Introduction: Solar Collector Bench Power Station and Sound System

Picture of Solar Collector Bench Power Station and Sound System

Design

This is our solar charging station which powers the scoreboard on our school's athletics fields. The Solar panels charge batteries inside the bench at the scoring table. The batteries then power an inverter which powers the Scoreboard, and a small audio amp with speakers for music during practices. There is also a meter in the front of the bench which shows power usage statistics.

Specs

The system has 60W of solar panels angled so that one catches the sun best in the morning, and one in the afternoon. They charge 110Ah of standard deep-cycle SLA batteries. The box provides up to 400W 120VAC on a standard wall outlet as well as a 12VDC straight off the battery.

The system also includes a 300W audio amplifier with a pair of 150W speakers for playing music on the athletics field.

Parts List

  1. Keter Eden 70 Gal All Weather Outdoor Patio Storage Bench Deck Box
  2. 400W Car Power Inverter from Target
  3. Pyle PLMP35 2 channel 300W mini-amp
  4. Pyle Dual 6.5'' Waterproof Marine Speakers, Full Range Stereo Sound, 150 Watt
  5. 20A Solar Charge Controller
  6. LCD Display Digital Current Voltage Power Energy Meter
  7. (2x) 30W Solar Panels
  8. (2x) 55Ah SLA Batteries
  9. Wall Outlet with Outdoor Cover
  10. Light Switch with Outdoor Cover
  11. 3D Printed Anderson Power Pole Grommets
  12. Misc. Anderson Powerpole 15, 30, and 45 Amp crimps (where appropriate)
  13. Red/Black stranded wire in guages 16, 14, and 12 (where appropriate)

Step 1: Layout Materials in the Box

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We reinforced the bottom of the box with 3/16" plywood. Make sure there is enough space between components that overheating will not be an issue.

Step 2: Mount Components in the Box

Picture of Mount Components in the Box

Cut tight fitting holes in the plastic box. Use a drill to pattern the larger holes. Dremel is also useful for cutting larger holes.

For water-tight, weatherproof joints, seal all the holes with epoxy or hot-glue.

Step 3: Make Sure Everything Looks Nice on the Outside

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All pieces should fit tightly. If there are gaps it could cause weather to be able to penetrate to the electronics. The speakers are waterproof boat speakers, so they will be fine left outside.

Step 4: Profit

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Renewable energy project completed by my 9th and 10th grade engineering class. The six girls assembled all the components, did the soldering and wiring. We learned about how power is generated, stored, and disseminated.

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