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1-Wire Sensors - Anyone using these to monitor their solar collectors?

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Posted by schooner on December 10, 2005, 12:21 am
Just curious if anyone has been using the 1-Wire sensors for monitoring
their collector temps via the PC?
The 1-Wire system is a neat simple setup that allows you to connect multiple
sensors along a single cable run.  You can get a variety of sensors but the
temp ones are simplest.  They also have USB and Serial adapters to allow
easy connection to PC.

I got a couple free samples of the temp sensors and a USB adapter from
Dallas Semiconductors.  You can learn more about it here:

Lots of folks use these for weather stations as you can buy full weather
monitoring kits.

I'm hoping to come up with just a simple logging program to track the in/out
temps of my collector and log them to a website to database.

Posted by Robert Scott on December 10, 2005, 1:14 am

Check the maximum safe temperature for those sensors and then figure
what the maximum temperature might be in your collector in summer time
during a power failure so no air is circulating.  You might find that
the stagnation temperature of the collector will "cook" your
solid-state electronics, particularly if the collector is

-Robert Scott
 Ypsilanti, Michigan

Posted by schooner on December 10, 2005, 1:23 am
 Hence why I am planning to read the in and out temps, not collector temp.
Plus I plan to cover my collector in summer to avoid extreme temps when not
in use.

DS1820 Operating Temperature Range -55C to +125C

Posted by daestrom on December 10, 2005, 2:57 pm

Not on solar collectors, but I do have several installed in/around the house
monitoring other things.  Attic/eaves temperatures, forced-air furnace
supply/return, outdoors, GFX heat-exchanger performance to name a few.

They also make sensors for monitoring simple analog voltages so if you are
handy with a soldering iron and can 'home-brew' sensors of another type, it
makes interfacing to a computer pretty easy.

I use a Linux system to monitor them.  A USB interface and the Debian
installation with USB driver available from Dallas's software developer
area.  My setup samples the devices about once a second, but uses a data
compression routine known as 'swinging door' to avoid repeatedly storing the
same temperature over and over.  This makes for good reproduction of the
temperature profile with minimal amount of storage.  When I get 'curious'
about it, I transfer the files over to Windows XP and analyze/plot them
using Excel.


Posted by Gary on December 10, 2005, 3:49 pm
 daestrom wrote:

For those of us who are not that good with a soldering iron, I just
would like put in a good word for the Onset Computer data loggers and sensors.
I now have two of their 4 channel loggers and 8 or so sensors.
On the plus side:
- they are dead easy to use
- good accuracy (1/4F over most of range)
- fairly wide variety of sensors
- no computer needed during logging (just for launch and readout)
- good software to look at the data

On the not so good side:
- kind of expensive (especially the software)
   ($0 for 4 channel logger, $0 per temp sensor, $0 for software --
    cheap by "professional" data logger standards, but still kind of pricy)

I had one of the loggers in a solar poly space for a couple weeks while
we were away.  The neighboors dog chewed an entrance into the
sunspace (nice and warm).  She chewed through the sensor cables, and left the
data logger sitting
in a puddle of melting snow for at least a week.  When I got back, I dried it out
with a hair dryer, and spliced the wires back together, and its good as new.

LabJack also offers an interesting logger.




"Build It Yourself" Solar Projects

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