The project for the day was to do some firewood splitting. Off camera, there was a pile of 18 – 24 inch tree rounds. They were a freebie given to us by a city dwelling neighbour (it cost $$ to dispose of trees in the city, most people are more than happy to give it away for free!)
After I calmed down, I looked around and noticed there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Checked the forecast and it said that it was going to be above normal day in November for a warmth. Hmm… I thought that if I could get a couple of hours of charging into the battery, it might be enough. It was a small 7.2 Amp hour Gel battery, so it would need a lot of time to charge. (Just need enough for the generator started, once it’s running, it can charge the battery too)Dug through some of the old ebay solar stuff. Found an 60 watt DIY solar panel, MPPT charge controller, alligator clips and some wire. Sat down on the steps and rigged up a quick charging station. I kept the battery and the solar panel in the sun the whole time.
As the sun travelled across the sky, the panel was adjusted/moved to
get most charging. By 3:00pm, the battery had charged for 6 hours. Decide it was a good time to see if there was enough juice to start the generator.
It’s the second year of my budget, do-it-yourself solar and wind power rig. So I thought I would share some updates with my fellow off grid friends.
The panels have worked great making power. The only drawback was some of backing materials were separating and starting to peel off. Used that sticky red Tuck tape and roofing tar to keep out the moisture. Managed to crack the glass on another solar panel by over tightening a roofing screw. It was fixed, but, the output power was reduced down to 40 watts. It was removed for the “array” and has been used with the remote pumping station.
Always look forwards to the summer. That when I make enough power to have a surplus. I can leave the outside radio on a little longer, run more power tools and NOT check the battery voltage meter every hour. For example, on July 2, the sun was really high in the sky and the panels were making 2 amps at 8:30am. Nice!
Generating Springtime Solar Power (2013)
The solar panels were collecting just a bit of electricity from the sun on the Easter Weekend. The sun is still low in the sky and in the tree line. I’m running a 12 volt system with four 6 volt deep cycle batteries. So, with my rig, the amount of sun and everything unplugged, the batteries would recharge from 80% at 10:00am to 100% by 4:00pm.
Compared to a lot of other slick systems out there, it might by wimpy, but, it will do for now.
The plan for this summer, is to move all the panels to the pole, put the offshore MPPT charge controller on the 2 poly panels and the shower door panel. The Morningstar Charge controller will be converted over to a diversion mode for the recycled wind turbine. Maybe, I’ll pick up two more 6 volt batteries…