An indoor test methodology for solar-powered wireless sensor networks

Wilson M. Tan, Paul Sullivan, Hamish Watson, Joanna Slota-Newson, Stephen A. Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Repeatable and accurate tests are important when designing hardware and algorithms for solar-powered wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Since no two days are exactly alike with regard to energy harvesting, tests must be carried out indoors. Solar simulators are traditionally used in replicating the effects of sunlight indoors; however, solar simulators are expensive, have lighting elements that have short lifetimes, and are usually not designed to carry out the types of tests that hardware and algorithm designers require. As a result, hardware and algorithm designers use tests that are inaccurate and not repeatable (both for others and also for the designers themselves). In this article, we propose an indoor test methodology that does not rely on solar simulators. The test methodology has its basis in astronomy and photovoltaic cell design. We present a generic design for a test apparatus that can be used in carrying out the test methodology. We also present a specific design that we use in implementing an actual test apparatus. We test the efficacy of our test apparatus and, to demonstrate the usefulness of the test methodology, perform experiments akin to those required in projects involving solar-powered WSNs. Results of the said tests and experiments demonstrate that the test methodology is an invaluable tool for hardware and algorithm designers working with solar-powered WSNs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
JournalACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 ACM.


  • Astronomical models
  • Energy harvesting
  • Energy neutrality
  • Lifetime
  • Power management
  • Solar simulators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'An indoor test methodology for solar-powered wireless sensor networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this