Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tiny Packet Network (TPN) Node Reference Platform

I completed the build of three (3) Tiny Packet Network (TPN) Nodes. Each node is on a Plexiglas platform with white door handles so they can be stacked easily. The platform has the Arduino UNO board and a small proto-board. The proto-board contains the 433 Mhz transmitter and receiver modules a NeoPixel and a potentiometer connected to the A0 analog port on the UNO. These nodes will be used to further the development of the distributed power nodes. The potentiometer can be used to set a battery level and the NeoPixels by color will reflect what each node is doing (e.g. RED = providing power, GREEN = receiving power, WHITE = standby (no action), YELLOW = error, etc.)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Capacitive Battery Charger round 2 (Fail)

I did not have any luck with the  first round of the capacitive charger and thought maybe I need more charging current. The TRW swap meet was today so I kept my eyes peeled for capacitors and founds some 20 uF 200 volt units and grabbed 2 for $5 (good deal). More capacitance will increase the current ability. I swapped in the the first one and I was charging at .75 Amps. It sat there at 10 volts  after an hour and was not going up. I placed the second 20 uF capacitor in parallel and now had 1.5 Amps of charging current. After a couple more hours the voltage had gone down to 5.5 volts. I think this battery is not recoverable in this manner. I will keep the parts handy and try it on some Seal Lead Acid (SLA) batteries if I find any cheap.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Capacitive Battery Charger

I was inspired by the capacitive battery charger by Mikey Sklar HERE and I am hoping to re-cover a 140 Ah marine battery using this technique (4 years old). I just looked at his documentation and found I had most of the parts except the the capacitors which I got for $2 each. I wired mine up like the drawing below and monitor it with my multi-meter. My battery was sitting at only 6 volts at the beginning. After putting the charger on it for a while it jumped up to over 11 volts and was climbing for a while. After 20 hours it is now at 11 volts and  I did check the current and it is pulling about 1/2 amp. I am going to let it rest a day and hit it again and maybe leave it on for several more days and see what  happens.