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Design of Solar Power Regulator Printed Circuit Board

by: Mar 10,2022 5955 Views 1 Comments Posted in PCB Design & Layout

In this article, we are going to have a beginner project on how to design a solar power regulator printed circuit board. This solar charger is a very important board that will enable you to have your solar-charged to the maximum power output that is intended.

Components needed for the Project.

Background information

In modern technology, solar panels are charged by the use of the Maximum Power Point Tracking

(MPPT) technology. This is a technology that charges our solar panels by tracking the direction of the sun to ensure that the solar concentrates at a point where there is maximum power output. Sometimes this technology proves not enough especially when the sun is not available for example during cloudy and rainy days. Since we still need to use our solar we have to charge them. Therefore, this solar charger will be of very significance in such situations. The LT3652 is DC to DC converter microcontroller that will help us in providing the most efficient charge tracking to our solar batteries. This will make solar panels most efficient and reliable in providing power to our homes.

The working principle of the LT3652

In comparison to other charging regulators, this happens to be the most efficient. It can do DC to DC power regulation.

  •  To start with, they receive DC inputs from the solar panels, convert them into high-frequency AC signals then finally convert them back to DC voltages and currents as per the battery being charged specifications.
  • The input regulation is used to ensure that the panel is maintained at the peak power output.
  • This type of converter can be configured to ensure that charging stops when the charging current falls below 1/10 of the programmed current.

The schematic diagram

The schematic below incorporates the LT3652, which is a very critical component in the design. The converter will play the key role of lowering down, increasing, and changing DC, to AC and then back to DC to charge the solar battery

  • The barrel jack is our switch where we disconnect the battery inside the panel and connect the external battery and this will charge the internal battery when the solar panel has not been charged.
  • The schematic below is completed using the KiCAD EDA which is a very critical design tool

The PCB design

The schematic file above is converted into a PCB file.

  •  During the design process, we have an option to choose the dimensions of the components or the size of the board as per the design specifications or requirements.
  • We can also check the errors in our PCB with the help of the design check rules which are placed in the KiCAD to enable it to have the capacity to identify all the design errors.
  •  The solar charge controller is to charge our batteries and we should be very careful while doing the connections to ensure that we do not miss a connection since any error might lead to loss of our solar panel or a battery which are very expensive.
  • Below is the image of a completely routed PCB board, ready for Layout.

  • After the layout and generation of the 3D view of our design, the image below is what we get.

Design manufacturing

After being done with the design, I need to fabricate it. Now I have to communicate with manufacturers who can help me in doing the fabrication.

  •  I use PCBWAY in my manufacturing. You visit Ordering - How do I submit an inquiry and place an order (pcbway.com) and inquire more on how to do the order of your PCB to be manufactured.
  • You need to send to the manufacturer all the manufacturing files generated from the EDA tool. For me, I have to upload the Gerber files, the BOM file, and the Pick and Place file for the process to be successful.

Bill of material

To solder the components that I have utilized in my PCB, I need to order them for purchase. To do that perfectly, the Bill of material commonly known as BOM will play the key role. This can be generated from the same design tool that you used.

To generate this file from KiCAD;

·        Go to file, then fabrication output, and select BOM file as shown below

·        Click on it to generate an excel file save it. When you open the excel file, this is what you get. You need to edit it to fit your manufacturer’s requirements.

Gerber files.

To generate the Gerber files, go to Pot as shown below

·        Click on the icon, to open up the pop-up window below, then hit on the plot.

·        You will have generated your Gerber files.

This brings us to the end of this simple Solar power regulator PCB design.

Tools, APP Software Used etc.
Schematic and Layout
CAD-Custom parts and enclosures
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