Is it a far-fetched idea to build a portable solar generator? It’s not as complicated as you think, and you can make a generator that meets your needs in your cabin, boat, or camper. You can use the power you generate to charge and power your appliances or gadgets. Tampa Solar companies can be a great help when switching to solar energy.
Solar energy is the cheapest and most available energy source globally. Adopting solar power is a means most people use to save money on utility bills and achieve energy independence with renewable and clean power.
Solar energy users globally save the earth 75 million crude oil barrels annually, a massive step toward making our planet green. You can purchase a solar generator from a store, but making your own has some added benefits. Here is how to build your portable solar generator.
What You Need
Building a solar generator is a process with multiple steps. Below are the components you will need before you start.
- Solar Battery: This helps you store the harvested energy.
- Weather-resistant casing: The casing houses and protects the battery and other crucial components.
- Solar Panels: They collect the sun’s energy
- Solar Power Inverter: The solar panels collect DC direct current power, and the inverter transforms it into AC (alternating current) that provides household electricity.
- Solar Charge controller: This prevents current and voltage levels from exceeding the battery’s capacity. Get a weatherproof controller if the equipment is outdoors.
- DC Input: The DC power plugs connect your equipment to the power supply. Buy the appropriate one to avoid any wiring modifications.
- Battery Maintainer: The battery maintainer keeps the main battery in an active state. If the batteries remain inactive for a long time, their efficiency and lifespan are compromised. This equipment is an extra charger that boosts the main battery with regular power bursts.
Step 1: Calculate How Much Energy You Need
Calculate how much energy you need by checking the appliances you have in your home, RV, or camper. Some of the most common appliances might be:
- Fan 10 to 50W
- Laptop: 25-100W
- Modem 7W
- Tablet charging: 8W
- TV: 150W
- LCD Monitor: 100W
- LED light bulb (40W): 10 W
- Coffee Machine: 1000W
- Smart Phone charge: 6W
These calculations allow you to know how much energy you need to generate.
Step 2: Testing the Equipment
You need to test the charge controller and pane;
- Plug the pigtail cords on your panel into the charge controller in their appropriate sockets (positive and negative)
- Hook the controller into the battery
- After hooking the negative cable, a green light on the controller lights up, showing the battery has fully charged.
- Flip the panel toward a window to ensure it picks up sunlight. Another green light on the controller shows the battery is charging.
Next, test the battery maintainer and the surface mount contactor.
Step 3: Build Your Generator
Building your generator is where you mount the equipment and perform some initial wiring.
Mark and Cut the Necessary Openings
Use masking tape to make the marks, which helps you adjust them without leaving marks on the case. Measure each hole and mark the lines. Make the holes smaller and later make them larger if necessary.
Mount the External Components
After cutting the holes, test the LED flood light’s fitting and apply black silicone sealant along the edges to make the case’s interior waterproof. When the silicone starts setting, place the light back in the slot. The AC charging port has a rubber gasket, so you don’t need silicone. Repeat the process for the other components on the other side of the case.
For the inverter’s remote control panel, you need to apply some silicone and then secure the panel using self-tapping screws. Mark and cut the holes for the 350A connector and solar panel connection. The 350A connector is optional, but it allows you to daisy chain other batteries, use jumper cables or increase your generator’s power. After mounting all internal components, mount the second LED floodlight to the solar generator’s lid.
Mount the Battery and the Inverter
Mount the battery in the corner, near the case wheels. Orient it in any direction, but ensure it has adequate support in the direction you will use the case. Drill two holes to hold the battery mount bolts, but wait until you ready all components for mounting.
Position the AC inverter so that the outlets are adjacent to the GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) and the outlet and the cables are within the battery’s reach. Mark the inverter’s bottom holes and mount them via machine bolts with washers and nuts. Plug the cord from the GFCI outlet into one inverter outlet and the other remote control cable end into the remote switch panel’s back.
Mount the Charge Controller and the AC Battery Maintainer
Mount the battery maintainer on the back, near the LED light you already mounted. Connect the power cable to the female extension of the AC cord you mounted on the case’s exterior. After mounting all the internal and external components, wire them together.
For a better understanding, go online and watch videos of the process. A solar generator will significantly help in case of outages and when you want to reduce your power bills. You can also use the excess power you generate as an exchangeable for credits with power companies, which they take off your account.
Maintenance and Upgrades
Maintenance and upgrades are important aspects to consider when building your own portable solar generator. Regular maintenance will help ensure that your generator continues to function optimally and provides a reliable source of energy. Additionally, as technology advances, upgrading your generator can help improve its performance and increase its efficiency.
One important maintenance task is to regularly check the battery voltage and make sure it is properly charged. A fully charged battery will help prevent damage to the cells, and prolong the life of your generator. You should also keep an eye on the battery’s state of charge and replace it if necessary.
In conclusion, it is important to consider maintenance and upgrades when building your own portable solar generator. Regular maintenance will help ensure the longevity and reliability of your generator, while upgrades can improve its performance and efficiency. By taking the time to properly maintain and upgrade your generator, you can enjoy a reliable source of energy for years to come.