Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

I am hoping someone can give me some guidance to the project I am working on. I am trying to put together off-grid solar system to power lights, fans, tvs, refrigerators, etc in Africa. Ranging from 1 Watt for 6 hours to 200 W for 14 hours on daily basis.

I need a remote monitoring system that can communicate via GMS / GPRS that will send data about the power charge levels, loads, usage, temperature, etc. It would be ideal if a SIM card can be inserted so that transmission of data can be foolproof and takes no special skills to set up.

I have searched for data loggers / voltage meters / battery monitors but most of them seem to be overkill or lack the GSM communication capability. The monitoring system CANNOT be more than $40USD.

Can anyone help me with my search?


Alex

Comments

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

    welcome, what about the cost of the other components? what $$ do you have for spending on them?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

    You'll struggle to find anything at less than $40 for the whole system, considering that even DIY GSM modules go for more than $60 - with no other functions!
  • marsofoldmarsofold Solar Expert Posts: 45 ✭✭
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

    Your 200watts x 14hours will require at least four 200watt panels. Rails. Array-to-inside wiring. Solar charge controller. Batteries. Inverter. You're looking at $2500 minimum. And you fuss about paying over $40 for a monitor? With all due respect, you haven't done your homework and you haven't the slightest idea about approximate solar costs.
  • alexanderDJKimalexanderDJKim Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

    With all due respect, all parts of the off-grid system have been sourced and priced. Thus, I am not concerned with modules, rails. chargers, batteries, etc.

    I am trying to figure out a best way to have a very simple (stripped down) data logger that can send GSM/GPRS messages a few times a day. There is very little margin in these systems as they will provide electricity to homes in Africa with no pre-existing grid or to replace expensive diesel generators.

    Does anyone know battery monitoring system that can transmit data via GSM at a very low cost?
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?
    Does anyone know battery monitoring system that can transmit data via GSM at a very low cost?
    I don't know the answer to your question. You might try asking your question over at the Outback forum where there is a fairly active member, "tallgirl", who designs and sell monitoring systems. I have no idea what they cost.

    hope that helps, --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • JakachiraJakachira Solar Expert Posts: 47
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

    This is an old thread but I think it is in the best interest of other readers that these two solar system components can achieve a remote monitoring

    Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 Solar charge controller: This charger has immense communication capabilities. An on-board Ethernet interface with an inbuilt web server to provide every charging parameter that you can think of. It should work with GSM/GPRS networks should one have a 3G router.

    Victron Battery Monitor BMV-602S: This item monitors the usage of your battery bank. The above controller only monitors charging part although you can also monitor you battery status by voltage parameters shown on the web pages or MSView software. You can connect BMV to your 3G router as through data link cables required. You will need a converter for "RS-323" to Ethernet to connect this item to the router.

    With these two you can practically do anything on your system. Any parameter that you can think of will be covered by these two components.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?

    With the MS Tristat MPPT 60, anyway to log data over the web? I've only been able to view the summary, and have to connect to the serial cable to get a data dump.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

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    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • JakachiraJakachira Solar Expert Posts: 47
    Re: Off-Grid Monitoring System Recommendation?
    mike95490 wrote: »
    With the MS Tristat MPPT 60, anyway to log data over the web? I've only been able to view the summary, and have to connect to the serial cable to get a data dump.

    The controller also shows the data log of the 200 days on the web. There is no way of downloading that from the web.

    MSView software can connect to your controller through an IP Address or web address for that matter. It is safe as long as switch #8 is on OFF position so that WRITES commands are disabled on Ethernet connection.

    With MSView you can log anything you like. You can even create more than one log files each with a set of customized parameters to be logged. What i mean is you can create customized logged files with MSView. The controller is just awesome.
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