2.627 | Fall 2013 | Undergraduate

Fundamentals of Photovoltaics

Calendar & Readings

IV Curve Measurement

We will be measuring the IV characteristics of a solar cell using a homemade Arduino-based USB-powered sourcemeter that connects to your personal laptop computer.

Documentation: Build Your Own Sourcemeter

Installing Laptop Drivers

Before class, you should follow these instructions to install the proper driver in your laptop.

Go to the Virtual COM Port Drivers webpage (Future Technology Devices International, Ltd.)

Select the appropriate driver for your operating system. Download and save it somewhere you can find it again.

For Windows installation:

When you connect the board, Windows should initiate the driver installation process (if you haven’t used the computer with an Arduino board before).

The Add New Hardware wizard will open:

  • When asked Can Windows connect to Windows Update to search for software? select No, not this time. Click Next.
  • Select Install from a list or specified location (Advanced) and click Next.
  • Make sure that Search for the best driver in these locations is checked; uncheck Search removable media; check Include this location in the search and browse to the drivers/FTDI USB Drivers directory of the Arduino distribution. (The latest version of the drivers can be found on the FTDI website.) Click next.
  • The wizard will search for the driver and then tell you that a “USB Serial Converter” was found. Click finish.
  • The new hardware wizard will appear again. Go through the same steps and select the same options and location to search. This time, a “USB Serial Port” will be found.
  • You can check that the drivers have been installed by opening the Windows Device Mananger (in the Hardware tab of System control panel). Look for a “USB Serial Port” in the Ports section; that’s the Arduino board.

For Mac installation:

Double-click the ‘FTDIUSBSerialDriver mpkg’ icon and follow the instructions in the installer. You’ll need to restart your computer after installing the drivers.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2013
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Tutorial Videos
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Problem Sets with Solutions