A solar powered blog

This blog is now powered by a Raspberry Pi using 100% solar energy. Nicole instrumented the Phidgets sensors so we would gain some visibility into our electricity production & consumption. This has already given us some great insights. We can see the effect that each device we use has on the system: how much the LED lamps take to charge, the hole that the inverter blasts through the battery when turned on. We can tell that not all sunny days are created equal in their ability to give a charge. We can even tell the increase in electricity consumption that rsyncing a whole bunch of data to the Pi has: 0.03A.

The sensors

  • solar panels volts (a good indicator of sunlight)
  • input amps (indicates when the charge controller uses produced electricity)
  • output amps / load (what we consume with various devices)
  • battery volts (whether this blog will make it through the night or not)

For now I’m only graphing using the Gnuplot one-liner from Hell. More to come…

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.33.16 PM

It blows my mind way too hard that I have a system in which sunlight comes in and organized information comes out. And by organized information I mean lolcats.serious-cat

5 Replies to “A solar powered blog”

  1. I completely understand; resizing images is a great idea. Your blog is certainly interesting and the fact it runs off solar power, on a Raspberry PI, in the woods makes it even more interesting. I like it.

    1. Yes, it doesn’t take much to power a simple website nowadays. My main bottleneck right now is bandwidth, I only have 3Mbps service in my neck of the woods.

      1. Aah I see, that must be frustrating. On my end the only thing that takes a while to load are images, so you could install WordPress’ “Jetpack” plugin and enable “Photon” so that images are served from WordPress’ CDN?

        1. Sure, there’s plenty of other options out there, S3 comes to mind too. I do like the fact that everything is self-contained so I’d rather not rely on external infrastructure such as S3 or a CDN. I would consider it cheating somehow 🙂 And I couldn’t claim in good conscience to have a solar powered, pi hosted site.

          I do resize images to help a bit, I don’t do top notch photography like you so they don’t need a gazillion pixels. Videos are an issue too of course. At some point we’ll have better internet service, in the meantime 3Mbps is plenty for a few personal sites and home automation projects.

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