Solar baking system needed


I have a need for a 12 volt solar/battery computer system that will allow me to participate in the blockchain. It will sit in a sunny spot and needs to be waterproof. Budget under $500 for the lot. A solar panel, battery, computer, WiFi etc.
Any ideas appreciated.
And please change the text in this site to black on a white background.


You could change the background yourself:

What country is your sunny spot in?


Thanks, much better on the eye.
I’m in Australia on the east coast in the forest behind Byron Bay. I’ve been on solar for 15 years. I envisage a self contained expandable system I can set up and walk away.


I imagine you could find some great ideas and assistance for your project in the Raspberry Pi community. I know that there are probably dozens (if not hundreds) of waterproofing/solar projects specific to the RP community you could check out, and probably a fair number of kits available online too. The basic units are cheap and immensely popular.


I have some personal real world thoughts for you:

  • Seed the blockchain first, use a more powerful computer to get over the initial hump. Then sync those blocks over to the low power computer.
  • WiFi is a power vampire, disable it if built-in and bluetooth while you are at it.
  • Get a battery eliminator circuit, assuming you need 5v out.
  • Store-bought cases are a fashion accessory, build your own out of pvc pipe. Bonus, mount anywhere and if you must WiFi attaching an antenna is easy.
  • Use sealants for waterproofness
  • Tezos has minimum parsing exposure which reduces computing power, you can’t exploit what you can’t get.
  • Use Btrfs file system across 3+ USB sticks for safety and size

Hope this helps.


Thanks, I can start to put it together bit by bit eh? Cheers


I have in hand a 100 watt 12 volt solar panel, a 30 amp regulator, cable and connectors. A 100 AH AGM battery is on order. Power is not a problem.
My first raspberry pi will arrive next week.
I already have a 4G WiFi modem and can use my existing ISP. Maybe there is a better way.
What do I need now?
Cave onerum laboris.


All right let’s do this,

I just ordered a raspberry pi 3 model B (made in England which was unexpected), so I can be of more help.

After skimming the specs I can say straight off that we will need to eliminate wear on that boot drive, SD card formatted FAT32, ugh.

  1. So you will need an SD boot drive that will kick off the RPI, RASPBIAN JESSIE LITE, verify with SHA-1 please.

I’m thinking of using the BTFS file system spread across three or four USB ports. We would gain cheaper larger more reliable storage, incremental backups and rollbacks, think Time Machine if you are on a Mac, or ZFS if you know that.

  1. USB drives, three or more for replacement, I have a bunch of USB2 32GB DataTraveler SE9H which I will be using.
    I found a 128GB mSATA Solid State Drive on eBay for $55 USD that I will be using instead of the USB sticks, better for heavy read/write we will be putting this system through. Attach with a mSATA to USB external SSD enclosure, $10 USD or so.

You are solid on power but you will need to step it down to 5v @ 3A. Notice I’m saying 3amps, we are going to be driving multiple USB sticks so I want those fully powered, 2A is probably fine but it seems inadequate to me. Oh and if you do WiFi definitely 3A.

  1. Micro USB power input, 5V@3A.

Once we get our RPI we can take a look at passive cooling options, Tezos on a hot tin roof…

Until next time,


Up and away thanks, all information in one place.
My pi comes with heat sinks and linux so no need to play with fat.
I’ve got 12 volt car sockets and 5 volt USB plugs should do the job. The regulator puts out 30 amps and the system uses 3.
Maybe we should put this together as a package and swap it for tokens. We can set a standard for excellence.


Here is a shot of the entire system and my foot. The pi is up and running, the lights are on but nobody is home. Jason down the valley will help me with the install.
I am going to need a simulation of the ledger to test it.


@moonbaker Fantastic!

I just got my Pi today, I will do a writeup tomorrow.


So far I have spent $385 Australian on the power system and $150 on the pi. So I have blown the budget. However the power should last for, at least, eight years. That’s $65 annually.
The power is modular and I can add panels, batteries and even a little windmill. It’s like Lego.
I see the market as people who prefer staying away from operating systems and nerdish forums. So plug and play is a must. And any instructions simple enough for children.
Ideally it should pay for itself.
Thanks for your enthusiasm, time for lunch.

