The idea of a completely silent power generator that can still run large power loads, and never need gasoline is a really cool concept. This project goes over the build of a large 2000W Portable Solar Generator that can power appliances ranging from a table saw to charging your phone effortlessly.
We need a large box to hold our basic components. Here we use a pelican 1620 protector case that is durable, dustproof and waterproof .This is going to be the case that we package everything into. It’s got wheels on the bottom so you can roll it around ,also has heavy handles on either sides.
The battery is a AGM glass mat ,coil would style, 12V optima deep cycle battery. A deep cycle battery just allows you to get a little bit deeper into the discharge before you are starting to shorten the life of that battery. This battery also has the ability to be mounted in any orientation . So it is safe whether the battery is on its side on its back or even upside down as long as we have it mounted securely so that nothing shorts against our terminals.
The next major components for our build is the 2000W inverter from Krieger. This one has some large terminals on the back for our wiring. Also has a active fan here for ventilation. Also comes with a remote control switch.
The 100W Solar Panel is from Renogy. It has the bus on the back for connecting in to your solar charger .It also comes with a 30A Solar Charge controller. This can run up to four of the 100 watt panels in a 12 volt system. The back of the solar panel comes pre wired with MC4 connectors, as well as a couple of MC4 pigtails. We use high quality 16 gauge speaker wire to extend the connection. These wires are highly flexible for portable use. To connect it to the MC4 pigtails we need to go ahead and strip the insulation off and use butt splice connectors to crimp them to the MC4 pigtails.
In case you cant to charge the system with standard AC power ,we use a 1.5A Battery maintainer / Float or Trickle charger. This will be good for just keeping it topped off when it is in storage. Or if you just want to charge up your batteries and you really don’t have a place to be setting the panels out.
Next step is mounting components on the outside of the case . Before mounting any component, factor in how the internal components are going to placed inside the case. On one side of the case ,we are going to mount a small LED work lamp with toggle switch, a 12V gauge pod with 5V USB output, digital voltmeter,12V cigarette socket ,an AC input plug for using with the trickle charger, a 6pin solar panel trailer connector. These components are secured in place using a RTV silicone sealant.
One the other side of the case , we are going to mount the inverter remote control switch, 350A high current plug which is used for jumper cables or to add high current loads, a GFCI AC outlet with a weatherproof cover. The GFCI outlet is connected to the inverter inside the case.
We want to put the battery as close to the wheels as possible, because that will help keep the heaviest part down low when moving the case around either on the wheels or by carrying it. We place it snug into a corner of the case using battery mount and couple of pieces of 2X4.
The inverter is placed inside the case in such a way that there is enough space for air ventilation and for tucking some of the wires underneath. The inverters are secured in place using mounting tabs and 10×24 machine screws.
The PWM solar charge controller is also mounted in the same way near the solar panel connector input.
The trickle charger / battery maintainer is placed as low into the back of the case .This is not something that will get very warm so we don’t need to worry about heat dissipation or anything like that . We plug the power cord from the trickle charger into the AC input cord.
Next step is the wiring. We start by connecting the power cables from the inverter to the battery. The positive and negative from the inverter is connected to the positive and negative of the battery respectively. To distribute power in our generator ,we use a six circuit fuse panel for the positives and a busbar for the grounds.
We use two inexpensive battery cables to run the power to our distribution blocks as well as running the power to our high current quick connector. The positive red connection from the quick connector goes to the fuse panel and the black negative connector to the ground busbar. Both connections are further extended to connect to the positives and negatives of the battery respectively.
The LED lights are connected to the 3 way connector switches. The switches are further connected to the power distribution fuse block. Similarly a single switch is connected to the USB outlet, voltmeter and the cigarette lighter ports in parallel. The positive from the switch is connected through a daisy chain mechanism to the three positives of the ports ,the negatives are similarly connected to our distribution block.
