Introduction: Pelican 1500 Solar Battery Bank

Inside the case, I kept everything pretty basic. I've attached all the components to a cigar box (which I've given the nickname of "the brain") and wired two 12 V 15 AH batteries in parallel to bus bars connected to the 20 A solar charge controller going to a switch, volt meter, 12v, and USB ports. The female spade connectors make everything easy, I did have to solder the XLR jack, but that was no big deal.

The batteries and cigar box are held in place with strong Velcro. The 10w solar panel fits inside and will be attached to the lid. The solar panel is designed to be removed and set up separately. When charging the unit the solar panel is held with an iPad mount on a mini tripod.

Something Different - I went with an XLR connection between the solar panel and the cigar box. I like XLR cables because they lock, can easily be extended and you can get them about anywhere. Also, I already have a ton of them. So I keep an extra 25 ft cable rolled up in the case. It's about the size of a couple of hockey pucks.

All in all, I'm about $200 +/- into this.


1 - Pelican 1500 Waterproof Case - $20 (Goodwill)

2 - 12 V 15 AH SLA Batteries - $53.82 (Amazon)

1 - Cigar Box (Brain) - $5 at a local cigar shop

1 - 10 W Solar Panel - $25 (bought years ago on eBay)

1 - Dual USB Charger + Voltmeter +12V Socket + Switch 4 Hole Panel - $12 (eBay)

1 - 10A/15A/20A MPPT Solar Panel Regulator Charge Controller 12V/24V Auto Switch MTC - $15

1 - XLR Cable 25ft - $5

1 - Stanley FatMax 140W Power Inverter - $20 (bought years ago at Walmart)

1 - Mini Tripod - $8.39 (Amazon)

1 - Tripod Mount Adapter - $8.95 (Amazon)

1 - Roll of 2" velcro (ok not really "name brand" velcro, but same stuff) - $7.99

1 - Set of Female Spade Wire Crimp Quick Disconnects - $11.99

1 - Set of Bus Bars - $26.99

1 - Neutrik NC3MD XLR Jack - $5.01 (Amazon)

1 - Pocket Size DMM - $14.99 (Amazon)

1 - Multi-charger Cable-thing - Free (Promotional Item)

2 - Rolls of wire

Step 1: Determine Your Case

This project started out in a .50 cal ammo can but to be practical I needed more space, so I upgraded to a Pelican 1500 case that I found at Goodwill for $20. Everything fits inside the Pelican case, it's 100% waterproof and it will most likely still float.

Step 2: Build the Brain

This is by far the largest step. I call this the brain but it really could be considered the heart of the project.

I started with finding a cigar box at a cigar store for $5. It was worth the money to save me from the time and effort of creating my own box. I planned where everything was going and starting drilling holes. The solar charge controller went on the front of the box at the top. Below the charge controller was the switch/output panel. This panel is powered from the "load" output of the charge controller. It is wired to go to the switch first, then the voltmeter, and then the 12V and USB outputs.

Next to the input panel is a panel mounted XLR input. This is the solar power “in” from the solar panel. I went with XLR for a few different reasons.

On the back/top of the brain are the bus bars for positive and negative. These were larger than I expected and I originally planned to mount them inside of the box, but this actually turned out better. Having the bus bars outside of the box made for connecting auxiliary items easier. Inside the brain I keep small items such as a mini-DMM, multiple-connection USB charger, mini-tripod for the solar panel, and some extra fuses.

Step 3: Connect Batteries

At this step. I tested and connected everything. Once I knew everything worked fine I placed the batteries and brain inside the Pelican case and secured them all in place using strong velcro found on Amazon.

Step 4: Done.

Once the brain is attached and the batters are connected. It's pretty much done. Everything is able to fold up and fit inside the Pelican case.

Inside the Pelican case is a 20 ft XLR cable for extending the distance of the solar panel to the input. I keep the stand and mini tripod that holds the solar panel in any direction on any surface. I also keep a 120-watt power inverter.

I keep my batteries topped off every week using a float charger. Other than that, I've used this project when camping to keep devices charged or even to inflate an air mattress.