This instructable is about a couple solar panels I made while traveling in our RV. I ordered 72 solar cells from ebay. It was a kit that came with cells, flux pen, and flat buss wire. The glass came from a recycle store for 5 bucks. I got the epoxy encapsulate off ebay also. I added 3 more batteries to the RV system for extra storage. The 2 panels I made are 60 watt each. I added them to a store bought panel for a total of 240 watts. On a sunny day it has put out a steady 9+ amps.

Step 1:

   I tested each cell before starting. Then soldered the tabs on. Be sure to put flux on all solder points. These were tabbed cells but i had to resolder a lot of them. Solder them + to -  in series. Be very carefull as they break easy.
<p>Can you make an ible of how you wired it to your RV?</p>
<p>What do you need to know about wiring? I can assist if you like.</p>
sorry for the delay in replying. I'm wanting to rig up a solar setup on my travel trailer that would be like a grid tie home system without a batter bank. Any suggestions? please pm me with some ideas.
<p>Great write up!! I was wanting to build one from scrach, it seems the prices on individual cells has gone up, and the cost of already assembled panels has gone down. I calculated about $110 plus about 6 hours of labor per 100w panel I could build. OR.. $130 for a Renogy 100w panel with a waranty.</p>
<p>You can build your own solar panels from home and most of the parts can be found from your local hardware store. If you're interested take a look at these website : http://www.inplix.com</p>
I have one question about encapsulation. If you have glass or polycarbonate covering the pv cells, why do you need to encapsulate them if they are already protected? It's like the pv cells are double encapsulated?
Thanks so much for posting this! Do you think I could do this to some <a href="http://www.forsalebyownercompany.com/forsalebyownerusedrvs.html" rel="nofollow">used rvs in denver</a>?
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isn't it a very pain staking process <br>
The DIY Solar panels here looks great, the prices of Solar panels is very high and you have to build it yourself in order to lower the price, just like it is explained in this <a href="http://topdiysolarpanels.com" rel="nofollow">DIY Solar Panels Blog</a>.
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hello sir <br>love hear from you much was build one they home ? look some build new place? <br>help thank you for your time ? Write hear at http://www.facebook.com/wolfthunder68
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If you build a solar cell from scratch, using recommended materials (frame, silicone resin, backing), it costs roughly same as buying one + man hours, it's only cheaper if you have your own mounting materials already. Good project, like the charger too, better than mine .
mtnredhed has made comments about this project that illustrate ignorance rather than knowledge combined with rudeness, and bad manners. Please keep this website and comments positive in content. EVERYTHING can be stated in a positive manner. And aleutianwind has done a great job! ANYONE can go buy a panel. But this project is in the spirit of Instructables.com and is being appreciated by people capable of understanding the ingenuity. Keep up the good work aleutianwind!
Really, this was hardly original. Go to youtube and see the 11800 hits for &quot;homemade solar panel&quot;. Even if half of them are bogus, that's over 5000 vids and some are from the companies that sell the raw parts. <br> <br>Heck, just search on this site and you'll find nearly 2000 hits on &quot;homemade solar panel&quot; Really, do we need more? He built them. That's nice. What did he do that the other 1900+ people didn't. Any innovation? Any cost savings or novel use case? Not that I can see. <br> <br>This site suffers mightily from the &quot;Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should&quot;. That's not to say there aren't some real originals here, but the thing is turning into a vanity site.
mount these to ur camper and u can drive down the road with em on
I have totaled up the project and it came to 208 dollars total or 104 for each 60 watt panel for a total of 1.73 per watt. I used sylgard encapsulant from ebay which is UV protected. My next panels will be encapsulated with a mat type encapuulate sold on ebay. much cheaper. As to the rolled panels it would take 4 0f them to get the power we have now and we don't have the roof space. The panels have been on our roof for 1 1/2 years, 22 states, over 21,000 miles and show no wear. For a test I switched back and forth between my commercial panel to my homemade and the homemade puts out 1/2 amp more than the store bought. So far we are very happy with the results and will build more when we decide to settle down. These panels were build in about 6 different RV parks.
