Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Solar powered quad or hex?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by runnerman, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. runnerman

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    0
    Been thinking about this latel. As most of us know this phantom needs 10 something volts to fly. Therefor giving a short flight time. Once you add gimbals, fpv, etc. flight time is cut very short. I have been wondering if solar power could be used in powering the phantom or not. Although to generate enough solar power to constantly run the phantom you would need a very large solar panel to do that but there could be some-sort of way . Any thoughts?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
     
  2. netphreak

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    You would need a few very large (and heavy) panels to power the drone enough to fly. Plus you need a ton of amperage to fly, and clouds would kill you really quick :lol:
     
  3. Roadkilt

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    4
    Compared to everything else on this flyer the batteries are cheap, and light relative to the power they provide.
     
  4. Driffill

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    529
    Likes Received:
    3
    Using a solar panel to charge a battery that's NOT flying isn't really practical! Solar doesn't have a high power output for the space it would take up. An 80w panel retails for around $600+ (for quality brands) and would only provide ~5A @12vDC, after some loss thru the regulator you would have about 4A available to charge with, and that would need to pump into a standard 12v battery to be usable to us.

    You would be lucky to fit a 2W panel on the phantom, and that would do very little in increasing flight times, it would probably decrease from the extra weight and extra turbulence caused from the panel on top.
     
  5. miskatonic

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    0
    Solar arrays don't work the way that you are thinking. They convert solar energy not store it for use. You could use a solar array to charge the LIPO batteries during the day but I would not try to fly with one strapped to my copter.

    With that being said high discharge LIPOs are exactly what a solar panel should be charging. Off grid solar arrays work best with high discharge batteries.
     
  6. Driffill

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    529
    Likes Received:
    3
    I'm not sure exactly who you are talking to, but I have a very good idea of how solar power works . . . I've worked in the solar industry for 5 years :) the lipo battery I said shorted out in my hand (in another thread, in the past week or so) was on a solar system I was working on!

    Have a look at a post I made in 2009
    http://www.candm.com.au/forum/viewtopic ... f28b858f19

    Solar panels can't charger directly to the phantom lipo batteries (it will over voltage the cell!), you would need to charge like follows.
    Solar Panel>solar regulator>12v (deep cycle?) battery> 12v to 11.1v lipo charger> phantom battery!
     
  7. miskatonic

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would hope that the array had the regulator included. ;)
     
  8. Driffill

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Messages:
    529
    Likes Received:
    3
    Solar panels don't have built in regulators . . .

    And also to clarify, a solar "Array" it a string of multiple panels joined together on the same system.

    For a grid feed system, multiple panels would be joined in series to increase the voltage and regulated by a grid feed DC to AC inverter. For a stand alone system, the solar panel must charge into a battery, and then any load are run from the battery as per normal.
     
  9. ColinVaughns

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Were you able to use solar power? It seems to be very exciting concept but I am not sure.. Please share some more information.
     
  10. David Covo

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
  11. BearStrap

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am interested in this as well did you figure anything out? I was thinking about using 2 6V panels in a series with a regulator so that you would overload the phantom battery. Hoping to get enough juice to get a sustaining energy source for my phantom.
     
  12. ProfessorStein

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Titan's Solara 50 solar-powered drone takes 50 meters of solar panels to power its single, somewhat anemic motor mounted on it's specially-designed-for-minimal-weight frame and components.

    I think you would have a tough time converting an off-the-shelf airframe to be light enough, or power four motors from an array any smaller than 50 meters+.

    Maybe in time... but not yet.
     
  13. sar104

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    245
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM.
    In the most basic analysis, a Phantom uses a 58 Whr battery for around 20 minutes of flight, so it is averaging around 175 W. The most efficient solar panels around today can produce in the region of 175 W m⁻² and, depending on latitude of course, the maximum theoretical power based on solar insolation would be around 1 kW m⁻².

    So with today's technology it would take the power from at least 1 m² of solar panel to keep a Phantom aloft, but that doesn't take into account how one could mount such a panel or the additional weight of the panel and associated electronics. Clearly not possible with current technology, and given that the surface area of the Phantom is less than that required even with 100% conversion of incident solar power and no additional weight at all, likely never possible.
     
    witold likes this.
  14. TeamYankee

    Joined:
    May 30, 2014
    Messages:
    491
    Likes Received:
    42
    Location:
    Swansea, Wales, UK
    Sorry not even slightly feasible... to charge the phantom in flight with power to spare to run the rotors, you'd need a very large solar panel indeed, much larger than the phantom itself!
     
  15. turf

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    175W for 20min, so it would need at least 2x315W LG solar panels, wooow, toom much.
    _____________________________________________________
    How-to project your own PV system!
     
  16. witold

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    102
    Have you seen the solar plane? It's a giant fragile ultra-light solar panel with a little barebones frame that can barely carry one person. We're not even remotely close to solar quads.
     
  17. turbulence

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    40
    Yup, i've see the Solar Impulse. It's pretty cool and really slowwwwwww.
     

    Attached Files: