Raspberry-Pi solar-powered FTP server

Solar R Pi
David Hayward over at CNET UK has posted an article describing how he designed a solar powered FTP server based on the R-Pi. The additional hardware consists of a solar cell array and 4 NiMH batteries. The solar panel is by Cottonpickers, but you could use any appropriately rated panel. (Be sure to include appropriate voltage regulation, as the R-Pi is very voltage sensitive.) The article provides step by step instructions on how to install and configure the necessary software to turn the Pi into an FTP server.

Such a solar powered setup could be useful for downloading sensor data from a remote monitoring station, though solar conditions and the project’s current draw could limit the amount of functional time.


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  1. Look at the forum post. The solar panel is not enough for 24×7 running. One of their use case is to charge during the day and then run it at night. Cloudy days? Rainy days? So who thought of the remote sensor access thing? Why would any EE want to use a board with a 400mA load (is it? can it sleep? I don’t have one) in a battery-powered remote sensor app? I mean, being enthusiastic about R-Pi is fine, but this kind of hype is just ridiculous.

    1. There are a lot of ways this could be better engineered: use PoE for power or pseudo-PoE over spare pairs and ditch the solar cell, use a more power efficient platform, use WiFi (that USB hub + ethernet chip on the RasPi is a power hog)… But the point of the article is that you could order two components, slap them together, and in about 5 minutes have a solar powered FTP server, regardless of the practicality.

      Though the WTF here is that a company is selling a custom case that’s printed with the Slic3r thin wall gap bug obviously in play.

    2. Agreed. RPi is a power hog. I would estimate that to stand the night (8-12 hours) it would require 5.5hA – 8hA battery. This is what my test shows.

      You can calculate from this how big should be the solar panel to satify all of it.

      It ain’t gonna be cheap.

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