Author Topic: Silicon Chip MPPT project - carrot material?  (Read 5444 times)

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Offline RayJonesTopic starter

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Silicon Chip MPPT project - carrot material?
« on: June 20, 2010, 09:06:32 am »
It is now a couple of weeks since I made the effort and directly queried Silicon Chip about the Solar Lighting System published in the May/June 2010 issues.

I have been (half heartedly) playing around with Solar MPPT designs over the last year or so, and seeing one being offered up in kit form really stirred my interest.

So I sent the following queries of the design on the 8th June:

It was great interest that I read the article on the Solar Powered Lighting System (May/June 2010).

My interest was especially increased when I noticed it uses a MPPT algorithm for optimum energy transfer from the solar panel to the battery.

Reading the article also revealed further efficiency gains were sought by disconnecting the sensing circuits when not actually being read by the PIC micro.

It was then with some surprise to find an inefficient  linear current regulator was being used to limit current passing into an LED load.
After all the prior effort, one would think a Constant Current switching regulator was the logical conclusion for the LED's drive!

BTW I notice the .hex file for the PIC is not available on your website at this stage, nor is anyone advertising a kit for sale.

This is somewhat surprising, and as it currently stands, a non functional project for us mere mortal readers.

Please lift the veil of secrecy soon!

Regards, Ray Jones.

So here it is, the 20th June and I have still not received any form of response for what I thought was a fairly simple query.
More concerning is the fact the .hex file still remains un-published on their website, leading one to think this is once again another "feather the Jaycar/Altronics nest" project.
Project as it stands is useless without firmware.

Am I being too unrealistic expecting a usable conclusion to this?



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Re: Silicon Chip MPPT project - carrot material?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 09:11:16 am »
I would expect them to offer a pre-programmed PIC (or full kit) for sale for a significant mark-up, although I think that binaries and even source code should be published together with the schematic. If it were implemented in discrete logic, you would also publish the schematic. Plus you publish so people can build and modify it, right? But this doesn't seem common in commercial magazines, charging for boards and pre-programmed uc's appears to be another source of income for them.

Offline RayJonesTopic starter

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Re: Silicon Chip MPPT project - carrot material?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 09:20:13 am »
Yeah, I recall the other time I also sent a message to Silicon Chip was when there was a series of projects that used a "serial number" IC to lock what was otherwise a very simple circuit to blatantly feed any software royalties to the original designer.

That one didn't get a reply either, but I was not so polite then either  ::)

As far as I am concerned, a published project is fair game, the schematic is there, the description is there, but for some reason the software is holier than thou.

If I recall correctly in my first letter, I suggested the magazine should be renamed "Thermionic Valve" as there appears to be a taboo against software in any project that really uses "Silicon chips"  :o ( and that is why I didn't get a reply then :P)
« Last Edit: June 20, 2010, 09:33:35 am by RayJones »

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Silicon Chip MPPT project - carrot material?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2010, 09:53:22 am »
That project was done by John Clarke, an in-house staffer, so the source code should eventually become available, just like all other in-house designed projects. So they are probably just a bit slow.

SC have no control over whether or not anyone will kit up for any given project. That's an economic decision made by the kit suppliers.


Offline RayJonesTopic starter

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Re: Silicon Chip MPPT project - carrot material?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2010, 08:01:14 pm »
Yes, John Clarke has produced some great projects. The other good one was the Deep Cycle charger, which works very well.
He certainly seems to have a bent for lead acid chargers!

I suppose there are two aspects to my grumble.

1/ Project is presently incomplete, with no indication of further articles given in the printed edition.
2/ The lack of decency to respond to a customer's email is very disappointing.

I decided to boycott them in the past for such rat shit customer relations, perhaps it's time again.

Meanwhile I wait for a response or firmware...... I'm ready to build and have the resources - bugger the kit suppliers!

Oh yeah, the carrot is the leading on to buy two issues that feature an article you wish to build.
This borders on false advertising when you cannot possibly build the project without firmware.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2010, 08:03:18 pm by RayJones »

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