On a lone mountain top in the middle of nowhere there is a tower that happily relays microwave radio signals to bring the joys/horrors of the internet to those who would have to do without.
This tower runs with solar power.
Issue: Snow and ice obscure the panels and the battery bank dies. It's not good for the batteries, or rural facebook addicts who tie up my friend's phone lines.
Solution: Build a robot! er... an automated panel deicing/cleaning solution.
I've used a lot of micros including the apparently infamous xcore. A chip that I have a number of and have never really used beyond playing with them is the Propeller. I wanted something that was easy to modify for him if he cared to tweak it so the Propeller it is.
I have to... well spin up on SPIN but I'm a CE. that doesn't bother me.
The question I would like to ask is more of a solicitation of ideas on how to deice the solar panels without using too much power. This is in the middle of nowhere and with the kind of snows they get near there you're not getting to the tower without climbing gear and a dog sled or a snowmobile of which he owns neither. I considered some kind of plexiglass cover on top that opens or shakes to knock stuff off but that involves too many moving parts. The idea that seems to have the most merit at the moment is a pump and nozzle system to spray an environmentally friendly deicing solution on the panels when certain conditions are met such as a bright sunny day but the panel output is low. There is a small wind turbine but even that freezes up at times.
I've been reading over posts and there are some sharp people here. I'm hoping someone can help me figure out some alternative methods of clearing off the panels.
So the conditions are:
So any ideas?
- Power restricted so no dumping a lot of amps through heaters unless it can be done efficiently
- Assume things like freezing rain and five feet or more of snow.
- Simple and robust.