Sunday, July 4, 2010

Power Up

This morning we finally mounted and finished wiring our 50-watt solar panel with Mikey. You can see Mikey's solar array, which dwarfs ours, in the background. Our panel was screwed into the high point of the roof, the wire is routed under the awning and into the wagon. Inside the wagon, we have our battery and a panel with the charge controller and inverter. Our inverter is a modified car inverter, originally meant to plug into your cigarette lighter.

From now on, we should be able to charge our laptops, camera, and run a lightbulb and fan with the power generated and stored by this system.

From Whittled Down


Grant Wagner said...

Unfurtunately, those small "Modified Sinewave" inverters simply don't work very well with anything motorized. We had a power outage during a storm for 3 days a few weekends ago, and we used my small solar system to run a relatively large fan over night. It really strained with the 50W motor.

If you can, get a true 12V DC fan and I think you'll be much happier. Several are cheaply available in the big box stores in the auto section.

In fact, the general rule with a system so small is the more the 12V the better. Things like laptops and cell phones have cheap 12V power supplies available and those can be wired directly to your battery without any issue

Libby: said...

Yes, you're absolutely right that 12v devices are ideal. The fan we are using is 12v, and the lightbulb is a 12v cfl. Basically the only thing that isn't 12v is the computer gear. You'll have to pardon me--I'm not used to writing about electronics so I may have left out some key details. At some point I'm going to try to put together some more comprehensive guides for the different systems that make our tiny house function.

Grant Wagner said...

I'm sorry, my misunderstanding. That is excellent.

Out of curiosity, where did you get yrou 12V CFL? I only know of a few mail order places when them, and I don't want to get one that is that awful cold blue institutional feel.

Currently, I'm using a wal-mart purchases swing arm LED based lamp (our local had them in 5 pretty bright colors), having snipped off the little wall transformer and wiring it directly into a USB port. Works wonderfully.