of it. The bottom signal is the actual PWM signal. If observed
closely, it can be seen that the bottom signal is constructed by the modulation
signal setting the width of the pulses in the PWM signal. all of this happens
while the carrier controls if those pulses are on or off. Due to the microcontroller
mechanism, the inverters that use the PWM scheme have varying levels of
control. There are four basic types of control for AC drives. They are shown in
the following table [20].
Table 17 Types of Control for AC Driven Loads
Type of Control Description
V/Hz
Basic control method which provides variable frequencies,
thus providing control over speed and power.
Sensorless
Vector
Improves control of speed and starting power.
Flux Vector
Gives more precise control of speed and power control with
dynamic response
Field Oriented
Provides the best overall control over AC motors giving DC
performance
3.1.4.3 History of Inverter
Inverters have been used since the late 1800s. However, in their inception, they
were not called inverters. These inverters were actually motor generators or
similar machines which would convert DC to AC power. It was not until the
1950s where the that the modern day inverter was invented. The following is a
figure of a rotary converter machine which was used as a rectifier in the 1800s
[19].
48
Table 18 Rotary Converter [21]
Public Domain Image, Copyright expired
Electromechanical inverters were originally not made to convert DC power to AC
power. They were actually intended to perform the opposite function. They used
induction from synchronous AC motors directly connected to a generator. Inside
the generator, a commutator would reverse its connections at the right moments
to produce DC power. A commutator is a rotary electrical switch in certain types
of electrical motors or generators. After a few years a synchronous converter
was introduced which does what a rectifier does today. To put it simply, it
converted AC power to DC power. This brought both the motor and generator
into one section with motor slip rings in one end and the commutator at the other.
Now, given the right control equipment an eletromechanical rectifier can run
backwards to convert DC to AC , thus , making an inverter [19].
Next, transistors that are common today were not available back in the 1950’s.
Back then they only worked with low voltage and current. However, with the
introduction of silicon controlled rectifiers, the production of inverters commonly
known today began. Rectifiers do not turn off when the gate control signal is off,
they only turn off when the current being passed is below the minimum holding
current. Different kinds of rectifiers have different minimum holding current
levels. So for rectifiers connected to an AC power source, rectifiers turn off every
time the source voltage reverses. However, for rectifiers connected to DC
power, the current would have to be forced to be below the minimum holding
current in order to shut off the rectifier. So, we see that an AC source is a more
natural way to work with the rectifier than a DC source [19].
Rectifiers are often classified by the number of current pulses that come from the
DC source to the output AC. There are one pulse, two pulse, three pulse, and
six pulse circuit rectifiers. To calculate the pulse, the phase of the rectifier and its
wave output needs to be checked. There are half wave and full wave rectifiers.
Half wave rectifiers have a one pulse and full wave rectifiers have two pulses. To
get the number of pulses in a circuit, the phase number must be multiplied by the
49
number of pulses in the rectifier. Depending on the phase of the rectifier and the
desired output, a higher voltage or current can be obtained by connecting
rectifiers in series or parallel. Although inverters can work backwards as
rectifiers, inverters are also classified by pulses. The higher the pulse number in
a rectifier system, the less the harmonic content in an AC input while outputting
reduced distortion to the DC output voltage. In the inverter mode, a higher pulse
number gives lower distortion to the AC output waveform [19].
In order to create an inverter a DC source is needed. This means that circuits
that would force a rectifier to shut off would have to be implemented in the
inverter design. This is not a problem. High quality transistors that can be turned
off by control signals can solve this problem. A separate controlling circuit is not
needed to force a shut off. In all inverter designs today, transistors are the way
to go.
3.1.4.4 Characteristics of an Inverter
Important characteristics of an inverter to pay attention to when purchasing or
constructing one fall into four categories. These categories are input voltage,
surge power, the wave output of the inverter, and load that needs the power in
the form of a sine wave.
The first is to take note of the input voltage of the inverter. It is important to
match the power source voltage to the operating voltage of the inverter. If the
voltages do not match, it could be hazardous. This is because the inverter is in
danger of catching on fire due to overvoltage.
Next, is the peak or surge power. The surge power is the initial power to first start
up an electronic device. For example, when turning on a television or a washing
machine the lights may begin to dim. This event is an example of a surge power
to the television or washing machine affecting the lights. When a high power
consumption machine turns on the effect of surge power is more evident. It is
important to note the surge power rating of an inverter to tell if it will deliver
enough initial power for a device.
Third, the wave output of the inverter is a very important characteristic. There
are two distinct kinds of output waves. The output wave could be a sine wave or
a square wave. The output coming from a standard power outlet is a pure sine
wave. With that said, it is obvious that having an inverter output a sine wave is
the most desirable wave output. However, due to requiring more electronic
components and having a more complicated design, pure sine wave inverters
cost more than square wave inverters. Square wave inverters are much simpler
because they simply vary by three different voltage levels. Some electronic
devices will work with square wave input. Unfortunately, most electronic devices
are only sensitive to the signal produced by an AC wave. These electronic
devices typically receive or transmit signals themselves. examples include TVs
50
and projectors. The trouble occurs in the form of distortion in the video image.
To clean up a square wave as stated before, a variety and a vast amount of
electronic components such as filters, inductors, and capacitors are needed.
Commercially, all kinds of inverters are sold. Usually the square wave inverters
are really cheap and the pure sine wave ones are very expensive. For the
purpose of the project, the option to design and build an inverter that produces a
pure sine wave was chosen.
The last part of an inverter's characteristic that should be taken into account is
what needs to be powered with the output of the inverter. This is not really a
characteristic of the inverter itself per se, but is a major consideration when
designing an inverter. For the purpose of the project, the inverter should not
have to output more than 700W of power at any given point in time. This means
that the maximum power coming out of the inverter should exceed the combined
power consumption of the electronic devices being used. Another way to look at
it, is that the total load should not be greater than 700W.
3.1.4.5 Commercial Inverters
As stated before there are many power inverters out there in the market today.
They range with wide varieties of characteristics, prices, and sizes. The most
well-known brand for power inverters is Power Bright. A close second would be
the Cobra power inverters. For the purpose of this section, three of both brands
of power inverters with similar characteristics are compared in the following table.
51
Table 19 Commercial Power Inverters Comparison [22]
Power Bright Power Inverter Cobra Power Inverter
Continuous Power 900W
800W
Input
12V DC
12V DC
Output
110V AC
110V AC
Peak Power
1800W
1600W
Number of Outlets 2
2
Price
$58.00
$80.00
Continuous Power 1100W
1000W
Input
12V DC
12V DC
Output
110V AC
110V AC
Peak Power
2200W
2000W
Number of Outlets 2
2
Price
$120.00
$90.00
Continuous Power 900W
1500W
Input
12V DC
12V DC
Output
220V AC
220V AC
Peak Power
1800W
3000W
Number of Outlets 1
3
Price
$135.00
$84.00
To conclude, it can be seen that the input seems to be pretty standard
throughout commercial inverters. Also, since the group is located in North
America, the output seems to be 110V AC standard. However, some brands
offer European standard power which is 210-220V AC. Another thing to note is
that the Peak Power is usually two times as much as the Continuous Power. As
for price, the power inverters above seem to range from $50 to $150. However,
52
it is very crucial to remember that all of the power inverters above are square
wave power inverters. Pure sine wave power inverters cost about four times as
much as these inverters.
Next, the controls for most Power Bright power inverters will be looked at.
Figure 9 General Power Bright Inverter
Permission Pending
A. Two standard North American AC outlets, each rated at 15 Amps
B. Overload LED Indicator. If continuous power draw of appliance(s) exceeds
the inverters continuous power, this light will turn ORANGE/RED and the
inverter will automatically shut down. When this occurs, turn off the inverter
and determine the cause of the overload before turning the inverter and the
appliance
back
on.
C. ON/OFF Switch. Turns the inverter circuits ON and OFF.
As seen, the Power Bright power inverters are pretty simple and easy to use.
There is a switch to turn the inverter on and off and two North American power
outlets. Also take note of the fins of the enclosure to keep the power inverter
cool and the LED indicator if the appliance power consumption being powered
exceeds the output power of the inverter.
Next, the controls of a general Cobra power inverter will be looked at.
53
Figure 10 Cobra Power Inverter
Patent Pending
For the most part the Power Bright power inverters and the Cobra power
inverters are pretty much the same. However, most of the Cobra power inverters
have a USB outlet to power small devices like iPods, cell phones, and other such
things.
The following is a picture of how a battery bank, wired in series in the figure, is
typically attached to a power inverter.
Figure 11 Battery Bank Connected to Power Inverter
3.1.5 Encasing
Good battery enclosure design and construction will protect the people of the
Pomolong township from potential battery mishaps, and can enhance the
effectiveness of the battery bank as well. Battery enclosures serve four main
functions:
54
1. Provide physical protection to the batteries from tools, falls, dust, debris,
etc.
2. Isolate and safely vent hydrogen gas to the outdoors.
3. Maintain a consistent temperature among the cells.
4. Meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code, Articles 480 and
690 (Section 690.71)
The Batteries store electrical energy using a chemical reaction, and can cause
acid burn, electrical burns, or be an explosive hazard. These dangers can be
prevented if they are properly handled or contained. When it comes to housing
the batteries, the goal should be to provide a clean, dry, ventilated, semi
conditioned space that prevents unqualified people from coming into contact with
the battery bank.
3.1.6 Sensors
Sensors are a very important part of this project. Without sensors, the charge
controller would not be able determine voltage levels of the battery, making an
entire system pointless. Sensors give data on the status of the system, and
without them, vital information about the system would not be known. This would
be a problem, because without knowing vital information of the system,
identifying when the system is malfunctioning would be almost impossible.
3.1.6.1 Voltage / Current Sensors
Part of the design for the project will be to be monitor the amount of voltage
and current that is being outputted by the solar panel. This information will be
sent to the microcontroller and displayed on the monitoring system.
The voltage of the solar panel can range from around 0 to 33 volts. This voltage
range must match the maximum input voltage range of the microprocessor chip
which is between zero and five volts. To measure the voltage coming from the
panels, a sensor is not needed, but a voltage sensing circuit will be implemented.
By connecting a voltage divider in parallel with the solar panel the maximum
output from the solar panel can be dropped to match the maximum voltage of the
microprocessor. The following equation:
Equation 1
௢௨௧ = ௜௡ 55
ଶ
ଵ + ଶ
Where Vout is the maximum voltage of the microprocessor, and Vin is the
maximum voltage of the solar panel, the values of R1 and R2 can be found.
A Zener diode can be connected in parallel with the microcontroller which would
help regulate the voltage such that it does not exceed the microcontrollers
threshold voltage level. A spike in voltage can damage the microcontroller. A
voltage spike due to overcurrent may be caused by lightning strikes, electrostatic
discharge or solar panels operating above the maximum voltage range. Most
microcontrollers work in a range from 0V to 5V. This is why a Zener diodes are
chosen to regulate the incoming voltage into the microcontroller to be no more
than 5 V.
The data which will be sent from the voltage divider circuit will be sent to the
microcontroller. Before this is done, Operational Amplifier will be used. The use
of Op-Amps will be important to the design because they help ensure that the
data being sent to the microcontroller will be accurate by decreasing the noise.
When traveling long distances in cable, voltage signals tend to develop noise.
This unnecessary noise can affect the data being outputted. This can lead to
misleading results which is why the use of Op-Amps in this circuit are very
important. There are many kinds of Operational Amplifiers, but Unity Gain OpAmps have characteristics which fit the design requirements for this project and
is a favorable design consideration. This type of Op-Amp is useful because the
overall gain of the circuit will be in unity. It is important to minimize external
influences to the output. The reason for this is that added gain to the output will
generate incorrect values and extra circuitry would be needed to step the
voltage down before the signal can be received by the microcontroller.
A current sensor will be utilized to monitor the DC current which is being
outputted from the solar panels. Sensitivity for the panels is more important than
for the batteries, so more precise measuring methods are used for the panel
side. For the batteries, an Op-amp based system will be used, and for the PV
panel side, a current shunt monitor will be used.
There are several different technologies which can serve the purpose of a
current sensor. The ones available are surface mount Hall effect sensors, Hall
effect current clamp sensors, the Hall effect open loop current sensor, the Hall
Effect current sensor, and the Inductive current sensor. For DC currents,
measurements are made using the "Hall Effect" while for AC currents,
measurements are made using "Inductive" technology.
