How to connect the solar panel ?

edited April 2014 in Hardware

I received my kit this morning and installed it successfully (except some temperature / humidity problems), but I got a simple question : How to connect the solar panel ?

I have tried to find any tutorial for that, but I just don't find it.
Any information ?

Thank you :)


  • Hi @Yaug! It is nice to hear that you have received your kit and that is already up and running. I guess we have already fixed that temperature and humidity wrong measurements. In relation to the solar panel, we are working on all the documentation and the solar panel connection will be one of the first documents to be published. please, stay tuned! All the best. ;)
  • Hi

    Wrong measurements are still here .

    But thank you for answering my question.
    I'll wait until you release documentations.

  • Hi,

    I would be interrested in that documentation too. I guess I have to connect the solar panel to the green input on the SCK am I right ?

  • It seems that the temperature and humidity problem is now solved, so I'm now focusing on having my sck fully functional.

    Any progress on a tutorial for the solar panel ?
    Cause It should not take so long...
  • If I may help on this. I think I successfully connected the solar panel to my board. I wired the + and - nodes on the panel to the + and - slots in the green part located at the left of the battery input on the board. I tested it by exposing the panel to light with the board connected and the green led indicator lighted up.
  • Thank you
    I'll try as soon as possible.

    Is everthing working successfully ?
  • No because I have a problem configuring the device and syncing data to server. However I doubt that it's linked with the solar panel connection.
  • I ran the kit for about three weeks via the solar panel but the power provided does not compensate the power consumed. only every other day the kit is online. Will have to connect the kit to permanent power - here in the city I have no better place for the solar panel to be more effective (direct sunlight only for 1 hour per day possible).
  • Can somebody please draw into the image which connector is + and which is - for the green adapter on the board. I cannot see any signs there.

    SCK Solar Panel

    Also an advice on how to "permanently" connect wires to the green connector would be helpful. They fall off when I just put them there.

    Further, I would like to know how the maximum power I can put to the USB port since my phone chargers come with different voltage.
  • Hi @tbsprs! If you take a closer look to the area around the screw terminal connector you will see a "+" sign that tells you where to connect the positive wire. You need to remove the sensor board (unplug it from the base board) in order to properly connect the wires to the screw terminal using a small flat screwdriver. Any 5V and 500mA (or higher) charger will do the job. All the best.
  • @aitoraloa

    I am not sure if I understand what you mean by "the screw terminal connector". Can you please either refer to the solar panel or the SCK?

    The solar panel has clear signs for minus and plus at the black power connector:
    Solar Board Connectors

    On the SCK I found a tiny plus sign on the left side of the green power connector:
    Smart Citizen Kit
    Is this correct?

    What do you recommend to permanently attach the cable to both the green connector of the SCK and the black power connector of the solar panel?
  • edited May 2014
    Hi @tbsprs! Sorry if I was not clear enough with on my previous explanation. I was referring to the green terminal connector of the SCK. In order to connect the wires to the green power connector, you need to unplug the sensor board from the base board. Then you will have access to the screws and you will be able to attach the wires properly to the board with a small flat screwdriver. For the black power connector on the back of the solar panel, you can solder the wires to the terminals or just run them though the hole and wind them on themself. I hope this helps. Best. :)
  • So, if we connect like you said, the solar panel will works ?
  • Hi @yaug! Yes, if you connect it this way it should work. The only thing you need after connecting the solar panel correctly to your SCK is a good amount of sun. Best. :)
  • I have my unit up and collecting data on battery. I am charging the battery via the micro usb connector from my computer. I am running linux ubuntu and had to use the Arduino IDE and serial monitor to configure my device to the internet and upload the most recent firmware. I will be installing and testing the solar next. I noticed the "+" sign on the lower SCK board for positive DC solar connection side, the other side not marked is the negative. The documentation says 7 VDC @ 500 mA for the appropriate solar cell requirement to run the SCK and recharge the battery. I will do some bench tests to verify/measure the provided solar cell panel output.
  • edited June 2014
    Thank you @marki. Please, let us know how it goes with those tests to verify/measure the provided solar cell panel output. I will also be doing some test on this today. All the best.
  • a recommendation or link to some sort of mounting bracket would be REALLY nice, instead of here's a solar panel, have fun. Can't even find who manufactured it.
  • @wakeforest: here you have the link to the solar panel manufacturer's site and model: To be honest, we have not searched for a mounting bracket yet, despite we have talked about it several times. It would be really nice if we work together on it. What do you think!? Best.
  • would it be possible to just connect something like this to the battery plug on the board? couldn't that just power it?
  • Hi @marciszewski,

    I don't think the solar panel in your link would work to power the SCK alone, nor charge the battery enough to make it worth it.

    The LiPo battery supplied with the kit puts out 3.7v. If you removed it and substituted the solar panel in your link, you would be under-powering the SCK.

    I also don't think it would make for a good alternative for the current solar panel. The current unit's specs are 17 volts, 10 watts, 0.58 amps, which is stepped down and converted by the on-board components to fully charge the LiPo battery every day.

    If you end up trying it, please post your results. I'd love to see the what you find.

    SCK 685
  • Hi @marciszewski,

    I don't know. The website says it takes 6-7 hours to charge the battery when it's plugged into the wall, and says that the solar panel is only for emergency use. I couldn't find any specs on how long it takes to charge when using only the sun (other than some of the Amazon reviews that says it takes much longer than a day to fully charge the battery).

    This one costs more than the regular solar panel you can get for the SCK. Is there a reason you're looking for alternatives?

    SCK 685
  • Hi all,

    I am also looking for a combination of a battery and a solar panel. The reason for this is that I want to run my kit day and night for quite a long period. An alternative would be having a 5 meter long micro-usb cable running from an adapter to the kit.

    Does anyone have any experience that I can learn from?

    Thanks for your reply in advance!

    Cheers, Marc
  • Hello @MarcBrugman,

    Two suggestions:

    1. Using a solar panel: I will suggest you try the same approach as mloebl. You can even contact him by writting him a comment. He's using a 6Ah LiPo battery from Sparkfun (this is 3 times more than the standard battery) and a 20W solar panel.

    2. Using a power adapter: You should be able to run a 5m cable USB with no problem. However if you want a longer cable you can also power the kit using the Solar Panel input. This will allow to bring power to it at 12V so you'll have less power losses. You will need a 2A 12V DC power supply and some cable.

    Let us know if you have any questions!
  • I am using a combination of battery and solar panel. The solar panel provides power but does not charge the battery. Is this just and issue for me or does everyone have this issue - could be the solar setup on the board is not designed to charge the battery?
  • Hi @dionor,

    In fact it is the oposite. The PV panel is designed to simply charge the battery and then the battery power is feed in to the board.

    Your problem can be the panel or the sun around is not enough to charge the battery. It can also be there's is some problem with the electronics of you board but better you do some tests first.

    What are the specs of your solar panel? How many volts and watts? Where are you located in order to calculate solar radiation?
  • I am getting a steady 5v from the solar panel. The battery is a Lipo 3.5v
    A pic of the settings can be seen here

  • Hi @dionr,

    As you can see in the docs ( the solar panel should deliver a voltage bigger than 8v and less than 15v , so the battery can be charged.
  • got it. I am upgrading to a 12v panel.
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