At this point, we now have a power wire and a ground wire for every single one of our accessories connections . We bundle these wires and keep it neat and tidy using zip ties. Separate the positive wires from the negative wires, we are going to be rounding the negative wires to our ground busbar. After we have all of the ground wires connected, we can move on to the power wires on our distribution block. Each one of the blade connectors represents one fuse circuit. We connect the positive red wires from charge controller, battery trickle charger, usb ports,voltmeter,12V outlet to the fuse circuit.
We are using a 30A fuse for the charge controller,12V socket, 20A for the LED work lights, 5A for the trickle charger.
- How to build a DIY Passive Solar Thermal Water Heater. Simple and Efficient!!This project goes into the build of a passive solar thermal water heater using pex pipes and 4 X 8 plywood piece. The pex pipes are sturdy and tough , doesn't easily leak. This passive solar heater can reach upto 120 - 150 F on a typical sunny day. Instead of pex pipes, you can use cheap irrigation pipe for this project. The pex pipes are more stronger and durable . The heater can be used for heating your domestic water, space or room heating or just heating a swimming pool. The box that contains the pipes are made of 4 X 4 plywood . Four pieces of 2 X 4 pressure treated lumber are joined along the sides using screws to make the frame. We staple in some bubble insulation along the dimensions of the box . Since the insulation material is silver, it will reflect heat. To avoid this ,we coat it with a flat black paint to attract the solar heat. Two holes are drilled on the sides of the frame for the inlet end of the pipe where the cold water comes in and outlet end where the hot water comes out. The inside and the outside of the heater is painted flat back using rust-oleum high heat paint to absorb maximum heat from the sun. The first layer of half inch pex tubes or irrigation pipes are secured inside the solar heater box using half inch pex talon clamps. The clamps are installed on four sides of the box securing each loop of the pipe. The second or upper layer of pipes are secured in using zip ties. The total length of the pipe is 200ft. The pipe comes in through the inlet hole and goes to the outside on the first layer , all the way around and work itself inside .It then goes through the top layer and all the way to the outside and then exit through the outlet hole. The bottom layer pipes aren't going to be exposed to the sun as much but they still will be warmed up because the whole box is covered with lexan polycarbonate sheet. The top layer with the pipe that goes outside through the outlet hole will have the highest thermal BTU. A very inexpensive reed thermometer with a 4 inch stem is installed on the side of the heater using a half inch to three eighths bushing reducer . A 4 X 8 Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet is placed on top of the heater box and secured down in place using a No 8 One and one fourth sheet metal screws ,finishing washers and rubber grommets. Silicon adhesives are used to seal the gap formed between the sheet and the box frame. The Solar thermal heater is placed at an angle of 20 degrees. This is done with the help of leg supports with dimensions 16 and 8 inches 2 X 4 pieces at both the sides. A 50 watt Renogy Solar Panel is also installed adjacent to the heater. This Solar Panel is for powering the bilge water pump. A 500GPH 12V bilge pump is used to pump the cold water through the pipes into the heater . In order to control the flow of water through the pump , it is connected to an speed control electric circuit box which has a relay, a buck boost converter,a motor pump speed controller, potentiometer and a switch. The pump is powered by a 50W Solar Panel .The negative connection from the panel is connected to the relay, the positive goes to the switch. The relay determines the voltage for the buck boost converter .It activates on a certain voltage we set and then powers the buck boost converter. The buck boost converter will keep a constant voltage no matter what the voltage the solar panel is putting out. It is then connected to a 15 amp motor pump speed controller and a potentiometer which is used to control the voltage of the bilge pump motor. The 12V 500GPH bilge pump is connected to the motor pump speed controller. In order to test the unit, we place the heater near a pool to heat it. The bilge pump is submerged into the pool which is then connected to the heater with help of a PVC hose. The output pvc hose is returned with heated water back to the pool. The water reaches upto 140 F based on our test. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbzeOtpXZbGiesna9w4eLuGzWvCQah1-h
