2 AWG cable
At least one 12 Volt marine deep cycle battery
1 power inverter
1 Rubbermaid tote or other container
1 battery charger
Red electrical tape
Gather supplies and lets get started.
Step 1: Preparing the Batteries.
While the batteries are charging, you can set up the solar panels and get them wired up and ready to go.
Step 2: Place Batteries in Container.
Step 3: Creating the Jumpers.
Note: Make sure to size your jumpers for your system. If you want to use a larger inverter you will need to use larger cable. 1200 Watts/12 Volts = 100 Amps. Depending on where you look, 2 AWG cable is good for around 100 Amps. If you want to run say, a 2400 watt inverter, you should use 2 cables per jumper.
Measure between terminals and cut cable to length. Then add the mechanical lugs. Since the battery terminals were a bit bigger than the holes in the lugs I bought I drilled them out to fit.
Step 4: Preparing the Lid
Step 5: Connecting the Charge Controller and Inverter to the Batteries.
Step 6: Final Set Up and Test.
Step 7: Some Final Thoughts.
I originally tested out a single battery and was able to run a lamp and my laptop for about 5 hours before I finally shut it off. The good thing about this inverter is it will shut off automatically if the voltage drops too low to prevent depleting the batteries. I'm pretty confident that with the three batteries I will be able to power larger items for an extended period of time.
Also, this is a pretty expensive set up, about $650. My costs (with out tax or shipping charges) and where I got things.
Solar panels $250 (used from craigslist)
Marine batteries $240 (for 3 from Walmart)
2 AWG Cable $5 (for about 2 feet from Lowe's)
Lugs $8 (for 8 from Lowe's)
1200 W inverter $130 (Amazon.com)
I had the rubbermaid container, battery charger, and the charge controller came with the solar panels. I don't think it unrealistic to spend around $700 or so, possibly more depending on how you set your system up.
Depending on how this works I will most likely upgrade to some better solar panels, increase the solar panel array size, and get some more batteries.
If anything is unclear please post comments/questions and I will be more than happy to update.