Design of a solar powered portable smart device

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Supervisor:
Dr. Stumpf Péter Pál
Department of Automation and Applied Informatics

Solar energy is an increasingly attractive source of renewable energy, as a result of global warming. Solar panels in portable format are also emerging in, helping the development of handheld devices. Manufacturers try to experiment with various types of materials to reduce losses. Unfortunately, the efficiency of solar panels is very low, ranging from around 5 to 20%. Therefore, it is very important that solar panels always work with the greatest possible efficiency. For this purpose, Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithms are used in photovoltaic conversion systems. There are many different algorithms that differ in complexity and efficiency. Simpler solutions work with good efficiency in the case of stable environmental conditions. These algorithms are simple to create. However, under changing environmental conditions the systems require much more complex algorithms, to be able to operate in the maximal power point. The more complex algorithms are much more robust.

The aim of this final project is to study these algorithms and simulate four of the most common MPPT methods in MATLAB / Simulink environment. The simulation is carried out on a commercially available solar panel, which is build up from the built-in elements of Simulink. During the simulation the additional difficulties that arise regarding the solar panels are discussed. Additional aim of this final project is to demonstrate the process of designing a solar charging unit. This includes the selection and testing of components and the development of the final printed circuitry. The thesis work also presents the possibilities of processing the data from the solar charging system. This is done with a microcontroller with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. This MCU continuously saves the current temperature data and displays it on a website when needed. Furthermore, the present study deals with the possibilities of the implementation of MPPT algorithms into embedded systems. This is done with an integrated circuit element, which is also being tested. Finally, the tested components are assembled in a final system to provide a battery charger capable of operating from a solar cell and a generic charger.

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