Build Your Own Solar Power Generator for under $150.

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.

main-solar-generator

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.


panel-off

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.

side-shot

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.

Solar Generator Diagram

Notice round switches to the right of the inverter and volt meter.

Solar Generator parts

 

portable solar generator wiring diagram

portable solar generator wiring diagram

 Below I show you what I used and suggest for building your own DIY portable solar generator.

How To Make Portable Solar Power Generator

Pistol Case
10 watt Solar Panel
10 watt mono crystalline Solar Panel
Switches for the Project (5 and 10 packs are cheap)

 

choose solar charge controller

Basic controller
Controller with voltmeter built-in

solar power generator battery

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.

 

chooseinverter

400 watt
300 watt
200 watt

 

volt-meter

Battery
level indicator
Full feature volt meter:
measures solar input and outputs
in amps & watts

choose-extras

 

Velcro for panel

 

Arm the nukes

 

Fuse holder

 
     


92 Comments

  1. Robert McCarson
    Sep 13, 2014 @ 17:47:48

    How come it costs much more than $150 on amazon? What on your list are absolutely essentials and what is optional?

    Reply

  2. northstar7385
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 04:39:34

    hi, i am currentlybuilding one of theseand i was wondering if this system will jumpstart a vehicle. and what do i need to do so? also, if you have the time could you make an owners opporating manual on how to use this system? i think that would help out alot of us that are new to this. thanks alot.

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Sep 09, 2014 @ 10:28:19

      Yes you could jump start a vehicle with this 18 amp hour battery, just make sure the wires you use to connect the car batt to this 18ah batt are large. (jumper cable sized).

      Reply

  3. Bill Gaetz
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 06:41:16

    Hi all; I have a working system (2 x 18Ah) with 2 10 watt solar panels. All is working well (Thanks again Solar B!). It is clear that drawing power off the batteries should not exceed a certain level (or you compromise battery life). The question is, what is the best way to determine the current state of charge of a battery? Is a voltage chart the best way to know when the battery is (for example) at 75% charged (12.4 V)? See link for a chart I found on the web. Thanks!

    http://www.mmbalmainauto.com.au/PDF/State_of_charge_12_volt_batteries.pdf

    Reply

  4. RedHotz
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 23:26:07

    Can i get 2 12ah 12 v battery…

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Sep 06, 2014 @ 20:02:37

      Yes just connect them both together in parallel for a 12×2=24ah battery. Connect red to red black to black, easy peezee!

      Reply

  5. friardonpratt
    Aug 30, 2014 @ 13:25:09

    Hi there…is there a formula or rule to determine what size charger (solar panel) that you need for the size of battery you’re charging? And how can you determine what size battery that you need for the load?

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Sep 03, 2014 @ 16:54:18

      Ideally charging current should be 10% of the Ah rating of battery.
      So charging current for 120Ah Battery = 120 / 10 = 12 Amperes. This is a great general rule of thumb for an ideal situation but for the sake for portability a 10 watt panel only puts out .55 amps. It charges an 18ah battery just fine but slower.

      Are you thinking of scaling up your system? Another thing that works well is to hinge to panels together to double your power but have them fold up into the space of one.

      Reply

  6. RedHotz
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 01:41:59

    I am using 350 watt inverter, 12v 10 amp charge controller.., 20 watt polycrystalline solar panel,, 5 amp fuse….10 awg wire………is everything good…..and not bought battery yet…..can I buy 2 12v 7.5ah sealed lead acid batteries……….will that be enough.. Plzzz.help replyyyy…

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Aug 26, 2014 @ 10:57:29

      Hi RedHotz, I don’t think you’ll be happy with the performance of 2 7.5ah batteries. That’s 15ah of storage and the minimum I recommend with a smaller inverter is 18ah. Don’t skimp on the battery, it’s the heart of your system.

      Reply

  7. kayakh2o
    Aug 22, 2014 @ 14:41:26

    Would there be any way to hook this up so that you could charge it via a wall outlet? (similar to goal zero)

    Reply

    • Lester House
      Aug 22, 2014 @ 19:26:41

      Yes if you wire it up so you can use a trickle charger. I have a Battery Tender Jr. to charge it with an outlet.

