Portable 100 Watt Solar Power Generator Kit, I'm building for $680.00 for SHTF or WWIII

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posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:12 AM
*****all links open in a new window away from ATS*****

I've wanted something like this for a long time, and companies like Goal Zero make them real fancy and not as good IMO for $2000.00 and up.

I decided to do a lot of reading and research, to see if I could design my own Portable Solar Generator Kit and this is what I have come up with.

Here are the components.....which connect in order of appearance.....

Solar Panel $200.00
Renogy 100W Monocrystalline Bendable Solar Panel here

Solar Charge Regulator $32.00
30A Solar Charge Autoswitch Controller Regulator - 12V 24V here

Batteries $134.00 for two
Universal Power Deep Cycle Marine 12V 35AH batteries here

Battery Bank Connections $12.00
# 4 battery cables 1 foot red and 1 foot black for connecting battery bank together here

Power Inverter $201.00
Cobra CPI-2575 2500-Watt Power Inverter here

Inverter to Batteries Cables $57.00 for two
Cobra CPI-A40000 BC Power Inverter Battery Connection Cables here

Inverter Remote Control $20.00
Cobra Inverter Remote Control - UPS - CPI-A20 here

Rolling Container $24.00
Expanding Folding Crate on Wheels here

I wanted something light (this is under 70lbs) and portable (18" x 18" on a rolling cart) with warrantied components that I could take along on my camping trips, to recharge my lanterns, cell phone, lap top etc. I have a digital usb hdtv tuner for my laptop which makes it a portable HDTV and I have 5 gigabytes of survival PDF files stored on my Micro Mini SD Chip in my phone for SHTF scenarios too.

This system will fully recharge the batteries in about a day of direct sunlight (as two 12V 35ah batteries are 35 amp hours x 24 volts = 840 watt hours / 100 watt solar panel so recharged in 8.4 hours of sunlight). As for how long I could use the system at night, if bringing the batteries down to just a 50% charge (which prolongs battery life and cuts recharge time to just 4 hours of sunlight) & use would depend on what I am using the power with, etc.

I am very confident I could recharge several AA and AAA batteries, a laptop, phone, ipod, two way radios, am/fm radio and still have direct power if I wanted, to run appliances that don't recharge such as an air compressor or portable speakers as needed.

Once I have it completed, and can experiment with it in the field, I'll gauge a daily/nightly budget of how much sun time vs night time power I can reasonably expect to have. I know this isn't going to run a refrigerator and what not for a log cabin for 24 hours, but I believe it will run my two room tent camp site quite nicely!

I like to have two way radios, am/fm radios, hdtv and proper lighting just to keep everyone safe, sound, and able to watch the nightly news while camping (if it is still being broadcast in a SHTF scenario). All in all, for under $700 dollars, I am willing to get it all and put it together, and if there is no WWIII and I hope there isn't, both the inverter and charge regulator allow for several more solar panels and batteries to be added later for a bigger system.

I know this isn't rocket science and I'm not reinventing the wheel or anything, but I am excited to make this $680.00 Solar Power Generator rather than buy the above mentioned $2000.00 pre-made system.
edit on 5-3-2014 by AlchemistSwami because: shorten title

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:33 AM
Awesome idea and some great info. Maybe you should consider hardening it for those pesky EMP scenarios.


posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:34 AM
its a good idea

having lived on solar
better do your math

with that rig, maybe try for a 75 watt inverter... and don't use it much

while a hundred watts is theoretically possible, a typical 4 foot by two foot panel gives about 33 watts at full sun
your inverter will waste a lot of that as heat..as will any length at all of wire

edit on 5-3-2014 by Danbones because: (no reason given)
edit on 5-3-2014 by Danbones because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:39 AM
reply to post by Danbones

The inverter may be a bit overboard, but I want to be able to add on more batteries and panels eventually. I did the math, and believe I am going to be able to charge these two batteries in 8.4 hours of sunlight, if they were depleted. I spent ten hours checking the specs and math on all included components. I appreciate any and all feedback, certainly though, so thank you.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:42 AM
I doubt you'll get 100w from the panel as there will be losses every step of the way, resistance in wires will take some, batteries will convert some of the input energy into heat etc, so basically everythings going to take its little cut of the 100w, i have 6x200w on the roof here and out of 1200w theoretical i get about 1150 according to the device right by the fuseboard

but thats here in the uk 240v@50hz

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:46 AM
reply to post by Maxatoria

