I’m looking to link some wireless networks via direct links with larger antenna arrays (constructed from home “dish” antennas). A particular link does not have line of sight (small hill in the way). I wish to place a wireless router as an access point on top of that knoll, but will need solar power to operate it. I’m looking at 12V/2A for the router. Of course, I’m attempting to keep size to a minimum on both antenna and solar unit. Any suggestions on required solar gear?
I have had several articles describing how to size and install a small solar power system including the article on a solar cabin in the current issue that is on the newsstand in a week or two.
Although it should not take much to power a small unit like you are talking about with solar, I will give you a word of caution. Most DC powered telephone answering machines, and some computer network equipment like routers utilize either a “floating” ground or a reversed positive ground system. You would not normally notice this because this equipment typically uses one of those plug-in AC transformers that convert the 120 VAC from the wall outlet to 5, 9, or 12 volts DC as required by the small electronic devices. However, we have had major problems with “hum” or communication line noise when we tried to power this DC equipment directly from a DC source without the external plug-in power supply, since the ground was either reversed or the equipment had isolation filtering provided by the transformer.
Although your solar power system charging a DC battery might easily have the capacity to power this equipment, you need to verify that the equipment will work when powered directly, or you will be forced to add a 120 VAC inverter to supply the power and that involves added battery losses and much higher cost. It’s best to keep it simple, but some equipment just will not work without the isolation function of the plug in power supply. Check first.