      Reply

  8. RedHotz
    Aug 22, 2014 @ 06:56:47

    I am using a single 12 volt battery a 350 watt inverter..5 amp fuse 20 watt solar panel..12 amp change controller…..so I should connect them in series or parallel…Plzzzz answer it would be a great help……..

    Reply

  9. RedHotz
    Aug 21, 2014 @ 09:15:22

    What is bus in circuit diagram and what type of fuse I should use and I should connect everything in parallel or series…

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Aug 21, 2014 @ 10:27:39

      Bus is a fancy name for a splitter. It allows you to distribute power from one source to many. Basically a connector that keeps wiring tidy. Search on Amazon many will come up. I can’t answer your series or parallel question unless you give me more info on what you want to do but if you want to keep 2 12volt batteries at 12 volts, wire in parallel.

      Reply

  10. Eric
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 10:28:14

    I can’t find any information on the fuse type to use. What size fuse do you recommend? Also I’m not sure if it’s just me, but none of the links seem to work in the “Below I show you what I use” section.

    Reply

  11. RedHotz
    Aug 16, 2014 @ 22:27:15

    Dude……you are smart……but can u tell me what length and awg of wire I should use to connect each and every…stuff..I need help as I mentioned only 15”.’.’.”

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 16:00:57

      Use 12 awg wire and use as short of length as you can. DC wiring likes shorter lengths to increase efficiency.

      Reply

  12. madam1620
    Aug 16, 2014 @ 14:59:44

    I use a C-PAP machine when I sleep. It is 24v 3.75A. Could you tell me what to do to build a solar charger to power this machine. Thanks for any help

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 16:08:51

      Use the same wiring diagram but get 2 bigger deep cycle batteries like a group 24s from a auto parts store then wire them in series. Here’s a video I made showing how to wire 12volt batteries to get 24 volts. http://youtu.be/Sqmm2JgsO48

      Reply

  13. Edwin
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 22:57:53

    I’m not really clear on batteries but I want to use more watts n I am not sure what volt battery to get?what kind of inverter would I need? I want to get maybe 1000 watts or more. I’m not sure if it’s possible.

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 16:02:58

      For a 1000 watt inverter, to run microwaves and other energy hogs you’ll need a much bigger battery like a Group 27 deep cycle which is about $100 at an autoparts store. It’s totally possible just scale everything up.

      Reply

      • Edwin
        Sep 02, 2014 @ 23:31:11

        What kind of inverter should I look for

        Reply

  14. glen biddle
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 13:50:25

    i want to make my charger with 2 deep cycle marine napa batteries i have. what size inverter and solar panel will i need? i want to charge electronics and have ac capability to run a fridge etc…. i want to be comparable to a goal zero 1250 generator. also would need a wiring diagram i guess i have to daisy chain the batteries.

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 16:06:00

      Use the same wire diagram but scale everything up. Connect your batteries in parallel for a bigger yet still 12volt battery. Red to red, black to black, easy. I’m going to build a bigger one and document it since that’s what everyone wants now! It’s going to be heavy!

      I’d get as big of panel (physical size) as you’re willing to carry? 75-100 watts?

      Reply

  15. Robert
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 10:35:11

    Is this sort of setup, with more batteries, pure wave inverter, more panels, etc, capable of powering several appliances for several hours? I am getting into event photography and I need a power source that is 100% stable to run a laptop, printer, possibly a monitor and down the road even a few high wattage lights for a greenscreen. Size isn’t too big of a concern, I was thinking something along the lines of a large ice chest… but is the basic set up possible without damaging my equipment?

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jul 29, 2014 @ 10:26:27

      Yes it’s totally possible. You’re right you need a puresine wave inverter. You probably need a large deep cycle battery. Group 31 size. Pure sinewave 1000-1500w inverter. If you knew your wattage requirements that would be helpful. Computers don’t use much these days.

      Reply

  16. Brice
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 19:16:01

    The solar panel recommended on your site doesn’t match up to the solar panel used on your video, what size is it? Looking forward to making a solar generator!

