Instructables

Here's a Link to another Instructable of mine: DIY Solar+Wind House.

This is a 'Green' and eco-friendly Instructable which creates a sustainable way of living which combines the use of Solar & BATTERIES. For example, the materials/ parts used do not consume electricity inorder to function. Instead it generates Clean Electricity from the Sun. No electricity is needed when it's not in use and in stand-by mode. The entire circuit is easy to repair, individual parts can be reused and also recycled down the line.

What is a Solar System?

A Solar System is a system which converts light energy into electrical energy, stores this electrical energy and also consumes this stored energy.

Main Requirement:

Sunlight

Why Solar?

Unlike Petrol, Solar energy from the Sun is free of cost and you dont pay taxes on it. The prices of fuel will always increase, but as production of solar panels increase the price of these panels shall decrease. You can store the converted solar energy in a BATTERY. A solar system can be assembled in any OUTDOOR WORKSHOP. Solar Energy is a Green Energy, its a Renewable Source of Energy and its good for our planet. And as long as the sun shines your system will be powered.

 
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Step 1: Things You will Need

IMAGE:

  1. Solar Panel- 12V, 50W
  2. Lead Acid Battery- 12V,65Ah
  3. Charge Controller and Charge Indicator
  4. Battery Conectors (Lugs/ Ring Terminals)
  5. 2.5mm or 3mm Wire.
  6. Inverter- 12VDC to 220VAC, 400W
  7. Switch Box/ Extension Box.
  8. Power Consumption Meter.
  9. Circuit Breaker.
  10. Spanner Set.
  11. Soldering Iron & Soldering Wire
  12. Wire Cutter.
  13. Screwdriver.
  14. Multimeter.

The Parts & Tools are also available at Radioshack. The links have been attached.

  1. Solar Panel- 12V, 50W or more. Sunforce® 50-Watt Pro-Series Amorphous Solar Panel
  2. Lead Acid Battery- 12V, 32Ah or 65Ah or more. Sealed Lead-Acid Battery
  3. Charge Controller and Charge Indicator. Sunforce® Charge Controller
  4. Battery Conectors (Lugs/ Ring Terminals). Insulated Ring Terminal (16-Pack)
  5. 2.5mm or 3mm Wire. 3mm Wire
  6. Inverter- 12VDC to 220VAC, 400W or 600W.Whistler® 400W Inverter
  7. Switch Box/ Extension Box. Belkin 6-Outlet Commercial Surge Protector (10 Feet)
  8. Power Consumption Meter. Power Monitor
  9. 2 X Circuit Breaker. Circuit Breaker-15A

Tools:

  1. Spanner Set.
  2. Soldering Iron. RadioShack® Digital Soldering Station
  3. Soldering Wire High-Tech Rosin Core Silver-Bearing Solder (1.5 Oz.)
  4. Wire Cutter. RadioShack® Gauged Wire Stripper/Cutter
  5. Screwdriver. RadioShack® 6-Piece Precision Electronics Screwdriver Set
  6. Multimeter. RadioShack® 15-Range Digital Multimeter


ALTERNATIVE PARTS LIST(CHEAPER):

  1. Solar Panel- 12V, 75W Aleko 75W Solar Panel
  2. Lead Acid Battery- 12V, 35Ah Universal Power Group Sealed Lead Acid Battery
  3. Charge Controller and Charge Indicator. Solar Charge Controller
  4. Battery Conectors (Lugs/ Ring Terminals). Insulated Ring Terminal (16-Pack) Ring Terminals
  5. 3mm Wire. 3mm Wire.
  6. Inverter- 12VDC to 220VAC, 400W Whistler 400W Power Inverter
  7. Switch Box/ Extension Box. Belkin 6-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector with 2.5 feet Cord
  8. Power Consumption Meter. ® TS-836A Plug Power Meter Energy
  9. 2 X Circuit Breaker. Siemens Q115 15-Amp 1 Pole 120-Volt Circuit Breaker

There also various other places where you can find the required parts and tools for cheaper prices. If you do know any such place/shop/online store, you can share your parts list in the comment section below. Try leaving a link to each of those parts.

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michaelgc2 months ago

Thanks for the idea, I keep thinking about calling up one of those companies that help with this sort of thing but they are really expensive.

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  michaelgc2 hours ago

Hope this instructable helped then.

shortw2 months ago

At THINGS TO REMEMBER # 3,

you said lead acid has to be replaced every year?

You do not replace lead acid in any battery.

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  shortw2 hours ago

Yes, I made the changes. Jus to clarify its the battery water that has to be replaced

wow great Job!

Thanks

shortw2 months ago

Item # 6 inverter) is not really a inverter. It is a UPS.

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  shortw2 hours ago

I suggest if an inverter is not available, you can use a UPS.

inverter is to convert the low voltage dc to usable ac while UPS is an uninterruptible power supply it means when the main line is out this UPS will automatically switch on.. see the difference

inverter is to convert the low voltage dc to usable ac while UPS is an uninterruptible power supply it means when the main line is out this UPS will automatically switch on.. see the difference

shortw2 months ago

You can not use just any circuit breaker.

The breaker has to be DC rated and not be rated for AC use, that is against code and you may burn your home down since it may never trip at the right amperage.

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  shortw2 hours ago

I will add a breaker after the inverter.

the block diagram shows the breaker is in the dc side after the solar.. i suggest it should have also a breaker after the inverter to safety the inverter.

NRG4UandMe15 days ago

You should mention the 'deep cycle' batteries that are better suited to this application.

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  NRG4UandMe10 days ago

Thanks for the constructive advice

NRG4UandMe15 days ago

why 2 diodes ?? more v drop ...

