Build Your Own PORTABLE Solar Generator
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:
First I bought a case that would be a good jumping off point that I could fit a 10 watt solar panel on and in. Your case doesn’t have to fit your panel in but I thought it was convenient for me.
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 mono crystalline Solar Panel
||20 watt panel
|Switches for the Project (5 and 10 packs are cheap)
|Triple Combo cig lighter/voltmeter/USB
||Double Combo Unit
||LED Light Strips
Choose Your Charge Controller
||Controller with voltmeter built-in
Get This Battery (high power AGM)
|18 Amp Hour Battery
||35 Amp Hour Battery (won’t fit in case but great for bigger containers)
||18 Amp Hour Battery (Minimum Recommended)
Don’t scrimp here, the battery is the foundation
of your whole system. This battery
easily fits into the Plano 4 pistol case. In fact it could hold 2.
Choose Your Inverter (size to your battery/needs)
Choose a Volt Meter (optional but fun)
|Full feature volt meter:
measures solar input and outputs
in amps & watts
Extra Parts, Wires and Supplies You May Need
|Velcro for panel