I hope someone out there is able to answer this-

Is it possible to wire a few solar cells to a computer (using a USB) to analyze/model the data that's being acquired (i.e. voltage, amperage, etc.)

If so, how do I do this? I have absolutely no idea how, as I only have enough knowledge to wire the solar cell to a voltage regulator in order to charge a phone. Apologies if this is asking too much.

The end goal is to record/model the data of 3 2.5 watt solar cells among various weather conditions.

Thanks to anyone who can help.


closed as too broad by brhans, Matt Young, Robherc KV5ROB, Voltage Spike, Wesley Lee Apr 19 '17 at 10:57

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't wire it directly to the USB port, you need some kind of measuring device. I'm sure there are USB current/voltage meters though I don't know one off the top of my head. \$\endgroup\$ – immibis Apr 19 '17 at 2:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would an arduino controller would work? \$\endgroup\$ – Thatshyguy Apr 19 '17 at 2:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ there are several DMMs with "datalogging" features, typically dumping readings over a serial/usb connection. The venerable UT61E gives you USB+ a lot of precision for the price. \$\endgroup\$ – dandavis Apr 19 '17 at 2:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you use an Arduino I guarantee your next questions will be "how do I measure current and voltage with an Arduino?" :P \$\endgroup\$ – immibis Apr 19 '17 at 3:29

A USB only communicates in the digital domain as far as I know. If you need to enter the analog domain, or ADC (Analog to Digital Converter), then your best bet is probably to hook up an Arduino through the USB port and then listen to an Analog Input on the Arduino. Then you can let the Arduino send that information to your computer.

There are some Analog to Digital Converters for USB out there, I just googled and they are... not the cheapest, and the software they come with are probably hush hush. If you use an Arduino instead you can use open source software and get a lot of help from the community.

Maybe this thread on the Arduino Forum will help you in the right direction. I know it's not good practice to answer with links, but considering the question was how to do it, and this is just a follow-up answer in the right direction I feel that it's okay. Shoot me if you feel different with a thumb down button. http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=14524.0


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