Suggestion: More reliable power for remote installations

This is really a suggestion for the design team.

There seems to be a small but consistent stream of people having problems which can be traced to power (low voltage) issues.

The R-PI is very susceptible to low voltage issues, and by low voltage, we are talking of small fractions of a volt below 5.0v. With a nominally 5v PSU, that small voltage change can easily occur in the power cable when we are talking about several amps (2 to 2.5).

It appears that the standard PSU as delivered is fine.

Where problems mostly seem to occur is in installations where it is not possible to use the standard PSU directly because there is no nearby power. In this case, the usual tactic is to extend the low power cable. The resulting increased voltage drop causes issues.

A better solution may be to design add an optional form of PSU - a buck-converter placed as close as possible to the R-Shake, and supplied with 12v to 15v.

The longer 12v cable will still be subject to voltage drop, but 0.2v drop on 12v is not the same as 0.2v drop on a 5.0v supply, and will be compensated by the converter.

These buck converters are cheap - the housing and connectors likely being the major cost.

People with electronic skills, or access to someone with them, can create these pretty easily for themselves, but for most people a “plug and play” off the shelf, tested system is going to be preferable.

1 Like

Hello Philip,

This is an interesting proposal! I’ve already passed it to our team for future condsideration so that they can evaluate it and see what can be done for remote installations in this regard.

It is true that remote installations are one of the most challenging in terms of having to prepare the Shake for, sometimes, months of “unsupervised” data collection. Preparing the site, the storage, the power source (batteries, solar panels, and more) can be a lot of work.

I will also use this topic to remind, for any interested reader, that our manual has some recommendations, both for remote installations in general and for solar powered systems:

Thank you again Philip.

This could be useful in installations that you wouldn’t usually classify as remote too. Anywhere where the power socket is too far away for the standard PSU cable to reach properly.

1 Like