3.1.6.2 Temperature Sensors
Temperature is a very important consideration. This is because temperature
affects the efficiency in both the batteries and the solar panels. To circumvent
this, methods have been made to keep these components at idea temperature.
The problem is that you can't moderate temperature without knowledge of the
temperature. The logical conclusion is that it would be beneficial to know the
56
temperature.
To gain knowledge of the temperature, the addition of a
temperature sensor is needed. To implement a temperature sensor, the sensor
will need to have direct physical contact with the components that need it most.
Namely, the batteries and the solar panels. The optimal sensor would be
reliable, inexpensive and easy to replace. To choose one, research has been
done on a few sensors that might be used in the design of he South Africa
Project.
The first method that can be used to measure temperature is with the
thermocouple. This temperature sensor is a junction of two different metals.
When the temperature is different between them, there will be a potential
difference between the two metals. One of the two metals is treated as a
reference temperature. The other metal is at the location where the
temperature is to be measured. Thermocouples are cheap, tough and reliable
over a wide temperature range.
One thing to remember when using
thermocouples is that it each of the metals are connected to copper wires to
integrate them in a circuit or into instrumentation. This connection will create two
extra junctions. These two junctions will have a voltage difference that is
temperature dependent. With this in mind, it is important to make sure that the
junction connections are at some standard temperature. If they are not, then
errors in the readings may happen. The problem with thermocouples is that it is
sometimes difficult to keep the circuit in a condition where the standard
temperature can be kept. This is especially true if the circuit was in direct contact
with solar panels that were getting direct sunlight for an extended period of time.
The second method that can be used to measure temperature is with a
thermistor.
Thermistors are temperature sensitive resistors made up of
semiconductor material. They have a resistivity that is specially designed to
sense temperature. Thermistors have special characteristics due to the
properties used to make them. They also come in 2 types. Thermistors that
have a Negative temperature coefficient have a resistance that decreases as the
temperature increases. Thermistors that have a Positive temperature coefficient
have a resistance that increases as the temperature increases [23]. Thermistors
are cheap, user friendly and adaptable. They are comparable in sensitivity with
thermocouples. The biggest drawback to using them are that they have a
relatively long equation that becomes more complex as the temperature
increases that could give the microprocessor possible errors. This problem
makes them impractical for use in applications that need to measure higher
temperatures.
3.1.6.3 Solar Radiation Sensors
In order for determine irradiation levels it is necessary to figure out a way to
sense light from the sun. The common term for solar sensors are photodiodes.
Photodiodes are P-N junction diodes that are designed to harness the
photoelectric effect. The photodiode is a versatile solid state device that has
57
many applications. Photodiodes are used as light detectors, power sources, and
light emitters. Photodiodes have many uses, and a use for them has been
described previously, because Solar cells are another kind of photodiode, with
the specific application of using the current from the photoelectric as a power
source.
With that brief explanation of what a photodiode is and its general application,
this section can now go into detail about another application for photodiodes.
Other than being used for generating power, photodiodes are used to sense light
intensity. The more intense the sunlight, the higher the current. This information
is useful in research in solar tracking to optimize the direction in which the solar
panels are angled towards the sun to maximize light exposure. This information
can also be used to help determine what areas get the most sun.
58
3.2 Relevant Technologies
With the objectives and requirements of this project decided upon, it was
necessary to spend some time researching other models and projects that
implemented similar technologies to this project. Fortunately, there is a lot
information about solar power generators available. There has been many
different designs involving solar energy in UCF's senior design. Some have been
more successful than others and other groups past experiences to make the
design of the South Africa Project better. An example of this is Solar Tracking.
This technology was considered to be incorporating into the system. Solar
Tracking involves the movement of the solar panels mechanically by feedback
from sensors [19]. The sensors detect where the sun is shining brightest and
moves the panels accordingly. It was found that even though the design
sounded good, it would not be beneficial in the system. The reason that it would
not be beneficial is because the mechanical parts can wear out and stop
functioning over time. Also, the gain of solar energy from the tracking is not
worth the energy consumed to have the system run.
On the other hand, maximum power point tracking is a valuable technique that
will be integrated to the project's charge controller. The benefits of MPPT will
enable the charge controller to get the most of the solar panels while charging
the batteries. To do this, the MPPT technique changes the voltage of the panels
to keep at its maximum potential. For example, to charge a 12V battery
approximately 13.5V would be needed to charge. However, most solar panels
work at a higher voltage of about 20V and the Amps (current) stay the same.
Since power is equal to current multiplied by voltage, it is the purpose of the
MPPT system to sample the output of the cells and apply the proper resistance
(load) to obtain maximum power for any given environmental conditions [20]. In
the figure below, the yellow rectangle gives the output power. The top right is the
maximum power point, which is the target desired.
Figure 12 MPPT Graph [26]
Photovoltaic cells refer to the cells in material that generate energy from the
transformation of electricity from sunlight.
Photovoltaic cells have three
59
attributes. The attributes are the absorption of light, the separation of charge
carriers of opposite type, and the separate extraction of those carriers to an
external circuit [21]. So what is happening is that the photons are absorbed,
electrons are knocked out of the photons and separated creating a potential
difference, then the electricity is captured and send through the output. The
following is a chart which shows the semiconductor material of the solar cell,
power conversion efficiency, and technology. As clearly seen, Crystalline cells
are the most efficient, making them the most favorable choices for consideration
in design.
Table 20 Solar Cell Type and Power Efficiency [21]
Semiconductor Material
Power Conversion Efficiency [%]
Technology
Mono-crystalline silicon
20-24
Crystalline
Poly-crystalline silicon
13-18
Thick and Thin-film
Gallium-arsenide
20-29
Crystalline
Amorphous silicon
8-13
Thin-film
Cadmium telluride
10-17
Thin-film
Cadmium indium selenide
10-19
Thin-film
Solar panel systems have different ways of being set up as well. Solar panel
systems are either grid-tied, grid-tied with batteries, off-grid, or simply used as
backup.
Grid-tied system are tied to the power grid that a residence gets its power from.
They do not involve any batteries. The solar panels simply output whatever
power they get to the residence they are supplying. This results in minimizing the
power obtained from the grid.
A grid tied system with batteries is the same as the former except there are
batteries, so power is stored. This method further minimizes the power that the
residence being supplied obtains from the grid. Off grid systems are completely
not connected to the areas power grid. They are completely standalone
residences with no connection to the power grid. These systems almost always
use batteries for power storage. Backup solar systems are used when there is a
power outage in a grid-supplied area. When this occurs the backup system
activates and provides power for the residence with power stored in the systems
battery bank. In the case of the South Africa Project, the township of Pomolong
is completely off the grid, therefore the system will be an off-grid system with
batteries.
60
4.0 Project Hardware and Software Design
The purpose of this section is to describe the design process and selection
process for the design of the South Africa power generation system. This section
will discuss specifics regarding the main components of the project including the
solar panels, the batteries, the charge controller, and the inverter. The specifics
that will be discussed will be the parts and models that will be used in the design
as well as the physical properties, assembly, and integration.
4.1 Solar Panels
Although there are many options for solar panel technologies, it is quite clear that
the most reasonable choice for this project is the Mono-crystalline silicon
photovoltaic panel. Poly-crystalline silicon panels less efficient and are not
competitively cheaper than Mono-crystalline panels. The small savings in initial
cost does not compensate for the savings in energy cost through the lifetime of
the panel use. Thin-film modules were taken out for their lack of availability,
questionable reliability, and inferior efficiency.
This project will not be using Polymer technology, because the technology has
not been developed enough for a solid conclusion on whether it would be more
beneficial to incorporate Polymer solar panels than to use tried and tested older
technology. Other than the lack of resources and the fact that the technology is
not fully developed, the entire purpose of this technology is to decrease
production costs on a large scale to make widespread use of solar power
feasible. The problem with this is that the resulting effect is that the cost dose
not scale down well when used on a smaller scale like the South Africa project.
So, after all of this consideration, Grade A Solar Panels will be used. Grade A is
another alias for Mono-crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels, and is a common
term used in the industry.
4.1.1 Solar Panel Specifications
The main company considered in the solar panel market was Helios. The panel
that has been chosen for use in this project is the Helios 7T2 305W Solar
Panel Mono Cell. It has the second highest power output panel in the 7T2
mono-crystalline series [22]. Another advantage in choosing this specific panel is
its price. Helios offers this panel in packages of 2 for 850.00. The specs of the
panel are in the tables below.
.
61
Table 21 Solar Panel Characteristics
Dimension
1,984 mm x 984 mm (78.11” x 38.74”)
Area
1.95 m2 (20.99 Sq Ft)
Thickness
40 mm (1.58”)
Weight
26 kg (57.2 lbs)
Table 22 Electrical Data STC
Rated Power PMPP (W)
305
MPP Voltage (V)
36.70
MPP Current (A)
8.30
Open Circuit Voltage (V)
45.08
Short Circuit Current (A)
8.87
Table 23 Electrical Data NOCT
Rated Power PMPP (W)
229
MPP Voltage (V)
33.85
MPP Current (A)
6.75
Open Circuit Voltage (V)
41.60
Short Circuit Current (A)
7.20
4.2.2 Solar Panel Mounting
When mounting the solar panels, all measures to ensure safety should be made.
It is also important to note that any damage incurred towards the glass of the
solar panel is irreparable.
The location of mounting the solar panel is important. To choose a good
location, the highest elevation with the least amount of possible shade is the best
62
choice. In the Southern Hemispher, the sun is due north at noon. The following
table gives the optimal angle of inclination for the solar panels to maximize
sunlight throughout the year.
Table 24 Approximate Vertical Mounting Angle for Solar Panels in
Harrismith, South Africa [28]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
45°
53°
61°
69°
77°
84°
77° 69°
63
61°
53°
45°
38°
4.2 Charge Controller
ontroller
This section details the charge controller circuit diagram and implementation. All
diagrams were created using the KiCad EDA Software Suite. Circuits are based
on Application Note AN10936 from NXP Semiconductors
Semiconductors,, which is a reference
design manual for the MPT612 MPPT microcontroller used in the charge
controller.
4.2.1. High level overview
The high level overview is KiCad’s root sheet in its hierarchical sheet layout. It
shows all of the modules in the system a
and
nd the digital signals that interconnect
them. These modules can be built separately and joined with ribbon cable, as it is
easier to debug and prototype or they can all be built on a single board to
optimize cost on the final product.
Figure 13 Charge Controller Root Sheet
64
The charge controller is composed of five main modules: DC-DC
DC
converter,
power supply, microcontroller, PV voltage/current sensors, battery
voltage/current sensors, and an optional serial/UART module. Each of these
modules is described in greater detail in the subsections below.
4.2.2. Battery Voltage and Current S
Sensors
This module consists of two separate circuits, a voltage sensor and a current
sensor for the battery bank. Both of these sensors take in an analog input signal
from the DC-DC
DC converter and output an amplified signal for input to the
microcontroller. The operational amplifiers are used for both circuit protection and
amplification purposes.
Figure 14 Battery Voltage Se
Sense Circuit
For the battery voltage sense, the input signal comes from a voltage divider on
the secondary side of the DC
DC-DC
DC converter. The signal enters on the left. U5A
operates as a battery overvoltage indicator. If the overvoltage level is reached,
PWM
WM to the battery is cut off. Op
Op-amps
amps U5B and U5C comprise the main voltage
sense circuit. U5B amplifies the signal with a gain of 1.1, and U5C is a low pass
filter to remove noise from the signal.
65
Circuit
Figure 15 Battery Current Sense C
For the battery current sense, the input signals enter the circuit on the left. They
come from a sense resistor located on the high current path of the secondary
side of the DC-DC
DC converter. Op
Op-amps
amps U6A and U6B comprise a two stage
amplifier to enhance
nhance the signal. The first stage operates with a gain of 5, and the
second stage has a gain of 10. Finally, Op
Op-amp
amp U6C is a low pass filter to
remove noise from the signal.
4.2.3. PV Voltage and Current S
Sensors
The PV sense module is similar to the bat
battery
tery sense module, in the context that it
is also composed of two separate circuits: one for PV voltage sensing and the
other for PV current sensing. Again, these modules take an analog signal from
the DC-DC
DC converter and using op
op-amps,
amps, output an enhanced signal for the
microcontroller.
