loading
3Instructables78,439Views30Comments
The DIY Life is all about your next project. Be it a project to make improvements to your home, something fun to do or guiding you through a repair, The DIY Life will help you find it and give you step by step instructions to get it done. Visit our website and subscribe to keep up to date with all our latest projects.

Achievements

10K+ Views Earned a bronze medal
Show 0 More »
  • thediylife's instructable Arduino Solar Tracker (Single or Dual Axis)'s weekly stats: 1 week ago
    • Arduino Solar Tracker (Single or Dual Axis)
      22,372 views
      345 favorites
      17 comments
  • Arduino Solar Tracker (Single or Dual Axis)

    Hi undinstructable,Thank you. I've had a look at the project on Indigogo, it looks like a really innovative idea. I've never seen a project involving the control of reflected sunlight, quite interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    Hi BrownDogGadgets,You are correct, if you have the space available then it is more reliable to install multiple panels rather than a solar tracker. On small scale its definitely not worth it but depending on the size of the array you are looking at tracking, it could be considerably cheaper to get the 20-40% extra form your existing panels.Thanks for the input.

    View Instructable »
  • Arduino Solar Tracker (Single or Dual Axis)

    Hi All,After numerous requests for an update on how to drive a linear actuator to move a heavier load or array of panels, I have written up a short guide on the required modifications and updated code:http://www.the-diy-life.com/arduino-solar-tracker-...

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on jessyratfink's forum topic Call for contest judges2 weeks ago

    That would be great, workshop, tech & outdoor

    View Topic »
  • Arduino Solar Tracker (Single or Dual Axis)

    Hi Altoidian,Thanks so much, I hope this project has inspired you to tackle yours again. I'm always looking for easier ways to do things, please let me know if you do try it out, I'd love to add a brushed or stepper motor option for heavier panels.

    Hi DIY Hacks and How Tos,Thank you. Yes it really is worth while!

    Hi tractorman1960,Thanks so much. Yeah that could be a bit complicated. You could look at mounting each panel individually on its own tracker to follow the sun's movement. You would probably be able to control them all with one Arduino so the major cost will be in duplicating the tracking frame. Best to check if your warranty would still be valid though!

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter2 weeks ago
    Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter

    Hi asheville makers,I like your idea to monitor the voltage, it's a nice simple solution. It's really easy to put a voltage measurement into the code and that will give you a more accurate "real" power reading especially when used with digital electronics.

    Hi JofejemaP,I could be wrong but I don't think you have two phases. You have two supply cables (live and neutral) which make up a single phase, you only need a single CT on one of the two wires. To modify the code for 110V, you just need to change the line with 220 to 110, everything else stays the same. Hope this helps.

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter's weekly stats: 2 weeks ago
    • Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter
      43,383 views
      473 favorites
      50 comments
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter2 weeks ago
    Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter

    Hi Kaballasx,I would put 3 CTs in, one on the grid supply, one on the solar power inverter supply and lastly one on the houses mains input. You can then use some Arduino logic through summing to determine the proportions coming from each source. Alternately, if the solar supply is higher than the houses demand then the difference must be going into the grid.

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter3 weeks ago
    Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter

    Hi swingzazou,Because we are measuring AC current, the current transformer gives us a waveform which oscillates positive and negative. If we use ground as the reference then we will only measure half of the waveform (and put an inverse polarity voltage onto the Arduino input). So we create a reference at 2.5V so that the voltage stays positive with 2.5V effective being equivalent to the zero volts line. Does this make sense?

    Hi laz7591,I have subsequently added some alternate CT's and their corressponding resistor values: http://www.the-diy-life.com/simple-arduino-home-energy-meter/#different-cts

    Hi Captain Jim,That's great, let me know how your project turns out and feel free to mail me if you have any problems/questions with the DC version. I'd love to put it onto my site as well, if you are interested of course.

    Hi scientist1995,There is a connection diagram in the images in the second step. You don't connect the current transformer directly, it requires some resistors and capacitors to condition the signal.There are essentially three connections to the Arduino, to gnd, to 5V and to an analogue pin, pin1 in this case.

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter3 weeks ago
    Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter

    Hi PhilS43,I think most countries work on day and night rates, we only have usage limitations for industry (peak demand etc.).Yes, the XBee's are quite a lot more than the Arduino boards. Thanks for the information and resources, I'll definitely have a look at them. I've been interested in building a Raspberry Pi based home automation system, maybe this is a task for the XBee.

