Introduction: Solar Powered Color Changing Yard Lighting.
Hello builders! This is a project i did a while ago and wanted to share my idea.
All the lighting runs on 12 volts and is powered by a 60 amp hour battery. The battery is charged by a Harbor Freight 45 watt solar panel kit.
Step 1: Parts Required
1. A yard requiring awesome lights.
2. Harbor Freight 45w solar kit Link here
3. RGB light controller Link here (Ebay from china if u want it cheaper and have time)
4. 5 meter (about 15ft) of RGB light strip. Link here (waterproof or not we will be sealing them)
5. 1/2in clear plastic tube and some pvc pipe caps. (amount depending on how many lights you run)
6. Some thin gauge wire (use multi stranded wire i used thermostat wire. It works but breaks easily)
7. Some thick gauge wire (for hooking up battery to charge controller and to run power lead to lighting block.)
8. Battery cut off switch. Link here
9. A shed or box to put your battery and controller in
Step 2: The Lighting.
The RGB light strips can be cut at the contacts to make different sizes (see picture)
After figuring out how many modules you want and what size you want them you can start assembly of the modules.
You can see in the picture the positive lead feeds all the light colors and the negative powers each color.
I recommend soldering wires to the connections because the clip connectors on some of these light strips are not that great and soldering insures reliability.
Solder at lest 12in of wire on each connection so you can hook it up to the main power lead when installed.
Step 3: Building the Light Modules
Building the modules is easy. First cut the light strip to the size you desire.Do this before you cut the tube because the light strips can only be cut in specific places.
Solder you lengths of wire to the contacts on the light strip making sure you know which wire controls what color. I used some quick fitting snap connectors on this build. I do not recommend them because they tend to short out or corrode quickly.
Insert the lights into the tube leaving about 1in to spare at each end of the tube for the pipe cap. Drill a hole in one of the pipe caps just large enough to push the 4 wires through. Use some hot glue to seal the wires into the pipe cap and prevent moisture from getting in.
Apply glue to the pipe caps and firmly secure them to the tube.
Step 4: Power.
Set up your solar panel kit. I put mine on my roof and ran the power leads to my shed where the controller sits.If you follow the instructions that come with the kit setup will be easy. This kit came with 2 lights with long cords and switches. I used them to light the inside of the shed and put one outside to light the garden area.
The solar panel kit is connected to the battery on its own set of leads. The lighting rig will have its own hookups and fuse for the battery.
Step 5: Running Power.
Since i would like to use the remote control that came with the light module from inside the house i need to place it close to a window. Using some spare a.b.s. pipe i had in the shed i dug a hole across the garden and ran my 12v connection from the shed to a fake rock in the garden next to my window.
Inside the fake rock is a routing board. This is where i connect all my incoming RGB leads. All leads link to the light controller. The 12 volt power comes in from the shed and powers the light controller board.
Using multiple stations is a good idea. If you break up the lighting into stations you can easily find problematic lights and easily do repairs.
Running your wires you should keep in mind that they need to be protected somehow from shovels, weed whackers, and squirrels. Find some junk pipe and run as much wiring as you can through it. You can also use the pipe the 12v connection is using to go to the controller box (fake rock).
Step 6: Lights!
After you have constructed your lights lay them out where you would like them to be.
Run your wiring back to the fake rock and tie all the leads together by light color. Other lights can be run off of the system by wiring into the 12v source under the rock.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable and if you have any questions please post a comment.
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