Well, after a good few hours in the workshop my solar generator is now up and running.
Basically its a way of continuously re-charging a 12v battery using a solar panel (with light obviously).
I can't trumpet this as my own idea as I got the inspiration from this link (off ATS originally).
I've made some interesting modifications though so it's not all wires everywhere and cumbersome set-ups.
You see on the link that the guy has the solar panel completely separate from the main unit. Leaving it on the floor in grass etc with nowhere to
keep to up at height means it's likely to be stood on and booted by accident.
You have the hassle of setting up the panel everytime you move somewhere else and in SitX you might not have time for that.
Hence I've installed a frame for a panel to go directly onto the slanting part of the battery container to catch the suns rays.
The tie down strap is useful for keeping the lid on firmly and could be used to carry it one-handed. But the side staples probably wouldn't take the
weight (despite being drilled into the container box.
The system isn't that heavy (about 10 kilos) and should be very portable if I get a carry frame made up. As it is it would make an excellent tool
for living off the grid, a shelter, from your vehicle etc.
The inverter which allows AC power plug-ins I've also mounted on top so it doesn't have to be carried loosely.
So the whole unit can be moved about and as long as its daylight the battery will be getting its precious energy topped up
I don't have worry about disconnecting wires, packing up the loose bits etc.
My next goal is to environmentally seal the inverter and battery box. So far I've silicon sealed a few excesse drill holes and I'll be seeing about
getting a small poncho/bag grafted onto the box and thrown over the generator if rain threatens.
I'm mulling over attaching a plastic frame I can modify to fit over the inverter and box bit.
A voltmeter and ampmeter is another thing I'll get later and install.
They seem to be the wrong size that I see for sale. Either too big or too expensive for what they are worth.
THe final step would be fitting a master switch and buying a larger panel to tie into the generator if it's used for power hungry machines.
Decent thoughts and feedback appreciated
For anyone that wants to build one of these make sure you have a multimeter and know how to use it. I converted a commercially available solar panel
and played at re-wiring it to tie into the DC battery. Make sure you get you polarities correct otherwise the inverter may blow fuses (and taking
inverters apart is a game of soldiers to say the least!)
[edit on 8-6-2008 by WatchRider]