Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DIY Extra Low Voltage solar power

We've been working on getting electricity happening here for a long time now. Lots of research, lots of learning, determining exactly how much we need and finding the components. It's been a learning experience, for sure, coming from not knowing what amps, volts or watts were, knowing nothing about electricity at all, really!

Building the battery box feels like nearing the end of the journey, rather than just the start.

Inspiration for the box and "wall" for the charge controller etc, came from a strange place. We had this wood frame that was attached to the 3-point-linkage carry-all we got at an auction. It wasn't much use to us on the carry-all, but it inspired us - in a rustic kinda way - to use it to build the holder for the power components. Just add a form-ply box for the batteries and.. you see it, don't you?

Fortunately, Marty sees my crazy plans, and runs with them. :)

It's sturdy. I weigh about the same as only one of the batteries though!

The top opens, the front comes off completely, making moving the batteries in and out (hopefully not often) a little bit easier. It takes both of us to lift a battery, and it took a few days of rest and a visit to the chiropractor after doing it. I'm not even joking!

The batteries are 12V 190AH each. All four of them will be hooked-up to give us 24V and 380AH all up. It should be enough to run the freezer, and I doubt they'll notice our little 3 watt light globes in the kitchen. Most everything else we re-charge (laptop, power tools, vacuum cleaner and mobile phones) are done during sunny days.

So, next up, we've attached a board at the back of the unit, and "Blue" (the Victron 150/70 MPPT charge controller) will be attached - once we've got a door to keep it safe from crazy weather.. After that.. well.. lots of maths, cable sizes, fuses and such. Maths isn't our strong point, so we're taking it slow and making triple-y sure we have it right before doing anything drastic.

Meanwhile, our old ute battery is still going strong - goodness knows how - with the old charge controller keeping it charged despite the weather. We have light, internet and gadgets.. but we're both looking forward to the day we can have a freezer too.

1 comment:

  1. You two never cease to amaze me. You just dig right into a project and figure it out. I'll have my fingers crossed that all goes well the first time. I bet it will. Love, Mom