Off grid yard light?

levsmithlevsmith Solar Expert Posts: 56 ✭✭
Hey everyone, just bought my property and will be building my off grid home probably next spring. Just doing some thinking, does anybody here have a real yard light? I am not talking about those cheap dinky sidewalk path lights, but something on a pole that lights up your yard at night. Around here, it is pretty common for rural houses to have yard light to deter against theft. A coworker was telling me that the one he has on his shop uses a 175 watt metal halide bulb. For my setup, running max 12 hours/day, that is not going to be possible but I have been thinking about building a setup myself. This is what I am thinking right now: a 50 watt 12v led flood light, ~200 amp 12v battery bank, 2 12v solar panels at least 100 watts each and appropriate charge controller. I have attached a picture of what I am thinking. The picture is of a commercially available one but is only 27 watt light fixture, 180 watt panel and is $1800 not including the pole. I am a DIY type of guy and I dont think it would be too hard to get better performance for half the cost of that commercial one. Anyways, I dont have any experience with the 50 watt led flood lights so that would really be the only thing that would worry me, its got to be bright enough to be worth doing... Has anybody else done something similar, or maybe something completely different and better, or have any opinions? I appreciate any feedback on this.


httpwwwsolarilluminationscomimagecachedataproductsSL10-solar-eco-lux-street-light-600x600png



Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,322 admin
    What are your feelings about using a motion detector controlled light?

    Personally, I like them because they only light if there is motion--And that can attract your attention (and neighbors) that something is going on outside--And not just lighting your stuff for thieves to see from the road.

    http://www.solar-electric.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=motion+detector&cat=0

    Having a and off grid power system usually means figuring out the minimum amount of power needed to do a task.

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • levsmithlevsmith Solar Expert Posts: 56 ✭✭
    BB. said:
    What are your feelings about using a motion detector controlled light?

    Personally, I like them because they only light if there is motion--And that can attract your attention (and neighbors) that something is going on outside--And not just lighting your stuff for thieves to see from the road.

    http://www.solar-electric.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=motion+detector&cat=0

    Having a and off grid power system usually means figuring out the minimum amount of power needed to do a task.

    -Bill

    I had thought about motion detection lights and I am definitely not opposed to that idea. I have never had one so I wasn't sure how well they worked. I don't want something so sensitive that it comes on with every critter (skunks, opossum, etc,) but it would be nice if it was sensitive enough to come on with predators (mainly coyotes, since I will probably have chickens) and of course people and vehicles.

    I hadn't thought of standard yard lights constantly lighting my stuff for thieves to see but that is a very valid argument.

    I think I will do a little more research on motion detection lighting and see what I can come up with. Thanks for your reply!

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,090 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Most people offgrid want a decent light by the entrance of the home. It can run until midnite or so. It does not take much power but also the motion detector with an adjustable sensor is nice when the bear is about. Place it away from the bedrooms unless you want to take pictures or videos....Thieves stop becoming a problem once you live there. These are my observations and some of my clients also.
    Good Luck!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • AguarancherAguarancher Solar Expert Posts: 315 ✭✭✭
    Although this is 120v, it has worked like a champ for the past 3 yrs. I have been down the 250W mercury, 150W metal halide  path and the led is far superior imo. Besides keeping the 2 legged rats away, it also doesn't attract the swarms of bugs the others did.
    Not cheap but quality never is. I think there was a led security light at Costco linked here in a previous post that was cheaper, but I haven't used that one.


    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DWIUGCY/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687602&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00I50BZEC&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1FQC8CK3BGVXVQV0EKZ7


  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 444 ✭✭✭
    Howdy,
    I realize that you can go hardcore and design a full system with separate battery, controller, light and panel.  But here's another option:
     
    A few years ago I started using LED solar light 'panels' as yard lights.  They are individually not that bright (16-46 leds per panel), but they are way cheaper to install and maintain.  No wiring or installation.

    Most of the units on Amazon have this "dim" mode by which the light operates from dusk to dawn using (say) 30% light power.  However, if the sensor is activated it goes into "full" power for 30 seconds. I use these in the immediate vicinity of my house to illuminate outside stairs, walkways and external doors.

    But some of the panels have a (harder to find) "darkness" mode by which the light only comes on (full power) when the motion detector is activated.  I use these on the perimeter of my yard so that my dogs and I can see if someone is prowling around on the periphery.  Here is a link to one of those units (the 24 LED version only it seems):

    http://www.amazon.com/Keenstone®-Waterproof-Powered-Outdoor-Security/dp/B011DOZA2Y/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1446581300&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=24+led+solar+light+mode+Keenstone

    They are "stainless steel" (so far no corrosion) and none of these units (I have bought 7 over the years) have failed including the first unit I bought in 2011.  I have bought from different marketers, but they look as if they all come from the same factory. 

    I notice that a few of the panels are yellowing, but no doubt some toothpaste and scrubbing will bring them back.
    Hope that helps!

    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    we got one of this brand at COSTCO in Canada for under $30 Cdn

    http://w-s-express.ca/index.php?l=product_detail&p=5562

     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
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