'Tower of Power - Calculating Power Budgets for Remote iUTAH EPSCoR Weather Stations'
Harsha Balam (firstname.lastname@example.org), Utah State University
A Power budget is an analysis of how much power is required by a remotely located data collection site for its functioning. It tells us how long the data collection site will run on batteries without recharging and the appropriate size of the solar panel necessary to sufficiently charge the batteries. The first step in calculating a power budget is to identify the sensors that will be used, the power they draw in different operating modes, the time they are operated in each of these modes and the amount of available sunlight at the site. The power used by a sensor in a day is calculated by taking the product of current, voltage and the time for which it is used. This gives us the daily power requirement in Watt-Hours. Summing up the power consumed by all the sensors gives the total power needed on a daily basis at the site. Using this number we determine the size of the batteries and the solar panel required for the site to function properly accounting for the number of days the batteries need to last without sunlight to recharge them. For example in winter time when daylight is minimum and cloudy conditions are common. As a part of the iUTAH EPSCoR project, remote weather stations will be set-up and operated in the TW Daniel Experimental Forest, Beaver Mountain, Tony Gove Ranger Station, USU Campus and Mendon Road. The sensors that will be used on each of these towers are identified in terms of their power requirements and the power budget for each individual site was calculated with the necessary approximations taken into consideration. The average available sunlight data was used and the appropriate battery size and solar panel sizes were determined. An accurate power budget will help maintain monitoring activities for optimal sensor function and in the future make it easier to integrate additional sensors, increasing the data collection capabilities of weather stations.