Solar Panel – RCOL Test Machine

Project Scope:

Solar Panel – RCOL (Reverse Current Overload) Test Machine

Integrate a FLIR camera, Lambda Genesys power supply, accelerometers, and a database using PC control, digital I/O, and safety system.

The Lambda power supply flows current through the solar panel which causes it to heat up. The FLIR camera continuously monitors the panel in the infrared spectrum. This allows the customer to see hot spots which may show potential problems in their production process.

PC Control using custom SCD .NET application.

SQL Server database

FLIR camera

Lambda Genesys DC power supply

Robust machine frame

Custom machine safety system

The Solution:

A PC running custom C# .NET software acts as the user interface and controls the process. The user can create custom recipes for the current and voltage they want to be applied to the panel for tests that may run for hours.

Ethernet communications are used to gather temperature data and thermal images from the FLIR camera. Serial communications are used to adjust setpoints and collect electrical data from the Lambda power supply. A .NET API is used to communicate over Ethernet with a Moxa digital I/O block to monitor the accelerometers and a smoke alarm and also control cooling fans and door locks. A Pilz safety relay handles guard door and E-stop functionality, ensuring power is cut off to the power supply and moving parts if an unsafe condition occurs.

The .NET application interfaces with custom SQL Server stored procedures, developed by SDC, running on the customer’s SQL Server production database. Every bit of temperature data is saved; up to 300,000 rows of data at whatever interval the customer desires; typically every five minutes.

7 MIN – 8 HRS RCOL tests can run from 7 minutes up to 8 hours

300,000 up to 300,000 rows of temperature data is saved

5 MIN temperature test data is saved at custom intervals, typically every 5 minutes