Solar setup

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Today we stated to test the components of our solar technology – the system diagram above shows an overview of how things are connected (click on picture to download a .pdf version). We connected the battery via charge controller to the solar module and tested out the LED strips. Everything worked well. We planned to get everything ready for a photo shooting tonight but the gusty winds threatened to snap our freshly transplanted soybeans.
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Here are downloads of the datasheets of the components we are using as well as a picture of the technical information of our solar panel:

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Solar Pathfinder – Tower Orientation

Jake and Emily determine the exact placement and orientation of the National Security Garden’s solar tower with a solar pathfinder before the installation in a couple of days. Temperatures are still below freezing and the site is covered in snow which made an earlier installation impossible.

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Last Day in the DLRC Lab

Today, the students finished up the last details on the planter box and solar tower before both are going to be moved to the Elliot Hall site by the bull gang tomorrow. The photos below were taken over the last week in the DLRC project lab.

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planter construction and cut list

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Last Friday (2/15/13), we cut the MDO boards for the planter and the solar tower in the Art&Design shop in Pao Hall with Dave Marchese, the shop manager. here is the cut list we used to determine the lengths and angles for the cuts: cutlist_final.pdf

Here are some construction drawings on how to build the planter box. We still need to find the materials for the metal frame on top of the planter box (providing stability and tracks for the LED lights) – I am looking at Unistrut/Superstruts which come in lengths of 20ft. I am also a little concerned about our 4×4 and 4×6 posts which are not as straight as I hoped… but we’ll somehow make it work. Click on the images below for larger versions:

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Making the Tunnel Hoops

Pipe
EMT conduit pipe

Bending the pipe to shape into hoops
It is usually not recommended to bend pipes without a bender because the soft metal will kink (i.e. the space within the pipe will be deformed). However, since we are just using the pipe for structural support, we don’t need to worry about the functionality of the pipe itself. So manually bending the pipe into hoops, perhaps against a round edge and without a bender, should not be a problem (in theory).