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jul 17, 2014 @ 15:38:50

      Hi Brice, they are all 10 watt panels. They are from slightly different manufacturers but don’t worry they will all work. Just make sure it says Poly Crystaline or Mono Crystaline, NOT ANOMORPHOS. The batches available on Amazon seem to come and go so depending on when you buys different styles are available.

      Reply

  17. Heidi
    Jul 12, 2014 @ 08:57:43

    Thank you so much. I am new to all this and have just started experimenting with hacking cheap Harbor Freight parts for a miniature waterfall. This inspires me to continue exploring solar. Thanks, again.

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jul 17, 2014 @ 15:39:33

      Oh cool, to run the pump right? That does sound fun.

      Reply

  18. Marsha
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 23:51:07

    I am venturing into unknown territory. I have basic DIY skills and I even successfully replaced the motor in my dishwasher all by myself. Granted, it took several goes at it and I had to walk away a few times before I exploded, but I did get it done! Is this really as straight forward as it seems? I bought a very expensive generator, had a hitch receiver welded to my RV , and then purchased a cage for it. This is so much cleaner and quieter.I would be perfect when I just needed to recharge my phone or ipod. What do you think? (BTW, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience so freely. I appreciate it. I am out here learning as much as possible from handy guys like you!)

    Reply

    • Lester House
      Jul 09, 2014 @ 14:49:38

      It is pretty straight forward. The videos he made are good, and the wiring diagram is easy to follow.

      Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 21:27:50

      Hi Marsha, the best way to learn is by doing in my humble opinion. The connections are very simple. It seems complicated but when you take it one connection at a time it’s more simple than you think. The hardest part I think is the container, making it look good and be practical. For charging your phone, ipod and stuff like that it’s perfect.

      Reply

  19. quicksilverx
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 18:11:21

    can some one clear this up for me please. When using a solar charge controller and a “sealed” Marine leisure battery, should I use the sealed mode or the flooded mode on the charge controller?

    Reply

  20. Joe
    Jun 30, 2014 @ 08:24:29

    I’m looking to power 5 16W LED 120v bulbs for approx 6-8 hours a day would something like this be what i’m looking for or would i have to upgrade a few items?

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 10:28:35

      Think about this Joe, you will save power if you don’t convert DC to AC to run your LED’s. Can you find DC LED bulbs? If so you could run them directly off a battery and save 10-30% conversion losses. That aside, Those sound like really high power LED’s are they really 16watts each? I’d look for some lower power ones. But if that is what you’ve got you’ll need to upgrade the battery to a deep cycle 60 amp hour and also consider a larger solar panel if you need to do it day after day. Think about a 50 watt solar panel. Amazon has a great price on larger panels right now! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DCDQKII/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00DCDQKII&linkCode=as2&tag=solburblo-20&linkId=53EUGBAFR6RJGBCE

      Reply

      • Joe
        Jun 30, 2014 @ 11:28:11

        The bulbs are from home improvement stores like lowes, equivalent to 100W. Im new to all this, I’m looking for bulbs that are comparable to 100w bulbs. Its usually only 2 days in a row about once every 2 weeks

        Reply

      • Bil Gaetz
        Jul 08, 2014 @ 06:02:17

        Hey Solar; thanks for all this great information. Like Joe, I am also trying to figure out how much solar watts and battery capacity I will need to run some landscaping LEDs (~5 lights x 10w; 12v). Is there an equation you can recommend to figure this out? Also, how do the lights wire to the 12 DC battery (in series?; resistors needed?)?

        Reply

  21. Ryan D
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 21:39:38

    Would it be possible to adapt this to something smaller say a 5 watt solar panel and a smaller lighter battery? would the charge controller and ability to add a voltmeter and at least usb hub’s and or inverter be the same? Love the design just thinking that I only need enough power to charge a phone and possibly a camera battery, and would like to have it small enough and light enough to carry backpacking.

    Some links to some batteries and panels that could work would be awesome.

    Cheers

    Reply

  22. Josh L
    Jun 19, 2014 @ 14:54:40

    I am so glad I came across this post of yours! I just ordered up all my parts with a couple minor tweaks in my design. I can’t wait to get my stuff, build it out, and put it to use. I’m hoping I can fit two batteries in the case so I can run them in parallel (fingers crossed). Thanks for sharing your knowledge and ideas.