Figure 16 Solar Panel Voltage Sense Circuit
66
The PV voltage sensor is somewhat different in design than the battery voltage
sensor because two separate sense circuits are used: buck mode and boost
mode voltage sense. The signal enters on the left from a resistor divider in the
secondary side of the DC
DC-DC converter. Op-amps
amps U4A and U4B and their
associated components operate the boost mode voltage sensor with a gain of 1.1
Op-amp
amp U4C operates the bu
buck
ck mode voltage sensor with a gain of 2. The RLC
network to the right of the voltage sensors is a passive filter for the 3.3V_A
analog voltage rail.
Figure 17 Solar Panel Current Sense Circuit
The current sensor is also constru
constructed
cted differently on for the PV side of the
converter than the battery side. Accuracy is far more important when measuring
PV current, since this parameter is needed for calculating the maximum power
point. Therefore, a simple op
op-amp as was used in the battery
ery current sensor is
not sufficient. Instead, a Texas Instruments INA194AIDBVT current shunt
monitor is used (U14 in diagram) to provide accurate measurement. The IC
operates with a gain of 50. Op
Op-amp
amp U4D forms a low pass filter to remove noise
from the signal.
4.2.4. MPT612 M
Microcontroller
This subsection consists of the main logic and control portion of the charge
controller, where the MPT612 controller IC is located. The IC handles the sensor
inputs, temperature inputs, UART and JTAG communication, as well as
outputting PWM gate drive signals to operate the DC
DC-DC
DC converter, and digital
outputs for sending charge information to a logging or monitoring interface.
67
Connector and GPIO Connector
Figure 18 JTAG/UART C
The connector J6 on the left is the JTAG/UART connector. This connects to the
serial communications module for reprogramming the MPT612. It takes a 3.3v
power signal, and 11 communication lines for RS232. The connector J15 on the
right is the General Purpose Input Outpu
Outputt (GPIO) connector, which can be used
for custom input and output signals.
Figure 19 MPT612
68
Starting from the top left of the MPT612 and moving clockwise, first there are the
power supply rails, two 3.3V rails and one 1.8V rail. Pins 1, 2, 3, 44, 47, and 48
are for GPIO, power input, and buck/boost control. Pins 41 and 45 are digital
outputs which connect to green and yellow LEDs to indicate charge status. Pins
46, 13, 14, 29, and 30 are for power control, serial communication, and ground.
Finishing the right side of the diagram, pins 22 all the way down to 38 are all for
sensor input, PWM output, GPIO, and buck/boost control. Pin 39 is for
temperature input from the NTC which measures the ambient temperature. All of
the pins along the bottom row are grounds. Pins from 20 to 11 form the oscillator
and clock generator circuit, while pin 6 forms the reset circuit. Lastly, pins 27 up
to 8 are for UART/JTAG communication.
Architecturally, the MPT612 features an ARM 32 bit processor and 32kB on-chip
flash memory and 8kB static RAM. Pins that are not connected to a specific
peripheral function are controlled by GPIO registers. They can be dynamically
configured as inputs or outputs. The MPT612 also contains one 10-bit Analog-toDigital Converter (ADC), capable of performing more than 400,000 samples per
second. The chip also has two UARTs, two I2C bus controllers and two serial I/O
controllers.
4.2.5. DC-DC Converter
The DC-DC converter is the muscle behind the charge controller. It is responsible
for taking energy from the PV panels and via PWM pulsing it through the inductor
which allows the energy to be converted to a different voltage and current in a
theoretically lossless manner. The converter is using a buck-boost topology, and
can operate in buck-boost mode or buck only mode. In buck only mode, the PV
voltage must always be higher than the battery voltage. In buck-boost mode,
both the PV voltage and battery voltage can be variable values with the system
switching between buck and boost based on the relative voltages. The power
electronics circuit is shown below.
69
DC Converter
Figure 20 DC-DC
The main components in the DC
DC-DC
DC converter are MOSFETs Q1, Q2, Q3, and
Q4, rectifier diode D2, and inductor L1. When the converter is operating in boost
mode, MOSFET Q3 is closed and MOSFET Q4 is open. Similarly, when
operating in buck mode, Q3 is open and Q4 is closed. Filter capacitors C4 and
C7 are placed across the output to smoothen the signal. Bulk capacitors C3 and
an
C5 are used to temporarily store energy while the main switching transistor Q1 is
in the off state. Q1 is responsible for the pulse effect which excites the inductor. It
70
is driven by a high side gate driver circuit U3 at the bottom of the figure. U3 is an
International Rectifier IRS21171 single channel high side gate driver. It takes in
the Buck_PWM signal from the microcontroller and outputs it to the gate of Q1.
The DC-DC converter also includes protection circuitry to reduce the risk of
battery or PV panel damage. Diode D13 on the left protects the system if the PV
panels are connected backwards. Similarly, diode D5 and fuse F1 on the right
protects the system if the battery bank is connected backwards. MOSFET Q2
controls the load. If the load cutoff signal is sent high from the MPT612, Q2 will
turn off and disconnect the load from the battery. Fuse F2 protects the load from
short circuit damage.
The sense resistors used in the PV and battery sensor modules are found in the
primary and secondary sides of the converter. They are a low ohmic type (0.01
ohms). R6 is used to measure PV current. R8 is for measuring battery current,
and R10 measures load current. Resistor divider R4 and R7 measures battery
bank voltage and divider R3 and R5 measure PV panel voltage.
The switching frequency of the converter is fixed at 20kHz to optimize both the
switching loss and the inductor size. The inductor equation is given by:
Equation 2
௅(஺௏) = ை ⁄1 − Where ை is the output current and is the duty cycle. In buck-boost mode, the
maximum duty cycle is 60%.
The input bulk capacitor calculation is below. The parameter to keep in mind for
this application is the Effective Series Resistance or ESR and RMS current
rating. Low ESR is desired to minimize input voltage ripple and high current
changes on the output. Placing two capacitors in parallel will also further reduce
the ESR.
Equation 3
Equation 4
ூሺ௠௜௡ሻ = ூ × ௢௡ ⁄∆ூ
= ∆ூ ⁄ூ ⁄ The efficiency of the converter in buck-boost mode depends on the diode forward
voltage drop Vf, so a diode with low Vf is desired. Schottky diode STPS40L45CG
has a forward voltage drop Vf = 0.45V. With the Vf parameter calculated, the
output filter capacitors can now also be calculated:
Equation 5
ை ≥ ைሺ௠௔௫ሻ × ை + ௙ ÷ ூሺ௠௜௡ሻ − ௦௪ + ை + ௙ ௢௦௖ × ∆ை஼
71
Where fosc is the switching frequency (20kHz), ∆ை஼ 200,, and ௦௪ 0.4.
4.2.6 Power Supply
upply
The power supply module is responsible for creating the 3.3v and 1.8v power
rails which are used to power all of the integrated circuits and other externally
exter
powered components in the charging system. The power supply circuit consists
of two voltage regulators and three standby switches for energy savings and
circuit protection.
Figure 21 Power Supply
72
The circuit can be divided into three regions. At the top, everything to the left of
MOSFET M1 is the standby circuit containing 3.3 volts. This circuit is always on
as long as the battery is connected. Everything to the right of M1 is the active
3.3v rail and 1.8v rail. Everything on the bottom is related to controlling the gate
pin of MOSFET M1 for entering and exiting standby mode.
Switching regulator U9 takes the battery voltage as the input and outputs a
regulated 3.3V supply. The low dropout regulator U10 takes the 3.3v input and
outputs a regulated 1.8 volts. These rails are only on when M1 is on. The
standby control circuit is composed of three op-amps operating as comparators.
U11A is the battery voltage comparator. If the battery voltage rises above a
specified level, this comparator triggers the system to enter standby mode to stop
charging. Similarly, if the PV voltage dips too low or the load is too high, op-amps
U11D and U11C will respectively send the power supply into standby mode and
stop the charging process. The outputs of the comparators are ORed together at
the multi input OR gate U12.
When the MPT612 is in standby mode and needs to be woken up again, a signal
is sent from the output of the PV voltage comparator to the chip. The
Powerdown_wakeup signal is used as an interrupt signal to wake up the MPT612
when the PV voltage rises back up to a nominal level for charging, provided that
all of the other parameters (battery voltage, load current) are also nominal.
Finally, at the very bottom of the diagram, the ground connections are shown.
The digital ground and analog ground planes are tied together via inductors L5
and L6. The low side of the battery current reference taps into here. The
mounting hole is grounded and tied to earth ground. The battery current
reference taps into here as well.
4.3.7 JTAG/UART Add-on Board
The JTAG/UART add-on board is described by NXP as an “optional” circuit which
is used to program the charge controller board. For testing, it can also be used to
monitor its performance.
73
Figure 22 JTAG/UART Add-on Board
The top left is the JTAG connector. This is used for flashing new software to the
MPT612 IC. The button on pin 12 is for enabling JTAG. The connector J7 on the
right is what interfaces to the charge controller. It is a 20 pin header. The circuit
on the bottom is the serial interface. U13 is the MAX3221 RS232-level connector
IC.
In windows, using the HyperTerminal, one can connect to the charge controller
over the serial interface to monitor charge performance. First, connect the
JTAG/UART board to the charge controller. Then connect the D-SUB connector
on the JTAG/UART board to a serial (COM) port on the PC. Open HyperTerminal
or TeraTerm and set baud rate to 38400. Connect the external load on the
charge controller. Connect the 12V battery to the charge controller as well as the
PV panels. Press any key in the console to display a menu for open-loop
efficiency testing. The functionality is executed once the menu key is pressed.
The LED status indicators will show the current system function. Green fully on
means the battery is charging. When the green LED is blinking, the battery is
fully charged. Yellow means battery is low. Red means battery is low cut off or
overload cut off. If none of the LEDs are on, the system is in standby. Before
running the test, measure the PV voltage, PV current, battery voltage and battery
current using a multimeter. Once sufficient PV power is available, the output of
74
the application program is displayed on the PC terminal window. Sample
application output is shown below:
Figure 23 Charge Controller Application
75
4.3 Batteries
This section describes the design and implementation of the Battery Bank.
4.3.1 Size Codes and Common Names
Although each manufacturer has their own model numbering system, standard
sizes exist for commercial batteries. Battery Council International (BCI) is a trade
organization that sets some battery standards, including sizing codes. Some
batteries have acquired their names from their intended use. For instance,
GC2S were named from being used as golf cart batteries. Batteries with the
same code or name will have approximately the same dimensions, but their
capacities may differ significantly. This is especially true between flooded and
sealed units. The table below show some of the more common size seen.
Table 25 Common Battery Specifications
Size
Volts (V) Length (In) Width Height Capacity Weight
(In)
(In)
c/20 (Ah) (Lbs)
Group24 12
10.00
7.00
9.00
70 - 85
50
Group 27 12
12.00
7.00
9.00
85 - 105
60
Group31
12
13.00
7.00
9.50
95 - 125
70
4D
12
20.75
8.75
10.00
180 - 215 130
8D
12
20.75
11.00
10.00
225 - 260 160
Gc2
6
10.50
7.00
11.00
180 - 225 70
L-16
6
11.50
7.00
16.75
325 - 415 120
4.3.2 Climate and Temperature
Always take into consideration the climate factor when trying to decide which
battery will be suitable for the renewable energy source application. Most battery
specifications are based on the ideal battery temperature of 77 degrees
Fahrenheit. That is the attainable temperature for conditioned spaces. If the
batteries are out in the cold some adjustments will be necessary. Flooded and
sealed batteries behave a little differently under various temperature ranges, so
be sure to check manufacturers’ specifications.
76
Sizing correction Factors
Temp. ( F) Flooded AGM
77
1.00
1.00
50
1.19
1.06
32
1.39
1.20
14
1.70
1.35
Gel
1.00
1.11
1.25
1.42
For a system requiring 1000 Ah of capacity using flooded batteries in sterling,
VA, with common 40 F winter temperatures, by extrapolation of the above table
we will get a correction factor of 1.29.
Therefore 1,000 Ah x 1.29 = 1,290 Ah battery bank size for winter temperatures
Below- freezing temperatures, the electrolyte becomes very weak in discharged
flooded batteries. The electrolyte can freeze solid, which will ruin the battery and
the case can crack from the expanded ice. Internal connections may be
damaged. For these extreme climate conditions, sealed batteries are a better
choice because their electrolyte solution has a much lower freezing point. On the
other hand the flooded batteries are more adapted for the hot climate.
4.3.3 Location and Safety
Make sure to have adequate and appropriate space to put the battery bank.
Batteries need to be near the inverter. They should be within 10ft. of the inverter.
