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Solar Battery Protector Prevents excessive DischargeThis circuit prevents the battery in a solar lighting system from being excessively discharged. It's for small systems with less than 100W of lighting, such as several fluorescent lights, although with a higher rated Mosfet at the output, it could switch larger loads. The circuit has two comparators based on an LM393 dual op amp. One monitors the ambient light so that lamps cannot be turned on during the day. The second monitors the battery voltage, to prevent it from being excessively discharged. IC1b monitors the ambient light by virtue of the light dependent resistor connected to its non-inverting input. When exposed to light, the resistance of the LDR is low and so the output at pin 7 is low.
IC1a monitors the battery voltage via a voltage divider connected to its non-inverting input. Its inverting input is connected to a reference voltage provided by ZD1. Trimpot VR1 is set so that when the battery is charged, the output at pin 1 is high and so Mosfet Q1 turns on to operate the lights. The two comparator outputs are connected together in OR gate fashion, which is permissible because they are open-collector outputs. Therefore, if either comparator output is low (ie, the internal output transistor is on) then the Mosfet (Q1) is prevented from turning on. In practice, VR1 would be set to turn off the Mosfet if the battery voltage falls below 12V. The suggested LDR is a NORP12, a weather resistant type available from Farnell Electronic Components Pty Ltd.
Author: Michael Moore - Copyright: Silicon Chip Electronics