Step 7: Upgrading the Alt-E power board

The original setup inside the basement was a patched together mess. It had stuff everywhere, wires crossing everywhere, and everything delicately balancing on the battery as if at any moment it might slip and short (which had happened a couple times). Obviously, a fire was going to be inevitable. With that in mind I designed a vertical board where I could mount all the electronics and some bus bars. The battery would sit on the cool basement floor where the temperature would increase efficiency. IT IS A MYTH THAT BATTERIES WILL DRAIN ON A CEMENT FLOOR! All batteries will lose energy over time, but a battery doesn't care what it's sitting on.

To start, I needed a board. That was accomplished with some spare wood (first picture).

Then, the electronics would need to be mounted (second).

The new addition of the bus bar helps prevent a short circuit. It's hard to see from this picture, but there is a layer of plexiglass on top of the whole thing. This prevents anything from crossing the two. It hopefully is obvious which side is positive and which is negative. Again, way overdone but better safe than sorry.
Very well done. I too am going to move my toolbox solar generator to a wall mount system as it grows. I'm planning to go from a single 100 watt panel to four. I'd also like (2) 125ah batteries.
<p>I made it. Inplix instructions helps me a lot with this </p>
<p>great to see that </p>
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<p>Nice set-up for a home made DIY solar energy kit. I know some people aren't big on building the parts themselves, there are some good tier 1 products you can get and use for a plug n' play solar power system. </p><p>http://www.solaris-shop.com/blog/building-a-quality-and-affordable-solar-power-system/</p>
<p>Very interesting progect. just interesting the price of this invention. I was interesting in such equipment some time ago and I know that it is very expencive. Just look on the price for adapters http://hardware.nl/sma?p=5 I'm sure it's better and cheaper to make efforts and to do such system by your own hands</p>
<p>Battery on concrete? Actually its more to do with temperature <br>differences during charging and discharging I think . Concrete is cold <br>and stays that way holding the base of the battery cold too. The heat <br>though moves to the top by convection and during charging the top gets <br>hotter. Stress cracks and warps the plates. It protects your battery too if you sit it on a plastic tray on top of a sheet of some sort of insulation. You will need to hose off battery tops from time to time and a tray catches spent/spilt acid . Try leaving a gal nail or two on top and you well see what I mean.</p>
<p>And use copper impregnated anti sieze grease all over the terminals if you want them trouble free. If corroded then pour boiling water over the tops to clean up terminals and connectors then grease.</p>
<p>hi please tell me which cells i've to use and how?</p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>I have a solar panel of 12watt. 16v DC. I am using it with PWM invertor of 55watt to charge the battery of 12v 7ah. But it cannot run a fan with AC motor. Please suggest what needs to be done.</p><p>Fan is of 45-50watt.</p>
<p>Impresionat! But you need some batteries. Here you will find a small guide how should Choosing the right batteries <a href="http://www.patriotdirect.org/choosing-the-right-batteries/" rel="nofollow">http://www.patriotdirect.org/choosing-the-right-batteries/ </a></p><p>And in this article you'll find the components you need </p><p><a href="http://www.patriotdirect.org/the-components-of-an-electrical-solar-power-system/" rel="nofollow">http://www.patriotdirect.org/the-components-of-an-electrical-solar-power-system/</a></p>
<p>I am looking for detail about your product place leave a messages . When I post this, I am looking for more information .</p>
<p>Impressive system! I'm curious how much is the total cost? This is nice for off the grid, but I'm thinking about buying a simple on-grid plug-in system. It seems to be the easiest way to offset your usage with solar. Lots of info here: <a href="http://www.pluginsolar.org/" rel="nofollow">http://www.pluginsolar.org/</a></p>
<p>this setup is impressive!</p>
I was wondering I am looking to build a solar charger to charge maybe my devices while also having a little bit of battery storage so far I have about 20-30 .518 volt at 4.01 amp solar cells what would I need to complete this project?
<p>My boss was talking to me about inplix -&gt; http://inplix.com , after seeing it on the news. She said she has saved almost 70% on her utility bill and I'm thinking about giving this new program a shot. Has anybody else used it? It seems to be super popular.</p>
<p>If you are interested in learning exactly how to generate power and reduce your bill then this is the perfect resource for you! With the ever increasing costs of living, there is no better time than right now to stop throwing money out the window and start generating our own electricity. Check http://inplix.com</p>
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<p>If you are interested in learning exactly how to generate power and reduce your bill then this is the perfect resource for you! With the ever increasing costs of living, there is no better time than right now to stop throwing money out the window and start generating our own electricity. Check http://inplix.com and learn more about it.</p>
