Improving Farm Systems with Internet & Solar-Powered Sensing and Control Systems


Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on behalf of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

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Southeast (GA, FL, AL)

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In this project, we tested a "Super WiFi system, from Carlson Wireless, that uses UHF TV channels in the 470 to 698 MHz. to provide a cost-effective, non-cellular way to transfer information from remote WiFi systems. We identified a system from eero as very farmer friendly WiFi networking devices that will monitor themselves and enable users to see their network operations on a smart phone. The best to date WiFi general use cameras have been the Nest cameras, as they are easy to connect, easy to access through a phone app, relatively inexpensive (3 for $500), and will send notifications, video and audio (mic and speaker) to mobile or office devices. When evaluating solar systems we noted that when even a tiny part of some arrays were shaded (by trees, building parts, clouds) during part of a day, electrical production was greatly reduced. Some panel types, such as amorphous thin film, are less efficient than crystalline panels in unshaded situations, yet come equipped with bypass diodes which minimize the effects of partial shading by enabling electricity to 'flow around' the shaded cell or cells. This feature enables the amorphous panels to function better than the crystalline panels in partially shaded or cloudy situations. To determine how much power different devices are consuming we decided on a system called The Energy Detective (TED). The system can be networked, has good software and a suitable number of current sensors to cover the needs of most applications.

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