Monday, November 25, 2019

Solar System Upgrades and Roof-Diet

We've been rocking a hybrid roof-top/portable solar system for several years now.  Having the flexibility to either use the panel fixed on the pop-top roof, or to unlock it and move it for better sun exposure has been excellent.

With our original 60w panel and an inexpensive PWM controller, we had a great budget solution, but it struggled to keep our house battery fully charged when the loads were high. (Usually hot days in the desert when the fridge works hard)

Shooting timelapse at Vista del Malpais

I've experimented with timelapse shooting a few times in the past.  Here's a brief result from our recent trip to Vista del Malpais, overlooking the badlands of Anza Borrego Desert State Park

These aren't my best results, but for posterity, here's the setup for the new "sub-Kilo" timelapse system I'm putting together:

  • GoPro Hero2, 5s interval shooting
  • Turnspro panning station, 75deg pans over 20 minutes each
  • Mini tripod
  • LRTimelapse for post-processing
Total weight: ~600g 

Improvements for next time:
  1.  Adding a bubble level to the rig - with the small and lightweight rig, it was very hard to eyeball "level" and the original shots ended up visibly tilted. Correcting those tilts in post is the likely cause of the slight judder in the video.
  2. Switching back to a small Canon P+S hacked with CHDK so we can get raw images for improved processing, or upgrading our venerable GoPro...