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Comms in the woods

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  • Comms in the woods

    Hi...Don't know if this is of interest to anyone but... I've been mucking about with comms in the woods. Just to be clear, I have no mobile coverage at all.

    This is all still very much in test.
    Solar set up...
    I've got 2 x 200w panels in series, going to an MPPT charge controller which feeds a 250Ah GEL battery. I need to use GEL because I'm in a nature reserve and my permit only allows batteries indoors. AGM are just too expensive just now. Also my permit only allows for a max of 5.2 m2 of panel and I use the other half of that for another set up. My inverter is a no name 12V 300w thing I bought from Amazon. I've taken the fan out of it because it was driving me nuts. I use this to power my lights, TV, laptops etc.

    Comms set up 1
    For 3 months (starting around the solstice) I've been running SkyDSL (Tooway) satellite internet which gives me around 40mbps down and 5mbps up. Lag is around 630ms. This works well and will happily spend all day with Teams running, It is light on power use, but it's just so 20th century. Also the billing dept seems to comprise the remnants of the Thule Society, so it's going.

    Comms set up 2
    The other day my Starlink order arrived. Holy crap! 277mbps down and over 50mbps up with a lag of around 30ms. I'd read a lot about its power usage, however on a sunny day you wouldn't know it was on. On a cloudy day, it's still fine but the battery won't get above 13.4v On a rainy day, the ping (19-46) ms and download (123-283) mbps are all over the place. The only constant appears to be the up speed which drops by about half. I've got bigger batteries coming (2 x 6v 600Ah GEL) but I figure I'll be moving up to a 24v or 48v set up sometime this year.

    The goal
    I've a 5 year agroforestal project (I chose the silvopastoral option and no, I've no idea what that is either) to create a 21st century farm starting later in the year and I want to create a 9.5Ha (about 23acre) wifi zone with solar powered game/security cameras (they're cheap off Amazon), borehole "telemetry" and whatever data linkages the project sponsors want going back to their systems. Obviously all this to be run off the panels.

    My gut instinct, sorry I'm a bit "numbers" illiterate, is that I'll need a 24v set up with 4 x 6v 600Ah batteries to satisfy the thing in all weathers. I might upscale to a 2 x 440W 24v panels in parallel to feed it but so far 2 x 200w 12v panels in series seem to work fine. The only issue I have is that on days where there is sun, wind and partial cloud is that the inverter shuts down for a few seconds if the clouds clear too quickly above 13.8v and there is a power spike. This is normally ok, but with comms, it's a problem so I'm thinking of putting the comms on a stand alone battery being fed by a 230v battery charger via an inverter from the main battery bank. A sort of "bush" UPS if you like.

    Exciting times though! Thanks for reading.