- DIY Video:How to build an awesome Roof Top Portable ABS Pipe Hot Water Heater/Shower . Great for Camping/ OutdoorsThis project goes into the build of a DIY solar powered pressurized roof top water heater and shower that is portable for outdoor survival and camping trips. This project is easy to make and requires only minimal tools and plumbing parts. The dimension of the pipe used for this build is six feet tall and four inch wide. This has a capacity of 15 liters. The materials you need to build this project are six feet long four inch ABS pipe, air compressor, two four inch PVC end caps, abs cement, rubber schrader valve, shutdown valve and retainer nut, radiator valve drain plug , forstner bit,two inch threaded end cap, high heat flat black paint, steel wool scrubber, methyl hydrate. The shutoff valve is installed as low as possible in the pipe to avoid the necessity of having to tilt the system. Mark the position for the valve keeping the retainer nut in place , we insert a forstner bit into the nut creating a center mark for the drill .Once the hole is drilled ,we thread the shut off valve into place and attach the retaining nut. For installing air compressor for pressurizing the tank ,we use an long schrader valve that is used for aluminum rim tyres. This valve uses threaded nuts to secure it in place . Next step is to install the water intake opening. For this we use a two inch PVC threaded adapter socket . We take the diameter of the fitting and then drill out the opening and glue the fitting in place using ABS solvent cement. A radiator valve drain plug is installed on the threaded end cap of the water intake PVC fitting .This valve helps to release extra pressure from the tank without opening the main drain shut off. In order to improve thermal absorption of solar energy, the surface of the ABS pipe is painted with flat black paint. The surface is polished with steel wool soaked in methyl hydrate and applied one coat of spray primer followed by two coats of high heat restoleum black paint. To mount the shower to roof of the car or truck , we use a canoe foam block . We extend the slots in the foam block to make them fit inside the cross rails . An arc is cut on the foam block equal to the outside diameter of the pipe and positioned it such that it left half an inch of foam between the mounting slot and the bottom of the arc. To attach the shower to the support pads, here we use one inch nylon tie down straps. With both these pads in place, the water heater is securely attached to the roof. An inexpensive 25 foot long coiled three eighths inch hose from the local garden center is used as the shower hose. This would be perfect as it is easily stored and can be taken apart after use. The air compressor is connected to the pipe with the help of a multifunction spray nozzle . Thee bursting point of six inch ABS pipe is well over 100 psi .So a 30 psi would provide safe and ample pressurized shower without any long term expansion fatigue to the pipe or glue connections . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG2HK9JsAjw
- DIY Video : How to heat your garage the Inexpensive way by building an Outdoor Stove with Heat ExchangerThis project goes over the build of an inexpensive garage heater using DIY outdoor barrel stove with a heat exchanger. This outdoor setup is safe because you dont want the stove inside the garage to catch fire if you are working with any flammable gas. We use a 30 gallon drum for the stove. The access doors and legs are purchased from the local store. The heater exchanger is made out of four inch steel pipe .We take couple of 4 foot pipe and weld them together using another small pipe. This pipe goes inside the firebox and connects to the chimney pipes. The pipe should be thick enough that it can withstand the heat of the fire without sagging or bending. This pipe heat exchanger adds positive pressure . Removable hatches are made on one side of the stoves to connect the 2 four inch aluminum flex chimney pipes from the outside barrel to the garage. Inside the garage we place a 4 inch exhaust fan blower that sucks the colder air from the floor and blows it through one of the flex chimney pipe into the stove. The blower is actually a hydroponics duct exhaust fan purchased from Ebay. The cold air gets pushed into the stove and moves through the heat exchanger steel pipe , gets heated and then moves out through the second chimney flex pipe and back into the garage. The hot air from the stove moves into the garage through the second pipe. In order to get more hot air, we also add a drip fed waste oil system to the outdoor stove . The oil gets dripped slowly from a tank into a frying pan on top of the stove .You can add cotton rags and let it drip into there and it just keeps burning like a wick. The combination of both wood and waste oil produce better fire . If the stove gets too hot, you can turn of the oil or use oil only to maintaining the temperature. You can put an insulated shack around the stove to minimize the heat loss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn4CerxpNug