How to build your own DIY off grid / grid down Solar Power Back up system from scratch

    This project goes over the build of a Solar Power Grid Down Backup System to generate your own alternative power.A great way to utilize renewable energy as a backup source of power.

    Whatever may be the reason , may be to offset electricity bills or for self reliance to provide when the grid goes down, a solar backup system is simply a great way to provide alternative power to maintain a lifestyle of reasonable convenience.

    If the grid should go down, I can have a freezer, power lighting, pump water, maintain communications, use tools, and charge every little device I have from flashlights to kindles.

    This Off grid Solar Power System is composed of 5 components. Solar panels to generate the power, a charge controller to charge the batteries, the batteries to store the energy, the inverter to provide AC to the household items you wish to power.

    Also you need a Kilowatt meter. The kilowatt meter measures two things you have to know how much energy your devices draw at any given moment, and how much power they consume over time.

    Here we use 100 watt monocrystalline panels, a 40 amp MPPT charge controller, a 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter and to store the energy, 446 volt golf cart batteries totaling 470 amp hours.

    First you need to size your system by figuring out how many devices you are going to want to run at the same time. This will determine the size of your inverter, the inverters function is to take DC power from the batteries and converted to AC power for use with household appliances. If I have 1000 watt inverter, this means I can run up to 1000 watts worth of devices at the same time.

    Once you have evaluated every device that you feel that you are going to need, should the grid go down, you are gonna have a good idea of how much power you need to generate each day.

    The battery bank consists of four, six volt, Duracell SLIGC 125, golf cart batteries connected in series. Golf cart batteries are designed to deliver a lower amount of power over a longer period of time and then recharge quickly.

    When picking a spot to locate your panels, you have to consider that the sun will be lower towards the horizon in the winter, and closer to directly overhead in the summer. Building a system that actually tracks the sun would be best as the panels are always pointed directly at the sun.

    Also mount your panels as close as possible to the batteries. This is because the longer your wire run, the more energy is wasted due to resistance. You also need to select the proper gauge wire to transmit the power from the solar panels to the batteries.

    Between the panels and the batteries is the charge controller ,it controls the charge of the batteries and make sure that the batteries get the proper voltage that they need and that they don’t get overcharged.

    Here we use an MPPT Solar Charge controller. If your solar panels are wired in series and connected to an MPPT charge controller, the voltage adds up ,thus giving us enough voltage to charge the batteries. An MPPT charge controller can charge your batteries nearly the entire time The sun is out. If your panels are far away and you want to save money and wiring, then the MPPT charge controller is way more efficient than PWM.

    The first step in making your solar system safe is making sure that there’s an automatic and a manual way to disconnect power in each segment of the system. Starting right here at the battery box we have a 300 amp manual switch to kill the power from the batteries to the inverter as well as a 200 amp fuse that will blow automatically.

    Another component to the safety is the grounding. Grounding your system is quite easy to do. So get an eight foot grounding rod and drive it into the ground. Then pick up some copper grounding wire, some lugs and connect the frames have all the panels in any metal components in the system including the charge controller and the inverter.

    • DIY Video : How to build an Ammo Can Double Burner Rocket Stove from scratch . Step by step Build Video Instructions
      This video shows the step by step build of a Double Burner Rocket Stove made from an Old Ammo Can.The can is around 19″ x 10″ x 10″, I use vermiculite as insulation, some use sand instead but I like vermic as it is fairly light.If you remove some of the insulation and it’ll be a mini barrel stove for heating too.Here i use a Black and Decker Scorpion saw to cut the pipes and just a cheap bi-metal hole saw to do the holes. I’ve cooked a full steak dinner in the woods on it and it worked great.

