Monitoring Panel Output

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by manda3000gt, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. manda3000gt

    manda3000gt Funster

    May 6, 2010
    When you have a more than one solar panels would it be in anyway possible to wire up a volt/ amp meter to monitor the output of an individual panels output ?
    I have four panels and would like to have four meters showing each panels output to see the effects of shadowing/ performance drop off etc ( and just to be a geek :))
    but don't know if it would possible as all panels are connected together.
    My charge controller shows the combined output of all panels volts & amps
  2. autorouter

    autorouter Funster

    Apr 27, 2016
    Yes, it's perfectly possible. No, it's not simple. If the panels are all connected in parallel, the voltage across each will be the same. However, the currents flowing from each panel into the branch point will be different, so you could measure those.

    Don't know of any off-the-shelf gadgets will do this. There may be something out there somewhere, but it will probably be expensive.

    However, there is a whole planet-wide geek community devoted to measuring solar power. If you want to venture into the realm of cave-dwelling geekdom, this is actually a very good starter project. Not too difficult, but not too easy either.

    Basically there are several steps.
    1. Sort out a sensor that will measure the current range of interest.
    2. Get a small cheap microcomputer board with analog measuring built in.
    3. Hook it up to your computer/tablet.
    4. Follow the examples to write a simple program to take measurements and display them.

    There's dozens of YouTubes showing all the details. For example,

    'Using the ACS712 Hall Effect Sensor Module' (Parts 1, 2 and 3), using this inexpensive sensor to monitor a solar panel.

    But be very's a slippery slope... you start measuring just one small panel, ... :unsure: and before you know it...:eek:
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