So is what I am envisioning doable?

sandhyasandhya Posts: 1Registered Users
So, I am going  to lay out my plan, on a very simple level is this doable? I am getting an RV 100 w panel, with regulator. I am going to hook it up to a car battery. I have a vacation home that does not have power. I have a very well lit area in my home that gathers sun rays very easily. I am going to put the panel there in the house to gather the rays, keep the car battery charged (I will run the wire to a battery kept in a cooler location) of course I have the regulator box for it as well. I am going to put a converter on the battery and have it power up a small radio so it will run all the time, thus keeping the house sounding lived in. I can also put a small incandescent nightlight or led lamp on it as well.  Does this sound like a doable option to help with keeping the house looking and sounding "lived in"...?

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  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,785Super Moderators admin
    Don't really need to cross post... It just breaks up replies and discussions between multiple locations. Best to keep it all in one place.

    We are all volunteers here so it may take a 1/2 day or 1 day to get a reply. Especially if complex or a bit off the beaten path.

    When designing a solar power system, details matter.

    What loads (amp*hours @ xx volts or Watt*Hours per day)
    Where and when (nearest major city, summer/winter/etc.)
    etc...

    A couple of small LED lights (0.1 to 1 watt), and a small AM radio (some will run for days on 2x AA batteries at moderate volume). So, for a small system, a modest size battery + small solar panel can do OK. LEDs will use about 1/10th the power as incandescent... And last much longer (10,000 to 50,000 hours typical for LED).

    Problems do include--What happens if you have a week of bad weather... Most rechargeable battery chemistries do very badly when taken to "dead". Will you have something to limit discharging.

    Solar power is "fairly expensive"... Having lights only on at night cuts usage by 1/2.

    Other options include cycling lights (on/off at random or multiple times at night to look lived in). I like to suggest outside motion detector lamps... Instead of a light showing everything that is worth stealing--All is dark until the light comes on--Attracts attention (if there is nobody around--Probably not any useful attention).

    Burglar alarms, motion capture Internet cameras, etc.

    If somebody really wants to steal something--They will. Years ago somebody/group stole an entire cabin plus in-well water pump... Right down to the foundation.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    BB. said: .. Right down to the foundation.

    -Bill
    Say what??

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,873Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    > I am going to put a converter on the battery and have it power up a small radio so it will run all the time, thus keeping the house sounding lived in

    Better to locate a radio that will run directly off 12V   That saves the losses of running an inverter to create AC that goes to a wall wart to convert to DC for the radio.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

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  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Posts: 4,670Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Keep loads very minimal, you might do okay, we don't know where this is and I'd make a couple changes. The car battery is a poor option, it's not designed for deep cycling, but if you keep the loads very minimal you may be okay. I'd dump the "converter" inverter if you want house current - A/C, just run 12 volt DC. The inverter would likely be your largest single load by it's self.

    I'd use a "regulator" a charge controller in our lingo. with a night time load function to turn on some very small 12 volt LED lights. If you want to be crafty you can hang these from long strings and they may move slightly during the night. Something tiny like a 2 watt LED, I use a 4 watt to read at night. so 2 watt isn't real dim and if it's pointed at a window the light is very directional.

    https://www.12vmonster.com/collections/12v-24v-led-lamps-and-light-bulbs/products/dc-12-volt-2-watt-mr16-spot-light-bulb-for-track-recessed-lighting-system-cob-led

    Then use a USB small sandisk mp3 player/radio They will play for 15+ hours on their 400mah 3.7 volt battery and will play while charging and find some good efficient speakers.
    Image result for sandisk clip charging
    I would run a direct 12 volt line and use a 12 volt to usb adapter of some type. Either a car adapter or a usb solar converter. 

     You can turn the gain up on the player. It will play about the volume of speech. I have one playing now through an old pair of Radio Shack speakers now. Look like these.Related image

    You could go to a slightly higher powered speakers, but if you hunt you can find speakers that will project enough to be pretty loud. I found some 4" speakers that worked quite nicely, but were ugly and tossed them on may last move. Small battery based speakers that run for hours off a lithium battery should work nicely. drawing less than 2 watts.

