Your sysop, Kc2ugv, welcomes you to:

Welcome to the Solar Pi BBS!

You can connect, and register as a new user, should you choose, via the Flash Terminal provided.

Or, feel free to connect using the telnet client of your choice.

This system is proudly running Mystic BBS Software!

To see how this system is setup, and built, click here. It's mostly a placeholder for now.

These are in testing, and may, or may not work, at any time.

So, this project started out simply as a way to provide an off-grid BBS for amateur radio operators. It quickly morphed into much more, or so I'd like to hope.

Inititially, I started with a 30W monocrystalline panel, connected to this charge controller: XCSOURCE® Intelligent 30A PWM Solar Panel ChargeController 12V24V Battery Regulator LD29. This in turned was charging a bank of 5Ah 12V SLA batteries (These were free to me) with a total of 20Ah. These components (Which the pi) were installed in an ammo can I bought from Cabela's (Can't find a link to it, but they run about $9 in store), with the panel just sitting on top.

Now, this was installed over a summer day, when the sun is at it's best. It worked well enough for about a month, after which I started notcing the Pi dropping out almost daily. While we had some seriously hot days, I thought this was due to temps. So, I installed a venting hole in the ammo can, to try and vent off heat, and this helped. A ended up still seeing dropouts every couple of days.

I decided to put a voltmeter on the thing, early in the morning. Lo and behold, the batts were reading ~9VDC. No bueno!

My first thought was there just wasn't enough juice in 20Ah to keep the Pi and it's wifi dongle powered, so I added another 20Ah of batteries (Still free). This seemed to work for a while, and I went for a couple of weeks without a dropout. Then, started getting drops again of the Pi. So, I ended up adding a second 30W panel, but was still seeing issues. So, I swapped out the two 30's for a 100W panel, and it has been running without a hitch since.

In hindsight, I can probably get away with 20Ah, with the 100W panel, but the batteries are there already, and I don't care to take the extra cells out.

Now, that I had a stable Pi, next up: Adding amateur radio connectivity!