One of the cells has split somewhat. Apparently the strain of panels against plexiglass, which I have learned tends to expand and contract more than I would have expected due to temperature, has cracked it. Being made of glass and <0.2mm thick, it’s not difficult to do.
The problem is that this single crack is limiting the output of this cell by ~30% of its output wattage. That’s causing the entire panel to lose 30%. Butts.
I’ll be repairing this.
In the meantime, I noticed this at 11pm:
I stuck the above LEDs into the circuit to see what they were doing and to my surprise they were flickering right along. But why flickering? I started trying to figure out if there was any way there was an odd capacitance in the circuit that I wasn’t understanding. But no, nothing. Even with the MCU entirely powered down it was still happening. And four LEDs drawing at least 20mA a piece wouldn’t be sustained by any capacitance.
What I did notice, however, was that the flickering matched the dancing of the flame of a tiki torch lit in the backyard that was near the panel. 3v and at least 80mA coming from a single torch in what would otherwise be pitch black. Surprising…
More interesting to come, tomorrow though.
Things to look for soon: Stirling engines, Peltier cell phone charger, my take on Mr Fusion.