A Brief Introduction:

My children are now in their teens, and as I have watched them grow I have also watched the complexity of their "toys" grow with them. My house is now full of wall warts of every description charging everything from Wii remotes and cell phones, to notebook computers and flashlights...not to mention cordless tools :)  No one ever unplugs these charging devices so they silently keep adding to my electricity bill. This incessant drain of electricity has bothered me for a long time, not just from an environmental perspective but from a monitary perspective as well.  I once came across an article that suggested nearly 40% of our home Electricity bills are due to "phantom loads" such as wall warts and instant-on devices.   This Instructable outlines my attempt at curbing some of the drain from phantom loads in my house.  

Step 1: List of Materials & Tools

In the spirit of cheapness which inspired this Instructable, I have tried to source most of the required parts by salvaging them from around my house, and borrowing them from other projects.  In some cases I have noted where I originally purchased them.


12 volt Automotive battery (later to be swapped out with 12 volt deep cycle batteries)
Metal Rolling File Cart (I found this hanging around in my basement...I think it was originally purchased at Staples)
200 watt, 12 volt inverter with Alligator clamps (I found this in the trunk of my wife's car...she'll never miss it. Philips)
3 Automotive Solar Trickle chargers, 6 watts total ( I bought these in a clearance bin at Princess Auto a few years ago)
Battery Post Terminals (Princess Auto $6.00)
10 Gauge insulated solid wire (Had it kicking around in my shed)
110V AC USB Charger (re-purposed from my blackberry playbook...it has a higher than average output current capacity)
4 port USB hub (Not shown in this Instructable)
Switched AC Power Bar (Hardware store $3.50)
12"x16" Tray (Value Village, $2.99)
Sheet metal Screws
Cable ties


Multi meter
Screw Drivers
Soldering Iron & Solder


Personally I would have put the solar panels on top with hinges for better positioning. Maybe add a tray or two and/or build a side where your existing panels are and put in wall outlets and direct USB ports etc...<br>Good start though. I bet it saves a bunch of money actually.
<p>I tried to keep the unit compact enough to wheel it around easily. I hear you on the power bar and USB ports on the side...that would give more room on the upper tray.</p><p>I'm not sure how much money it saves yet...I'm just happy its getting used :)</p>
Just out of curiosity, where did you get the super Sat Buddy? Do you work for a satellite company?
<p>Yes...I'm a sat technician</p>

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