Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Solar panel build- Warning Picuture heavy

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Garg, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Hi there,
    I have been (as some of you may know) building a batch of solar panels. The build I am doing is based on this website: How I built an electricity producing Solar Panel

    I got interested in it because we often experience power outages where I live. My wife and I are also into prepping, so it will also come in handy in a SHTF scenario.

    I decided to start small, and as I learn and get better at it, maybe one day go off grid. Researching the subject, I found that going off grid is very expensive. It is one of those all in all at once deals, and generally runs many thousands of dollars right out of the box. So, discussing it with my wife, we decided to start out small, experimenting with the technology as we go, and eventually get a large capable system in place.

    So, step one was to build some shallow boxes. I decided to build 4 of them as a batch rather than build one.
    Here are some pics of that going together:
    SSPX0170.jpg
    I basically took a piece of 3/8" plywood, cut them to size (as per the above website specs) and used common lumber parts I got a Lowell's.
    SSPX0169.jpg
    After I had the shallow boxes all built, I painted them with some good outdoor lifetime paint.
    SSPX0172.jpg
    I also painted some hole board, that I will be using to mount the solar cells on.
    Painted all sides, several coats. For all 4 panels, I used almost one whole gallon.
    SSPX0171.jpg
    Next I cut the hold board down, into sizes that will fit into the shallow box, as that is where the actual cells and wiring will be mounted.
    SSPX0174.jpg
    After I made sure that all surfaces were soaked in the paint, I started laying out the solar cells, and soldering them together.
    Your going to need a few basic tools for this.
    SSPX0182.jpg
    Some wire clippers, some GE atv, a meter, Some rosin core solder, a rosin pen, Some solar buss wire, and an adjustable soldering iron.
    The process entails, soldering some wires onto the first cell, (the positive side-bottom) to be used for A, testing, B, connecting the panels together and to the main output wiring, that ultimately will for into a charge controller, and to a battery.
    SSPX0177.jpg
    I test these as I go, so to make sure that they will work, when I get the whole string of them ( 6 cells per string) gets wired up.
    So, to make a panel using the parts I used, you will need 36 cells total, 18 per half as I did it. That gives you about 18.8 volts DC.
    Here are a few more pics of the cells going together.
    SSPX0181.jpg
    SSPX0180.jpg
    After I soldered all the cells together, then I used the silicone to adhere them to the hole board.
    SSPX0183.jpg
    So far so good. I have 2 of the 18 cell panels done, and am letting the silicone to cure.
    As I do more work. I will post more pics and what not.
    I should mention that I am using "tabbed" cells, as they save a ton of work. The seller is:
    http://myworld.ebay.com/stellar393/?_trksid=p4340.l2559

    Cheers,
    Greg
     
    Riot, mjbskwim, knuckle Head and 3 others like this.
  2. sheltonshooter

    sheltonshooter Shelton/Olympia New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Nice! Out of curiosity, how much juice do you expect one panel to make, given a bright sunny day?
     
  3. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Im hoping to get about 70 ish watts per panel.
     
  4. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,990
    Likes Received:
    2,731
    Cool build! I'll be watching this one!
     
  5. jdub75

    jdub75 PNW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    63
    Awesome. I just read that guys blog on his solar & wind projects. The way to go if you have the skills, IMO compared to buying commercially made stuff looking at it from a cost perspective. The controller box wiring is where I get scared...I'm no dummy but electrical stuff is def my weak suit.
     
  6. ajf1

    ajf1 beaverton Member

    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    looks good and also smart to learn as you go.
     
  7. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Any charge controller will (or should) work. I too chose not to build one but get one myself:
    eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices
     
  8. knuckle Head

    knuckle Head southeast Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    918
    Thanks for sharing.

