"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.                                                                                                           
capodave11 days ago

Hi, just hoping you might guide me in the right direction. Im tied into the grid with my solar system mounted on my roof. How can I connect directly into my home and be off grid, in the event of a black out?

aurasolar1 year ago

This is nice for your garage.

By they way.... I love your lighting set up... I will be asking you for more details ok ... Great job
EcoMotive (author)  olivieramadeus1 year ago

You can ask me any questions you like. Forgive me if it takes a while for me to respond since I have some other stuff going on right now.

Thanks for your comments.

Hey my friend I just want to know if I ask instructables to send me a battery pack like the one you got would they be able to send to me even though I'm not In a contest ... Or would they sell it to me
EcoMotive (author)  olivieramadeus1 year ago

Hi, the solar power kit that I won from the contest is a ReadySet Solar Kit from Fenix Int'l. You can buy them off of their website at the link below.


Thank you for your question.

alphalaug11 year ago
GENIUS!! thanks for sharing.
dtommyd2 years 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.
jesse40152 years ago
get some reflectors on them babies
armstk1802 years 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)  armstk1802 years 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.
Foxtrot702 years 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.
Orngrimm2 years 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.
Love it.