Batteries need to be protected from unauthorized access. They need to be
properly enclosed and vented to keep corrosive and flammable gasses outside of
occupied spaces. High temperatures will shorten a battery’s life, especially for
sealed batteries, so keep them out of direct sun and provide air circulation if
needed. Good access is critical for inspection, cleaning, replacement and
watering especially for flooded batteries. Therefore, it will be hard to maintain
them if they are hard to get to. That is why it is very important to choose a good
and safe cite for the battery bank. For remote systems, take into consideration
the ease of transporting and installing the batteries.
In sum, the proper temperature, ventilation, and spill containment are important
for a safe and long-lasting battery bank.
4.3.4 Installation of the Batteries
Just having good batteries with high amp-hours are not a guaranty that they will
not fail. This is why it is very important to connect them properly. The standard
technique for installation of a battery bank is series/parallel wiring. The
series/parallel wiring is a best way of combining batteries to get the desired
77
voltage and storage capacities to match the rest of the components in the
system.
Series wiring means to connect the positive terminal of one battery to the
negative terminal of the next battery. By doing so it multiply the voltage of the
individual battery by the number of batteries interconnected until it reaches the
desired voltage.
Figure 24 Series Wiring
Permission Pending
Parallel wiring multiplies the capacity in amp-hours of the battery while the
voltages stay the same. In parallel we wire the positive terminal of one battery or
string to the positive terminal of the other battery or string.
Figure 25 Parallel Wiring
Permission Pending
Series/parallel wiring is the combination of the series and parallel wiring. It is the
technique of wiring used commonly for wiring battery banks in renewable energy
systems.
78
Figure 26 Series/Parallel Example
Permission Pending
To promote equal charging and discharging within a battery bank, it is important
to limit the number of parallel connections. There is one, two and three series
string that are usually used to connect batteries. However the one series string
is best for equal charging and discharging of the battery bank. But some
designers prefer the two series string for redundancy in case one of the battery
or cell fails, there will still be one functional series string at the correct voltage to
rely on until the failed battery can be replaced. The three series strings are
considered marginally acceptable, but more parallel connection introduces too
many paths for the electron to choose from when entering or leaving the battery
strings. Some cells can be chronically undercharged due to minute variations in
cells and inter interconnection resistance which will decrease the life of the
battery bank. In sum a good designer uses batteries with higher amp-hour
capacities and limits the number of parallel connections.
It can be tempting to design a battery bank with plans to add capacity in the
future, but this is not a good practice because of the batteries sensitivity to
unequal charging and discharging whiting the bank. The batteries should all be
the same make and model, and ideally manufactured in the same company. You
should always size for the future from the beginning because adding new
batteries, even with the same make and model, to a battery bank that is more
than a year old is inviting problems the system. This is because the old batteries
will already have higher internal resistances.
We decided to use CSB-HRL12280WFR 12V Deep Cycle Flooded 75Ah
batteries as seen below.
79
Figure 27 CSB-HRL12280WFR
80
4.4 Inverter
The last part of the project or the final stage of the system is the inverter. The
inverter is a very important part of the project because it is through this device
that the user will have the opportunity to access the power stored in the batteries
that was originally obtained from the solar panel and managed by the charge
controller.
The main function of the inverter in layman terms is to take the DC voltage stored
in the batteries and transform it into AC voltage that can be used by the township
of Pomolong to power their electronics. A good inverter will have different socket
shapes for EU and NA to cover all electronic appliances out there such as cell
phones, projectors, and laptops. Another feature the inverter should have is that
it should be able to deliver a good amount of power evenly to its sockets that way
it can power more than one device at a time instead of only one at a time.
Additionally, it is crucial for the inverter to have a simple to use interface with little
to no knowledge in electrical components to operate safely. Lastly, the inverter
should be power efficient which means a pure sine wave output which uses the
maximum amount of AC voltage available for the electronic component being
powered.
It takes two steps for an inverter to change low voltage DC to high voltage AC.
First, low voltage DC power is converted to high voltage DC source. Next, the
high voltage DC source is converted to an AC waveform using pulse width
modulation. A different way to build an inverter is to take the low voltage DC
power convert it to low voltage AC power. Next, use a transformer to raise the
voltage to our desired of 220-240V AC for South Africa. It was decided that the
first method to produce the inverter was more applicable to our project design
and it should be implemented to our project [29].
As stated before, the group is looking to make a pure sine wave inverter as
oppose to modified sine wave inverter. Modified sine waves are closer to square
waves than curvy sine waves; it passes the high voltage DC for a period of time
so that the average power and rms voltage are closer to a pure sine wave.
These modified sine wave inverters are generally cheaper than pure sine wave
inverters, however, the group has decided to build a pure sine wave inverter. A
pure sine wave inverter is the best output for AC voltage, it is the same as a
households power outlet. Some electronic devices will only run on pure sine
wave AC voltage and even go so far as to get damaged. These devices include
laptops, printers, and TVs. Electronic noise is also at its lowest when using pure
sine wave AC voltage. The following is picture displays modified and pure sine
waves.
81
Figure 28 Modified/Pure Sine Wave
Permission Pending
As we can see a modified sine wave is closer to a sine wave then a square
wave. This modified square wave is easy to produce because it simply is 3
different constant values at different points in time.
The differences between AC(Alternating Current) and DC(Direct Current) is that
DC is a constant voltage through a circuit which results in a constant current.
Batteries and digital circuitry use DC power because of logic purposes (1 and 0)
since voltage will be constant high or low for either logic. AC oscillates between
two voltage values at a frequency. In addition, transmission power loss is
proportional to current squared, however, DC is unable of being transformed for
long distance transmission while AC is capable.
Inverters come in all shape and sizes, from lower power functions such as
powering a clock to being part of a backup system for a building. A DC/AC
power inverter which is the type our group will be using. The following is a
picture of what a small power inverter typically looks like.
Figure 29 Commercial Power Inverter
Permission Pending
82
Usually these type of power inverters are used today for many tasks like
powering appliances in a car such as cell phones, radios and televisions, as we
can see they come in handy when performing outdoor activities such as
camping, hiking, or fishing.
Pulse width modulation is a technique used often to power AC devices that have
a DC power source. In this technique there is a variation of duty cycle in the
signal which provides a DC voltage across the load which is in a pattern that
appears to be AC signal for the load. To create this pattern electronic analog
components and a digital microcontroller are used [30]. Analog PWM requires
both a modulating and a carrier signal that inputs into a comparator which
outputs a signal based on the difference between the input signals [31]. The
modulating signal is sinusoidal and operates at the desired output frequency and
the carrier signal is a triangular wave which runs at a much higher frequency.
When the voltage of the carrier signal is higher than the modulating signal the
output is at one state. When the opposite happens then the output is in its
second state. The process is shown in the following figure with carrier signal in
red and the modulating signal in blue and output signal in green.
Figure 30 Pulse Width Modulation
Permission Pending
Finally, the output source is connected to the load through transistors or similar
electronic components which work corresponding to whether the output signal is
high or low. PWM inverters also keep the desired output regardless of the load.
In other inverters, the output changes with changes in the load. To do this, a
PWM inverter changes the output voltage according to the load connected. The
width of the switching frequency in the oscillator is changed which controls the
AC voltage at the output. As we can see, this process involved feedback from
the output part of the inverter to the PWM controller section, thus making the
pulse width changes. The pulse width change of the switching pulse will cancel
whatever changes occur in the output voltage. Therefore, the inverter output will
stay constant regardless of different loads.
83
In order to construct a pure sine wave inverter, it is simpler to split the project into
parts. Thus the following illustrates a simple block diagram of a PWM inverter
which is split into parts for easier understanding and constructing.
Figure 31 Block Diagram for PWM Inverter
Permission Pending
First, we start with the AC IN which is the AC voltage coming from the solar
panels which is managed by the charge controller. Thus, the batteries are
charged and output DC voltage. Next is the PWM controller circuit which is
where the regulation of the output voltage takes place. Additionally, the oscillator
circuit which is where the switching frequency is generated is here.
For the oscillator circuit, a Bubba Oscillator circuit is used to create a PWM signal
using analog devices. The sine wave to be created is to operate at a frequency
of 60 Hz which is the standard frequency for AC voltage from a power outlet. A
Bubba Oscillator produces a stable sine wave signal with little to no distortion
which is perfect for this project. The following is a schematic for a Bubba
Oscillator, as we can see a quad op-amp will be used for this part of the inverter.
84
Figure 32 Bubba Oscillator Diagram
Permission Pending
Most of the time a single PWM integrated circuit takes care of this task.
Examples of the PWM IC are the KA3525 or TL494CN(shown below).
Figure 33 TI TL494CN
Permission Pending
Next, the driver circuit adjusts the signal according to the switching frequency.
To do this, transistors or driving integrated circuits are used for the driver circuit.
The driver circuit is similar to an amplifier. Last, the output circuit, handles the
load it consists of a step up transformer for stepping up the battery voltage to the
new voltage in its first stage. To do this MOSFET devices are primarily used for
the step up transformer. The final output voltage is then available in the second
stage of the step up transformer.
We decided to design a modified sine wave inverter. We originally planned to
design and build a pure sine wave inverter but due to difficulty we designed a
modified sine wave inverter with the schematic for the signal generation and the
PCB ordered from Hackvana seen below.
85
Figure 34 Signal Generation
Figure 35 PCB Design
86
4.5 Monitoring System
The monitoring system are sets of systems that are being implemented to
observe the status the entire power generation system. Some components are
instruments that give readouts from the sensors, while others give readouts
based on calculations of other sensors.
4.5.1 Charge Controller Monitoring System
The charge control monitoring system is simply the sensors that give information
to the charge controller. The sensors will also have their reading displayed in
small analog displays. This will allow any user to know what state in the charging
process the charge controller is in. The charge controller also has lights that will
tell the user if it is charging or not.
4.5.2 Inverter Monitoring System
There are high end commercial inverter which have a digital monitoring display
as well as LED lights in the front panel. These monitoring parts are to indicate to
the user power status of inverter(on/off), voltage input, power output, overload
warning, low input voltage, and high input voltage. A power inverter is a sensitive
piece of equipment and it is the groups wish to have a similar monitoring system
to the one in some commercial inverters to make it easier for users to deal with
the inverter. The following is a picture commercial inverter's monitoring display.
Figure 36 Example of Inverter Monitoring Display
Permission Pending
87
The group made a similar monitoring system to the one displayed above. There
will are three LEDS of different color; they indicate power, input mode, and output
mode. The power LED simply indicates whether the inverter is on or off. The
input mode LED will let the user know that the number display is giving values of
inverter input in Volts. In our case the input are the batteries, which we want to
keep around 12 V. So if the battery output is less than 10V or higher than 15V
the inverter flashes the LED to warn the user and powers down. The output
mode LED lets the user know that the number display is giving values of inverter
output in Watts. So depending on the devices that are connected to the outlets
of the inverter the output Watts change. However, note that the inverter is rated
up to 400W which means that it cannot exceed this limit. If it does the LED will
flash indicating inverter overload and shutdown. In case of shutdown, the user
should address the issue which caused the shutdown and then simply turn off
and back on the inverter.
88
4.6 Encasing
The enclosure design is very important for the G7-SAP project. The approach to
the product’s Casing component was a progressive debate amongst the group
members, continually evolving and building upon itself throughout the whole of
the design process. The group all had justifiably envisioned the product In their
individual ways when they came into this, and had to gradually compromise and
merge all different visions to reach a consensus, yielding a product of increased
functionality by summing the best of all parts. We break up the casing design of
the G7-SAP into two enclosure due to the high danger that the batteries can
cause. We have a casing for the battery bank and another one for all the other
small component such as the inverter and charge controller.
We have seen a variety of materials used successfully such as plastic storage
totes and coolers, fiberglass reinforced plastic, sheet PVC, and even old
refrigerators. We ended up using an old computer chassis and modified it for use
for our project. It’s familiar, attractive, versatile, dimensionally stable, and strong.
Most owner-builders and building crews can make a good box, and it is
adaptable to specific sites and needs. For insulation, we used plywood. The
best plywood material we have used is called “Baltic Birch,” available through
wholesale lumber and hardwood suppliers. We obtained ours from Home Depot.
It is 1/2-inch thick with nine plies, and comes in various sheet sizes, including our
preferred 60- by 60-inch.Besides being attractive, it is dimensionally stable and
easy to work with.