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 10:16:50

      Great, that should work fine. There is room for 2 batteries in the Plano 4 Pistol case linked above. That my be my version 2.0.

      Reply

  23. Kevin Dove
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 21:53:43

    This is such a great find. Thank you for posting this concised steps on how to build your own solar power generator. I already have a cheap solar panels guaranteed to provide me the energy that I only needed.

    Reply

  24. Lester House
    Jun 14, 2014 @ 10:43:37

    Thanks again for a great idea. I wanted it for a backup at home to power the modem, router, and a couple of laptops during power outages. I used a larger case, a 35 AH battery, two 10 watt solar panels, a Battery Tender Jr (AC charge option), and a cigarette lighter volt meter. I tried a hard wired cheap volt meter, but the wires were to delicate for the spot I installed it. The cigarette lighter volt meter is working fine.

    Thanks for the idea.

    Reply

    • Lester House
      Jun 14, 2014 @ 10:44:54

      I also used a 300 watt inverter

      Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Jun 30, 2014 @ 10:29:30

      Great!

      Reply

  25. hank
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 07:50:06

    Can’t see the suggested components (view source links to “Amazon adsystem” but images don’t appear). Can you list them as names and URLs for the actual items

    Reply

  26. Daniel
    Jun 04, 2014 @ 14:15:34

    Reply

  27. Lester House
    May 27, 2014 @ 21:04:21

    Great idea. I am in the process of building one. I am using a bigger case that can hold a 35 Amp-Hour battery. I am adding the AC charger as you suggested. I am planning on putting in two cigarette lighter outlets and plug an inverter into one of them as needed. The inverter has USB outlets. Now my question. I have ordered one 10 watt solar panel. The case could hold a second panel. Do you think it would be a good idea to add the second panel in parallel beings my battery has almost twice the capacity?

    Reply

  28. Mike
    May 16, 2014 @ 15:45:03

    I love the project.
    Why use a voltage meter and not a watt meter? Im just curious…

    Reply

  29. saideep
    Apr 27, 2014 @ 04:53:11

    The thought was very nice and innovative

    Reply

  30. Bill Gaetz
    Apr 25, 2014 @ 08:01:29

    Cool video – thanks for sharing!!! It looks like there is enough room in the case for 2 of those batteries. Do you think you could double the recipe (2 batteries, 2 panels, 24v) but use the same case, controller and inverter? Maybe that way you keep portability but get more capacity for bigger jobs or a longer number of days without power?

    Reply

    • Lester House
      Jun 03, 2014 @ 20:25:02

      You would want to wire everything in parallel, That would double the amp-hours instead of doubling the volts. You still would need two panels. I am in the process of building one with a larger case, a 35 amp-hour battery, and two 10 watt solar panels. I wanted something with more reserve also.

      Reply

  31. Jeffrey W. Neal
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 01:47:44

    Nice job on your solar generator. Tell me, if you are using a 10 watt solar panel that gives you 0.5 amps with a 18 amp hour battery, how long will it take to charge the battery back to 100% if the batter is drain 50%? Will the 10 watt solar panel keep up with the demand, or I need a bigger watt solar panel for quicker recovery?

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 14:32:04

      Hi Jeff, like most things, the easy answer would be “It depends”. How sunny it is, what is the drain, angle of panel etc. I”ll spare you and tell you my observations while using my for almost 2 years.

      Assuming you drained the battery to 50% (like you drew 1 amp for 9 hours) It would take all day to charge up to 100% on a sunny day. I mainly use mine in the summer. Annecdotally I can charge 2-3 tool batteries 30-45 mins each at 10-75 watts of drain/load while I have the panel in the sun and still have above 60% charge. Then I usually still have time in the day to recharge.

      My main other use it to charge the groups cell phones and run small stereo all day and into the night. Plenty of power for that.

      Reply

      • Adam
        Jun 15, 2014 @ 00:02:26

        This is a neat video. I am in the process of building one similar to yours. The battery that I am going to use is a 20AH new gel cell agm Harley Davidson bike battery. Same size as the battery you show in your video. I ordered a 15 watt mono solar panel from amazon. I have a 800 peak dual plug with usb inverter that I want to use. Would this be good enough with the rest of the parts to run a small 12 inch face desk fan, it pulls less then an amp. I want it to run the fan, and an asthma machine incas we lose power from a hurricane.