I only needed a 30watt panel for my needs, so I am comfortable with the 100watt and what ever it provides.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:48 AM
theoretical and for real are two different things
cycling your batteries right down will kill them in 500 cycles or so
if they sit overnight/ or days waiting for decent sunlight dead in sub zero temps, reduce the cycle count

with that rig you might get am radio for 12 hours and a lap top charge

i use a rig like that to keep the battery charged on a 15 foot open boat just to run the 12 v bilge pump occasionally.
an hour a week maybe tops, and that is not a lot of elecrical work done

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:51 AM
reply to post by AlchemistSwami

It doesn't seem to be a rational investment for camping. Hauling a load like that out for camping is like taking your living room with you. Why go camping? And since that gear is too much to be lugging along a trail, your car with its lights, radio, and recharging attachments will be fairly handy, no? 'Seems to me that money could be better spent in other ways.

As for a means of electricity after a severe TSHTF situation, there are several critical aspects that need to be in place and working efficiently before you get to that stage. (To make my point, perhaps I should have used the word "live" instead of "get" in the foregoing sentence.)

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 06:57 AM
reply to post by Danbones

I agree and that is why I planned for using 50% of the battery power, so as not to cycle them down as you stated. Again, I am camping, and won't need to rely on this every night. My flash lights, lanterns, and radio all have built in solar chargers anyway, so I'm looking to charge some very small things, like the two way radios (that will last me weeks on one charge) but from what I have read, with just these two batteries and the large inverter I could do much more. The solar panel I chose could take 3 days to charge the batteries (but it won't) and I'd be satisfied. Also I am going to be in Florida so I am not concerned with cold temperatures either. My point is why pay $2000 for what I can make for under $700? Even if just to have to peace of mind that if the SHTF and I am in the middle of no where, I can access power when needed, on a small scale.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:01 AM
reply to post by Aliensun

Hauling a load? This is less than 2 feet square and under 70lbs. My tent all packed is bigger than that and weighs the same. I go camping to get away from people, but I pack up my car with probably 300 lbs of coolers and food and gear and what not, and drive to my families spot of land on the river, where I park and set everything up 10 feet away from my car. I also bring a hubba tent and smaller gear that I can load into my kayak and head down stream for a night or two of minimalist camping while I'm out there. That is how I enjoy my camping and fishing, in stages and levels.

Also, I have nothing left that I want for, already three tents of various size, a dozen lanterns, several coolers, hammocks, sleeping bags for all degree levels, 3 stoves, kayak, folding bike, dozens of electronic gadgets, knives, cooking gear out the wazoo, basically since I worked for a dozen years at an outdoor sporting goods company with a 40 % employee discount, I have a ton of top of the line gear, and also, I could spend this much EVERY month on crap and my budget to survive is not scratched. Owning a home and car with out having any payments, and a great paying job, allow me these expenditures, I guess everyone and every budget is different.
edit on 5-3-2014 by AlchemistSwami because: 2nd paragraph, its my $ and my choice

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:21 AM
Get another panel!
There are losses that you seem to have underestimated. There's losses when charging and discharging, and they increase as the batteries discharge. By getting another panel you can be sure to achieve what your expecting from one panel.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:27 AM
I have used this set up for about 5 years and it's fine within it's limitations.

There are issues. First batteries like these need to be run completely down before being recharged. If you use 10% of your power-then recharge-you will shorten the lifetime of the battery considerably. Also, the inverter continues to draw power unless it's unhooked from the batteries. If you leave it hooked up it will drain the batteries completely in about 18 hours. I do this deliberately sometimes to restart the charging process.

The array needs to be mobile during heavy use and it must be aligned precisely to the elliptic or the Kepler orbit. I use a sexton however there are many different way to do this. Also, my array pivots to follow the peak sun during charging.

Any 110 can be run on this system except anything that draws heat and turning a compressor can be accomplished but it needs to be very small. Things that pulse do not work very well on these systems-for instance a motion detector-can peak and cause the inverter to go silent- Not sure who came up with the term 'go silent' but what it really means is a very loud screech-that can easily give away your position.