ok, so you paid yourself $2.40 to build that panel vs a commercial one. <br> <br>$120/68=$1.77/watt (rounded up to the nearest penny) <br> <br>$104/60=$1.73/watt (and I'll spot you the third of a penny) <br> <br>So you &quot;earned&quot; 4 cents a watt or a savings of $2.40 if we were to compare both at 60 watts. <br> <br>You did get a more compact panel which has some value in your application. If your time has little value, than it's a good deal. I do appreciate you putting out the numbers though. I've seen those Ebay sellers and I've always wondered if it was worth going that route and now I know (for me at least) it's not. <br> <br>
Re soddering the cells....<br> <br> &quot;I tested each cell before starting. Then soldered the tabs on. Be sure to put flux on all solder points. These were tabbed cells but i had to resolder a lot of them. Solder them + to -&nbsp; in series. Be very carefull as they break easy.&quot;<br> <br> Should be reworded:<br> <br> &quot;Be careful as they break VERY VERY easily.&quot;<br> <br> <br> Nice pics, well written, good job.<br> <br>
Only one word to say it all : where do I vote ?...
I'm also curious around the ROI of DIY vs commercial panel. The other issue is when you mount this on a vehicle, these are subject to some rigorous vibration forces. Anyone know if the cells or tabs have issues, or what special mounting needs to be done?
I think I'd pick something other than #18 speaker wire. Old Sol isn't going to be kind to that stuff after a few years. Maybe sooner depending where you live. I used to live in Colorado @ 6000ft+ and I can tell you from personal experience that it wouldn't last two summers. Used it for outdoor speakers. The PVC came off in little chunks by the second fall. There's also the issue of resistive losses, but if your runs are short, maybe not a big deal. My commercial built panels came with #10, which seemed excessive at the other end. <br> <br>I'd suggest some split spiral conduit. There's other reasons too, like the wind beating the daylights out of it as you drive
I'm not totally sure but I think encapsulating everything in epoxy, as in step 4, would pretty well cement all the connections in place and protect against the vibrations of a moving vehicle.
It will...But epoxy is very sensitive to UV. So the typical use for sun exposed epoxy is a few coats of urethane. Look at a few boat blogs about clear finishes, that will give more detail...
I guess I'd agree with you. Still curious about the payback. I just picked up a 68 watt roll for about $120 delivered. It's meant to be roofing material, including a mastik backing. Takes more real estate than his panels do. Roughly 9ft long by 15 inch wide. The upside is that it's meant to take a fair bit of abuse as a roofing product (and I can roll it up if I want to).
The &quot;payback&quot; for these DIY projects are not measured in $$$$ Rather in experience.I build it I know how to fix it when it breaks.When your 68 watt roll cocks up will you know how to fix the problem or will you chuck the whole roll and blow another $120?
I shouldn't take troll bait, but here goes: <br> <br>You do understand he backfilled his panel with Resin. He ain't finxin' jack. He also used the wrong wire for both exposure and current carrying reasons. My panels have molded in connections, #10 UV resistant wire and are meant to take hail strikes. <br> <br>Spending my time on repetitive, low value tasks isn't interesting to me. It does tell me how much your time is worth, however. <br> <br>I learned series and parallel DC circuits in 3rd grade. I could teach the soldering involved to a anyone who knows which end of an iron is hot.. Building these isn't teaching me anything other than how to throw away my time unless I'm saving significant money doing it OR I'm building something that's not on the market. <br> <br>My panel has a 20 yr warranty. Of course in this business who knows how long any of these companies will last.
Chill out people, the whole purpose behind this site is to prove that if ya aint smart enough to build it yourself, you better be rich enough to buy it from someone who is.
Nope. The point of this site is that if you don't know how to build it yourself, you find instructions (instructable?) from someone who has. Many of the best ones here are for items that are unavailable except maybe from the odd crafts person.
Very nice build. I considered doing something like this but found the price was restrictive compared to buying one already made. How much did this cost to build, if you don't mind my asking?
Beautiful solar panel build aleutianwind. I'm the creator of this contest and your Instructable hits the bulls eye for the type of project I was hoping the challenge would inspire.

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