Solar Kit - Where is it in store?


#1

I can’t find this kit anywhere. Can you someone supply link or link to an alternative that will work with the Electron.

Cheers…


#2

Yeah I was reading somewhere in the community forum that ultimately the Solar Shield Kit was discontinued due to a lack of interest. This kind of surprised me though as I am certain many folks actually want there Electrons to live outside and away from the USB cable.

No as a little tip from personal experience, I was able to buy a decent solar panel, a charge controller, a relay setup from ControlEverything.com, and a 12v battery. Put all this in an enclosure and have it in the back yard for about two weeks and it worked the whole time! But you will still need to also connect the little LiPo that came with the Electron as the firmware seems to require it. But also there is a function that turns it off. I read here that it’s something like BAT_FET = OFF or something like that. If you search for the term BATFET or similar it may come up.


#3

The reason for the rule of thumb to add the LiPo are the peaking current demands of the cellular modem which might be too steep for “normal” power sources. But if your source can cope with that and will respond quick enough (e.g. due to extra caps) you won’t need the LiPo.
The only thing that bugs some people when not having a LiPo connected is rapid red flashing of the charging LED, so some people just ripped it off :wink:


#4

Cool thanks, I’ll check it out…


#5

I have seen a few people asking about the solar kits, I will let my team know there is some interest around bringing the Solar Kit back.


#6

So if I am only using a 12v Battery (7AH) to power that little Control Everything Relay board it could possibly work sans lipo as the max current discharge rate is 21 amps for up to 7 minutes. But there is a possible bottle neck here. The power regulation that supplies the Electron w/5v might be limited to say 700mA. Time to ask them some questions. :wink:

Cheers,


#7

The limiting factor here is not the max current available but the response time for spiking demands to be dealt with.
With this battery I think it’s the chemistry that sets the limt. LiPos are fast in delivering the current, other batteries have more “chemical inertia” and hence respond slower.
You can bridge that time till the battery reacts with the LiPo or with caps, but I think you need something that’s faster than this battery.
Lead batteries are not the quickest bunch :wink:

On the other hand, no harm in trying it out. If you find the connection process to be flaky, you need to add a turbo, if it’s working as is, well …


#8

Ha @ScruffR indeed. Plus I was just told that the control everything board’s on board regulator only peaks at 1 amp but it’s shared between the other circuits and the I2C systems.


#9

How safe is that lipo inside an enclosure on a hot summer day?


#10

LiPo batteries can get very hot or cold and be just fine, so long as you are not charging them or discharging them too much. A hot battery is not necessarily a happy battery, but I believe, at least for LiPos, the “explosion” events are because of heat generated by a short in the battery, not simply being hot. That is, the problem in those cases is a physical short inside the battery, not heat; heat is the effect, not the cause.

So long as you don’t charge or discharge too quickly in extreme heat or cold, the battery will be fine. “Too quickly” = a charge or discharge current greater than about 30mA, in cold temps, and probably something similar for hot temps.

I’m replying to say that I’m sad to see this product has been discontinued. I really could have used a couple of the solar kits.


#11

The Electron has a built in solar charging chip that works just fine especially with 6v solar panels.


#12

I have a couple of Asset Tracker kits; can I use the 2-pin external power terminal for the solar panel if I want that to charge the battery?

Thanks!


#13

Just connect a Voltaic 6v solar panel to the Vin terminals and your good to go :slight_smile:

Been running an Electron for months of just the sun like this.


#14

Where did you purchase the “Voltaic 6v solar panel” ?


#15

You can get them at Voltaic.com or Adafruit.com


#16

Thanks.


#17

This is incredible! I was just wondering what to do with my little panel. Well now I know.


#18

Lots of good data on how to maxamize solar harvest in this thread.