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Has anybody made autonomous RPi based receiver with solar power and GMS data link?

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  • Has anybody made autonomous RPi based receiver with solar power and GMS data link?

    Hi

    Have any of you tried to make a solar powered receiver with mobile data connection, so that it is operating completely without any cables to power grid or internet?

    If so, would you please share how you build the solution, and any pitfalls you experienced? And how much data is transfered on a monthly basis?

    My vision is a 'all in one box' solution with the antenna mounted directly on the box.

  • #2
    My experimenting for remote standalone installation

    Hi all

    In response to Kpins enquiry.

    Iíve now built 3 Ďstand-aloneí receiver stations for remote use although they probably donít meet all of Kpinís listed specifications.

    Box #1 is a Radarcape system built into a 19inch 2RU cabinet and is currently feeding FR24 but with external antenna, 240V/12v PSU and a power fail / battery changeover switch. There is a D-Link modem/router/wifi unit inside the 2RU cabinet with external 2xMIMI, 2xWiFi and GPS combination antenna. This seems to be working well with no obvious receiver de-sensitivity.

    Box #2 is a RPi system in an ABS plastic project case and is also feeding FR24. It has the clock/timer etc on the long edge and is plugged into an external router. Itís internals are very similar to Box #3 Ė see pictures - which I built at the weekend but this one includes the attached Modem/Router. I havenít really played with it yet and unsure what de-sensing or overload might exist between the modem and the RPi/RTL dongle. Testing will include trying an external bandpass filtering and an external Bias-T for an active antenna. It should be possible to eventually locate the Bias-T inside the project case.

    Description

    12VDC comes in through the Switch and 0.75A fuse to the terminal strip. 12V goes to :
    1. a 35oC thermostat switch and 60mm fan.
    2. a 12VDC 7 day clock/timer that it set to power off for a few minutes then back on once a week. This then powers the modem/router and a 12V/5V 3A buck module and restarts both devices weekly (in the early hours of Monday morning when there is minimal traffic).

    For standalone use, I have two Ďoldí solar panels and a 15A smart regulator to charge two Ďoldí 65Ah sealed lead acid batteries; and a 6.8m guyed telescopic pipe mast for the antenna.

    There is also a temperature data logger shown in the picture Ė for testing purposes only to monitor the internal temp. and check the fan operation.

    Box #1 is using about 13.5Mb per day or 400Mb per month using a prepaid 3G/4G mobile broadband data service. Data is costing me about AU$4 per month ( approx 2.50 Euro).

    Iím keen to experiment and learn more; therefore happy to receive any feedback, comments and critique.

    Cheers

    Peter
    Attached Files

    ylis

    Comment


    • #3
      @ylis:

      thumbs-up.jpg

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you, Peter.

        Very interesting. I can surely use some of your solutions

        Comment


        • #5
          I would be interested in hearing about power consumption and battery life.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ylis View Post
            I’ve now built 3 ‘stand-alone’ receiver stations for remote use although they probably don’t meet all of Kpin’s listed specifications.

            Box #1 is a Radarcape system built into a 19inch 2RU cabinet and is currently feeding FR24 but with external antenna, 240V/12v PSU and a power fail / battery changeover switch. There is a D-Link modem/router/wifi unit inside the 2RU cabinet with external 2xMIMI, 2xWiFi and GPS combination antenna. This seems to be working well with no obvious receiver de-sensitivity.

            Very nice pictures, thanks for sharing.

            Do you have any pictures of the rack-mounted unit?

            Could you share more info about the 12V week-timer? Maybe even a link?

            BR /M
            F-ESDF1, F-ESGG1, F-ESGP1, F-ESNK1, F-ESNV2, F-ESNV3 F-ESSL4, F-LFMN3
            P-ESGR, P-ESIA, P-ESIB, P-ESGF
            mrmac (a) fastest.cc

            Comment


            • #7
              Further details as requested

              Hi all and thanks for your comments. In response:

              Power consumption - around 0.3 to 0.35A without the router or fan; 0.5-0.6A with these running. Peak current during the last 7 days was 0.75A - all at 12.6 volts DC. So the old solar panels and old batteries just keep on powering on - provided I get a bit of sunlight once a week .... !

              12V week-timer - see eBay and select the appropriate model:
              http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Programma...7g9sIy9GOwTJSA

              In regards the Version 1 of the Rack Mounted Installation:

              I thought I had some more pictures - but attached is the only decent one I could find. There's space for a Marine Traffic AIS Receiver/Decoder underneath the D-Link device but itís not being used at the present location. The 12vdc-5vdc converter can be seen beside the Radarcape to power the Bias T and the thermostat switch for the fan is beside the converter (hidden from view). My apologies to Gunter@jetvison.de for adding a few extra joiners to facilitate the internal layout Ė next time Iíll try a female-female bulkhead barrel connector and the Bias-T might connect straight to this. I could also use a SMA right angle female jack connector for RG316 if anyone has a few spare !! The front panel has the fuse, power switch and LED. The multipin plug is to allow these to be disconnected so the front panel can be removed.

              So thatís my contribution. Surely, other feeders have some other examples to share ?

              Cheers
              Peter
              Attached Files

              ylis

              Comment


              • #8
                That is a good size load to run on solar. Those big “old” 65Ah sealed lead acid batteries are the key to keeping it working.

                Has anyone used a prepaid, small / low power, cell data modem connected to the Raspberry Pi for uploading data?

                Comment

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