<p>If you are interested in learning exactly how to generate power and reduce your bill then this is the perfect resource for you! With the ever increasing costs of living, there is no better time than right now to stop throwing money out the window and start generating our own electricity. Check http://inplix.com and learn more about it.</p>
<p>I think you'll find that it is better for a sump pump to be run less frequently, for a longer time... In other words, rather than 15 seconds per minute, 45 seconds for 3 minutes would be less damaging to the pump.... The constant starting/stopping is what's really bad for the motor..... I have one pump that usually runs (as is rated to run) continuously, because it recirculates a fish pond in the yard... But, if it's just for de-watering (drainage) in order for your pump to run longer, either the sump pit needs to be wider (but not necessarily deeper), or to have a separate long-interval float (and maybe a deeper sump).... In the last option, the pump goes into the water deeper, but the float actuates where you want it to (usually several inches or more below the floor), and the float keeps pump on until it reaches the either the top of the pump (kept submerged), or less as long as the pump stays on longer.... In any case, 15 seconds is a pretty short cycle-on time....</p>
<p>Short cycles also use more power. Every time a electric motor starts the power can go up to 10 times higher than the name plate rating for the initial start up.</p>
<p>Why pay a huge amount like $1000's for utilization of solar or wind power when you can have the opportunity to build your own home made solar system for less than $200. You can visit http://inplix.com website for more information and a extremely relyable guide to building solar panels.</p>
<p>That is true. Solar panels are to expensive these days. I bought good tool from inplix last week and now I have my own solar panel</p>
<p>Make your own solar pannel..</p><p>How To Make Your Own Solar Panels</p><p>http://goo.gl/DQGO0Y</p><p>http://goo.gl/DQGO0Y</p><p>http://goo.gl/DQGO0Y</p>
<p>Very nicely done. I didn't know at first that this is much simpler to build a solar power system. thank you very much for posting. God bless</p>
<p>I lived off the grid for 26 years, using a similar setup (just a bit bigger). Now I am on the grid, and I use a small grid-tie inverter rather than voltage controllers, batteries, and inverters. It seems to be a great savings if you are on the grid. Of course, I still use my solar panels !</p>
I like this solar stuff allot. You keep updating your systems and for us novices it would be help if you placed a price tage on the new stuff you add. Doesn't have to be exact just what you paid would give us all a better idea of the cost. Thanks Grandpablabe
In your drawing on the last slide, you show two negative wires - or circuits - with a fuse in them. Why is the negative side fused and the positive side only has the one fuse at the battery positive? Shouldn't all these fuses be in the positive run?
I seem to be the only one to know this(no one else seems to comment on it). But a 3 stage charger is not good for a loaded system. If you are drawing power from the battery while its in absorbtion it will confuse the charge controller into thinking that the battery isnt charged. Absorbtion hold voltage constant and watchs the amperage until it falls low indicating full charge. If the system is loaded it senses that alot of current is still flowing and its not fully charged. This will lead to boiling and overcharging. In a loaded solar system it should always be a 2 stage charger with just bulk and float. This protects the battery. Although as you stated before a 2 stage charger would waste a little more power when its in float but it will prevent accidental overcharge. In an unloaded system such as for emergencies only a 3 stage system would work best but that is not the case here. By using a 3 stage charger you will have to fill it with water more often and drastically shorten the life of your battery.
This is a amazing project. A great place to find the necessary solar components for a project like this is at <a href="http://www.siliconsolar.com" rel="nofollow">Silicon Solar</a>. They offer a wide variety of quality solar panels and many other solar other accessories.<br> <br> Check out their solar panels and cells:<br> <a href="http://www.siliconsolar.com/shop/solar-store/solar-panels-cells/" rel="nofollow">http://www.siliconsolar.com/shop/solar-store/solar-panels-cells/</a><br> <br>
I have just favorited you. your work is very interesting. Have ever played with gell cell sealed batteries? They have the advantage of being able to be taken down to zero and come back quickly. I have rolled dune buggies with these as back ups and with 30 watts of solar got the winch working well enough to right it and start.
This space is really about experimenting ,learning, and having conversations for new possibilties. there may be some waste in the learning curve but it keep others from making the same mistakes over again.
Yes let's please put this one to rest once and for all,in the 1910s to the 30s Battery bodies were made out of hardwood. especially Henry Ford's model Ts and tractors. His thinking, It's on rubber tires so who cares it's insulated anyway. Remember electric start was a bonus because these vehicles all had handcrank starters.