Finally, this is still dirty power and it should only be used to charge electronics not to run them-for that you will need a line cleaner. I found out the hard way about that.

Hooking the batteries up in tandem accomplishes very little regardless of what anyone will tell you. I find it better to use one cell-run it down-then use the other in an alternative charging mode.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:28 AM
reply to post by VoidHawk

I estimated I would need ONE 30 watt panel for my needs, so this is more than three of those, I'll have more than enough with this one panel.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:29 AM
Since you're next to a water source just get an alternator and hook it up to some paddle wheels and let mother nature power your stuff overnight ensuring your batteries are always at charge

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:30 AM
reply to post by spooky24

Wow some experienced feed back, finally, which is most welcome, so thank you!

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:32 AM
reply to post by Maxatoria

Dam at both ends of this river, so it essentially sits still. I like my kit that I'm going to make, much better.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:46 AM
reply to post by AlchemistSwami

im not trying to be difficult
shtf and camping are to different things but at least camping is good practice
this is a great subject for a thread
it may be good for everyone to know at some point

i just lived this for several months to see what it is all about, because those that think a hard drive full of pdfs will save then are sadly, most likely not going to have them or the skills, when it counts

here is what i KNOW
100 watts charge for ten hours will give you the small burner on a hot plate for one hour
( if there was no efficiency and resistance losses, which never happens)

skip the inverter and use only 12 volt loads
get as much charge surface as you can, a hundred watts is not much

i get all the old used lawn lights i can when people throw them out
( mostly its because the original batteries are just dead )
they will charge a pair of aa in a day...and they are lights, and they have charging circuitry you can scavenge

collect tossed out batteries because they mostly have one third of a charge still in them and can be ganged up to get more life...

have entertainment that is NOT power dependant

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:53 AM
reply to post by spooky24

what kind of batteries you got there?

there are issues. First batteries like these need to be run completely down before being recharged. If you use 10% of your power-then recharge-you will shorten the lifetime of the battery considerably


Lead acid batteries should never be run flat. The maximum recommended discharge is 75% of the total. This means that the battery should have a minimum of 25% of charge remaining when it is put on charge.

Lead acid batteries once filled with electrolyte, should always be regularly charged even if they are not in use. When left idle a filled battery will self discharge because of its own internal resistance. left long enough a battery can go completely flat without ever having been put into service. Storage also affects the rate of discharge. A battery should never be stored directly on the ground and especially not on concrete.

The best storage method is wooden pallets which do not conduct or allow damp paths and do allow good air circulation. During storage, most manufacturers recommend a freshening charge once every two months or so.

better not let em freeze while dead either, but then i'm not saying anything anyone who ownes a car in a winter climate doesn't already know
edit on 5-3-2014 by Danbones because: (no reason given)
edit on 5-3-2014 by Danbones because: (no reason given)

what does a car do with a battery?
oh yeah, continious top up
edit on 5-3-2014 by Danbones because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 07:59 AM
reply to post by Danbones

I appreciate your reply and I didn't consider any of your feedback "being difficult" at all. What I am building together here, is what I believe will be better than the GOAL ZERO link at the beginning of the thread, where they offer 60watt solar panel and a portable generator that has less features and possibly similar battery type, for three times the cost of my plan. This is what I am excited about. Some how I doubt if I had just made a thread about that $2000 system that I was considering buying, any of you would have said "this wont work" but since I am trying to accomplish the same feat with random components on my own, it is easier for people not to explore the specs of what I am creating and to simply shoot it down. This solar panel for example is up to 20% efficient and you can literally walk on it, as compared to thicker Poly panels that run to maybe 13% efficiency. If I want ten more batteries and panels, after I build it, I'll buy them. I guess I am lucky that I can afford to experiment with this, and if there is a SHTF scenario, being able to gain ANY POWER from the sun, will put me light years ahead of anyone with out any of this equipment I believe. Thank you and everyone else for your input, it is time for me to get to work.

posted on Mar, 5 2014 @ 08:08 AM
If you are thinking to expand it at somepoint a connector block to allow more panels to just be plugged in/removed when needed might be a good point as you don't really want to be messing with bare wires when things are live (even a cheap multiway socket will do and then just stick plugs on the end of each panel)

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