Thursday, February 26, 2015

Time to checkout the Magic Smoke!

I have finished assembling a solar MPPT controller - here are a couple photos:

I really should not have the camera THAT close.
Those Caps look like towers!
Have also been working to clean up the Arduino IDE and the port of the ATmega64M1 CPU.  I think I have most things fixed and will post corrections as I continue the debugging effort.  A bit on that: the porting is to the IDE version 1.0.5 / 1.0.6.   Arduino just released their 'updated' IDE v 1.6.0, and it will be much better - mostly because it uses an updated version of AVRDUDE and the GCC compiler - providing native support for the ATmegaxxM1 series of CPUs.   However, there has been some large changes in the support files - specifically around the hardware serial port, and it will take me some time to work though that all.  So for now, I am continuing my efforts under the 1.0.x line of the IDE.

Just last night I moved to start some live testing using the Solar Panels on Viking Star.  It is perhaps a good time to do this as the weather has changed, and our overcast winter sky's limit the panels output.  So far results tell me there is still a bit of work to do.  Am not happy with the +12v boost power source, and have worked though a fuse or two already...

But will carry on, and see what all I can get working.


  1. Whiskthecat here from cruisers forum. I've no idea how I've managed to achieve the screen name given by selecting the comment using google account option. Anyways, your 13v boost supply looks woefully inadequate. It can only output 125ma to a gate driver that sinks up to 3A. This isn't to say you need a boost converter that outputs 3A constant since the driver wont be using that all the time but if you do get one less than 3A The capacitance between the gate driver and the supply is also very small at 2uF and will need to be increased.

  2. Wiskthecat, I just figured you liked cats :-)

    Ya, I am not too happy with the Vdd supply, and have penciled in a rev - looking to go directly to the 13v and then use a LDO down to 5v. Simpler, lower cost, and gives a bit quieter supply to the ADCs in the uC.

    The current design is working OK for debugging (Vdd draw models out to 80mA average) - adding some bulk caps helped - but yes, it needs to be changed.

    Thanks for taking the time to look over things, appreciate the eyes and input.