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The Solar Power Expert Blog

Archive for the 'Projects' Category

This category contains articles I've posted on do it yourself solar projects - both my own and others. Do you have a story about a DIY solar project? Contact me!

Balancing or Equalizing Lead Acid Batteries

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

I came across some very confusing information regarding battery balancing and equalization on the internet. Some of it was correct, some was misleading, and some was outright non-sense. I recently installed a 48 volt battery pack onto my boat as part of my off grid solar system and found that the batteries needed to be equalized. This article shows how I figured out how I needed to balance the batteries and how I went about doing it.

My Solar Off Grid Living Plans

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

This article walks through my off grid solar system that I’ll be installing over the next few months – how I’ll build it and why I chose the components that I did.

A DIY Barn Solar Lighting System

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

One of my readers left a note in the comments asking me for advice on how to build a solar lighting system to run as barn lights in the evening. This article shows how I would go about building one, and includes the math on how to adjust this idea for your own setup.

How to Quickly and Easily Calculate Average Household Electricity Consumption

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

One of the first steps in justifying the cost of a new solar system is to perform an electricity audit to determine your average household electricity consumption. This article shows you a couple easy ways to go about performing your own home energy survey.

Once you’ve completed an electricity audit, you’ll be able to put the numbers into an electricity consumption calculator and see just how much money each appliance costs you per month. This can be a real eye opener.

Solar Powering a FabFi Node

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Slashdot clued me into how residents of censored states are fighting back with the FabFi project. I’ve been thinking about how to build a solar powered wireless router for a while now, and this news article inspired me to figure out how one might solar power their own FabFi Node.

Sump Pump Battery Backup Systems

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

My wife thought a sump pump battery backup system was a comfort appliance. I agree with her, but thankfully we don’t live a flood plane. If we did, I’d call it necessary…. This article points out the subcomponents you will need to build your own sump pump battery backup system.

Upgrading a Solar Pond Pump Kit

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

A reader of my solar pond pump kit page ask a detailed question in the comments as to how to modify her solar pond pump so that it would work better. I think there are a lot of people like her in the situation of being underwhelmed by the performance of their solar pond pump kit, so I thought I would elaborate on how to go about upgrading such a system. Here is a paraphrased summary of the information she gave:

How To Build a Simple Solar System

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

There are three primary components to even the most basic of solar systems: the solar panel, the charge controller, and the battery. This article will take you step-by-step and show you how to construct a simple solar system – such as the type for use on a boat.

Solar Powered LED Grow Lights

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Although not a solar product per se, LED grow lights are an excellent load for solar power systems. In cold climates (like where I live) we have shortened growing seasons and many highly desirable plants like lemons, oranges, limes, kiwi, starfruit do not grow well here. The plants can be coaxed, but need to be given as much support in their early life as possible. A solar powered LED grow lamp can provide this extra energy they need to ensure good root development early in life as well as supplimental light durring the fall, winter, and spring. I like to think of a solar powered LED grow light system as capturing non-usable sunlight, storing it, and reimitting it at my selected target.

Solar Power Generator

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

A solar power generator is a term commonly given to a solar panel, charge controller, solar power batteries, and an inverter – effectively creating a solar power supply. It may optionally have solar powered lights. While these units can be designed to match the output of a gas generator for a short period of time, they can not run continuously off of solar power like a gas generator can run on continuously on gas. A fact which several manufacturers have caused confusion about.