To prevent maintenance issues from occurring, we made sure that the battery
container was well ventilated and had a snug fit on the frame. This is about the
depth of three rows of L16s or two rows of larger industrial-type cells. The length
of the box was around 50 inches. If space is factored in between each battery for
ventilation, this translates into a box length of about 60 inches. Two or three
sheets of 60-inch plywood is enough for most battery enclosures, with little of the
waste if the panels had been cut from conventional 4-by-8-foot plywood. Even if
a box can be less than 48 inches long, a larger enclosure may be justified. A
small system that uses golf-cart batteries may someday be upgraded to L16s or
industrial 2 V cells. A golf-cart battery is about 10 1/2 inches long; an L16 is
about 12 1/4 inches. So upsizing the box initially to fit future battery possibilities
may save money in the long run. To plan a successful battery box layout, we
drew out the batteries on paper and made cardboard templates. We left room
around battery cases for ventilation, to hide rope handles, to maneuver a distilled
water jug, and to get fingers and tools into the box for service. We left 5 inches
above the battery tops for cables and interconnects. Plan the placement and
lengths of your interconnects so that all fill caps are readily accessible and
battery cables do not lay over the cell tops.
The inside of the box was carefully caulked and treated with a penetrating sealer
to resist minor spills or corrosive vapors. For best results, a liner of 40-mil EPDM
89
rubber or pond liner (available at many nurseries or home improvement stores)
was placed in the bottom and about 6-8 inches up the sides, folding instead of
cutting for the corners. This liner protects the wood and forms a leak proof layer.
See the Figure below.
Figure 37 Enclosure Design
90
4.7 Wiring
To keep the performance of the project in creating a power source out of solar
energy, it is important to have good wiring throughout the system. Wire failure
can not only lead to system failure but also to more dangerous cases such as a
fire. Therefore, top of the line wiring with good insulation was used throughout
the system.
Throughout the system, the most important part as far as wiring is concerned is
at the battery and inverter level. To maintain good performance of the inverter
and efficient power flow, the group plans to use 4-AWG copper cable with at
least a 90°C insulation rating. These type of cables are designed to withstand up
to 135 A of current. These are very thick wires that provide low resistance and
transfer energy in a safely manner. The following is a picture of the power cables
that will be used for the battery and inverter part of the system [32].
Figure 38 Power Cables
Permission Pending
Next, we take a look at the specifications for the power cables used.
•
4-AWG cable with at least 90°C insulation rating.
•
Should be as short as possible in order to reduce the voltage drop
between the batteries and inverter.
•
The ends of the power cables should be a metal terminal which allow
secure connection to the battery and terminal. Additionally, the
connection will be covered with rubber.
91
•
Red power cables will be reserved for positive(+) terminals.
•
Black power cables will be reserved for negative(-) terminals.
For the terminals, they were soldered to metal terminals. To do this the ends of
the power cables were stripped, then solder will be heated and poured into the
terminals and then the wire will be inserted to ensure a strong solder. As stated
above once connected they will be covered with rubber covers to prevent
contact. Note, it was important to correctly wire up the polarities of the inverter
with the batteries, if this is failed the inverter colld fail and could possibly get
damaged.
92
4.8 Design Summary
The purpose of this section is to give a general overview on what is planned to
be designed for this project. The South Africa project to help generate power to
the community center for the impoverished African village of the Pomolong
Township is divided into four distinct parts. All the research and design of each
of the parts have been explained in detail. What remains in this section is just a
cursory overview for the purpose of getting a general idea on what design plans
will be implemented. The four major parts to this project are the Solar panels,
the Charge Controller, the Battery Bank, and the Inverter.
The Solar Panel is the portion of the project that generates the power. It is being
implemented because of the two forms of renewable energy, it was the most
practical for the limited budget at hand. The kind of solar panel was chosen
based on price, availability, durability, and efficiency. Solar panels are the most
expensive part of the project, so a lot of research was done in comparing the
prices to see what panels were the most price competitive while retaining a high
efficiency. The result of the research showed that grade-A Mono-crystalline
silicon photovoltaic panels were the most efficient cost effective solar panels that
could be obtained. For approximately 1,000.00 US dollars, two 700W panels
could be bought, costing a little over a dollar per watt.
Batteries are the second most expensive part of the project, and like solar
panels, a lot of time was used to determine if more expensive batteries were
worth the slight increase in efficiency and safety. Although safety is at the top of
the design consideration, having a working design that could be used by the
villagers was almost as important. It was found through research that the best
batteries were Lithium-ion batteries, because of their efficiency and ideal
characteristics. It was found that among, Lead-Acid Batteries, that AGM was
superior in almost every way. The final sway in the decision to go with flooded
Deep-Cycle Lead-Acid Batteries was there cost and availability. It was
considered that the part of the system most likely to be damaged or be in need of
replacement would be the Batteries, so it would be ideal to choose batteries that
could be easily obtained in almost any place in the world. With the price for the
battery being lower, it allows for more room in the budget to make irreplaceable
parts in the project more robust and stable.
The charge controller was introduced as the component in the solar system that
sits in between the PV panels and the battery bank, and provides protection and
monitoring capabilities aside from increasing the efficiency of the charging
process using the MPPT algorithm. Several different charge controller
implementations were looked at, varying from the simplicity of a 555 timer or an
Arduino, but these were too simplistic in the sense that they did not employ the
use of a DC-DC converter for increasing efficiency. In the case of Arduino, it
freed up the computer engineer from doing any real computer engineering. The
more sophisticated charge controller ICs all required some form of DC-DC
93
converter and thus were more complex however also far more efficient. They
were specifically geared toward renewable energy applications, so all featured an
MPPT algorithm. The ICs from Texas Instruments and NXP have sophisticated
features such as full bridges and ADCs, compared to a simple 555 timer.
The NXP Semiconductor MPT612 Maximum power point tracking IC was
selected for its flexibility, power, and high level of documentation. It has plenty of
protection features which prevent catastrophic failure in the event that the panels
or battery are connected backwards. It has load cutoff if the load gets too high or
the battery voltage goes too low. The MPT612 can automatically switch between
buck-boost and buck-only mode depending on the relative voltages of the PV
panel and battery, and uses operational amplifiers and current shunt monitors to
accurately and precisely monitor the voltage and current of both the PV panels
and the battery. Accurate measurement of the PV current is vital for the
microcontroller’s ability to latch onto the maximum power point.
To summarize the inverter design, many ideas have been gathered from
previous inverter technology. To begin with, the enclosure will be metal with air
vents on the sides of the inverter to help with cooling, if possible fins will also be
incorporated. During testing, we will measure temperatures while in different
levels of operation. If it is required, then fans will be incorporated to the
enclosure on the back panel of the inverter. The enclosure will also have a
warning label on the top part of the inverter. On the front panel of the inverter,
there will be two power outlets, a power switch, 3 LEDS(input mode, output
mode, Power on/off), and a 3 digit monitor display.
Next, for the circuitry, we will first assemble it in a breadboard and make sure the
circuitry outputs the desired output. The reason for this is that to achieve a pure
sine wave a lot of tweaking will need to be done along with an oscilloscope until
the final circuitry is achieved. Then with a schematic on hand, the pcb board will
be ordered with the components integrated. At this point, the enclosure and the
board will be connected. This includes the power switch connection, the monitor
display, and anything else that is attached with the enclosure. The inverter will
take in 24V DC and output 210V AC in a pure sine wave form.
the conclusion of this design summary will end on a solemn note. The best and
most expensive parts were unfeasible to use and implement in the design due to
budget constraints. With the tools that were available, robust design in a MPPT
charge controller as well as a Perfect Sine inverter are implemented to give the
people of Pomolong the best that could be given It was fully wished and desired
to use the most expensive parts, but as they were not available, what can be
given is something that will work as well or better.
94
5.0 Project Prototype Construction
The purpose of this section of the documentation is to highlight how construction
of a working prototype can be accomplished. This includes a plan on acquiring
parts, listing the bill of materials, and developing a plan to have the PCB ready
for final project.
5.1 Parts Acquisition
Our project was entirely sponsored by Progress Energy. The group turned in a
proposal with a budget of $1995 estimated for all the parts required for the
project and the budget was approved. We had to order parts and give the
receipts to a coordinator who later reimbursed the money in the form of a check.
The group could not be reimbursed for any parts purchased online and shipped
to their residence, so anything purchased from the internet had to be addressed
to UCF.
Before the acquisition of any part, all group members had to approve the
purchase. The reason behind this is if any other group member may know where
to get it cheaper, if they already have that part or a replaceable part, or if they
already acquired the part. The last thing the group wanted to do was to waste
money and if there is anything that we already had that could be used, then so
be it. Additionally, there was an inventory of all parts used in the project
indicating how it was obtained, how it was used, and how much it cost. If for any
reason, we did not get the Progress Energy sponsorship or the group did not get
the full amount asked in the proposal, the cost of parts would be be split between
group members.
95
5.2 Bill of Materials
The following is the component list and price that is required for construction of
the South Africa Project. This project is roughly divided into the photovoltaic
panels, the battery bank, the charge controller and the Inverter. A budget for the
project was proposed and mentioned earlier in this paper, but this section goes
into detail on the specification and price of each part that will be purchased.
