Introduction: How to Make a Portable Solar Generator

Picture of How to Make a Portable Solar Generator

How To Make a Portable Solar Generator

Why Solar?

Currently, solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available. Solar energy is completely free and produces no pollutants. The only limitation is that it energy produced is dependent on the amount of sunlight that is received.

But solar panels are bulky and expensive!

Not anymore! This project uses a slim ultra efficient solar panel making the system Portable, Cheap and Highly Effective. Modern advances in photo voltaic systems have been able to shrink down large panels into smaller and lighter panels, in fact there is a solar powered plane currently flying around the world!

Basically, what this is is a way to charge a 12v battery using the sun. This project is great for beginners and can even be used for a small off grid power source. That way, no matter where you are, as long as you have the sun you have power.

I must also add that this is still an advanced prototype. Im still working on some better designs and longer battery life.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Be sure to watch the video!

Dont forget to like comment and subscribe for more!

Step 2: Parts List

Picture of Parts List

I got most of my parts from Banggood.com because banggood gives you the most "bang for your buck". All the products on the site are cheap, reliable and work great! I love banggood's friendly service and its overall my favorite place to buy electronic products.

To build this project you will need:


1. Solar Panel: http://goo.gl/VCjQzQ

2. Solar Charger Controller: http://goo.gl/O8rhx5

3. SLA Battery http://www.amazon.com/ExpertPower-EXP1270-Recharge...

Now heres the thing.... My solar panel was a cheap prototype, a test run of sorts. If you really want to build a solar generator to last long, I highly recommend a deep cycle SLA battery, its going to cost more however the battery life will last much longer. Heres a cheap one that I would recommend http://www.amazon.com/ExpertPower-EXP12180-Recharg...

4. 12v USB module

5. Switch

The last two I picked up from the dollar store in my neighborhood. I took the switch out of an old toy car and the usb module came from a car charger

To store the project, I used an old jigsaw drill case. I would recommend buying a ammo case such as this one http://www.amazon.com/MTM-Pistol-Handgun-8-5-Inch-...

Optional Power Inverter: http://goo.gl/UGRbZ1

I say optional because I did not use it on mine. Many other solar generators would use a power inverter, but I had no need to wire it in. If you wanted to, you could very easily add it to my build.

Step 3: Layout Case

Picture of Layout Case

First open you case and lay out all the components. Be sure to make everything fit snuggly and tight.

You'll notice in the video that I had to cut a spot out for the sla battery. This is because the case was uneven, and at some parts the case wouldn't close with the battery. to solve this, I heated the plastic up with a lighter and cut with a razor blade. I still cant believe how well the heated plastic cut like butter.

Layout everything so n the future, cable management will be very easy.

Step 4: Wiring

Picture of Wiring

Time to wire it up!

This build was very simple as the charge controller (Picture 2) came with instructions

Just connect + and - Of the battery tabs to the controller

+ and - Of the solar panel to the controller

+ and - of the USB module to the Battery (With a switch in between the - line)

and wire up the load from the controller to two wires This will be our 12v + and - to use.

What I did with mine is simply add in a connector to the side of the case. That way whenever I need 12v I just plug it into the connector.

Simple cheap and very effective!

Step 5: Mounting the Solar Panel

Picture of Mounting the Solar Panel

This part was somewhat difficult to design.

I needed to be able to set up the device and have the solar panel be able to mount onto the back of the case.

This way I could have the case sitting in the shade or inside, while the panel could be blasted by full sunlight

What I did was use metal brads bent and glued to the back of the solar panel to wrap the excess wire around

Then I used a picture mounting kit to glue two metal holders to the solar panel to the back of the case.

Next I fed the wire through the back and its done! I can now attach and reattach the solar panel!

Step 6: Done!

Picture of Done!

Now you're done!

Cheap solar power is great! I never realized how useful it is until I had it! I highly recommend you build this project.

Dont forget to subscribe to my youtube channel and follow me on instuctables to stay up to date on my current projects

Right now im currently building one of my biggest projects ever, but I wont spill the secret yet!

Please vote for this instuctable in the following contests: Flat pack and Sensors contests

Thanks!

Comments

headslant (author)2016-04-29

Good Job! How much current can this output and how long does it take to charge your batteries?

Malkaris (author)headslant2016-04-29

*napkin calculation time!*

10W solar panel / ~13V = ~0.75A charging

7AH battery / 0.75A = ~9.3 hrs (that sounds reasonable.)

Now: 12V * 7AH = 84 WH

84 WH / 5V = ~16 AH

This sort of thing will make you very popular on camping trips.

headslant (author)Malkaris2016-05-01

Oh...

Malkaris (author)headslant2016-05-02

Not what you were hoping?

headslant (author)Malkaris2016-05-14

Oh no, thats what i was looking for, its just I wasn't expecting all the calculations. But i guess there is that saying about the fish "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.", so i guess this is better!

Malkaris (author)headslant2016-05-16

oddly as an engineer I rarely get to use the basic math I was taught, so any opportunity that does is appreciated. my work with mineral oil submerged computers really dusted off the heat and flow equations

Constructed (author)Malkaris2016-04-29

I couldn't have said it better.

alisonnpaul (author)2016-05-11

you have me in wow phase I'm north east coastline in uk, currently on low income the heating bills are crippling me. My aim is to go solar powered currently i know you need pv on the roof leading to a charge unit then battery and fast start inverter inverter

how do i know what size inverter i'll need the battery you have their looks amazing as you can imagine i have bucket loads of questions but if you can assist me a little with some basics i'd be much appreciative.

how much in the way of pv power and battery size will i require oh and what size inverter do i need my home is landlord rented so i hope to hook up to the main power supply

being uk weather can you run a battery bank to supply the house and return to the grid when the batteries are low like an on grid off grid switch of some type if not it doesn't seem viable

DwightH1 (author)2016-05-03

I think I will build one of these, the voltage is just right for charging my Toshiba tablet.

Dwight

About This Instructable

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Bio: Maker from USA. Follow me to stay up to date on my projects and possible kickstarters! Business email: constructed@mail.com
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