My Laptop uses ~45 watts when idle at the brightness I normally use.... I have a 15.4" screen - but my processor doesn't clock down when idle (and a fan is constantly on, but revved down).
When I do more power hungry tasks... That number will jump up significantly (130-150+)... Even plugging in peripherals (pen drive, mouse, etc.) will add to that budget and it's amusing to watch it on the KillaWatt
In any case, it's obvious this isn't directly intended for the typical end user
As is our practice at Tom's Hardware, we provide a wealth of information in this series of articles, not just to expose some fascinating technologies, but also to enable our readers to follow in the footsteps we document so carefully. In fact, it's not unthinkable that a system like this one might wind up in a remote mountain cabin or a hunting lodge in many places around the world.
The big thing is -- there's really no information/documentation like this on the internets.
They could power it directly with DC with a smaller panel than they are using
They are powering it directly
Check out the Hardware article -- they actually did pick components with power consumption in mind (but computing power was a consideration too).
There's an awesome power usage breakdown:
12 Volt Solar-PC-System
Component Idle Max load
PSU 5.00 W 14.20 W
CPU 8.49 W 38.66 W
Cooler 1.00 W 1.00W
Motherboard 7.78 W 19.71 W
RAM 6.06 W 6.23 W
HD 5.93 W 7.59 W
DVD 3.68 W 4.92 W
Monitor 23.29 W 23.29 W
Total: 61.23 W 115.60 W
max. 160 Watt Custom PSU
The article said they could have gone lower by using non standard desktop components (2.5" HDD, like in laptops - slim drives etc.) - but they wanted to keep everything standard.
And the system cost was a little over $1000.
As for PV sizing... It said their weather required larger panels... they also mention efficiency reduction of new panels (and compensated for that), cable losses, and extra juice to run the computer and charge a battery.
On those perfect sunny days where not a single cloud occludes the sky with between 8 and 18 hours of sunshine, we could theoretically accumulate up to 2.6 kWh of power. Assuming something less than perfection, particularly because of the ever-changeable weather, we assume that our actual collection will fall somewhere between 1 and 2 kWh less than that amount.
thanks for posting
They thought of a lot of those little vampire losses
And bonus points for the modified power drill sun tracking system
It's also cool that they added a battery, just for those rainy days
Finally... To be fair, you guys gotta read the article
You can't know the ending if you skip the last chapter
The final cost was ~$ 3,800 including $1000 for the PC itself.
The panels cost them $1200