Run Your Shed Off Grid!

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Posted in WorkshopSolar

Introduction: Run Your Shed Off Grid!

About: I like to make instructables which are fun to build or make. I'm interested in bikes, science and rowing. send me a message if you have any questions.

Ever wanted to Be Green? Well now you can! This Instructable will show you how to Run your Shed, on a solar panel!

I Hope you enjoy my Instructable, This was one of my most enjoyable Projects! and I had good results from the little cost it has cost me.

Disclaimer:

I am not responsible for any damage to yourself or others from this 'instructable'. It is your decision to make this project. I would strongly advise to get an electrician or some in the 'know' to check out the all of your wiring.


Update: I will be hopefully showing how to install the 'ground' or 'earth' in a few months.

Step 1: Parts List

1 X 10w (or above) Photo Voltaic solar panel   £33
1 X Solar Charge controller   £15
2 meters of 15amp cable ( Already had)
1 X 15ah battery   £20
8 X Spade connectors   £1
1 X Power Inverter ( Above the wattage of the the equipment you use )   £30
2 X 13amp switched fuseways   £4
1 X RCD   ( Already had)
2 X 13amp wall sockets £ 4
5 meters of 23amp mains cable   ( Already had)
1 X Energy saving lightbulb and Brakcet   ( Already had)
Wire connectors (I used like 20!)   £1
Other Items   £5

Total £110


Step 2: Mounting the Solar Panel

I bought a 10w Photo Voltaic solar panel.  You must get photovoltaic, Nothing else!
10w is round about the starting range for solar panels. Its really depends what your going to be running in your shed.

I used two steel pipes to mount my solar panel. I attached the Pipes to the holes pre-drilled in the solar panel with m4 bolts and nuts. To mount it, I used 4, 1 inch screws with rubber washers.
Once you have done this, drill holes in your shed for the Cable, Make sure your seal them back up!

Make sure the cable from the solar panel is not being crushed.

You could also use mounting kits which I would recommend for big solar panels.

Thats really all it takes to mount it


Step 3: Charge Controller

I bought an 16A charge controller from Maplins. The charge controller really speaks for it says, attach the solar panel to where it has the picture of the solar panel and attach 15 amp cable to the battery from where the battery picture is.

My 16A charge controller is a bit of an overkill for a 10w solar panel as it only produces 1 amp, so you could go with something different..

And thats It!

Step 4: Battery and Inverter

In the Picture it is a 1.5 ah battery, My 15ah batterys had not arrived, yet to upload pictures

With the 15amp cable from the charge controller attach it to the battery then from the battery attach cables to the inverter.

Then from the inverter I have 13 amp cable going to my switched fuseways
I have the switched fuseways for safety, so if any goes wrong and I need to switch off the power (such as water leakage, thats why its in a water-proof enclosure)
.
As we are now handling mains voltage, I am not responsible for any damage to yourself or others whilst making the instructable.

Please note unless you are qualified to do this, It wont be true to regulations.




Step 5: Socket Outlets and Lights

From the switched fuseway, I wired an RCD and then 23amp cable to the 2 mains sockets in a ring main.
This site may help you wire it all up if you don't know how to. Belive me, its actully quite easy!
Keep the cable tidy like in the photos to avoid tripping or damage to them.

Make sure all the power is off! And make sure you have no bare wires..

Before you do this, Read the next step!


Step 6: Lights

From One of the wall sockets wire a spur off it. I used 3A twin cable to attach the lights from it. I wired a toggle switch and a 3A fuse in an enclosure for the light, although you could just buy a light switch..

For the light, I do recomend a energy saving bulb, The 60w will drain your battery 6 X faster.

Step 7: You've Finsihed!

Now you can go and test it out!

I calculated that it would take about 24hrs of sunlight to charge my 15ah battery fully.
If you use the shed for about 2-4 hrs a day the battery should never drain unless you use heavy machinary for long peroids

I hope you had fun and enjoy being off grid!

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    60 Comments

    Has anyone run this system using a Wind/Solar Hybrid charge controller (obviously adding a Turbine too)?

    A few simple rules apply:
    - Make sure a rgular battery is not under- or overcharged, a guideline: Charging with current between 1/8 to 1/12 of the Ah of the battery is perfect, special AGM cells can handle a bit higher current (look at the specs)
    - Do not try to use more power out of your battery than 20%, that will extent the battery life, and now leaf you in the dark if you have some bad weather over a few days.
    - remember for every watt you take out 1.5watt has to go in.
    - higher power consumption should make you go up to 24V or 48V by using multiple batteries of the same values and age. Use a DC-DC inverter if you need some 12V for lighting.

