Saturday, February 27, 2016

20 Farad, 16.2 volt supercapacitor bank

On our boat, we have an autopilot that controls the rudder through a hydraulic pump. The pump draws about 15 Amps and is controlled in short pulses 15 times per second.  This draw causes a small drop in voltage that causes the interior lights to flicker, just slightly.

This is 20 Farad 16.2 Volt supercapacitor bank that I got off Ebay. I soldered 12 AWG tinned leads to it.
To stop this flickering and smooth out the voltage, I ordered this supercapacitor bank. It contains 6 supercapacitors in series, each rated at 2.7 volt for a total of 16.2 volts. To prepare it for a marine/salt water environment, I potted it in epoxy. I designed the enclosure in Sketchup, 3D printed it and filled it with epoxy with appropriate filler. 3D printing makes it easy to get a very tight fit.

 Supercapacitors and 3D printed enclosure
The fit was spot on. I had measured the circuit board with a caliper before designing the box. The space at the bottom is to provide space for the epoxy to surround the capacitors and also to squish past the circuit board (which is actually facing the other way now, this was just to check fitment)
The final product

The capacitor bank stores a huge amount of charge. Here's a video where I'm charging it up to 12 volt using a UPS battery for a few seconds and then lighting up a 100 Watt spotlight from the capacitor bank.

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