Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bee Science Farm to use recycled Tesla batteries in instrument trailer

Weather protection and safety guidelines require an enclosure.

An important part of the Bee Science Farm mission is to develop techniques to monitor and report pollinating insect population changes over time. We need a consistent source of power to operate the two-dozen ground mounted microphones, amplifiers and data recorders, not to mention the computer and the wifi link. This is a big challenge.

Some other creative people have figured out how to do this within a small space of a utility type cargo trailer.  Here is an interesting website that shows a food cart powered by a used Tesla battery and the image here is from that site. 

Tesla batteries are very expensive, require exact charge controls, and can't be allowed to freeze or be overcharged.  Our system will use two Tesla Model S battery packs salvaged from wrecked cars. The control electronics consist of a charge controller that takes voltage from the roof mounted solar panels, an inverter, and temperature and other controls.  Over 4.5 kWh per battery pack can be expected which is amazing considering one pack weighs only 55 pounds. Unfortunately, even this amount of power will not run all of our instruments, let alone the needed irrigation pump for phase 2.  Another problem has been the safety of the Tesla batteries which can catch fire if overcharged, requiring us to abandon our hope of unattended operation. Yet another concern is security, even thought the neighbors (pretty far away) are supportive, there is always the potential for human and animal mischief, requiring even more power to run the alarm and electric fence that will surround the instruments to keep curious browsers away from expensive cables.

Right across the street on Bay Rd. behind Pride gas station is a Tesla charge station! Interesting coincidence, or fate?

It's mostly on facebook for now