    Awesome,
     
  9. kenf729

    kenf729 Forest Grove Oregon Member

    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    What are your plans to encapsluate the cells, I tried to make one last year to see how they'd hold up over winter. I sandwiched my cells between sheets of glass with a silcone based roof sealer this stuff was thick so I thined it out a bit with paint thinner, then used silcone on the outside edges of the glass, I thought it was pretty air tight but this spring I was only getting 5v...many of the cells degraded from too much moisture. here is a good website on solar at the bottom there is a section on DIY pannels(not conneted with the site)

    http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/index.php

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  10. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Brute force. I really do plan on officially encapsulate the cells, however if I find out I need to (the learning curve), then I will look into it on further builds. The first one is just going to get a sheet of plexi, sealed to the wood as best as I can. Maybe try some weather stripping. I am going to drill and screw the plexi onto the boxes as best as I can. I may go to a weatherized tape to seal the panel, as the cat in the link did. I am also going to drill some vent holes on the bottom of the panel for heat dissipation.
     
  11. kenf729

    kenf729 Forest Grove Oregon Member

    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought about doing a build like yours but maybe putting in a couple of computer fans to keep air moving around...still thinking about how to keep the cells from degrading too much moisture is not their friend. it was a fun project but if the pannels only last through one winter, well...
     
  12. dolooper

    dolooper Coast Range, or thereabouts Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    254
    Can you share about what your cost is on one of these? I'm thinking this as a possility for emergency power off of 12 volt batteries with an inverter. Been looking at some kits. It'd be nice to be able to keep a couple of deep cycles charged.
     
  13. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    The batteries I am planning on using are about 100 doll hairs each. The inverter is about 200. It is a 1K watt pure sign wave type.
    I will have about 150 each into each panel, worst case, and 33 bucks for the charge controller, so to get one up and running, I am guessing about 400 ish doll hairs. When I get all 4 panels running just add 150 per panel. the battery(s) I am contemplating is:
    Duralast/685 CA marine deep cycle battery (24MD-DL) | Battery - Automotive and Marine | AutoZone.com
    The inverter is:
    Amazon.com: Sunforce 11240 1000-Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter with Remote Control
    I am thinking maybe placing some descant packs into the panel for the moisture problem.
     
  14. Tactical Option

    Tactical Option Western Oregon Member

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    15
    Nice job! Thanks for posting this. I look forward to seeing the finished product.
     
  15. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Well... I know it's been a couple of months, Been very busy at work and whatnot, but I thought I would share the new status of my little solar project.

    1916voltsYaYphoto.jpg

    finishedpanel.jpg

    Turns out even here in Oregun, in the dead of winter, this little bad boy puts out the volts. 19.16 to be exact. Plenty to charge up the batteries and run an inverter from.:thumbup:
    On to the second one. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

    1916voltsYaYphoto.jpg

    finishedpanel.jpg
     
  16. greycobra_03

    greycobra_03 Medford Member

    Messages:
    100
    Likes Received:
    19
    Not to hijack the thread, but theres been a craigslist ad going for a while here in Spokane area... 215 watt panel for $360. Really good deal it seems, I don't know anything about the panels themselves but if they are truly 215 watt and well built might be an opportunity.

    New Solar Panel Sale 215W Clearance

    Just a heads up. Don't know any more than the craigslist ad says.
     
  17. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    1,188
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    These cells are the old style. Not the super new 6X6 type that are in stores now. I buy these off ebay, for about 50 cents each. They are very fragile and break really easy, so I have to buy a lot of extras. Not sure how many watts each I will get from these type of panels, hopefully about 70-80 watts each. While they may not be the most efficient type of cell, it has been a very cool project, and hope that it will be a good use of my time and money. As to the cost, I think in parts I may have almost 100 ish dollars into this one, less the labor, maybe a little more. I have enough parts to build another 3 panels.

    For example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1KW-Solar-C...=160645514183&ps=63&clkid=5080191933097689184

    So you could buy 1Kwatt worth of panels for less than the price of one of the CL panels.
     
  18. knuckle Head

    knuckle Head southeast Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,631
    Likes Received:
    918
    Just curious at the moment but do you know how much the new ones cost, and what the output comparison would be as well as fragility?
     
  19. bush pilot

    bush pilot On the edge Member

    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    13
    It is all about storing the energy.
    I have few small panels but a bank of big batteries.
    Fully charged they can run power for tv, radio lights, cb, security system, small refrigerator etc.
    But my cabin is on the top of the mountain 3200 feet elevation so sun is up 5 am and down 8pm.
    Plenty of time to recharge my battery.