"Off Grid" DC Solar Electric Garage Lighting... Hard Wired and Fully Integrated

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In this Instructable I will show you how I set up my solar electric garage lighting. I'm using a Fenix International ReadySet Solar Kit to power my lights. During sunny weather the 15 watt solar panel generates electricity and stores it in the battery pack. With a day's charge I can run the DC electric lights in my garage for several hours without having to use grid electricity. I also use the battery pack to charge my iPod through the built in USB port.        

I say "Off Grid" in quotation marks because the garage itself is very much on the grid. The only thing that is capable of operating independent of grid power are a few lights in the ceiling of the garage. Even so, the battery pack comes with a wall adapter charger that I have used from time to time to keep it charged up.

One of the great things about this installation is that it is hard wired and fully integrated with the garage. The lights look just like conventional ones that would be installed in your home. All of the wiring is concealed behind the interior sheathing with the exception of the battery pack and a little bit of PVC conduit. If this installation was done as new construction instead of a retrofit I could have easily done without the conduit.                                                                                                           
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alphalaug15 months ago
GENIUS!! thanks for sharing.
dtommyd8 months ago
I did the same kind of setup except with 2 of those panels (same kind) and old 12v scooter batteries that were not good enough to run the scooter, but not bad enough to toss. One light on the deck, and another light inside that pops on every night at dusk. Used two, 2w LED spots. They run all night. Felt pretty smart when we lost power a few months back. Then the damn power came back on.
jesse40159 months ago
get some reflectors on them babies
armstk1809 months ago
Nice Idea !

I am interesting in your room , could you please take a video from your work place?

this is my own work place in home such you :)
EcoMotive (author)  armstk1809 months ago
Hi, I'm still in the process of finishing the inside of my garage. When I'm done I'll be sure to post an Instructable detailing how I've built everything. Thanks for your comment.
Foxtrot709 months ago
I am in the process of down sizing, due to rotten economy, and living from a motorhome. I am also going to pull a 8.5x24' enclosed trailer to carry my car as well as provide a small "shop-on-wheels" arrangement. Your solar powered lighting setup would be an excellent fit for my project.
Orngrimm9 months ago
I really like how simply but elegantly you divided the available space into work- and stprrage-areas! Also the wine-fridge seems propriate to celebrate each succesful project done there! :)

I would kill for such a hacker-space to be called mine... Living in a small 1.5-Room-appartment i lack the space for serious DIY badly... :(
A solar unit with three 15 watt solar panels (45 watts total), a voltage regulator/charge controller and two 12 volt light bulbs with wires and sockets can be purchased from Harbor Freight for between 149 and 249 dollars (price varies with sales). Their system is also very reliable.
JesusGeek9 months ago
Fill a 2 liter with a 1:1 ratio of water and bleach, sunlight reflecting through is equal to a 50+ watt light bulb!
JesusGeek9 months ago
You know that it cost more power to make a solar panel than you will ever get out if it?
EcoMotive (author)  JesusGeek9 months ago
Thanks for pointing that out. The battery also does a fair deal of harm to the environment. I'm all about the solar thermal energy myself, with three separate working solar heating systems on my property, all of which I will eventually write an Instructable for.
A modern, high tech, high quality, commercially manufactured PV panel is about 16% efficient. A solar thermal panel made out of old soda cans and cobbled up in someone's backyard shed can be 50 - 70% efficient.
Thank you for your comment.
edwardlarson9 months ago
Love it.

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