Solar input on Power Hat

First off, thank you sixfab team for making an excellent product! I’m very impressed so far with both the hardware and the API. I have a python script feeding our own database and it’s running perfectly.

My questions is about solar. I’m not an expert but am curious if feeding a 12v 50w or 100w panel directly into the J4 terminal is the correct way to do it. Do we need a charge controller upstream or can the hat handle direct DC input? I’m considering one of those $80 panels on amazon but would rather not fry my system before asking.

This is a good question. I currently am using with their charge controller.

It seems to work well for me, I get voltages ~11 to ~14v (well within range) and the power hat seems to like it. Tho I do periodically see an issue where the backup battery gets engaged for brief periods of time. I’m about to post a question about that on the forum soon.

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Awesome thats specific model was exactly what I was looking at - small world.

I know theres lots of variables (where you live, how much sun you get, etc) but are you trying to get completely off-grid for your device? I’m seeing only 2-3 hours on a 3,400mA battery so had considered testing a larger, maybe 20,000mA lipo to see if I could kill the mains input.

My application is completely off grid. We get pretty good sun where they’re located (High Point, NC) in the summer months, Jan/Feb can be pretty rainy but its also hooked up to a 100Ah Lead Acid Battery so we should be able to run without sun for about ~7 days (I pray). The backup battery for us is just in case of emergency. It gives us about an hour to or so with the peripherals we have attached.

When it comes to your battery, make sure it can handle the current you need, at least 2A I believe is the recommendation.

And it goes without saying I think, but I would NOT hook up the panel directly to the Power HAT, the voltage is all over the place depending on sun, but the charge controller with a Lead Acid battery attached should give you a pretty constant current.

I just posted this question, a minor issue I’ve been seeing: Power HAT briefly discharges backup battery?

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Yeah thats what I figured, thank you for the details!