Renewable Energy Innovation

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Information on electronics and electrical systems, including practical design.

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A number of our projects require accurate monitoring of voltages. Here we explain the numerous techniques for measuring voltages, both DC and AC, highlight some of the multitude of integrated circuits available and list the pros and cons of various techniques.

To measure power (and hence measure energy) within electrical systems, we need to know the voltage and the current. Power equals the voltage multiplied by the current (P=V x I). We have written information on measuring DC current, in this post we will be writing about measuring voltage, both DC and AC.

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Measuring temperature is incredibly useful. It is probably one of the most important environmental variables and there are a wide range of devices to do this task.

I have recently had a number of projects which require accurate temperature measurement and storage, including a data acquisition system to measure hot water usage and a monitoring system for my home fermentation equipment.

Here I give an overview of a few different sensors which can be used to monitor temperature and how to read that data with a microcontroller (the ubiquitous Arduino).

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"There are so many micro-controllers. Which one do I choose?" This is common question within the world of electronics design. Here I list the main contenders and their development tools. I'm trying to give advantages and dis-advantages, but these could be very different for different projects.

I'm also listing the main development boards and which micro-controller they are based upon. Please add comments with your suggestions.

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Recently I produced a workshop on making your own printed circuit board for a Hack Space in Nottingham I am involved with. A Hack Space is an open workshop where people can use collective tools and share ideas, knowledge and work on group projects. As I had written the presentation, I thought it would make sense to also put it here for other people who may be interested.
The presentation is available here.

I've just added a blog post about double-sided PCBs, which might be of interest.

 
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This was a practical guide produced while working for SIBAT, an NGO working in the Philippines, on a 1kW wind turbine off-grid system for remote community electrification. This work was part of a one-year placement in the Philippines funded by Engineers Without Borders UK.

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While working on a wind/PV system in a remote area of the Philippines the need   for a voltmeter which showed the system (battery) voltage in detail arose. Only analogue V and A meters were available in the local town. This simple design explains in detail how to convert a low range ammeter into a voltmeter that will display an expanded range of voltages. For a lead-acid battery this was chosen to be 10 to 16V DC.

Download the pdf voltmeter plans here