Self-Sufficient Smart-Grid Sensor Nodes and Architecture

J. Carland, A. Oberbeck, M. Umeda, J. Cumming, T. Wilkey, M. Fripp, A. Kuh, D. Garmire
University of Hawaii at Manoa, US

Keywords: wireless sensor networks, smart grid


Energy systems of the future will be flexible and adaptive, capable of maximizing efficiency through sensing and predicting environmental and load conditions to effectively supply the right amount of power and mitigate grid issues. We present a step in this direction – a low-cost self-sufficient environmental sensors package that is networked in a wireless mesh network topology. Powered by a 6600 mAh lithium ion battery pack and a 3.4 W solar panel, the GPS, luminosity, barometric pressure, relative humidity, and temperature sensors included in each module interface to a server via an XBee transceiver. Multiple designs have been employed for the containing box as well as electronic layout within the box to obtain the optimal balance between reliable environmental readings and protective self-containment of the circuitry. Do-it-yourself 3D plastic printing tools have helped in accelerating the prototyping and testing of these modules. The system has been tested on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.