Here is my Solar Charging System and how I made it. What I didnt purchase, I recycled the parts from other things I already had to make it. I will show you each part of the setup and explain its purpose.
I probably dont have to explain the purpose of the solar panel, but thats where the electricity comes from. I am not sure about this, but I heard that one of the newest types of solar panels out there is the monocrystalline. I like it very much because it is small and it produces a lot of power. It may look big in the picture, but it is actually the exact same size as a 8x11 piece of printer paper.
Step 1: The Solar Panel Mount and Wiring
Here is the mount that I made for my panel, it actually came from an old TV dish so I took it off and re-used it for this project
Also in the other picture is my connection to the solar panel using a waterproof connector. Inside the red box is simply where I had to make other connections to the wire going into my room. The grey wire you see is meant to be used underground as it has 2 insulating layers on it. Also in the other picture, is the pole the panel is mounted on which is about 6 1/2 feet tall.
Step 2: The Charge Controller and Wiring
This step shows you first of all the wire coming through my window (the big grey one which comes directly from my solar panel) with a switch attached so I can shut off the power going to my charge controller.
Then there is my charge controller. The red LED indicates power coming in from my solar panel and the green one indicates that my battery is connected. The wires below the charge controller connect to the following (from left to right) : The tan ones come from my solar panel after it goes through the switch, the 2 black ones in the middle go to my battery, and the black one to the far right actually has 2 smaller wires in it and it connects any loads that I have.
The good thing about this charge controller is that it monitors the input voltage and if the panel produces too much electricity for the battery to handle, then it shuts it off. It also has protection for the loads so when you pull too much electricity from the battery, it will disconnect the loads.
Step 3: The Battery Box
Now I am just goint to attach a lot of pictures of the box that I made to hold my battery and hopefully most of it is self explanitory.
The box is made out of old scrap wood I got from the back of our kitchen cabinets when we remodeled our kitchen.
Everything on top of the battery box is labeled so hopefully you will be able to understand what it does.
And sorry but for some reason my image notes arent working at all so I will have to explain the pictures here.
In the first 3 pictures you can see the top of the battery box. It is hinged and the lid houses all of the switches. plug-ins, and some wiring. The rest of the wiring is tucked behind the battery inside the box. On the top of the lid you can see the switch labeled "battery" which completely disconnects the battery from the charge controller. Beside that is two plug-ins that are 12v and the switch under them turns both of them off. And the small red dots indicate the (+) positive terminal. The same thing happens to the two RCA plugs, they are 5v and the switch shuts both of them off. But with the RCA pluge, the center is the (+) positive terminal and the outside is (-) negative. The small toggle switch to the left of the meter controls what the meter reads.
If you were wondering what the flexible dryer vent is for, it is to help vent the battery in order to get rid of the gasses it produces. There is a fan inside the vent and you can see the switch that turns it on and off right below the 12v cigarette lighter socket.
Step 4: The Inverter
The inverter that I use is a 200 Watt continuous, 400 Watt peak inveter and can supply up to 1.74 amps as you can see in the first picture. In the second picture you can see the cigarette lighter plug which is what connects my inverter to my battery. The cigarette lighter socket you see is also attached to the 2, 12v plug-ins on top of the box and when you turn that switch off I described earlier, this socket also turns off.
And finally in the last picture, you see 2 plug-ins connected (yes this is 12v not 110) and they go to 2 LED light strips (see my other instructables) and thats what I use to light my room at night. In the next sep I will show you some of the other loads I have created to run off of this system.
Step 5: Loads for My Battery
There is a lot of pictures here but it shows you just a few things that I can run off just a small solar panel. And yes every one of the things you see being powered in the pictures, is being powered from 100% solar power. And its FREE!!! :) And like I said before, check out the LED strips on my other instructable!!! And in the third to last picture you can see that I charge my phone, my PSP, and the one to the far right is just a rechargeable battery that I made to use with some of my other projects. And if you wouldnt mind, please vote for me in the Green Living & Technology Challenge, it would mean a lot to me! Thanks for viewing!