    This should keep your entire load less than 5 watts per hour, during the evening and less than 3 watts during the day. Run the usb adapter off one set of wires directly off the battery and the light off the switched load connection;

    Image result for solar usb adapter

    Here's a controller that will control your lighting;
    Image result for SunLight 10 Amp 12 Volt Solar Lighting Controller
    https://www.solar-electric.com/sunsolligcon.html

    Might even run the whole thing off a 20 amp power bank and 20 watt solar panel and a system like I describe here but it would be a close thing using USB lights it's likely doable.

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/353371/looking-for-opinions-about-these-2-5-volt-usb-solar-regulators-circuits#latest

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    There are lots of inexpensive solar/led lights available which incorporate a small, easy to place and streathy solar panel.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • MrM1MrM1 Posts: 273Registered Users ✭✭✭
    edited July 6 #7
    If your in a location with a harbor freight you could do the whole set up for just over $220 (with sales/coupons all the time) including the battery, lights, charge controller and panels and cables.    Lighting is DC and connects directly to the charge controller and the CC also has a built in USB port.
    REC TwinPeak 2 285W 3S-3P 2.6kW-STC / 1.9kW-NMOT Array / MN Solar Classic 150 / 2017 Conext SW 4024 Inverter latest firmware / OB PSX-240 Autotransfomer for load balancing / Trojan L16H-AC 435Ah bank 4S connected to Inverter with 7' of 4/0 cable / 24 volt system / Grid-Assist or Backup Solar Generator System Powering 3200Whs Daily / System went Online Oct 2018 / System, Pics and Discussion
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    The only problem with Harbor Freight is you'll need to replace the panels as often as the batteries. Your money would be better spent elsewhere.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • DominicDanDominicDan Posts: 1Registered Users, Users Awaiting Email Confirmation
    What's the good alternative to Harbor Freight then, Littleharbor2? I definitely want to avoid that mistake if it's as you say.
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Posts: 1,009Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Pretty much anything.  Without knowing your daily load requirements this isn't an answerable question. At one time, when solar panels were expensive, Harbor freight kits were attractive. Solar panels have gotten much cheaper while the price of the H F kits have pretty much stayed the same. Unfortunately their thin film panels are so poorly made they tend to only last a couple years before failing. Not positive on the panels but typical  H F warranties are 90 days, period. Your best bet is to stay away from thin film panels. Poly or monocrystalline panels for the most part should last 20+ years if not damaged. There are tons of inexpensive charge controllers that can meet the needs of someone with a minimal system.  Anything above a small non critical system I recommend going with the brand name controllers like Morningstar, Midnite Solar, Outback, or Victron, among others.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,785Super Moderators admin
    BB. said: .. Right down to the foundation.

    -Bill
    Say what??
    The thieves literally dismantled the cabin/floor/plumbing and left the bare foundation behind. This was many years (decade?) ago in the California hills... However, others seem to have similar ideas:

    http://abc13.com/i-need-to-report-a-stolen-house-couple-wants-their-home-back/3034896/
    "Nothing. Nothing that I wanted to see. I didn't see the house," said Harrison. "All I saw were blocks and pipes sticking out. The whole house gone. Everything except the blocks."
    Hmm... Follow up story... The property was recently purchased and the company that built/installed the cabin reposesed it (original property owner failed to make payments):

    http://abc13.com/3044585/
    ABC13 spoke with Sergeant Larry Shiver with the Madison County Sheriff's Department. He confirmed the structure was repossessed by a company out of Temple, Texas.

    Shiver said he is now working to speak with the man who sold the Harrisons the property. Shiver said it appears the building wasn't paid off by the previous owner.

    "I've never had a house reported stolen in my career yet. This was a little bit unusual but when I went out and looked at the scene, I could tell it was a professional job," Sergeant Shiver said. "It was part of the deal but the problem was it wasn't specified in the writing. Yes, we feel sorry for them. That's why we're looking to find the house. They had belongings in the house. Plus, they put time and effort into the house."
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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