Off-world Power Generation Lab 1: Free Space 1W Transmission

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[large panel] > [regulator] > [battery] > [pi]                    SPACE
                                        > [regulator] > [laser]   =====>   [small panel] > [regulator] > [battery] > [arduino]
  • Use a full-sized solar panel to power a large battery through a commercial regulator.
  • Use the large battery to power a raspberry pi.
  • Use the large battery to power a small laser through a voltage regulator that reports the delivered power.
  • Add an on/off switch to the laser circuit that is controlled by the pi.
  • Point the laser at a diffraction lens that illuminates a small solar panel.
  • Use the small solar panel to power a small battery through a voltage regulator that reports the delivered power.
  • Use the small battery to power...
    • something simple, a fan or a light, through a usb multimonitor
    • an arduino that can monitor the voltage and current
    • a lan-connected raspberry pi that can monitor the energy and call an API to report snapshot values.

Remember: we regulate the voltage, everywhere. Only voltage can force current where it is not wanted.






  • large panel uses MC4 connectors: we got a bunch of connectors to splice wire into
  • commercial solar regulator: raw wire input/output
    • Output: 12V Battery (make sure to config to use 12V not 24V)
    • Input: Max solar Panel Power: 360W
  • large battery
    • some sad Japan Jack Input: 14-25V, 3A
    • USB Output: 5V/2A USB (12V/6A, 16V/5A, 19V/4.5A, 24V 3.5A??) - USB QC: 5V/3A, 3.6V-12V, 18W Max.?) wtf
  • laser power: raw wires - replace power supply with an inline resistor??
  • small battery uses USB out, microusb in: we got a bunch of usb connectors and cables
    • Output: 5V/1A USB
    • Input: 5-6V/1A MicroUSB



  • understand what the laser needs; see here perhaps and more from him
  • need POTENTIOMETER(S) (variable resistance) to adjust power to laser
  • all the regulators
  • more breadboards, perfboards, any needed soldering thingees
  • pi uses some adapter bullshit
  • arduino is also a pita
  • consider this sparkfun boost converter, handles low power


Solar collection efficiency: 6.4kg 100W panel = 15.6 W/kg

Solar collection cost: $115 100W panel = $1.15/W

Solar storage efficiency: 88.8 Wh $129 Voltaic lipo battery, weighs ?? 2kg? ~ 44 Wh/kg

Solar storage cost: 88.8 Wh $129 Voltaic lipo battery = $1.45 / Wh