Solar Current Sensor Experiment

(Written By: Edgardo Villalobos – Manufacturing/Solar Panel)

This project requires current sensors in order to measure the current running through the solar cells. We are having 36 solar cells on the solar panel. We are using 12 INA3221 current sensor breakout boards to do this because they each contain 3-channels, support high-side current and bus voltage monitors with an I2C interface. These sensors are able to connect to the Arduino we will be using.

 

This project requires current sensors in order to measure the current running through the solar cells. We are having 36 solar cells on the solar panel. We are using 12 INA3221 current sensor breakout boards to do this because they each contain 3-channels, support high-side current and bus voltage monitors with an I2C interface. These sensors are able to connect to the Arduino we will be using.

In the photo below, there is only one channel being used. The voltage is only measured because to measure the current, the circuit requires a load.

The Arduino code for the current sensors is shown below for one channel. It defines the channels and names, sets all values to zero, reads the input values, and finally gives out the outputs for each of the channels being used.

For practice, a battery and a resistor were used to find the voltage and current. The battery is the voltage source and the resistor acts as the load. The current sensor was able to record both current and voltage.

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