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Light At The End Of The Tunnel

systems administration meanderings

Solar controller replacement

About two years ago my automatic solar controller broke down. The replacement is $500, with a power controller being a further $500.  This was a bit too much.

I came across an Ethernet based power controller, and decided that I can use it as the basis for a Linux based solar controller.

The solar controller’s job is to turn on the pump for the pool, to allow it to filter the water, and in the process of moving the water reduce the ability for algae to form.  Mine also sends the water through a salt water chlorinator, which helps fights the bugs in the water.  Also the solar controller monitors the water flow, the roof temperature, and the water temperature.  Using these inputs it makes a decision to turn on another pump which sends the water to the roof, this is heated and returned to the pool.

I survived last summer by using a timer to turn on the pumps at the same time this has more than a couple of down sides

  * Solar pump is on for longer
  * Solar pump is turned on when there is no or little benefit
  * The pool gets too hot, and is subject to more evaporation than normal

To allow my controller to recreate this functionality I need the following:-

  * A Linux server to take in the inputs and send out the controls
  * Temperature inputs
  * Flow inputs
  * Power controller

As the pumps for the pool are the other end of the house I also need to run Ethernet from the office to the pumps.  Plus I need to weather proof the power controller.

OK thats the idea, nex the plan and  to find  the components I don’t have.