Thanks for the post. Home made solar panel is an amazing and important thing.....<br> I want to make one like that and for that searched over the internet<br> And then find a<em><strong> <a href="http://topdiysolarpanels.com/" rel="nofollow">Homemade Solar Panels Blog</a></strong></em> ...<br> Where an engineer gives tips how to make homemade solar panels..<br>
Everyone who is reading this, I just want to say from my own personal experience (which you can see in my instructable) that websites like the homemade solar panels blog mentioned in Paul Janes' post are PURE LIES!!! Being that I made a solar panel myself, I will tell you straight out that it's work. Working every evening in my free time, it took me 2 WEEKS to build a 15 watt panel. This is a minuscule amount of power compared to what an extremely energy efficient home uses. Now imagine building 3000 watts worth of panels? Sure, it is cheaper, but who really has that kind of time? <br> <br>There are many benefits to buying panels. The most important is being that they typically have a nice 20 to 25 year warranty that protects just about everything. Home made panels? They can't possibly survive that long because they aren't sealed in a vacuum in 99.9% dust free conditions with zero moisture. Not to say that you can't build a very nice solar panel that will last for a very long time, but for the amount of time and energy it takes to make them, it's just not economical. <br> <br>Companies like the one mentioned are scams. They get you to invest big bucks into their cells only for you to find out that youll never complete all the panels. <br> <br>So, to end this ramble, I would suggest to all of you that want to build solar panels (and I'd encourage anyone to build one in order to fully understand how these things work, or if they need a very small amount of power), but be aware that building them yourself is not the way to lower your electric bill. <br> <br>For some REAL information about building solar panels, take a look at http://mdpub.com/solar/index.html . This was the general template I used to build mine, and its still running after two years in the sun!
Thanks for this. I've been doing a lot of research for <a href="http://skylineenergyusa.com/index-2.html" rel="nofollow">residential solar panel installation in Los Angeles</a> and this is perfect. I hope this works, thanks again.
Good instructable! <br>I have that same volt meter! Got it for 12 dollars, my favorite tool too.
Where did you get that volt meter? What is the make/model? I really like it. Seems like a simple way to monitor things passively.
I got mine at my local Walmart, in the automotive section.
I got it from Northern tool I think. It was only about 10 bucks. It has a nice rubber casing over it (because we all know it's going to be dropped from time to time). I tried looking for it on their website, but I couldn't find it... I wonder if its discontinued...
Yea, I love that meter. Only thing is the amp meter part just broke. Checked the fuse and it was fine. But for the price, who cares?
Did you test over 10 amps? <br />The DC 10 amp part is not fused, only the miliamp part is fused.
Ahhh. Now I see. Guess I shot the amp reading part. Still is very accurate for voltage, though. I'll have to pick up another one from harbor frieght.. I was wondering what gave in it. Now I know. Thanks!
im a beginner but do you think if you put a schlotzsky diode on the positive out put of the solar panel and then connected it to some type of capacitor whos voltage is well over the max out put of the solar panel voltage and then hook a resistor to the capacitor to bring the voltage down to a voltage that the charge controller can handle do you think this would make the voltage completely stable to the controllers without any voltage fluctuation and maybe the controllers wont burn out?
The controllers don't burn out. They're designed to handle the 20+ volts from the solar panel. When the entire system is connected, the solar panel can &quot;see&quot; the battery, and it's voltage is limited to slightly above the battery's voltage (That's how all charging sources work. The battery will pull down the voltage until it's slightly above). Since the solar panel is still making the same amount of power, it trades voltage for amperage. For example, open circuit, my 100 watt panel makes 5 amps @ 20 volts, or 100 watts (5*20) or about 8.5 amps @ 12 volts. Either way you put it, the output is exactly the same. The only reason my first controller burned out was due to poor design and over complexity. All my other Xantrex controllers are running fine. <br> <br>ALL solar panels come with a diode built in. Otherwise, during the night the panel will pull electricity backwards, discharging the battery. <br> <br>Would your idea work? Yes. It would be a good way to limit voltage. The only problem I could see is when the panel becomes shaded or as the sun sets. That's why the controllers are made and designed to take such a range. My Xantrex C35 is capable of regulating voltage from 12 - 55 volts. WAY more than I would ever really think of putting into a 12v system. And by the time the sun sets, it's not really worth all the effort and losses just to gain a couple more watts. <br> <br>Thanks for commenting, and good luck! <br> <br>

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