This past week, we have made progress in many fronts of our Voya Sol energy system. On the hardware side, we ordered a marketing sample from PolyCase, which we will be evaluating when it arrives. We are considering outsourcing the manufacturing of the encasing of our 30 systems, to reduce labor time and ensure consistent quality. Additionally, we requested a quote for the following preliminary design:
On the top lid, we will have our LCD screen which contains the user interface, and the system on/off button. On the longer side there are four slots for the USBs, and a circular hole for the shared power connection, which we are still working on. We are looking for power connections that can be connected to the box and can transfer power for longer distances without significant losses, since this connection will likely be from house to house. These five ports have been integrated to our revised PBC design. On the shorter side, there are vents shown on the left, and four holes for cables. The larger ones on the bottom are MC4 connections for the solar panels, and the smaller ones at the top go to the lead acid battery. We are still exploring what kind of cables we can use for these connections, which have to be very different than the MC4 connectors to avoid mistakes when plugging them in.
We have been doing testing on our screen recently, and the preliminary design of our user interface has been made. In terms of making the screen work, we have been trying to program two different screens to explore different vendors and their reliability. One of the screens is an Adafruit LCD, which is a known brand, while the other one is a cheaper version. We were able to connect the cheaper one to the Teensy Arduino, and upload the setup program. However, we are still trying to figure out why the Adafruit screen does not work. From our online search for solutions, the Adafruit screen seems to have given problems to other users.
In terms of the user interface that will be implemented on the LCD, there are special libraries that the design team has to look into while we decide how our users will be interacting with different components that we make available through the software that we code onto the touchscreen. Below there is a picture of the first iteration of the UI main page.