Table 26 Charge Controller Bill of Materials
ref
value
footprint
part number
C1
4.7nF
SM0805
C0805C472K2RACT
U
C2
4.7nF
SM0805
C0805C472K2RACT
U
C3
1000uF
C2V10
UHD1H102MHD
C4
680uF
C2V10
UHD1V681MHD
C5
1000uF
C2V10
UHD1H102MHD
C7
680uF
C2V10
UHD1V681MHD
C13
0.1uF
SM0805
08055C104MAT2A
C14
10uF
C1V8
UVZ1E100MDD
C15
10uF
C1V8
UVZ1J100MDD
C16
10uF
C1V8
UVZ1J100MDD
C18
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C19
10uF
C1V8
UVZ1C100MDD
C20
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C21
0.1uF
SM0805
08055C104MAT2A
C22
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C23
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C24
0.1uF
SM0805
08055C104MAT2A
C25
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C26
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C27
4.7uF
SM1206
C1206C475K5PACT
U
C28
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C29
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C30
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C31
0.1uF
SM0805
08055C104MAT2A
C32
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C34
0.33uF
SM0805
08055C334MAT2A
C35
0.33uF
SM0805
08055C334MAT2A
C36
0.01uF
SM0805
08055C103MAT2A
C37
0.1uF
SM0805
08055C104MAT2A
C38
0.1uF
SM0805
08055C104MAT2A
96
vendor
Kemet
cost
$0.22
Kemet
$0.22
Nichicon
Nichicon
Nichicon
Nichicon
AVX
Nichicon
Nichicon
Nichicon
AVX
Nichicon
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
Kemet
$1.95
$1.59
$1.95
$1.59
$0.06
$0.20
$0.20
$0.20
$0.10
$0.15
$0.10
$0.06
$0.10
$0.10
$0.06
$0.10
$0.10
$0.45
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
$0.10
$0.10
$0.10
$0.06
$0.10
$0.79
$0.79
$0.10
$0.06
$0.06
C39
C40
C41
C42
C43
C49
C50
C51
C52
C53
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
C1V8
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055A220KAT2P
08055A220KAT2P
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C331KAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
UVZ1E470MDD
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
Nichicon
$0.06
$0.06
$0.06
$0.17
$0.17
$0.06
$0.06
$0.22
$0.06
$0.18
C1V8
EEUFM1A681L
Panasonic Corp
$0.84
C55
C56
C57
C58
C59
C60
C61
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
22pF
22pF
0.1uF
0.1uF
330pF
2.2uF
47uF 25V
CMAX
680uF
10V
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
4.7nF
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM1206
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
Kemet
$0.06
$0.06
$0.06
$0.06
$0.06
$0.06
$0.15
C62
4.7uF
SM1206
Kemet
$0.45
C65
4.7uF
SM1206
Kemet
$0.45
C68
C69
C70
C71
C73
D1
0.01uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.1uF
0.33uF
ES1B
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
DO214
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
C1206C472KDRACT
U
C1206C475K5PACT
U
C1206C475K5PACT
U
08055C103MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C104MAT2A
08055C334MAT2A
ES1B
$0.10
$0.06
$0.06
$0.06
$0.79
$0.46
D2
DPAK2
STPS40L45CG
D5
STPS40L
45CG
BYV42E
TO220
BYV42E-150
D7
ES1B
DO214
ES1B
D8
BYV44
TO220
BYV44-500
D9
12V 0.5W
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
AVX
Fairchild
Semiconductor
STMicroelectron
ics
NXP
Semiconductors
Fairchild
Semiconductor
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
C54
D10
diode-1SOD123
MMBD414 SOT23
8
BZT52H-C12
MMBD4148
97
$1.52
$1.44
$0.46
$0.30
$0.05
D11
D12
PMEG601
0CEJ
ES1B
diode-1SOD323-W
DO214
$0.34
HLMP-1719
NXP
Semiconductors
Fairchild
Semiconductor
NXP
Semiconductors
Everlight
ES1B
D13
BYV42E
TO220
BYV42E-150
D16
LED_YEL
LOW1
LED_GRE
EN1
LED_RED
1
24V 0.5W
LED-3MM
LED-3MM
HLMP-1790
Everlight
$0.24
LED-3MM
HLMP-K150
Everlight
$0.22
BZT52H-C24
F2
50A FUSE 6.3x32mm
BK/AGC-50
F1
FUSE
HOLDER
FUSE
HOLDER
JTAG/UA
RT
751.0056
NXP
Semiconductors
AVX
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
Cooper
Bussmann
Cooper
Bussmann
Schurter
$0.30
DC1
DR1
DR2
DR3
DR4
F1
diode-1SOD123
0.1uF
SM0805
10k 5%
SM0805
10k 5%
SM0805
10k 5%
SM0805
10k 5%
SM0805
50A FUSE 6.3x32mm
751.0056
Schurter
$0.50
SSW-110-01-T-D
Samtec Inc
$2.24
TSW-110-07-T-S
Samtec Inc
$0.75
282856-2
$0.87
$26.49
$0.30
$0.30
D17
D18
D19
PMEG6010CEJ
08055C104MAT2A
RK73B2ATTD103J
RK73B2ATTD103J
RK73B2ATTD103J
RK73B2ATTD103J
BK/AGC-50
J15
GPIO_CO
N
J141
282856-2
keystoneFH_5X20
keystoneFH_5X20
conheaders-jpHDR-1002X10
conheaders-jpSIP-100-10
mors_2p
J142
282856-2
mors_2p
282856-2
J143
282856-2
mors_2p
282856-2
J144
282856-2
mors_2p
282856-2
L1
L2
85uH 20A
121E_bea
d
121E_bea
617 / 22
SM0603
RB6132-50-0M2
EXC-3BP121H
TE Connectivity
/ AMP
TE Connectivity
/ AMP
TE Connectivity
/ AMP
TE Connectivity
/ AMP
Schaffner
Panasonic Corp
SM0603
EXC-3BP121H
Panasonic Corp
F2
J6
L3
98
$0.46
$1.44
$0.25
$0.06
$0.08
$0.08
$0.08
$0.08
$0.72
$0.72
$0.50
$0.87
$0.87
$0.87
L4
L5
L6
L7
L8
d
121E_bea
d
121 BEAD
121 BEAD
47uH
SM0603
EXC-3BP121H
Panasonic Corp
$0.30
SM0603
SM0603
-140CLH1010
SM0603
EXC-3BP121H
EXC-3BP121H
B82464G4473M
Panasonic Corp
Panasonic Corp
EPCOS
$0.30
$0.30
$2.09
EXC-3BP121H
Panasonic Corp
$0.30
SOT23
PMV65XP
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
EPCOS
$0.42
2381 640 63152
Vishay/BC
Components
$0.39
PSMN8R2-80YS
NXP
Semiconductors
$1.30
PSMN1R3-30YL
NXP
Semiconductors
$1.30
PSMN8R2-80YS
NXP
Semiconductors
$1.30
M1
121E_bea
d
PMV65XP
M5
PMV65XP
SOT23
PMV65XP
M6
PMV65XP
SOT23
PMV65XP
R3LARGE_PA
DS
R3LARGE_PA
DS
transistorpowerSOT669
transistorpowerSOT669
transistorpowerSOT669
transistorpowerSOT669
SOT223
SIOV-CN2220K25G
PSMN1R3-30YL
NXP
Semiconductors
$1.30
PBSS8110Z
$0.43
SOT23
PMBT2222A
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
Semiconductors
NXP
MOV1 VR
NTC1
RVAR
Q1
PSMN8R2
-80YS
Q2
PSMN1R3
-30YL
Q3
PSMN8R2
-80YS
Q4
PSMN1R3
-30YL
Q5
Q6
PBSS811
0Z
2N2222A
Q7
2N2222A
SOT23
PMBT2222A
Q8
SOT23
PBSS4160T
SOT23
PBSS4160T
Q11
PBSS416
0T
PBSS416
0T
2N2222A
SOT23
PMBT2222A
Q13
PBSS416
SOT23
PBSS4160T
Q9
99
$0.42
$0.42
$0.12
$0.12
$0.17
$0.17
$0.12
$0.17
R1
0T
15 5%
SM0805
ESR10EZPJ150
R2
15 5%
SM0805
ESR10EZPJ150
R3
68.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF6812
R4
27.4k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF2742
R5
3.9k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF3901
R6
R7
0.010 1%
4.7k 1%
R2512
SM0805
MCS3264R010FER
MCR10EZHF4701
R8
R10
R16
R21
R22
R23
0.005 1%
0.01 1%
33 5%
10k 5%
20k 5%
10k 1%
R2512
R2512
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
MCS3264R005FER
MCS3264R010FER
ERJ-6GEYJ330V
RK73B2ATTD103J
RK73B2ATTD203J
MCR10EZPF1002
R24
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R25
68.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF6812
R26
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R27
1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1001
R28
R29
10k 5%
68.1k 1%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD103J
MCR10EZHF6812
R30
68.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF6812
R31
0 SM0805
MCR10EZHJ000
R32
R33
R35
10k 5%
20k 5%
10k 1%
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD103J
RK73B2ATTD203J
MCR10EZPF1002
R36
5.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF5101
R37
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R38
68.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF6812
100
Semiconductors
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
Ohmite
ROHM
Semiconductor
Ohmite
Ohmite
Panasonic Corp
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
$0.17
$0.17
$0.10
$0.05
$0.05
$0.40
$0.05
$0.40
$0.40
$0.07
$0.08
$0.08
$0.05
$0.05
$0.10
$0.05
$0.05
$0.08
$0.10
$0.10
$0.05
$0.08
$0.08
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.10
R39
5.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF5101
R40
1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1001
R41
0 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHJ000
R42
68.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF6812
R43
68.1k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF6812
R44
2.74k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF2741
R45
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R46
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R48
2.74k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF2741
R53
R54
10k 5%
100k 1%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD103J
MCR10EZPF1003
R55
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R56
R57
R58
4.7k 5%
1k 5%
2.2k 5%
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTDD472J
RK73B2ATTDD102J
MCR10EZPJ222
R59
18k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1802
R60
100k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1003
R64
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R65
R66
4.7k 5%
10k 1%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTDD472J
MCR10EZPF1002
R67
R72
10k 5%
47k 5%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD103J
MCR10EZPJ473
R75
2.2k 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ222
R76
R77
1k 5%
100k 1%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTDD102J
MCR10EZPF1003
R78
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
101
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.10
$0.10
$0.10
$0.05
$0.05
$0.10
$0.08
$0.05
$0.05
$0.08
$0.08
$0.10
$0.10
$0.05
$0.05
$0.08
$0.05
$0.08
$0.05
$0.10
$0.08
$0.05
$0.05
R79
2.2k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF2201
R81
R82
R84
20k 5%
20k 5%
100 1%
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD203J
RK73B2ATTD203J
MCR10EZHF1000
R86
100 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1000
R87
100 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1000
R93
0.2 SM0805
MCR10EZHFLR200
R94
2.2k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF2201
R96
20.5k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF2052
R97
100 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ101
R98
100 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1000
R99
12.4k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1242
R100
47k 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ473
R101
R102
10k 5%
1M 5%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD103J
MCR10EZPJ105
R103
1M 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ105
R104
100k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1003
R105
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R106
15k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1502
R107
10k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZPF1002
R108
22k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF2202
R109
1M 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ105
R110
20.5k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF2052
R111
R112
10k 5%
1M 5%
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTD103J
MCR10EZPJ105
102
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
ROHM
$0.08
$0.08
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.37
$0.10
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.08
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.08
$0.05
R113
47k 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ473
R114
2M 1%
SM1206
MCR18EZPF2004
R115
47k 5%
SM0805
MCR10EZPJ473
R116
15k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1502
R117
15k 1%
SM0805
MCR10EZHF1502
R118
R119
R120
4.7k 5%
4.7k 5%
1M 5%
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTDD472J
RK73B2ATTDD472J
MCR10EZPJ105
R121
R122
R123
100k 5%
33 5%
100k 1%
SM0805
SM0805
SM0805
RK73B2ATTED104J
ERJ-6GEYJ330V
MCR10EZPF1003
R124
SW2
1k 5%
RESET
SW
RK73B2ATTDD102J
1825027-5
U3
IRS21171
SM0805
conheaders-jpSIP-100-02
SOIC8
U4
LPV324M
U5
LPV324M
U6
LPV324M
U9
U10
MC33063
A
TPS73018 SOT23
TPS73018DBV
U11
LPV324M
LPV324M/NOPB
U12
74LVC1G
332GW
INA194AI
DBVT
MPT612F
BD48
12.000
MHz
U14
U15
X1
avr-4SOIC14
avr-4SOIC14
avr-4SOIC14
SOIC8
IRS21171STRPBF
LPV324M/NOPB
LPV324M/NOPB
LPV324M/NOPB
MC33063ADR2G
avr-4SOIC14
SOT363_P
HILIPS
SOT23
INA194AIDBVT
LQFP48
MPT612FBD48,151
HC-49V
ECS-120-20-4XDN
74LVC1G332GW
Total
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
KOA Speer
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
Panasonic Corp
ROHM
Semiconductor
KOA Speer
TE Connectivity
International
Rectifier
Texas
Instruments
Texas
Instruments
Texas
Instruments
ON
Semiconductor
Texas
Instruments
Texas
Instruments
NXP
Semiconductors
Texas
Instruments
NXP
Semiconductors
ECS
$0.05
$0.14
$0.05
$0.05
$0.05
$0.08
$0.08
$0.05
$0.08
$0.07
$0.05
$0.08
$0.11
$3.15
$1.19
$1.19
$1.19
$0.79
$0.63
$1.19
$0.32
$2.14
$7.98
$1.09
$99.71
103
5.3 PCB Vender and Assembly
The PCB layout for the charge controller is shown below. The board in its current
state features 209 components,
omponents, mostly of surface mount packaging. The final
design was mainly done on perf boards divided into modules as outlined in the
schematics. Building the system in a modularized fashion allowed
allow
for more
effective testing and debugging. Also, moving to a purely through-hole
through
component selection was desired for easier assembly and prototyping.
Figure 39 PCB
As outlined in the bill o
of materials, many of the parts were
re available at Mouser
electronics. Components which were not found in the Mouser catalog were
either found in DigiKey’s catalog or Future Electronics.. All of the electrolytic
capacitors were chosen from Nichicon. All of the ceramic capacitors are AVX
branded surface mount 0805 components. Some of them are size 1206 and
Kemet branded. Nearly all of the resistors are size 0805 and from ROHM
Semiconductor or KOA Speer. The current sense resistors are size 1225.
Most of the diodes and transistors are NXP Semiconductor branded. These
components and their respective track
tracks on the circuit board were revised to
support higher currents (about 50A maximum
maximum)) in order to sustain at least 500W
5
of solar energy without fault. The other active components such as quad op
amps, current shunt monitor, and switching voltage regulator were
wer cataloged
from ON Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, and International Rectifier. These
104
components were also changed because the design moved to a through-hole
topology.
The system is estimated to cost around $300 USD, including the cost of the
circuit boards. The most expensive component found during selection was the
inductor, coming in at over 25% of the total cost at $26.49. This is likely due to
the cost of materials associated with winding copper wire to create the inductor.
Second to the inductor was the MPT612 chip itself. Though not nearly as
expensive, it comes in at $7.98.
Three different options were considered during research for fabrication of the
printed circuit board: Home fabrication, Hackvana PCBs, and 4PCB. Home
fabrication of the PCB is most desirable, as it shows a high level of skill in the
general prototyping and design field. It is also cost effective, as a homemade
circuit board can be fabricated for a fraction of the cost compared to sending it
out to a vendor. The drawbacks for homemade circuit boards are that they are
not as professional looking, absent expensive machinery such as a CNC or drill
press. Furthermore, etching small tracks at very close tolerances for surface
mount components such as the LQFP48 may prove to be somewhat difficult.
