This project goes into the build of a portable and powerful off grid emergency solar generator with higher capacity than commercial units at a fraction of the cost. This system can keep a small fridge operating 24/7, charge your devices, power TV ,LED lights, Laptops. it is small enough to be stored away in your garage and portable enough to move where it was needed.
The main components used to build this generator are as follows.
4 Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy Rover 40 Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller
Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery 12 Volt 100Ah
Sug 2000W(Peak 4000W) Power Inverter Pure Sine Wave DC 12V to AC
Renogy 20 Feet 10AWG Solar Extension Cable with MC4 Female and Male
BLACK+DECKER BM3B 6V and 12V Automatic Battery Charger / Maintainer
6 Circuit Fuse Block W/Negative Bus
Milwaukee Hand Truck with handle
Control Panel with USB Charger,LED Voltmeter,12V Power Outlet, ON-OF Switch.
To create a solar system that can truly meet your needs and cope with the variability of your environment, you really need to do some planning. This will help you avoid building a system that isn’t up to the job and can save you considerable money by preventing the expense of replacing components later on.
To calculate the number of batteries and solar panels you will need to create a system to provide power in all seasons through inclement weather and at your particular latitude, you need to determine the devices you intend to power, log their power consumption across a few days using a power meter. Then find the reserve days . This is how many non sunny days the system can tolerate while still powering your devices. Also find the recovery time by calculating how many days of sun that will be needed to fully recover when the batteries have run down due to lack of sun. You also need to know the usable charging hours in day and the actual battery round trip efficiency since batteries give back something less than the amount of power used to charge them.
Here we use 4 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panels to charge our 12 Volt Deep Cycle Battery. The panels are wired in series so that the voltages add together and you can get up to 80 volts from four panels. With this system there is enough voltage to begin charging as soon as there is any daylight at all. It also charges the batteries right up until dusk. Another advantage of the series wiring is that it is much better for long wire runs when the solar panels are not close to the generator and you can use less expensive smaller wire gauges for the solar panel runs.
To use panels in series you must have an MPPT type charge controller. They are specially designed to accommodate the high voltage of panels wired in series up to the particular controllers voltage limit .MPPT controllers are much more efficient converting nearly all the energy coming from the panels into charging power for the battery.
A 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter is used that can provide up to 4000 watts of surge power, and with enough battery support can run any conceivable device including those with motors. To store energy we use a 2 12V AGM marine batteries . These give plenty of reserved capacity that will last with reasonable care . They don’t leak and can tolerate cheaper discharges and have very good round trip efficiency.
Four 100 watt solar panels are connected through the 40 amp MPPT charge controller . The panels can deliver up to 2400 watts of solar power in the shortest days of winter. And the charge controller converts solar power to charging power very efficiently and also support serial panel configurations increasing the systems capability.
A heavy duty hand truck is used for loading all the components . A frame made of angle iron is welded on to the platform to mount the batteries. Two angled straps are welded across the truck to provide more support for the battery frame.
The various components are mounted on a back support made of five eighth inch plywood. I use a tapered punch to make starter holes for all the screws that hold the components. The hand cart is laid on its back and the plywood board is aligned in such a way it doesn’t block the holes. While the cart was on its back I screw down all the components with stainless steel screws.
For the project we use a thinner 18 gauge wire for the low current circuits, medium 14 gauge for the 12 volt port and heavy 10 gauge for the high current charging circuits. Red is always connected to the plus or positive connectors, black always to the minus or negative.
The positives and the negative connection coming from the solar panels are connected to the solar charge controller with the help of a quick disconnect Wire Harness SAE Connector. The negative of the solar charge controller is directly connected to the negative connection of the battery while the positive goes through a fuse block before connecting the positive of the battery.
The negative connections from switch, voltage display ,USB ports and battery charge meter is connected via a medium 14 gauge wire to the battery negative. The positives are connected to the battery through the fuse block. The 12 volt port is on its own fuse so it gets separate wires in the medium 14 gauge. The positive of the 12V Battery Charger is connected to the fuse while the negative is connected to the battery.
The batteries are placed on platform of the cart facing opposite directions so that positive and the negative terminals are near the plywood backboard where the components are attached.
The battery connection cables are cross connected to create a parallel 12 volt configuration careful to ensure the block cable connected only to minus terminals at both ends and the red cable connected only to plus terminals at both ends.
