Month: July 2016

DIY Solar Power Generator – Part 1

Solar Power Generator

Below is the complete list of tools and components I used to build this Solar Power Generator. Click on the links for details and pricing.

Scroll down for the article:

Tools

Table Saw

Tape Measure

Speed Square

Combination Square

Bandsaw

Cordless Drill

Cordless Impact Driver

Countersink Drill Bits

Wood Glue

Clamps

Sander

Wire Strippers

Wire Crimping Tool

Soldering Iron Kit

Components

Monocrystalline Solar Panel

12/24v Solar Controller

DC to AC Inverter

Heat Shrink Tubing

Butt Connectors

Insulated Electrical Crimp Connectors

Wire

Fuse Holder and Fuses

Terminal Binding post

DC 12v 3 panel system

12v Sealed Lead Acid Battery

12v Trickle Battery Charger

12v LED Rocker Switch

DIY Solar Power Generator – Part 1

What is a solar power generator and why would I build one?

Well, that is a good question and I think I have a good answer.

Typically solar power generators, or any power generator for that matter, are much bigger and used to provide power for homes and other facilities.  I built mine on a much smaller scale than the typical power generators not to power my house, but mostly to power small electronic devices like phones, tablets, and speakers. Although this box weighs about 30 pounds, it is still portable enough to take on camping trips or on the boat. This power generator provides 12VDC from its on board batteries, 120VAC from its on board, and uses a 15 watt solar panel to charge the batteries.

The box:

The first thing I did to start this project was to design and build a box to house all of the components. I measured all of the components and figured out how I would arrange them in a box and used SketchUp to model and create a cut list.

 Solar Power Generator

Once I got my plans and cut list all done, it was time to head out into the wood shop and cut some wood. I don’t want to get into the specifics of how I constructed my box because it was completely based on the components that I used. If you are planning on building one for yourself, you will have to measure and build your box according to what you put in it.

To make a long story short, I cut all the pieces and assembled them as designed.

Snapshot_24 Snapshot_25 Snapshot_26 Snapshot_27

 Once I had the cabinet built it was time to start placing the components inside and wire them up. The three essential components needed to build a solar power generator are:

  1. Solar Panel
  2. Solar charge controller
  3. Battery

As you can see from the photos and the videos, I used a few more components than just the essentials because it very very nice and convenient to have several different power source options.

 Solar Power Generator Solar Power Generator Solar Power Generator Solar Power Generator Solar Power Generator

As far as wiring goes it is a lot easier than you might think, especially if you keep it simple. The solar charge controller is well labeled and so are the leads coming from the solar panel. One very important note to remember when wiring your solar charger up is to connect the battery first, then the solar panel. If you connect the solar panel first it could fry your controller.

Snapshot_24 (3) Snapshot_25 (3) Snapshot_26 (3)

With the front panel removed the wiring on  my solar power generator looks like a rats nest. If you make one for yourself the wiring may and probably will differ from mine but here is the schematic I used to wire up mine.

Solar Power Generator