A man’s shed should never be questioned. My “man den” was originally supposed to be the garage, but that’s filled with all manner of stuff and I struggle to even walk through it at times. Apparently we “need” everything in there, even though I don’t know what half of it is.
This weekend I’ve got to fit a radiator so I’m not messing around with this geeky solar-powered project too much today. Instead, I’m going to give you a video tour and a list of what I’ve used so far.
Here’s the kit…
1 – A foldable solar charger. It’s actually the Archeer solar charger we reviewed. This isn’t actually available any more, but put “foldable solar charger” into Amazon and you’ll find some extremely similar products. In direct sunlight, this really does charge the phone very well. However, when there’s little sun or it’s not directly on the panel, you’re going to get a trickle-charge at best.
2 – An old Android phone. I’m using the Leagoo M5 Plus, which isn’t perhaps that ideal battery-wise as it only has a 2500mAh battery. However, it’s built like a brick (208 grams and is a hefty metal construction).
You can use any old Android phone though. Get one out of a drawer.
3 – Three bits of software. First, an app called REST API. This acts as a gateway into your phone. You just type a certain URL into a browser on your laptop or another device on your home network and the phone will relay information about itself. In this instance I’m getting it to tell me how much battery power is left and how much light is coming into the light sensor.
4 – Although I’ve not used this in anger yet, I also installed Web Server PHP/MyAdmin/MySQL from YelOyo. It’ll effectively turn your phone into a web server.
5 – SSH/SFTP Server from Banana Studio. On my laptop I can connect over SSH into the phone and upload (via SCP) files to be displayed on the web server.
Here’s a look around…
I’ve not used the SSH server or the web server as yet, as I want to check that the phone won’t go flat. That’s why I’m currently using the API to query the battery percentage every 5 minutes. This rather low-tech logging page shows how things are going, and when the sun is directly on the panel (from about mid-afternoon), it really gives it a big boost.
Here’s the current state of play…