Etching a double sided board may also be more difficult than it seems. Shorts
and opens may exist and not be discovered until later, requiring a partial or full
rework of the whole board.
Hackvana is a PCB and electronic components vendor based out of Shenzhen
China. Hackvana (nirvana for hackers), has supplied nearly 4,000 PCBs in just
the last year alone. Since they are based in China, shipping time may be longer
however manufacturing costs are greatly reduced. Hackvana is able to
manufacture professional high quality circuit boards of any shape and size.
Different color options are also available, as well as silk screen text.
Lastly, there is 4PCB. 4PCB is an American based circuit board manufacturer
located in Aurora Colorado, Tempe Arizona, and Maple Grove Minneapolis.
4PCB is going to be the vendor of last resort for this project, considering the
higher costs associated. They may also be considered if a PCB needs to be
made and delivered ASAP, since they are in the USA. Being that 4PCB is a
much larger and more established company than Hackvana, they are clearly
reputable and reliable. Ultimately, the available funds and time will determine
who wins the bid for circuit board vendor.
105
6.0 Project Prototype Testing
The purpose of this section of the project report is to give a detailed explanation
on how testing of each of the project components as well as the project as a
whole will be conducted.
6.1 Solar Panel Testing
Testing solar panels are not an easy task and setting up the appropriate testing
environment was the first order of business when it comes to testing solar
panels. The first thing that needed to be set up was to have a sturdy apparatus
constructed for the solar panel to sit on. The elevation around 6 feet at 30
degrees. The power system was tested on the ground for safety reasons,
although the final design is meant for the panels to be mounted on a roof. Before
testing the panels, proper safety precautions were made. The safety procedure
included the following:
•
Checking if wires are grounded,
•
Making sure rubber grips are used
•
Using Multimeters that are capable of handling the current and voltage
load from the solar panel
All of the Rating specifications are often found on the back of any solar panel. As
part of the safety measures, all labeling will be read before testing.
To get an accurate read, the testing occurred in a “full sun” time of the day which
was easy to do in April in Florida. This means that the sun needed to be fully
exposed. This was conducted during the middle of the day.
The first test that was conducted was a Voltage test. To do this you need to get
the voltage of an open circuit. In order to test voltage, a multimeter’s leads needs
to be attached at the positive terminal and the negative terminal. This is where a
warning needs to be made, because photovoltaic panels are live when exposed
to sunlight, and it would result in serious injury if improper contact was made with
the potential difference. Live voltage will be flowing through the terminals of the
output. When this happens arc flashes, sparking or shocking could happen.
The next step in measuring the voltage is to double check that the multimeter is
set to DC Voltage at the 200 V marking and on voltage. The rated open circuit
voltage is on the back of the panel, and the voltmeter should read approximately
the same value as the rated open circuit voltage.
106
The next measurement that will be tested will be the short circuit current. The
rating for the short circuit current should also be on the panel, and that is the
value that will be compared. To test the closed circuit current, the photovoltaic
panel must be completely covered. A solution to this problem is to turn the panel
away from the sun to that it is not absorbing direct photons. This is another
safety precaution that will be put in effect to prevent sparking when hooking the
photovoltaic cell to the Multimeter. As stated before, Photovoltaics in daylight are
live.
When checking the current, the leads from the Multimeter must be pushed firmly
into the input and output of the panel, and set to DC Amperes on the 10 Amperes
range. Once connected the panel will be \turned to face the sun again. Once
directly facing the sun, the solar panel were tilted so that they were facing the
sun perpendicularly. The recorded current was then measured against the
specifications on the back of the panel to test for actual output. Efficiency of the
system was determined after testing was complete.
These two tests can be performed before purchasing a Solar Panel so that the
system is confirmed to work as rated or better, but we could not do it since we
purchased our panels online. To find how much power is being produced, this
simple equation for DC power was applied:
Equation 6
DCWatts = Voltage × Current
The power is measured in Watts (W), the voltage is measured in Volts (V), and
current is measured in Amperes (I). The power generated in full sunlight depends
upon the resistance of the electrical load connected to it. Ohm’s law states that V
= I x R, meaning that a simple method of measuring power output of a solar
panel is to connect different values of resistors of to the panel and measure the
voltage.
The measurements were used to plot the power output, and a performance
graph for the individual panel. The manufacturer of the photovoltaic cell panel
usually has this chart already prepared, results from individual testing can check
the actual against the theoretical.
The only way to test if a solar panel is charging correctly is to test it with a
battery. The photovoltaic cells will be producing DC voltage and current, so there
is no problem in applying it directly to the battery using the appropriately gauged
wire.
A multimeter were then connected, through short circuit, to find how much
current is flowing through to the battery. This test also reveals the internal
resistance of the battery. Once this was completed, using the same equations as
107
before, an accurate assessment of how well the solar panels are actually
charging the battery was made and actual power estimates were produced. The
single most important factor when performing these tests was to perform them in
the middle of a clear shining sun. This is because only direct sunlight will give
correct readings as to what the peak performance of the panels truly are.
Above all, when working with high voltages and current, safety must be the
highest priority. Utmost caution must be used in connecting the solar panel to
anything while in direct sunlight. Under sunlight, the photovoltaic cell is producing
DC voltage and current and can cause sparking r arc flashes when connecting.
Solar Panel Testing Checklist:
•
Set multimeter to DC Voltage
•
tests performed in the clear sunny sky
•
Turn panel away from sun
•
Perform Open Circuit Voltage test with multimeter
•
Rotate the photovoltaic cell both away from the sun
•
Turn the panel away from the sun
•
Disconnect multimeter
•
Set multimeter to DC Amperes
•
Perform short circuit current test with multimeter
•
Turn the photovoltaic panel towards the sun
•
Rotate the photovoltaic cells perpendicular to the sun to measure the full
DC current
•
Turn the photovoltaic cell away from sunlight
•
Disconnect multimeter
•
Connect the Solar Panel directly to the Battery using appropriate gauged
wiring
•
Connect the multimeter
108
•
Set multimeter to DC Amperes to measure the amount of DC current
flowing into the battery.
•
Rotate the photovoltaic cells away from the sun
•
Record highest amount of current drawn.
•
Turn the photovoltaic cells away from the sun
•
Disconnect the battery.
109
6.2 Battery Testing
When testing a flooded battery it is very important to visually inspect it for
obvious problems. Check to see if there is anything loose or broken. Verify also
that the terminal clams are not corroded, dirty or wet. Get a digital voltmeter with
0.5% or better accuracy to test the state of the battery. The table below helped tp
estimate the state of the battery.
Table 27 Voltage vs. State of Charge
Digital Voltmeter Approximate State Of Charge
12.65
100%
12.45
75%
12.24
50%
12.06
25%
11.89
0%
After that we tested a battery charge time and discharge time in order to gauge
the time of charge needed for the battery to be fully charged or discharged. The
time of battery charge mainly depends on solar panels output power, which in
turn depends on the irradiance level. The battery discharge time determine the
maximum charge supplied to the inverter. See the tables below
110
Table 28 Battery Charge Time
Steps Procedure
Expected Results
1
Connect the battery
Battery should start to
to the system with no load Charge
2
Connect Multi-meter
to battery to check
for voltage
The Multi-meter should
read a voltage that
coincides with the
charging stage
3
Connect Multi-meter
to battery to check
for current
The Multi-meter should
read a current that
coincides with the
charging stage
4
Monitor the time it
takes for the battery
to reach the Float
charging state
According to the
battery and charge
controller ratings, it
should take 8 hrs
Table 29 Battery Discharge Time
Steps Procedure
Expected Results
1
Connect the battery Battery should start to
to the inverter with a discharge
predetermined load
2
Connect Multi-meter The Multi-meter should
to battery to check
read battery-full voltage
for voltage
that will gradually decrease
3
Connect Multi-meter The Multi-meter should
to battery to check
read a current that is
for current
being drawn
4
Monitor the time it
takes for the battery
to reach the Float
charging state
According to the
battery and load
ratings, it should take 8
Hrs. at a 5Ah load rate
111
6.3 Inverter Testing
First, we tested if the inverter outputs an AC voltage of 120V from a 24V DC
power source. The output waveform should be a modified sine wave with no
distortion. The maximum power should be 500W and the surge power should be
600W. If any of the specifications above were not accomplished then the group
had to go back to designing and building because without these specifications
than the inverter could not be able to accomplish its goal of powering AC loads at
the groups specifications.
When testing new equipment it is important to note what the equipment is meant
to do, thus having an idea of what kind of testing to perform not only to check if it
is in proper working condition but also meets safety standards and will not
endanger its users. So if one looks at the purpose of the projects inverter, the
device is used to convert DC power to AC power. Therefore, this device works
with high voltage and current which will cause high temperatures coming from
the device. The high temperatures can potentially cause a fire if there are no
cooling properties for the device.
So for the first part of testing, we wanted to make sure that the inverter is safe to
use for long periods of times without anything catching fire. Also, we had to take
note that the system would be used in a non air-conditioned room. So to take
this into account, we did temperature testing outside. As far as stress tests for
the inverter, the group plans on running the inverter for 8 hours straight powering
a low demanding AC load which is no more than 150 W and monitor the
temperatures. Next, we will run the inverter at its max AC load for as long as the
batteries can hold and monitor the temperatures. Depending on the results of
these tests the inverter may require some idle time after being run at its max AC
load. According to commercial inverter's user manuals and information considers
the electrical components of the inverter, the surrounding air temperature should
be between -20 C and 40 C. To help dissipate the temperatures from the
inverter, the group plans to make the enclosure of the inverter of metal as well
with small slits to provide ventilation [33].
Next, we address the warning/caution labels. The group plans to have a label on
the inverter that addresses all the safety procedures that are involved when using
the inverter. These also include the appliances which our solar panel powered
energy source can be used safely. These warning label contents include but are
not limited to the following:
•
Danger of shock or electrocution - Please treat the inverter outlets the
same as you would treat a standard power outlet.
112
•
Do not use the inverter near flammable materials or any location that can
contain flammable gases. Note that when disconnecting or connecting a
device from/to the inverter a brief spark may occur.
•
Do connect any appliance to the inverter that are wet or damaged.
•
Do not let minors handle the inverter.
•
Do not allow any liquids to contact the inverter.
•
Do not leave the inverter in direct sunlight.
•
Do not cover the inverter. Keep the inverter in a clear area that has good
air circulation.
•
Do not input anything different than a 24V DC power source. The inverter
is made to work with 24V DC power source, anything else can damage
the inverter.
•
Make sure to connect the 24V DC power source correctly positive to the
red terminal and black to the negative terminal. If not connected right, the
inverter will be damaged.
•
Do not connect the inverter to any appliance that uses over 700W of
power to operate. It will not operate due to surge power requirements.
•
Do not use this inverter with medical equipment.
•
Do not use this inverter while in motion.
•
In the event of anything irregular with the system IMMEDIATELY turn the
inverter off and disconnect any appliances from the inverter.
The group plans on having the above warning label contents in a warning label
on the surface of the inverter, where it is clear to see and read by the users. The
following is a sample of how the warning label will look like. Note that the above
guidelines are not on the label, however they will be in the finished product.
113
Figure 40 Warning Label Sample
Permission Pending
Next, we address surge power for the appliances being used with the inverter.
The surge power also called peak power or load is the initial power input an
appliance needs to start. Once started the appliance needs less power to
operate. In the case of this inverter, the surge power is 600W. Any appliance
with a higher surge power will not start or operate with this inverter. This
operating power of an appliance is called continuous load in terms of power
requirements. Most appliances will not mention how much power it needs to
start and operate. So the user has to determine these two values. If it is looks
for values in Watts(W) in a stick or label of the appliance or its charger or user's
manual. If not, then we can calculate from Amperes(A) by multiplying the
Amperes * 120V which equals the continuous load in Watts(W). For most
appliances, one can multiply the continuous load in Watts(W) by two to find the
surge power requirements also in Watts(W). Note, that this is just an
approximations and some appliances including refrigerators have a much higher
surge power requirement.
114
6.4 Sensor Testing
A testing plan, shown in the following tables has been made in order to make
sure that all of the sensors that are going to be incorporated work the way they
are supposed to work. This also helped to eliminate the possibility of any factory
defects existing before they were implemented into the final design. The following
tables contain each sensor to be tested with the test plan that was put in place
for each sensor followed by the results.
