Want to build your own portable solar power generator to take with you on camping trips or for use in an emergency? I’ll show you how below, it’s easier than you think. Goal Zero’s version of this cost over $400 and doesn’t include any solar panels! Depending on what you include yours will cost under $150 by buying inexpensive parts from Amazon.com.
How portable do you want your solar generator to be? Think about how heavy and large it should be? Are you going to use a hand truck to carry around a huge toolbox filled with batteries and a large solar panel or do you want a tiny one that will fit in your glove box? The wiring and concept will be the same for either size so the choice is yours. I wanted something in between that I could carry but still had some decent capacity to do some work.
Video showing components:
Here you can see the 10 watt solar panel is removable and attached with velcro on metal strips. The velcro holds the solar panel very securely and it all fits inside the case to protect in during travel. I zip tied aluminum pieces to increase the surface area of the velcro but judging from how secure the industrial velcro is, they may not be necessary.
Closeup on the main power switch. This switch totally disconnects the battery and all charging. Notice Marine 12 volt cigarette lighter in the lower corner of the box.
Notice round switches to the right of the inverter and volt meter.
Below I show you what I used and suggest for building your own DIY portable solar generator.
||10 watt Solar Panel
||10 watt mono crystalline Solar Panel
|Switches for the Project (5 and 10 packs are cheap)
||Controller with voltmeter built-in
|18 Amp Hour Battery
||18 Amp Hour Battery (recommended)
Don’t scrimp here, the battery is the foundation
of your whole system. This battery
easily fits into the Plano 4 pistol case.
|Volt Meter (optional)
||Back lit Volt Meter (optional)
||Full feature volt meter:
measures input and outputs
in amps & watts (optional)
|Velcro for panel
||Arm the nukes