Small Scale Home Solar Project





Introduction: Small Scale Home Solar Project

Having alternative energy as one of my hobbies, I've recycled an old bedside cabinet to be used as a solarpowered energy-backup. This project is low-budget and most of the materials are recycled.
At the moment it is only solar charged using 3 12 Volt 1,5 Watt trickle charger solarpanels (no charge controller needed), but I hope to upgrade it to solar and wind power with a charge controller. The key here is just that I've not found a sutable schematic yet to build a charge controller. Sugestions are welcome...

Step 1: Solar Setup

This is the set-up of the solar panels. I've fixed them to an old drying rack which is hanging on the balcony of my condo. Three of the panels are connected to the cabinet, one is trickle charging a separate battery. Despite the fact that my balcony is facing east, the yield is enough to charge the battery which is used to charge my cellphone or play the built-in carradio.

Step 2: Battery Setup

The solar energy goes through the bottom to the battery. At the moment of the photo two 12 Volt battery-packs are connected. Because the panels are trickle chargers, a charge controller is not needed (yet).

Step 3: Finished Cabinet...... So Far.

The cabinet is finished for so far. I can use it to charge cellphones, play a carradio using the old speakers and even power 220 Volt devices using a 150 Watt inverter. In future upgrades I'll try to build a charge controller and a small windturbine.
I hope to have the schematic for this cabinet made soon, so I can past it to this instructable.

Have fun and remember to tune these things to as little smoke as possible.
Xander Marks.



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    7 Discussions

    Thanks for the worries, Mitchiko. But each of the panels has a diode build-in, so overcharging or discharging is no issue. Daniel Deacon, this setup is part hobby, part experiment and part almost daily in use nowadays. So an extra battery is not for nothing.

    1 reply

    There is also a potential of overcharging and self discharge of the battery. I recommend that you add up blocking diode, zener diode and all those stuffs that will help protect your battery dude.

    1 reply

    I agree. Without a charge controller (even a simple $20 one from amazon) you run the risk of overcharging. Diodes (the full name is blocking diodes) allow power to only go one way (from the panel to the battery). It doesn't have a limit on voltage, and therefore its too easy to overcharge them. Plus, since these are sealed lead acid batteries, any overcharging would result in obsessive gassing and the eventual death of the batteries.

    These batterys are abit of an overkill if you ask me

    Very nice. I'd be very interested in the schematics. This would come in very handy during emergencies when standard electrical, cable, and telephone lines are down. I like the slipper space, but I'd personally put a stash of glowsticks, emergency candles and lighters/matches, or cheap garden solar lights there.

    1 reply

    i agree my old house would lose utility serves about once a month so we had a rechargeable battery with a cb radio (we didn't have cell phones yet) and car stereo plugged in to it but with new car stereos you could have everything down to your tv on it