Solar powered router
German overview: Solar-Router
The idea of solar powered wifi routers has been discussed and also implemented many times as there are numerous situations where you cannot (or do not want to) rely on wired power supply, for example:
- Nodes in nature (rural areas, parks, gardens).
- Power blackouts.
- Rooftops or other places that are hard-to-reach with cables.
- Developing countries where wired power supply is unavailable or power outages occur frequently.
- Protests or other gatherings where mobility or independence from centralized (and thus easy to shut down) power supply is important.
If no internet uplink (or mesh node with connection to a uplink-node) is within wifi-range, a 3G/UMTS/LTE USB device can be used.
A working setup
This is a setup which has been tested by Andrenarchy. Thanks to a car battery this setup should keep the router alive for about 3-4 days without sunlight. The used charge controller monitors the status of the car battery and disconnects the router before the battery gets damaged due to deep discharge. Likewise the battery is protected against overcharge. The 50W solar panel should deliver enough energy to allow all year (day and night) operation under average weather conditions in Germany -- of course this highly depends on the latitude and weather conditions of your location. The Freifunk-MPP-Tracker might be helpful in maximizing power extraction under all conditions (variable amount of sunlight falling on the solar panels). If you only need the router for 3-4 days and if you can recharge the car battery in another way, then you can simply omit the solar panel (which is the most expensive part).
|WiFi router||TP-Link WR1043ND||~40 EUR||12V, 0.3A (wifi load), USB2.0 port, compare TP-LINK and openwrt specifications|
|solar panel||Goliath AV-SOL50M||~90 EUR||12V, 50W max, cf. Amazon|
|car battery||Profi-Start 36Ah||~23 EUR||12V, 36Ah (bought at tip Auto in Berlin)|
|charge controller||Conrad||~34 EUR||max. 6A, protects against deep discharge of car battery, Conrad; this cheaper one should also work.|
|small parts||~20 EUR||
|optional: 3g/UMTS USB device||Huawei K3520 / E169||0 EUR||got mine from a friend, but you'll get them with any dataplan|
TP-Link WR1043ND in "IKEA 365+" box (~5 EUR)