    Hi paul.hadley,That sounds like an awesome application for it, you could really do a lot with that information. I'm thinking you could even do "load management" by driving relays from the Arduino to turn on/off appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machine when there is power available from the solar panels. You could also integrate the Ardunio into your charging circuit to only charge the batteries when there is excess power and feed the grid when the batteries are full.

    Hi Captain Jim,To build a D.C. monitor for a battery system, you would need to measure voltage (this varies quite a lot with the battery charge cycle) and current. The voltage measurement you can take with a simple voltage divider circuit, similar to this one but with a 12K and 5K resistor to scale the 15-6V max to 5V at the Arduino input.The current input you'd need a shunt. This is essentially a really low resistance resistor which the voltage drop across is measured. You can buy premise current sensing chips with the shunt and circuitry designed for Arduino use pretty cheaply. Have a look at this one: http://www.pololu.com/product/1186

    Hi laz7591,I have added a picture of the CT installed on my main feed in step 2. The main wire goes through the CT, no further connection required. Some CTs have a split and can be fitted over the wire and then snapped closed, these are easier to install and don't require any tinkering with wiring or screws.There is no information on alternate CT options, it is a section on how to calculate the burden resistor size for different CTs and this is roughly halfway down the page under the heading choosing different components. If you have a couple of CTs you would like to use in mind, give me the part numbers or links and I'll do the calcs and put those in a list under that heading as well, that would be a nice addition to the page.

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter3 weeks ago
    Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter

    Hi weecoo,As Observative Tiger has said, you really just need to make three of these circuits and connect them to three different analogue inputs.Perhaps instead of using four LCDs you can just refresh the single LCD with the current and phases angle of each phase and then a combined reading. Or use the buttons to toggle views on the screen.

    Hi joergeli,That's a great idea counting the turns on your built in meter and that way your actual utility bill and estimated bill should be the same. Unfortunately I live in an apartment and the meters are locked in the basement so I don't have access to mine.I love your web page which shows the real time consumption and trends, looks like you have really put a lot of effort into it! I must have a look at connecting my meter up to my site.

    Hi Nemirtingasis,I never seen that chip before but it looks like the right kind of solution. It would definitely make the code a lot simpler. Thanks.

    Hi Grendell.Thank you, please let me know if you do try this project out, especially if you use different components or change some of the code. Always looking for improvements.In terms of the accuracy over a month, I've left it on for a number of months to see how it aligns with the utility bill. In terms of dollars, its been consistently within $0.5 - $1 of my actual bill. Percentage wise, I would say that its within 3-5% of the actual bill.Yes that is correct, you could also add another scaling factor into the kilowatt hours or tariff calculation to bring the two closer. Within a $1 or two of the bill though I would say is fairly accurate anyway.The connection of the 1/2 reference divider to another analogue input is a good idea, that would correct for any bias as frarugi87 stated be...see more »Hi Grendell.Thank you, please let me know if you do try this project out, especially if you use different components or change some of the code. Always looking for improvements.In terms of the accuracy over a month, I've left it on for a number of months to see how it aligns with the utility bill. In terms of dollars, its been consistently within $0.5 - $1 of my actual bill. Percentage wise, I would say that its within 3-5% of the actual bill.Yes that is correct, you could also add another scaling factor into the kilowatt hours or tariff calculation to bring the two closer. Within a $1 or two of the bill though I would say is fairly accurate anyway.The connection of the 1/2 reference divider to another analogue input is a good idea, that would correct for any bias as frarugi87 stated below. The (maxCurrent <= 517) effectively just ensures that the calculation is done on the upper half (the positive section) of the sine wave. Since the positive and negative are similar for the most part, the calculation assumes they are identical. Mathematically, the results would have to be dealt with differently below 516, the maxCurrent would then have to be 516-current.Yeah, peakPower should be maxPower, it would make more sense that way.Thanks for the comments.

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter3 weeks ago
    Simple Arduino Home Energy Meter

    Hi Frarugi87. You are right, ideally these resistors should be around 10K but I wanted it to run for a fair amount of time (with the screen off) on a 9V battery hence the larger resistors. The voltage at Vdd/2 is stable enough for this application up to about 400K resistors, I have measured it.

    View Instructable »
  • thediylife commented on thediylife's instructable How to Split a Solar Cell Into Two3 months ago
    How to Split a Solar Cell Into Two

    The power output of the cell is divided as you split it. So a 4W cell cut in half makes two 2W cells. The output voltage stays the same so using P=IV, the output current is half of the original cell.

    View Instructable »