        I am new to this, any information would be greatly appreciated.

        Reply

  32. aaliya
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 15:54:09

    Hi! U made it gud! I wanna make it too! I wanna know what is BUS and 12 V Amcc in this! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Chaz Rollins
      Jun 21, 2014 @ 04:40:38

      12v ACC is the 12 volt dc accessory plug, aka cigarette plug. On the very first picture it’s in the lower right of the black case.

      The BUS is a piece of metal where you connect the same types of wire. It’s in another picture. It’s a straight piece of metal with holes in it.

      Reply

  33. fiston
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 13:40:32

    hi solar Burrito, please how can I get in touch with you for a solar project in africa. please contact me by my email so we can explain you the full project. thanks to comes back to me.

    fiston

    Reply

  34. Daniel
    Apr 04, 2014 @ 16:57:51

    Reply

  35. Daniel
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 14:03:05

    Hey Solar Burrito can you tell me if a poly-Crystalline Solar Panel is good for this project, here is the link- http://www.ebay.com/itm/10w-WATT-poly-crystalline-solar-panel-10W-PV-solar-module-for-battery-charger-/281251899506?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item417beb6872

    Reply

  36. Joel Colvos (@joelseattle)
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 06:48:48

    Love this and your blog! Thanks for putting it all out there for those of us that are just figuring it all out. One question, would it be possible to just skip the inverter if I wanted to build this kind of system to charge 12v power tools? It seems silly to convert 12v DC charge to 110v inverter and then plug in a battery charger that charges my 12v tools. I was thinking I could just try stripping off the plug and seeing if I could wire it directly into a 12v battery, but I have a feeling this won’t work. Any experience with this? thanks again!

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 10:19:29

      Yes and No. Yes your right it’s inefficient to go DC to AC back to DC. Yes you could charge the batteries part way 12volts to 12 volts but I don’t think you could charge them fully. The batteries will reach equilibrium and current will stop flowing before your tool batteries are full. Picture a large bucket of water flowing into a smaller bucket of water via a tube half way up. As soon as the water level in the smaller bucket reaches the height in the larger bucket all flow will stop. That’s why 12 volt chargers charge at 14 volts to have “pressure” to push current into the 12 volt battery. Does that make sense?

      BUT——— If you had your solar panels in full sun, you would be generating more voltage and you could in thereby charge your tool batteries directly. Try it out and monitor the voltage, if it’s above 14 volts you’re charging!

      Reply

  37. Jake
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 10:13:08

    Could you provide a link to the solar panel, or all of the parts you’ve used?

    Reply

  38. Brd workshop
    Mar 09, 2014 @ 18:41:28

    What kind of charger do you recon?

    Reply

  39. Anonymous
    Mar 05, 2014 @ 01:32:19

    […] […]

    Reply

  40. Tullyworkernick
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 18:06:20

    What do you use to recharge the battery besides the solar panels

    Reply

  41. ryanhopkins10
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 21:21:53

    do you have the wiring diagram to post??

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Feb 26, 2014 @ 10:50:09

      Hi Ryan, I just posted a legit wiring diagram above! Hope that helps you complete your project. Let me know if I can help anymore.

      Reply

  42. James lozano
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 11:34:02

    Ok I think I got it. Will build it when I get home in April. Currently in the Middle East. Just want t have all the parts ready before I arrived.
    Thanks again for all your help. If this works out good I will try to make one that can run off of 220v
    Thanks

    Reply

  43. James
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 23:59:21

    Really liked your video. Im going to build one just like your next month. Just purchased the item from Amazon. the only difference is that I will be using a 400w inverter in my set up as you said you were going to do in your video. The question I have is what gauge wire are you using? You think I will ok using 10awg wire? what are you doing for ground?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Solar Burrito
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 08:26:27

      Use the same gauge as the wires your inverter will come with. I’m sure 10awg will be fine though especially at these short lengths. I’ve done some experiments with adding a switch to the fan in the inverter to save power. It works but I haven’t done much testing. Get one that only runs the fan under load and keep in mind the 18ah battery won’t last long at 400 watts. Less than an hour I’d say but for short big loads in the sun, it could be useful.