Table 30 Voltage Sensor
Step #
1
Procedure
Devise a voltage divider
configuration.
Results
Standard.
2
Calculate appropriate
resistor values based on
the Solar panel and
microcontroller specs.
R1= Large R value
R2= Small value
Vout < 5 volts min
3
Simulate Voltage Divider
using a circuit simulation
software.
Circuit simulation should
reflect previous expected
results.
4
Build a voltage follower
connected to a low pass
filter.
Vout was equal at the
designated points.
5
Construct circuit and test it
Results reflected the
simulation results.
Table 31 Current Sensor
Step #
1
Procedure
Implement the shunt
resistor monitor in
the a circuit design.
Results
Shunt resistor was in series
with voltage source.
2
The current value is going
be verified in both the
Microcontroller and the
Voltmeter
Current was the same on
both devices.
115
Table 32 Temperature Sensor
Step #
1
Procedure
Temperature sensor is
connected to the
Microcontroller.
Results
A value was outputted by
the sensor.
2
Sensor is tested in room
temperature and compared
with a thermometer.
Both temperature results
were close to equal.
3
Extra heat is applied to both
thermometer and
temperature sensor.
Increase in Temperature
reading in the thermometer
matched the sensor's
readings.
Table 33 Solar Radiation Sensor
Step #
1
Procedure
The Sensor is connected to
the Microcontroller board
Results
Data was received from the
output of the Microcontroller.
2
Ambient light will be
increased and decreased.
Noticeable changes in
the raw data were observed.
3
Sensor will be placed in
direct sunlight and in
shade.
Similar results as the previous
test were obtained.
4
The algorithm to translate
the reading to lumens will
be implemented.
Direct sunlight: 100,000 lux.
Cloudy sky: 5,000 - 10,000 lux
Moonlight: Less than 0.25 lux.
116
6.5 Wiring Testing and Precautions
When connecting the wiring between the different parts of the system, we first
powered off all parts including the charge controller and inverter. We made sure
the power cable was not connected to the inverter as well.
The first step began by connecting the solar panels to the charge controller. The
length and elevation of the wire was very important. Minimizing these factors
allowed a decrease in the voltage drop. Now, since the solar panels will be
mounted on the roof of the Pomolong community center and the charge
controller will be placed inside the center, it was estimated to be about 20 feet of
wire distance between the two. Also, it was taken into account that the solar
panels run at 8.5 A at maximum capture. Multiplying this by two to factor in two
panels was 17 A. Finally, the solar panel connection were 48V. These
specifications required a 10 AWG wire for the this connection.
Next, we connected the charge controller to the batteries. The same size wires
were used because these wires did not carry any more current than the solar
panel to the charge controller connection.
Next, the connection between the batteries were addressed. Since we are using
two batteries in parallel the connection was very simple and straightforward. The
positive of one battery was connected to the positive of another battery. The
other terminals were connected to other devices. 4 AWG wire were used to do
the connection of the batteries.
Finally, it was important to identify the polarity of the power cables and its
terminals; red is for positive and black for negative. This was really important
because if a device is connected with the wrong polarity the internals of the
device can blow up and become damaged. Thus, we connected the power
cables from the batteries to the inverter using 8 AWG cables. A spark may occur
which was fine because the batteries contain power thus giving a chance of
spark. It was important to be far away from any flammable materials or liquids
when doing the connections. As an extra precaution, there will be a fuse
between the batteries and inverter to prevent overload of the inverter The fuse
has an ampere rating of 30 which will cover all operations up to 600W which is
less than the surge power of the inverter. So if any wiring short occurs the fuse
will burn out before the inverter.
To conclude, after all the wires were connected it was important to trace all the
wiring and make sure they were all secure and safe. A regular check can be
beneficial due to the fact that over time wire connections can become loose.
Also, it is important to stress that all devices must be powered off when
performing connections to prevent any damage to the system.
117
7.0 User Manual
The Purpose of this section is to give the user detailed instructions on how to
operate the power system
7.1 Setup
Connecting the photovoltaic (PV) panels
The photovoltaic panels are polarized and must be connected properly. The
charge controller has terminal studs labeled “PV” and “Battery”. The PV panels
must be connected at the studs labeled “PV”. The positive lead of the PV panel
array must connect to the stud labeled “+”, and the negative lead connects to the
stud adjacent to it. PV inputs are rated for a maximum of 20A. Warning: failure to
connect the PV panels with the proper polarity may result in damage to the
charge controller.
Connecting the batteries
The battery bank is also polarized and likewise must be connected properly. The
charge controller has two terminal studs underneath the PV terminals. The
positive lead of the battery bank must connect to the stud labeled “+”, and the
negative lead connects to the stud adjacent to it. Maximum battery current is
fused and rated at 20A. Warning: failure to connect the PV panels with the proper
polarity may result in damage to the charge controller.
Connecting the loads
Loads can be connected via the wall outlet located on the charge controller next
to the PV and battery terminals. The load will be powered by a 115-120V, 60Hz
modified sine wave. Any load up to 500 watts will function normally. If there is a
surge in current, or the load is too high, an alarm will sound and the load will be
cut off from the power source. In this event, the power switch will require
resetting. Maximum load current is fused and rated at 20A. Warning: the voltage
at the load terminals is dangerous and potentially life threatening. Do not connect
any load with exposed wiring, or around children or animals, without proper
supervision.
7.2 Operation
Once the PV panels, battery bank, and loads are connected, the system can be
turned on via the power switch. The power switch is responsible for giving battery
power to the charge controller. Once the switch has been closed, the load should
begin receiving power. If there is sufficient solar energy available, the status
LEDs should also light up. Without sufficient solar energy (PV voltage >= 11V),
118
the controller will remain in standby mode with all LEDs off. The load will still
work in this state. The status LED indicators are as follows:
i. Green ON: Battery is charging.
ii. Green blinking: Battery is fully charged.
iii. Yellow blinking: Battery is low.
iv. Red ON: Battery is low and/or load is too high (cut-off).
v. All LEDs OFF: System is in standby.
7.3 Monitoring and Logging
The charge controller can be monitored via a serial connection to a PC/laptop.
Using hyperterminal or any similar serial connection application, the output can
be viewed by creating a connection on COM1 with the following parameters:
i. Baud rate: 57600 bps
ii. Data bits: 8
iii. Stop bits: 1
iv. Parity: None
Once the connection is opened, real time data will begin scrolling on screen. The
columns shown are described respectively:
PV voltage (mV)
PV current (mA)
PV power (µW)
battery voltage (mV)
battery current (mA)
ambient temperature (Celsius)
Load current (mA)
PWM duty cycle
The controller output will say TRACKING when it is tracking for the maximum
power point (MPP). Once the MPP has been found, the following will be
displayed in the terminal:
*MPP LATCHED: Vmpp(mV) = 17067 | Wmpp (uW) = 18483561 | PW = 261
This means the maximum power point has been achieved and the battery is
being charged at optimum efficiency. In the event that the controller output
freezes or stops responding, the software can be reset by momentarily pushing
the red reset button located on the side of the charge controller. This will restart
the system and should begin tracking for MPP again.
119
Appendices
Appendix A - Copyright Permissions
120
121
122
123
124
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Programming, pp. 103-104, September 2001.
[37] Amazon.com, "Amazon.com," Amazon.com, [Online]. Available:
http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-CPI-A4000BC-4-AWG-Heavy-DutyInverter/dp/B001550DVU. [Accessed 6 December 2012].
[38] Power Bright, ML900-24, Bright Manufacturing LLC, 2010.
127
Appendix C - List of Figures
Figure 1 Project Block Diagram ............................................................................ 9
Figure 2 Silicon Solar Cell Structure and Mechanism [14] .................................. 26
Figure 3 I-V Curve [16] ....................................................................................... 27
Figure 4 Geographic Location of Pomolong Township in Relation to Harrismith 29
Figure 5 Irradiation Levels of South Africa ......................................................... 30
Figure 6 MPPT Charge Controller Reference System Block Diagram [17] ......... 35
Figure 7 Simple Diagram of PWM Generator ..................................................... 47
Figure 8 Output of PWM Generator(6) ............................................................... 47
Figure 9 General Power Bright Inverter .............................................................. 53
Figure 10 Cobra Power Inverter ......................................................................... 54
Figure 11 Battery Bank Connected to Power Inverter ........................................ 54
Figure 12 MPPT Graph [26]................................................................................ 59
Figure 13 Charge Controller Root Sheet ............................................................ 64
Figure 14 Battery Voltage Sense Circuit............................................................. 65
Figure 15 Battery Current Sense Circuit ............................................................. 66
Figure 16 Solar Panel Voltage Sense Circuit ..................................................... 66
Figure 17 Solar Panel Current Sense Circuit ...................................................... 67
Figure 18 JTAG/UART Connector and GPIO Connector .................................... 68
Figure 19 MPT612 .............................................................................................. 68
Figure 20 DC-DC Converter ............................................................................... 70
Figure 21 Power Supply ..................................................................................... 72
Figure 22 JTAG/UART Add-on Board ................................................................ 74
Figure 23 Charge Controller Application ............................................................. 75
Figure 24 Series Wiring ...................................................................................... 78
Figure 25 Parallel Wiring .................................................................................... 78
Figure 26 Series/Parallel Example ..................................................................... 79
Figure 27 Single Series String .............................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 28 Two Series String ................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 29 Three Series String............................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 30 Modified/Pure Sine Wave ................................................................... 82
Figure 31 Commercial Power Inverter ................................................................ 82
Figure 32 Pulse Width Modulation ...................................................................... 83
Figure 33 Block Diagram for PWM Inverter ........................................................ 84
Figure 34 Bubba Oscillator Diagram................................................................... 85
Figure 35 TI TL494CN ........................................................................................ 85
Figure 36 Example of Inverter Monitoring Display .............................................. 87
Figure 37 Proposed Enclosure Design ............................................................... 90
Figure 38 Power Cables ..................................................................................... 91
Figure 39 PCB .................................................................................................. 104
Figure 40 Warning Label Sample ..................................................................... 114
128
Appendix D - List of Tables
Table 1 Specifications .......................................................................................... 8
Table 2 Senior Design 1 Project Milestones ....................................................... 10
Table 3 Research Milestone ............................................................................... 12
Table 4 Design Milestone ................................................................................... 13
Table 5 Acquisition Milestone ............................................................................. 14
Table 6 Prototype Milestone ............................................................................... 15
Table 7 Testing Milestone .................................................................................. 16
Table 8 Budget ................................................................................................... 17
Table 9 Factors for Choosing Battery ................................................................. 36
Table 10 Sample Battery Specs ......................................................................... 39
Table 11 Advantages and Disadvantages of GEL Batteries ............................... 40
Table 12 Advantages and Disadvantages of AGM Batteries .............................. 41
Table 13 Advantages and Disadvantages of Flooded Batteries ......................... 42
Table 14 Types of Deep Cycle Batteries ............................................................ 44
Table 15 Different Inverter Types ....................................................................... 45
Table 16 Inverter Applications ............................................................................ 46
Table 17 Types of Control for AC Driven Loads ................................................. 48
Table 18 Rotary Converter [21] .......................................................................... 49
Table 19 Commercial Power Inverters Comparison [22] .................................... 52
Table 20 Solar Cell Type and Power Efficiency [21] ........................................... 60
Table 21 Solar Panel Characteristics ................................................................. 62
Table 22 Electrical Data STC ............................................................................. 62
Table 23 Electrical Data NOCT .......................................................................... 62
Table 24 Approximate Vertical Mounting Angle for Solar Panels in Harrismith,
South Africa [28] ................................................................................................. 63
Table 25 Common Battery Specifications........................................................... 76
Table 26 Charge Controller Bill of Materials ....................................................... 96
Table 27 Voltage vs. State of Charge ............................................................... 110
Table 28 Battery Charge Time.......................................................................... 111
Table 29 Battery Discharge Time ..................................................................... 111
Table 30 Voltage Sensor .................................................................................. 115
Table 31 Current Sensor .................................................................................. 115
Table 32 Temperature Sensor .......................................................................... 116
Table 33 Solar Radiation Sensor ...................................................................... 116
129
Appendix E - List of Equations
Equation 1 .......................................................................................................... 55
Equation 2 .......................................................................................................... 71
Equation 3 .......................................................................................................... 71
Equation 4 .......................................................................................................... 71
Equation 5 .......................................................................................................... 71
Equation 6 ........................................................................................................ 107
130
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