|System||Photovoltaic with battery back-up.|
|Location||This is a portable system that can meet a variety of applications.|
|Description||The Polar Pod is designed to provide polar researchers
with a reliable source of AC and DC electricity – without the
noise, fumes, fueling and maintenance requirements of an engine
generator. It can be configured for various types of research, from
supplying an AC power source for running laptop computers, to providing
a highly efficient DC power supply for running sampling and data
Consisting of only two major components, the Polar Pod can be quickly set up and taken down with no tools required. The solar panel has an integrated aluminum frame with an adjustable tilt angle to follow the quickly changing angle of the polar sun over the course of the summer. The battery box also contains the DC/AC inverter, solar charge controller, circuit protection, with AC and DC receptacles accessible without opening the lid. The box fits within the framework of the solar panel, providing the ballast necessary to prevent it overturning in high winds.
The Polar Pod has been optimized for summer use in polar environments, and is not intended for year-round deployments. Year-round power stations for data acquisition and/or data transmission are also available.
The system is capable of producing a maximum of 250 watts of 120VAC power for up to four hours in full sun conditions. The system is also capable of supplying 12VDC power, for direct charging of most laptop computers (adaptor required) and other 12 volt equipment.
Setting up the Polar Pod for operation is quite simple, and can be done by two people in less than 30 minutes. It is possible for one person to set the unit up in the field, but due to the weight of the battery box it is recommended to have two people on hand.
Unlike an engine generator, there is really very little maintenance to be done. There is no fuel to add, no oil to change, no spark plugs, no concerns about inclement weather. Just turn it on and point it at the sun.
If the glass gets obscured, it will reduce output from the PV panel, so keep debris and snow off of it.
If the unit is set up on snow cover, it will ultimately end up sitting on a snow pedestal, as the snow all around it melts away. The solution is simply to move it to a new spot before it falls over.
As mentioned above, the battery voltage should be checked periodically to ensure that it is charging adequately. With no load (nothing but the PV panel plugged in) and in full sun, voltages of 13.5VDC and higher are normal. Long periods of reduced sunlight (days of overcast) can lead to lower battery voltage. If voltage drops below 11.8VDC, it may be necessary to reduce loads or make efforts to track the sun over the course of the day. If voltage falls too low, the inverter will turn itself off until voltage recovers. The charge controller has a similar feature for turning off DC loads. Once voltage returns to normal, power once again becomes available.
|Data||Power system supports camp infrastructure only. No system performance or scientific data are logged or communicated on a continuous basis.|
|Comms||System powers camp laptops and Iridium communications. E-mail and data transfers accomplished by researchers while on site.|