      Watch the Homemade Ammo Can Double Burner Rocket Stove build

    • DIY Video : How to build a Survival Water Distillation System for under $5 and turn Salt Water Into Fresh Water
      This project goes into the build a simple survival water distillation system to turn your salt water into drinkable fresh water. This setup can be made with little more than two glass bottles, some metal trays and some sand. So the primary components of this setup are two glass bottles, the wider the bottles are in diameter ,the better and a pair of metal trays. The first part of this process will be to prepare an area such that the two bottles can rest mouth to mouth. The important part is that one of them needs to be suspended over a heat source. This could be done over an open campfire, you just need to find a way to suspend the bottle above the flame either using rocks or logs. Cut a small notch on one side of the pan so that the neck of the bottles can sit a little lower in the pan. This is by no means necessary, but it will make the setup a little more secure. With the trays secured in place, both of them are now filled with sand. The sand will allow the trays to more efficiently act as heat sinks, one tray to cool one of the bottles and the other tray will be used to very evenly heat the other bottle so that it doesn't shatter from being heated too much on one side. The bottle is pressed firmly into the sand so that it gets good thermal contact and will be heated evenly. The second bottle is adjusted such that its mouth will meet up with the first and it is also pressed into the sand to obtain good thermal contact. Another reason that I'm using sand for this is because it makes it very easy to adjust the bottles angles and it is best to make the bottles meet up as evenly as possible so that there is not much room for water vapor to escape. We want it all to make it into this second bottle where it can condense as freshwater. As an additional measure to keep the cold half of the bottle cold, we wet the sand on this bottle with water or cover them with a wet cloth to allow evaporative cooling to take place. With such a large quantity of sand in this tray it does take a little while for it to reach the boiling point and get this process started. But once the sand has reached that point, it stays hot for a long time. So it is a pretty quick process as the water boils dry in this first bottle to simply refill it and you can continue on with the distillation process as long as you want. Rotate the bottle so that the top portion becomes hot from the steam, it is rotated into the cold sand below. And in that way the entire bottle maintains a cold temperature which causes the distillation to go much faster.
    • How to build a Simple Homemade Bandsaw Mill from Old Car Wheels
      This project goes over the build of a simple Bandsaw from old car wheels .Car wheels are big and heavy, but in many ways, they are ideal for bandsaws. They are available everywhere cheaply. They have a rubber tire for the blade to sit on, and they have excellent bearings. Take apart the brakes, the backplate , bearings and the stub axle out of the housing. Weld the stub axle onto an off cut of scaffolding. So we now have two wheels, spinning on the ends of two straight lengths of steel. We take some scrap angle iron pieces and make a rectangular frame for the mill. This form as the base of our mill. In order to make the sliding mechanism, we take a scrap pipe and try to fit it onto a square iron pipe so it can slide in and out smoothly. This will be used for all adjustments. This is welded onto the frame. A Steel plate is welded onto the sliding bars. This is for the engine to sit on. The engine will drive one of the car wheels We mount the 11 HP Petrol Engine to steel plate and the tire is connected directly to the engine shaft through a drive belt. The drive wheel is bolted on to the frame ,also added a lever for the engine mount which will act as a sort of clutch, tightening and slackening the belt when necessary. We add two more pipes on the bottom of the frame and slid them to the support platform of the second wheel made from the same square box iron and some short sections which is part of the blade guide. The second wheel has to be adjustable in a few different directions and has to be lined up with the first wheel so the blade stays on them both without running off the tires. To adjust the tension on the blade by moving the wheel away from the first one, we use a bottle screw. The blade guides are made from cheap bearings. They needs to be adjustable so that the saw can cope with logs of different sizes. The blade guides help keep the blade straight as it goes through the log and also stops the plate being pushed off wheels The band saw has to go up and down so that it can cut planks from a log. We make a simple frame to hold it. It has to fit inside vertical pieces of angle iron on the saw. The support frame is bolted onto to the saw by using a bracket which grip the uprights. Couple of barn door pulleys are bolted onto the top of the support frame and the mill frame. A trailer winch is bolted on to the middle of the support frame. Using a 3mm wire and winch-pulley system, we can move the wheel frame up and down. Two short pipes are added at the front and these hold up a guard which can be taken off when we need to get at the belt or the blade. If the blade snaps, the side guards should make sure that it heads down towards the ground and not up to the ceiling. The saw is stationary and the log is moved through it using dolly trailers or rails.