    Grtz

    Hi im Trying to make a chicken enclosure in my shed and would be very interested in using solar panels and car battery to do this, but would a solar panel and battery be able to support a high wattage lamp, heater and heating controls ?,

    Bearing in mind i stay in Scotland where the sun is very unreliable.

    If i had the system on for 12 hours period how long would the battery last ?

    any help would be greatly appreciated

    george92hill@icloud.com

    Great article, would it be possible to run an average household oil heater/radiator off this system? if not, do you know what extras I would need?

    Thanks, Matt

    Got tired of no power in one my sheds. Too expensive to run and connect power from home. My solution? I created a solar setup just for me! If dark and I am at front door, the outside light turns on. I walk inside and overhead lights come on and stay on until about two minutes after I leave the shed. In case of power loss, there is quick disconnect battery to take into house for my CPAP machine. All power outlets in shed run off 120vac, overhead lights run off 12vdc. chromedragon@hotmail.com

    SolarShed.JPG

    Pretty cool, I know this is a couple years old now but for future readers: I'm about to put in a larger system, maybe up to 200W to run garden appliances etc. If you want to save power on your lighting you can just buy 12v lighting and run direct from the battery. There is lots cheaply available for campers/caravans many running LEDs and this reduces the drain as the inverter doesn't have to run which adds inefficiency. If all you are running is lighting there is no need for an inverter at all. Some Solar controllers have day/night mode and can also automatically turn your lights on when the panel is in darkness (night).

    Cool dude,,, i also have that,, but my panel is only 5w,, and the battery is 12v 7amp, only,, in case i will use inverter,, how long it will take if i use, about 100w?

    2 replies

    swap asap to LED 12 volt bulbs. to conserve yr battery strenght.

    If your battery is fully charged, And you Bulb uses about 1amp. I would think around 6 hours

    Please could you show in the instructable possible ways to get these required items from old and unused electricals, to lower the cost and make it even more renewable.

    @Peteoc Yes, you set up an battery array. The term you want to google is Solar Battery Array.

    Good luck and don't forget to double check your ground.

    Very NIce! Electricity in the shed is very useful for cloudy days and dreary nights. Don't forget to seal those holes in the roof with tar. If I may I would like to recommend a few changes for future installs if the users only needs power to run lights.

    *Don't install the inverter - These are expensive and use additional power to cool the internals. Normally there's an internal fan running to cool the inverter,

    *12 V Light Bulb - You can purchase these at you local hardware store.

    *Automobile battery - provides larger storage of accumulated electricity.

    4 replies

    Okay.

    First you need a deep cycle battery, or a boat battery. You put a car battery on that you'll be replacing it every six months.

    The inverter is needed to convert the electricity from DC to AC.

    Goes like this Solar panel, battery array, inverter, plug.

    I run a similar setup in my shed 250w panel on top of the shed, six deep cycle batteries and a 1000w inverter. This allows me to run power tools and keep the mess out of the house and since I'm in Canada I can run a little ceramic heater in there to putter around for a couple of hours.

    If you are going to build a solar setup, build it so it's useful. Spending $500 to putter around with it is fun, but completely useless. So scale the system so you, the owner of it, can actually use it for something handy.

    see above my question about multiple batteries

    So right! I wish more people used common sense like this and just did things right from the start. Has to be a deep cycle, has to have an inverter and allow for growth, in your case the addition of a heater.

    You can usually get used semi-truck battery's that are free around truck repair shops.

    When using multiple batteries do you just daisy chain them?

    Hello,

    Nice shed, i personally do a similar thing! glad to see there are others like me out there. I have one tip though: instead of cutting the wire out of the socket you could just drill a hole out the back of the shed, make sure it is a tight fit though so there is no water. i prefer to use spur cable but you can use household 3 core flex 13 amp cable

    Great Instructable. I did this for my shed and some outdoor "as-needed" lighting a few years ago using 2 10w panels, a small charge controller, 400w inverter and an old car battery (it would no longer hold enough charge for my car, but works fine for running my lights). In the future I plan on adding more panels and upgrading to deep cycle batteries. I've done all the installations myself to learn more about the best setups before eventually adding panels and a wind turbine into my home system. Of course I'll hire an electrician then to verify my work and make the final connections.

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-bottle-brighten-millions-poor-homes.html

    A few of these bottle lights could help light your shed without electricity during the day.