Solar Powered AC110-120V Outlet

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Introduction: Solar Powered AC110-120V Outlet

This is my first Instructable but I think I've got the basics down. I chose to order all the materials online but I'm sure you could find most of this stuff at radioshack. The end result is a solar powered 110-120V AC outlet that can be used for small appliances. eg recharging your phone or ipod or laptop..... I plan on implementing it into a backpack later so it would be more portable. If you see any flaws or errors in anything please let me know and leave a message or comment.

Step 1: The Panels

You need to buy some panel(s). Try and get one rated at about or a little over 12V. Or you could do with a couple smaller ones that total to about 12V if wired correctly. I got mine for free from a couple of broken electric fence chargers that were headed to the dump. They're pretty expensive and will cost you more than enything else in this project but will eventually pay for themselves in electricity. Estimated cost- approx $100+

Step 2: The Batter(y)(ies)

We're gonna be using a 12V 10Ah battery. Cost about $30 online. However the more you spend the higher Ah you can get but keep it at 12V. Or you could choose to use a series of smaller batteries if wired properly. just make sure the voltage adds up to 12. eg. 2 6V betteris. If you really wanted you could probably find a 24V converter and use a 24V battery but l2V systems are much more common and cheaper. (If this doesn't make sense to you then you aren't the kind of person to be trying it! =P Don't sweat it just focus on getting the 12V battery.)

Step 3: The Charge Controller

An essential part of any solar powered system make sure to get yourself a 12V charge controller. Charge controllers block reverse current and prevent battery overcharge. Some controllers also prevent battery overdischarge, protect from electrical overload, and/or display battery status and the flow of power. The one I bought for less than $30 has two small indicator lights showing the charge level of the battery.

Step 4: The Power Inverter

Electricity from a battery comes in DC form while basically everything in your house runs on AC outlets. For this project you're gonna need a power inverter. I bought a 200W DC to AC power inverter for just under $40. However the more you choose to spend, the higher wattage and the more load it can handle without blowing a fuse. I've seen some that even have a 5V usb outlet. You can find these in the car department or the electrical department at any walmart or target.

Step 5: Wiring It All Together

Lastly we're gonna connect it all together. The optional wiring (Two 6V batteries, or additional panels) is shown in the image labeled optional.

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    45 Comments

    Hello! Can I use this to charge my Bosch electric bike battery ?

    Hello,

    I would like to put a 40 gallon stock tank water garden in a location without electricity. I will need a way to power the pump/filter year around and an aerorator during the winter. Would this items battery store the power from the panels to run the pump and aerorator at night? Does this allow for outlet installation so I can plug in the needed pond item.

    Thank you,

    Danielle

    If you are just recharging something like your phone (DC) or even laptop (DC), you don't even need the inverter. You can use a DC-DC buck (step down) regulator to take the 12V and step it down to the input voltage of your device. This approach uses less power and is less expensive. You could step it down to 5V and have a USB power receptacle. In the case of your laptop youd have to build a modified cord to plug in to the battery port on the laptop, since your cord now is built to be plugged into the wall. I'd be nervous about plugging my expensive laptop into a lower supply like this, but the approach of leaving everything DC is possible.

    can I leave this outside?

    Someone built me a lighthouse for outside but I have no electric there.

    1 reply

    My thoughts although I'm new to this: You would need to place the invertor inside something to keep it weather proof (i.e. build a cute little house for it or a well sealed box/cooler) but we know the solar panels were previously used for outdoor purposes before for electric fences. In fact, I don't think any solar panels are made for indoor use?

    Will this power the little crockpot warmer seen here?: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Crock-Pot-20-Ounce-Lunch-Crock-Food-Warmer-Pink/19699712?ci_sku=19699712&ci_src=14110944&sourceid=1500000000000003260370#about-item

    can a 12v solar panel charge up a 600w motomaster eliminator powerbox
    with inverter? Then I would not have to buy the inverter or battery? I
    would still need a charge controller.

    yoooo toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    tis suks i want to build tis ting but the 150$ inverter is not cheap in any way.

    you forgot about the 2-300 dollar inverter i see sitting there in the first pic....to improve upon this tutorial ill let everyone know, the inverters are expensive. to power a blow dryer not unlike the one you have could cost up to $200 depending on the size. see your batter in DC but your outlet is AC. the solar panel charges the battery, then you have your DC, then the current runs thru a inverter which converts the DC power to AC power and its then ready to use...1000 watt pure sine inverter could cost $300, but i have seen a run of the mill 1000 watt inverter go for $100, or a little cheaper, i have found you pay a lot more for the "pure sine" inverters. anyone not familiar with sine waves just google what the difference is between a inverter ans a "pure sine" inverter....cheers just hope i helped filling in the blank spot

    I'm looking at buying solar panels now...Do they need to be a particular wattage, perhaps the same wattage as the inverter, or does the wattage on the panels only matter if you're running whatever you're powering directly from the panels and not storing it in a battery?

    Um, so I have a question. I have a 300 W DC to AC power inverter made by Supro. It has the car outlet thing attached to it, will I need to take that off?

    I built something real similar to this, I used a 12v 6ah lead acid battery, wired it up to one of those car adapters that plugs into the lighter plug and that gives me two 5v usb ports and 2 more lighter plugs to use. I charge it off the wall but will eventually be converting it to solar power. It is all built into a small tool box with an on/off switch on the back that lights up, a spot to plug in the charger and a cooling fan that starts up when you power on the box just in case it ever gets hot, which it has not.

    The option to run an inverter to get a 120v outlet is always nice but I doubt that you would be able to use it that long on just a 12v battery. They are made to be used in a running car so the battery is charging at the same time you are using the inverter.

    Great instructable though.

    On our web site we sell 6 and 12 volt solar panels for a decent price. QWe use them on our home made deer feeders. www.wildsidegamefeeders.org.

    How do you get complete inverters so cheep at crappy tire a 1000 watt inverter is $120?

    Does it still work? You made it 2 years ago, what happened to the battery?
    I started to make a similar one, two days ago.

    Did you put it into a casing ?

    Would these batteries work?
    http://www.homesecuritystore.com/p-1812-ub12260-upg-sealed-lead-acid-battery-12volt-26ah.aspx

    It has 26ah for $80.

    Would it be correct that 26 amps for one hour would also be 26 hours of one amp?

    Thanks!
    -Cullen

    P.S. Here are their other batteries: http://www.homesecuritystore.com/nsearch.aspx?keywords=12%20battery

    Anyone who made this- can this charge a laptop?

    quick thing- http://www.moultriefeeders.com/productdetail.aspx?id=9005&DCMP=KAC-froogle&att=9005 30 bucks for a 12 volt

    are there any exterior solar outlets for a home to mount on outside of home?