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  NRG4UandMe10 days ago

The two diodes act as by-pass diodes . Consider two solar panels connected in series. Now let's consider what happens if one of the panels in the below diagram is shaded. Not only will that panel not be producing any significant power, but it will also have a high resistance, blocking the flow of power produced by the unshaded panel.

schematic diagram of a simple circuit with blocking and by-pass diodes

This is where by-pass diodes come into play as shown in the diagram to the right. Now, if one panel is shaded, the current produced by the unshaded panel can flow through a by-pass diode to avoid the high resistance of the shaded panel.
By-pass diodes will not be of use unless panels are connected in series to produce a higher voltage.

Jonathanrjpereira (author) 1 month ago

Thanks everyone for voting for this instructable and also for favouriting it. It won the First Prize in the Green Design contest because of this.

Er.RameshBishnoi made it!1 month ago

the same is running at my home..i've used my PC UPS circuit board instead of a inverter to convert 12V DC into 220v AC... Cool Idea.. :-)

Repairing-UPS-4-720x480 (1).jpg

Awesome work!

Hi, can you show me how to connect ups to solar system
Jonathanrjpereira (author)  kimnguu1 month ago
As shown in the instructable circuit layout. You can connect the ups instead of a inverter.

Hi Theedisoneffect.

you mean connect directly to Battery? i saw on Charge Controller it have Solar slot, Battery slot and Load slot.

can we use Load slot for UPS?

http://cdn.instructables.com/F94/MFYZ/HWE9TEAD/F94MFYZHWE9TEAD.LARGE.jpg

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  kimnguu1 month ago
The battery must be connected to the battery slot. The solar panel must be connected to the solar slot of the charge controller. If the load slot gives a DC output which fulfills the requirement of the input of the UPS, then I suggest you connect the input of the UPS to the load slot.
ClaudioDonate6 months ago

Just to get an idea. For a 40W load (almost nothing) I'll have to spend 400 dollars? Did a I get that right?

Claudio,

It is not that simple to answer.

But you could get a 100 watt Renogy panel at a little over $120 and then a cheap charge controller for about $15 at ebay and to do it right you can get two 6 volt deep cycle batteries at sams club for $85 each. then you could get an 12 volt DC into 110volt inverter 4,000 watt for about $50 if you are patient enough at ebay.

Now you spend about $305 on a 100 watt system and a battery that can store 5,000 watts and has 2500 watts useable watts per charge. This is about the cheapest you can do.

I paid a little over $ 120 per 100 watt Renogy panel at ebay. that is the easy part.

Now to go further you need to know how much power you want to generate now and in the future. Because this will dictate how big your charge controller need to be now or in the future or how big your grid-tie-converter need to be now or in the future. My charge controller was $200 but it can handle 1500 watts of solar panels at 12 volt DC and more watts at higher voltages even though I have only 300 watts of solar panels at this time which I will expand in the future little at a time. I want to spend the money only one time for this and not every time I expand my system.

There are plenty of solar panel forums to get the information.

There are Instructables on how to make a solar panel that will put off the same amount of Watts. Some will cost you about $40-50 to built. up to you...

Can you supply a link to that please? I'm interested...

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  ClaudioDonate6 months ago

Before answering your question. I would like to clarify a few things:

1. Is your apartment load only 40W?

2. What are the specifications of the Solar Panel, Battery, Inverter, etc which could have been bought using 400 dollars? Is the inverter output only 40W.

BTW there are places/ shops where you can get all the parts for really cheaper prices.

Dan396 months ago

nice article, thanks

omg the price of that solar panel from radioshack is OUTRAGEOUS! i get 120 watt flexible panels, near the same size, for that same price...

same thing with the battery. wow a lot of this radioshack stuff is just crazy priced. i get 100ah AGM batteries from deka for cheaper

billbillt Dan396 months ago

Check out Harbor Freight for the solar cells... It seems they are pretty reasonable there....

Dr.Bill billbillt2 months ago

Harbor Freight stuff. God. Always something goes wrong with Harbor Freight stuff. Their panels are only 15 watts each on a good day.

shortw Dan392 months ago

Check sams club for batteries, you get over 200Ahr for about $85.

Dr.Bill shortw2 months ago

That's worth joining Sam's Club

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  Dan396 months ago

Yes I will be posting a cheaper alternative list for all those parts. You can get cheaper reliable parts also in various other places and shops. If you like this instructable do vote, favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

miguipda6 months ago

Hi,

first of all thanks for this useful instructables.

One of my main problem is to know how to quantify the needed panel (watts) and Charge controller when we add the used connected systems.

By example if I want to just use panels to connect my router (on which an external harddrive is also connected to) and foscam cameras how could I know the requested panel (watts) and the controler charger specifications ?

How could we then calculate the consumption ?

Sincerely thanks and have a nice day,

Miguipda ;-)

shortw miguipda2 months ago

Amazon, Habor Freight as well as ebay sell a Kill-a-watt meter for about $24. It will tell you how many watts you used or using. It will plug up to the wall outlet and then your device will be pluged up into the Kill-a-watt meter. Easy to use and to find out how much power a device is using.

Jonathanrjpereira (author)  miguipda6 months ago

Hi, you can calculate the size of the required solar panel (Watts) and charge controller using the 9th step. Heres a link to it http://www.instructables.com/id/Apartment-Solar-System/step9/Calculations-Expanding-Your-Solar-System/ If you want the wattage of the charge controller, simply multiply its Voltage and Current. If you like this instructable do vote,favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

billbillt6 months ago

double plus good.....

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