Vernier Software and Technology - Celebrating 35 years
Vernier Software & Technology
Innovative Uses

Experimenting with Solar Panels

Using the New High Current Sensor and the 30-Volt Voltage Probe

Two of our newest sensors, the High Current Sensor and the 30-Volt Voltage Probe, are well suited for exploring solar panels. During some of our early prototyping, we thought it would be nice to take some data with accompanying video. The result is a very interesting Logger Pro project: as the passing clouds block the panel, a connected automobile head lamp dims and there is a drop in the measured current, voltage, and power. When under direct sunlight, you can see nice peaks in each of the graphs, and the head lamp shines brightly. We connected the solar panel to a head lamp, with a High Current Sensor in series and a 30-Volt Voltage Probe across the two terminals of the lamp. We used the Video Capture feature of Logger Pro, setting the Time-Lapse Capture options to 1 second between frames. The video was synchronized with data collection, with a duration of 20 minutes (1200 s). Using current and voltage data, we created a calculated column for power (current * voltage). We even used the integral tool to measure the total amount of energy produced (27,800 W*s or 27.8 kJ).

Power and Energy Output of Solar Panel
Power and energy output of solar panel
Picture of Solar Panels
Solar panels on the rooftop of the Vernier building

Download Logger Pro experiment file and video »

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