Just ordered a mSATA to USB external SSD enclosure, $20.
The raspberry pi comes with WiFi and Bluetooth. How about a Bluetooth android app to interact with the pi?
The solar regulator has 2.5 amp USB outlet which is not enough. So I will get a 10 amp step down transformer to cope with the load, no need for a fuse as the regulator has that built in. I have already got 12 volt cables set up with bullet connectors ready.
So, Raspberry pi from Brisbane, mSATA from California, case from Sydney, transformer from China.
Just ordered a WiFi antenna another $20; budget totalled.


I just ordered a Toshiba 128GB mSATA from California as I could find none in Oz. So probably two weeks away.
The tzOven is on the way.


I had some troubles with dependencies when trying to compile Tezos source on RPi Raspbian, maybe you can post a short instruction which versions of the libraries are necessary to compile it on RPi.


Here is the pdf to that Toshiba mSATA HG6 Series drive.

I pulled out the specs most applicable:

  • Power Consumption
    • Active: 3.2 W typ.
    • Idle: 65 mW typ.
  • Temperature Operating: 0 °C - 80 °C
  • Reliability Mean Time to Failure (MTTF): 1,500,000 hours (5 years)

The sequential read and write speed of a Pi is limited as it has only one root USB port, all traffic from all connected devices is funneled down this bus, which operates at a maximum speed of 480mbps.

USB 2.0 has a maximum theoretical throughput of 60 MB/s (480 mbps) but with protocol overhead, the maximum is more like 35 MB/s (280 mbps).

That limited speed is 550% faster than any SD card but with USB overhead it will be more like 2x.

The #1 issue I see is heat.
Electronics run best at 72 F / 22 C

When you get your mSATA drive and cage you will immediately notice that it gets warm. The aluminum holder protects it but also traps in heat, I’m running without it for now.


Could you run:

opam update

And tell me what packages you have pined?

opam pin


If need be I can move the computer to a hole in the ground and drip water on it to keep it cool. Or a wind powered fan. No moving parts or motors are the keys to an elegant and simple 12volt system.

Power is on and has 5amp 5volts USB connected to the raspberry pi. The power box will be in the shade and the computer box can be moved a couple of meters away. Five volts doesn’t travel far.
The domestic power that comes with the pi is 2.5 amps, not enough.

On the power box I have drilled small holes around the bottom and under the lip of the lid for ventilation.The cables will be cable-tied near the base to stop rain dribbling into the box (cable-ties are as delightful an invention as the wheel).
There’s probably not enough battery storage as I live in a sub-tropical rain-forest and sometimes it rains and is overcast for a week. At the moment I am running my laptop on the box and using it for my cabin power and it charges up nicely.
As a 12-5volt step-down transformer is on the way I can cable-tie (see above) it in the box with the pi, this allows a longer lead from the power box. I will attach a 5amp fuse to the positive lead from the transformer to USB,hopefully eliminating that familiar burnt plastic aroma.

A 105ah AGM battery, a 30amp 12v solar regulator with 5amp 5v USB outlet, a 100w 12v solar panel, cables, cable-ties and a two sturdy boxes.
The power is modular, thus easy to upgrade; and can be charged by sun, wind, water, methane and children on swings.


Looking good @moonbaker!

I’m working on the installation now.

All of this can be automated for people who as you say, “prefer staying away from operating systems.” This manual will be for the opposite end of that spectrum, learn from scratch.

You can view it but it is not ready for use yet.
View work in progress here: Tezos on a Raspberry Pi.

Most of the installation went without a hitch but some of the OCaml packages Tezos needs are not running cleanly on the Broadcom BCM2837 64bit CPU, which the Pi uses.

I have taken a pragmatic approach by installing the prerequisites one by one via OPAM and working through it.

Good news, I see no reason why Tezos should not compile on a Pi.
Bad news, we are at Alpha stage.

More good news, I was pleasantly surprised by how well OCaml runs on a Pi.


Thanks @Chainomatic I had a stroke of luck too. The USB port on the solar regulator puts out 5 amps so that’s 25 watts available.
The WiFi antenna and mSATA drive are on the way so there will be a brief hiatus.


You could do a Pi array with all those watts:

I will let you know as soon as the manual is done so you can prep your SD card first.
Once your SD card is setup you can then transfer it over, think of it like a backup image.