Covering a BlueROV2 with solar panels, to extend operational duration in sunlight, requires a power connector to charge up the batteries. There are earlier forums about the lack of battery protection from under charging (in February). Does one of its subsystems already include a battery charging connector that this project could use?
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Do you plan to just leave it floating and charging?
The Rov has an area of 457 mm x 338 mm = 0.154 m²
Maximum sun radiance is 1120 W/ m²
Maximum efficiency solar cell I could find is 22%.
So covering the top of the ROV with these solar cells would output 0.154*1120*0.22 = 40 W
In this best case scenario our battery would take 6h to charge.
If you want to increase autonomy and don’t want to deal with multiple batteries, maybe power over tether is a better solution.
I appreciate that and this is just an experiment with some new solar cells that are conformal and a bit higher efficiency. My main question is whether I need to add a separate charging circuit or if that connection is already built in.
Yes, you should add your own circuit to charge the battery. Currently we only monitor total voltage and an estimated charge state integrating the current passing through the power module.