Next step is the orientation of the solar panels. As you probably know the sun is lower in the sky in the winter higher in the summer. In the winter, the days are also shorter as you really want to optimize for winter to get as much energy as you can when the days are short. Since my panels are fixed, we want to point them due south and angle them for the winter sun. There are tables you can find online that can give you a pretty good idea of the right vertical angle for your geographical location.
In the summer the sun is pretty much straight overhead, so the panels are optimal when laying flat. The angle panels are their most productive in the depth of the winter losing a little each day until the height of the summer as the sun is further off the winter angle. Meanwhile, the flat panels are less efficient in the winter because the sun is at a low angle but gaining each day as the sun gets higher in the sky.
- How to Generate Emergency Off Grid Power using a Car Alternator and an exercise bike.This project goes into the build of a DIY pedal powered generator out of an old car alternator and a bike. This generator is useful for powering your devices and gadgets in case of an emergency or grid down scenario. The materials you need to build this generator are bike, MDF for base plinth, magnetic trainer stand for bike, Alternator, drive belt, 12V battery, cable connectors, 12V socket, multimeter, screwdriver, insulation tape. The rear end the bike and rest of the components are mounted on a one inch thick MDF board. This has a good amount of stability that keeps it away from moving around. We add an extension bit on the front. The extra height there just compensates for the fact that the back wheel is in a stand. The alternator is mounted nice and secure onto the base using brackets. Bolts connect the alternator to the brackets and screw the brackets down to the base. Once you are pedaling, and you have got electrical load in the circuit, there is quite a bit of force pulling the alternator forwards. So it does need to be really securely bolted down. Make sure that the wheel of the bike is in line with the alternator pulley .With any wheel, we have rim bed and the rim walls. Here what we need is a drive belt that fits purely in the rim bed. Make sure you measure the internal width of the rim bed . Also measure the width and depth of the alternator pulley grooves and get a belt that fits accordingly . Also make sure you have got a belt that is long enough because a typical drive belt that is used in a car is not going to be long enough because it is only made to go around a pulley on the engine. The car alternator used here has three wires coming out of them .It has a main power thick output wire, it supplies main power to the devices. Then there is two small cables, one for voltage sensing and the other for field coil ignition. The voltage sensing wire goes straight to the 12V lead acid battery in our case. To get the alternator generating power you first need to apply a small voltage through the field coil and that is because an alternator doesn't have any permanent magnets in it. The way that any generating device works is moving either electrical charges through a stationary magnetic field or moving a magnetic field around a charge. So the field coil inside the alternator is attached to the field coil ignition cable, and putting a voltage generates the magnetic field, which enables the alternator to generate power when you turn the shaft via the drive belt. You don't need to keep applying a voltage to it as it's running, because it will generate its own power. The negative from the alternator is connected to the negative of the battery. The positive connection from the alternator is connected to the positive of the battery. The third connection coming from the alternator is the field coil activator .This is connected to a switch .The connection goes back to the alternator to active the field coil. A standard cigarette lighter socket is connected to the battery terminals. It will draw power off the battery first, and once you start charging power, because the alternator is connected into that, it is going to draw it from the alternator, and the alternator will simultaneously power whatever is connected into that socket, and recharge the battery. The alternator used here has voltage tolerance of 11 to 14V . A Modular splitter is connected to the cig power socket to charge multiple devices. Make sure that the plug comes with a fuse or whatever you plug in needs to be rated to the right power for what you are going to charge . To run alternating current devices, we connect a 150W Power inverter to the circuit. The alternator actually generate alternating current. But its got a rectification circuitry built into it, which changes it to DC. The inverter changes the the DC output from the alternator to AC. Finally ,we add a master switch that switches the battery on.The Power switch stops any drain from the battery through the field coil . The switch also connects the multi sockets that charges various devices. It isolates the battery from the circuit. It isolates the alternator from the circuit, and it isolates the remote switch and the battery from the field coil completely. The AC generating device like an alternator have a minimum speed of operation in which they are stable. So do check for your alternator, what is the recommended minimum speed for it. If you spend it below that speed, what happens is because of the way it works, you get a periodically varying force which acts as a resistance to your pedaling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hx1ptv6RKI