      Reply

      • James lozano
        Feb 19, 2014 @ 09:54:19

        Thanks for the info. I purchased basically everything you did exemp for the inverter. What my plans for this project is to have enought power to charge up a couple of phones and a laptop. Not on the same time. Or maybe a couple of temporary lights or a speaker for my phone to play music. You think I should be better off purchasing a smaller inverter? I found some brass bus bars at work that I will be using as we’ll. I can always use the 400watt inverter on a big scale solar project. Thanks

        Reply

        • Solar Burrito
          Feb 19, 2014 @ 10:07:31

          If you got the 18ah battery check out this 200 watt inverter. It has several high power USBs. It would be perfect for your needs. ( I just added above) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EY6RJKA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00EY6RJKA&linkCode=as2&tag=solarstereos-20

          Reply

          • James lozano
            Feb 19, 2014 @ 10:36:46

            Thanks for your recommendation. I just bought it. So quick question and first I want to apologize to you for asking so many question. I know people are busy and this is helping me out a lot. So how can I connect the inverter to the battery? Do I connect the inverter to another lighter socket outlet and connect it to the battery? And on the 110v house receptacle, can I get a small pigtail and cut the female end and connect the power, ground and neutral to the receptacle? Do you have a wiring diagram for this set up I was trying to figure it out by myself but want to double check before I blow something up.
            Thanks again

          • Solar Burrito
            Feb 19, 2014 @ 10:55:14

            Hi James, No problem. I’d cut off the cigarette plugs on this inverter then wire one side to your main power bus then the other side to a switch. Then you could shut off the inverter individually and it would be shut off when you shut off all power. Possibly overkill but that’s how I did it. If the inverter has it’s own switch then leave it on when you add another switch.

            Your right about the AC pig tail, easy peasy just plug it in. Don’t worry nothing will blow up but make sure you have the polarity right before you power up inverter. It will blow a fuse otherwise and sometimes the fuses are internal on those.

            No diagram yet. Haven’t had a chance.

          • Jess
            May 09, 2014 @ 16:59:47

            Ok so you say you cut off the cigarette plugs then one wire to the switch and the other to the main power bus, would it matter which wire went to the switch and the power bus from the inverter you know like positive and negative? Also any special technique to cutting off the cigarette lighter, cuz I really don’t want to mess that up. Thanks so much for your video I’m excited to build this just want to make sure I don’t fry anything.

  44. Tullyworkernick
    Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:08:25

    Amazon all of a sudden stopped selling these 10w panels. I wanted to build a cheap solar generator but now I have to spend $50+ dollars on a panel. Do you suggest any other panels?

    Reply

    • Joe
      Feb 16, 2014 @ 13:45:57

      Dang those were a steal! 2 5 watts wired in parallel would be the same, size maybe an issue you’ll have to measure.

      Reply

  45. Gene
    Feb 16, 2014 @ 06:41:33

    Nice job, I am going to build one, thanks…

    Reply

  46. Solar Burrito
    Feb 06, 2014 @ 16:56:59

    Ann – Why would you want to power an electric heater with any battery powered system? Electric heat is a huge energy drain compared to how much heat you get. In a emergency I’d recommend propane or even better wood heat since it’s free, renewable, and you can find wood nearly everywhere. Off grid homes don’t have electric heat.

    How much this unit can power is really irrelevant since this is totally scalable all the way up to a system that fills a shed with batteries and is no longer portable. Portability is the key here. Good luck with your system, if you’re willing to pay for lithium batteries then you probably could power a heater!

    Reply

    • Ann Straus
      Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:11:18

      I would want to be able to draw 120 watts to run an electric blanket throw for two days. I have gas heat backup and one small propane. Will add another propane this year. Still, what will the system put out and for how long? I have the inverter 400 watt, and the charge controller. Also one small solar panel that I think is a 60 watt, but not sure on that. The portability is fine, but what does it run for how long is the important question combo.

      Reply

      • Tullyworkernick
        Apr 24, 2014 @ 18:15:38

        It depends on battery size.

        Reply

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