Solar charging circuit for drone

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by cpfc, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. cpfc

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 19, 2013

    I am an engineering student and for my final year project I am looking to develop a solar powered drone. The aim is for the drone to charge a small battery using an attached solar panel whilst on the ground. Once it detects it has enough charge it will fly to the pre-set location, land and charge up again for the next flight.

    I am looking at ideas on designing the charging circuit and have come across this charge controller IC:

    If I use a 5W solar panel with a 3S LiPo battery, would this be a suitable charge controller to use?
  2. Dodgydave

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2012
    Looks ok from the specs, constant current or voltage, with under voltage drop out.
  3. blocco a spirale

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 18, 2008
    How long do you expect the drone to be charging for before it is ready to fly again?..... bearing in mind it will probably require >100W (possibly a lot more) just to get off the ground and a 5W solar panel will only produce 5W under the most optimum of conditions and only a fraction of this best-case 5W will be converted to charge within the battery.

    Before spending time designing a charging circuit you should first investigate the feasibility of the idea i.e. how much power does the drone + solar panel require to fly? how much useful charge can you realistically expect from a 5W solar panel? You may find that it will take days, if not weeks, to accumulate enough charge to enable it to fly again, which, I'm guessing, is longer than you are prepared to wait.

    Have you considered designing a solar powered ground-based drone charging station?
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015