April 16, 2016

Solar cluster: Trying out the MIC29712s

I figured, rather than letting these loose directly on the nodes themselves, I’d give them a try with a throw-away dummy load. For this, I grabbed an old Philips car cassette player that’s probably older than I am and hooked that up. I shoved some old cassette in.

The datasheet for the regulators defines the output voltage as: V_{OUT}=1.240 \big({R_1 \over R_2} + 1\big)

Playing with some numbers, I came out with R1 being a 2.7kΩ and 560Ω resistors in series, and R2 being a 330Ω. So I scratched around for those resistors, grabbed one of the MIC29172s and hooked it all up for a test.

The battery here is not the one I’ll use in the cluster ultimately, I have a 100Ah AGM cell battery for that. The charger seen there is what will be used, initially as a sole power source, then in combination with solar when I get the panels. It’s capable of producing 20A of current, and runs off mains power.

This is the power drain from the battery, with the charger turned on.

Not as much as I thought it’d be, but still a moderate amount.

This is what the output side of the regulator looked like:

So from 14.8V down to 13.1V. It also showed 13.1V when I had the charger unplugged, so it’s doing its job pretty well I think. That’s a drop of 1.7V, so dissipating about 600mW. Efficiency is therefore about 93%, not bad for linear regulators.