Re: Show us your Solar Power System.

Started by freax, September 23, 2014, 07:55:42 AM

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September 23, 2014, 07:55:42 AM Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 02:06:17 AM by freax


I'm working on a similar set up, the system will live in the truck but if need be I will be able to take it out. I am going to run it as a 12 volt system.

Batteries: I'm going with a group 31 AGM, the group 31 is a common battery size around here. I plan on purchasing 2 Energizer AGM Commercial Batteries and mount them in the tool box.

Charge Controller: I purchased a Sunforce 30 AMP controller that I will run between the truck battery and the bank. To keep the bank maintained and charge bank when needed.

Inverters: I purchased a Cobra 1500 WATT, 800 WATT, and a 150 WATT. The 1500 and 800 will be wired to bank, the 150 has the cigarette lighter adapter I will keep that one separate to use inside truck or can plug into bank via 12V outlets. I also have a 4way cigarette lighter bank I will hard wire to bank to charge and run electronics.

Keeping the bank charged I can use the trucks charging system, or I can run a charger off my little 2 stroke generator. I have a Schumacher digital charger/maintainer.

Solar charging: I will use a Sunforce 10AMP charge controller between the bank and panel. And a Grape Solar 100 watt panel.

When putting this system together I first thought of what I needed to power. With this system I can recharge the HT's, cell phones, tablets, and flash lights. I can run small fans for summer time cooling, and electric blanket for warmth (the new kind, not the power hungry older types). I can run some LED lighting in the house. I can maintain the deep freezer until all meat is cured or used up. The list goes on.


Be it ever so humble....

I wanted lights in the shed.  Instead of all the expense of burying AC cables and wiring the shed to code I went with 12V CFL lights made for campers.  I put a 15W panel on the roof.  It really makes around 3W at my latitude with the usual overcast skies and tall trees, but that's enough to keep the battery full.  If the lights get left on for 2-3 days it drains the battery and it takes weeks to get back up to full charge so a couple times I ran an extension cord out there and charged it.  I also learned to not leave the lights on.

The panel came with a cheap charge controller.  It seems to work.  The system has been up and running for 2 years now.


I was in Australia more than twenty years ago, for a couple months. Many houses already had solar power, mostly to heat water, and a few solar panels. Here in Florida, I have only seen one, ever. Not that I pay attention, but still... You'd think there would be panels on every house... ???



Waoh, I guess things have changed since I was there! Interesting videos, thanks..
Things are heading in that direction here too it seems sometimes, but we're not there yet.



October 08, 2014, 09:12:55 PM #5 Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 09:21:23 PM by RadioRay
A little over three years ago, THIS was my solar power system and the heating. ( Great gas mileage too!  ;-)

"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


Nice boat, small ports, small cockpit, looks seaworthy. I think I will be going with walkable-on panels on deck. I would not want anything above deck level if I can avoid it. If the panels are small enough, I will walk around them. Not sure if I want them screwed on on epoxied on. Epoxy would be better but when it would be time to replace them, well, that would be an issue, as nothing but a chisel would do. Maybe a different adhesive would be better. Any suggestions as to what to use to glue a solar panel to a plywood, epoxy-primed deck? I think the panel backing is a thin sheet of aluminum..



October 08, 2014, 09:51:09 PM #7 Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 09:55:49 PM by RadioRay
Your boat plan would be better for a deck mount to ensure the survival of the panels.  Consider carefully your SAILORS' FOOTING and traction requirements in balance with optimal panel survival. Bluewater sailors slipping overboard are 99.9% dead already.

I decided that if I were not able to stow the panels before a forecast storm and they were torn-away by a wave, it would be acceptable.  My mounting hardware was designed to be weaker that the stainless steel tubing it's mounted one, for that reason. I considered deck mount for the good reasons that you mentioned, but with my sailplan -vs- deck area, it would mean not having safe footing while sail handling. Stepping on a wet piece of glass on deck could be fatal; in a serious storm, it almost certainly would be.  As a precaution, and for extra charging capability in calm conditions, I had an extra 55 Watts divided among 4 panels, stowed below. They all have Anderson PowerPoles, so hooking them into the system is quick & easy. Aboard my previous boat, that was ALL the battery charging I had, and I was fine - because I was single.  Married sailors use more power, water, food, soap, toilet paper... you get the picture.


"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


Thanks guys. Yes, holes on deck are not so great.. Velcro, I would worry about theft..

The solution might be to have two narrow panels, one on each side, that would not impede safety and walking space. Then add an extra removable panel for when the weather is good. So, two narrow permanent 25W deck panels and one removable 50W panel, which then could be a cheaper rigid model.

I intend to run a lifeline from bow to stern and use a harness/tether when on deck, at all times. The idea of watching my boat leave while treading water isn't very appealing...



Hi folks!

This is my little off-grid solar system for my shack.

Powered by Sun:

-leds over the shack.
-Elecraft K2
-Icom 2200H
-smartphone, Garmin and another gatches USB.

Panel monocristaline 50w, homebrew structure.

10a regulator with two USB outputs.

2x7.2aH batteries, I Will buy a 22aH AGM new battery.

Enviado desde mi Redmi Note 4 mediante Tapatalk

Sapere aude



I'm going to meet with a Ham Buddy Tuesday ( tomorrow ) for making his new trailer / portable Ham Shack ... bug out shack solar / wiring / insulation / heating /cooling / ventilation =)    I have my in-progress ( twenty years in the making ) Search and Rescue / camping homebrew Caravan trailer =)     As the trailer group I belong to over fifteen years calls them "Hard Sided Tent with Wheels " =)    I will try to get pictures of his build and needing to clean up and add new larger doors, add the new painted fenders for the wide tires on the new axle and widen about a foot =)    It is only a Solar powered Ham Shack, emergency communications and sleeping trailer =)