- How to build a Simple Alternative Power Dual Refrigeration System that uses no electricityThis project goes over the conversion of an old three way refrigerator unit from an RV into an alternative power offgrid Dual refrigeration system that uses no electric power. This can be really useful in case of a power outage or SHTF situation when you need to keep your food or vegetables fresh. The first step is to strip the fittings on the back side of the fridge , remove all the ammonia system ,clean the inside of it . Here we are incorporating more than one way to use this water for cooling refrigeration system to make it efficient .We will be using cooling effect by brining down the water temperature to cool the box , another way to cool the box is by installing an evaporative system. We take the two pipes coming from the water source around the edges of the box and put some cotton sheets around the sides and let the water cascade down the sheet creating an evaporative effect. We have an inverter and a battery attached to the fridge that is hooked up to a 25W solar panel .The wire from the inverter is connected to 8W Electric Fish tank pump .The water coming from the pump goes underneath and up inside to the lid of the fridge to the condenser coils and then comes back around back into the water source like well or water tank. The full system is recirculated back into the original storage tank where the water is coming from. We keep the fridge in a chest freezer style instead of an upright style. Inside the fridge, we have incorporated 2 poly tubing coils attached to an old heat sink that was already in the fridge. The 100ft coils are attached to the top of the fridge. The cold from that coils will drop down to the rest of the fridge. Next step is to incorporate the evaporative cooling part of the refrigeration system. We start by installing aluminum U channels across all the edges of the fridge. The U channel will hold cotton material inside of them. The water coming out of the outputs from our coils rushes into the channel which is going to wick out into the cloth and run down the cloth with gravity, giving us our evaporative cooling effect . On the corners, we have the U channels interconnected to each other through a bent garden hose in such a way that any extra water flow in the channel can transfer to the the channel that is next. The cotton sheets are stretched around the box and tuck it down into the channels all the way around under the wires such that the wires will hold the channels up and hold the sheet up inside the channel. To even the flow of the water ,we install a tee. Now the water coming from both sides of the channel can leak into the sheet. Also make sure you have an air gap between the sheet and the refrigerator box. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHspLgLWJug
- DIY Video : How to Turn old unused ceiling fans into a useful energy producer by building a Wind Turbine out of itA Beginner tutorial on how to make a wind turbine ceiling fan.So out of the box, we have the main part here, which has the motor in it.Keep up with all the blades if you can. You can use this for the furrow on the back the way it pushes around to keep the turbine from standing in a very aggressive wind it pushes it out of the way First part is just getting the motor outside of this casing. And you want to be careful because these wires are fragile, and you don't want to tear those loose by any means.So mainly, the tools that you'll need is just a screwdriver, maybe a flathead screwdriver and a hammer eventually. Take the top part of the ceiling fan off, this is the part that's next to the ceiling.Disconnect the wires don't cut them. There's a nut here with a washer that holds this plate.And we don't want this plate. So we need to take that off. However, we do want the washers here. Take this casing apart, and inside you'll see that copper coils that actually power the fan. The next step is finding the highest arm reading of these four wires that is coming out of this motor.Pull that higest ohm reading wires through the center pole to the other side. Insert a metal banding used for attaching the magnets around the stator. Put the magnets inside the fan housing to achieve a voltage reading.Add a cardboard spacer in there so that the magnets are aligned with the stator. The blades are made of 4 inch PVC.You can find templates online for the blades.Put the outline of the blades from the paper onto the PVC and then cut it out with a jigsaw. And then once you cut it out with a jigsaw, all you have to do is get a little Sander out, you can use a hand Sander to smooth the edges off. Connect the blades to the faceplate of the old ceiling fan. Next step is to take an inch galvanised pipe that forms the body of the turbine. A 40 inch piece will slide down into the conduit of the mounting system for your turbine.A 30 inch piece on the back,This is going to be angled up into the wind to keep the blades in the wind a little better. One Inch PVC is slid down the end of the 30 inch pipe and attach the tail piece on there which is made of fan blade The wires from the fan is passed through the pipe and just zip tie them down.Cut the PVC in half to a 45 degree elbow ,cut a line down through this PVC, we're gonna split it basically and drill some holes in it and attach the ceiling fan blade. Attach the fan to the galvanized pipe with the help of an extension that was previously saved during our dismantling of the ceiling fan.Use JB weld on the inside of that. And I put this bolt through this part and put a tightening screw on it, they're kind of digs into the metal. Connect the two leads from the fan to a bell wire, solder these two together, wrap it up with some electrical tape and kind of zip tie to the top so that it will stay in place.At the base end of the wire,connect it with a diode bridge rectifier which is further connected to our battery. Regarding connecting the rectifier,it doesnt matter how you solder them together,just as long as they are separate and not connecting and shorting out. But you want to put this at the base of the wire at the very end so that you can put this inside of your battery box and hook it up to your battery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9ZMbF3Zqk&list=PL68TKRSLgXzQqZa5WzMNFwmYKS4b4KPcA