Solar Generator – Battery Bank & Solar Panel Expansion

This is an update to our DIY How To series on How to Build a Large Solar Generator.   In this follow up post, I will show you how we can use the quick connects designed into our solar generator to expand both the solar charging capacity, as well as the battery bank for increased run times.

A lot of the feedback was asking how to expand the solar generator to an even bigger capacity system. When I designed the base unit, I wanted it to be very easily expandable using quick connects. There are two areas where we can easily do that with our system:

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DIY Solar Generator – Plexiglass Cover and Improvements

In this update to our DIY Solar Generator how-to series, I am going to show you how to build an acrylic Plexiglass cover for the inside of the solar generator, so that we can store things like jumper cables inside the case without worry about shorting out or damaging any of our wiring connections. I will also show you some updates and improvements that I have made since the original videos, including a way to automatically disconnect the solar charger from the battery when the solar panels are unplugged. This will keep the solar charger from slowly running down the battery while in storage, without having to remember to turn on or off a disconnect switch. I will also show you a better solution I have found for the solar cable wire including heavier gauge cable, for less cost, and a built in cord wrap.

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How To Build a Large Solar Generator – Part 4 – Wiring

This is the fourth part in our series on how to build your own large solar generator. In this part we will be completing the wiring for the generator, including the solar charge controller, AC inverter, LED work lights, and USB outlets.

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How To Build a Large Solar Generator – Part 3 – Component Mounting

This is the third part in our project series How To Build a Solar Generator. In this part, we will be mounting all of the components into our case, as well as some of the preliminary wiring.

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Yazoo Mower

Yazoo Mowers are becoming increasingly rare, but they have an almost cult following of fans and owners.  They are very unique in their design, allowing them to have a zero-degree turning radius way before the modern hydraulic zero-turn mower was invented, and they have a gear shift lever that allows quick transitions from forward to reverse.

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Installing Heat Control Solar Window Film

We recently moved into a new house, which has quite a few windows. We also have had a very warm June and early July. As a result our house has been pretty warm and uncomfortable lately. Especially since I prefer to use the AC as little as possible… usually meaning none!

I am a big fan of upgrades that will reduce our energy footprint, and especially ones that have a lasting effect of several years or more. I began researching window films that I could install myself, and eventually decided to give the Gila Heat Control Residential Window Film a try. It is available on Amazon, in several sized and varieties. I opted for the 36″ x 100′ foot roll in the Platinum color. The manufacture claims an impressive reduction in cooling costs of up to 50%. They also state it rejects up to 99% of UV, and 67% of glare. I also found that the vast majority of customer reviews were very pleased with it, some stating that it has held up well even after 10+ years of use.

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How To Build A Solar Generator (2,000 Watt) – Part 1

I started looking into some of the biggest portable solar generator units on the market, because the idea of a completely silent generator that can run large power loads while never needing gasoline is a really cool concept. Whether you want to run a portable table saw, or go tailgating  / camping where the noise of a standard generator would just be irritating, we will show you step-by-step how to build a weatherproof indoor/ outdoor solar generator!

Solar Generator Build – Quick Links

Part 1 – Component Overview – (current step)
Part 2 – Component Testing

Part 3 – Mounting Internal & External Components
Part 4 – Wiring the Solar Generator
Part 5 – Plexiglass Cover & Design Updates
Part 6 – Solar Panel & Battery Bank Expansion

After seeing what was available, I found myself wanting to design my own solar generator for a number of reasons. For one it will be a lot cheaper, second, I can add several features I wanted to add that were not built in to the manufactured units. Finally, because it will be a really fun project!

By building your own, you will learn all about small off-grid solar setups, and also be able to fix the individual components if you ever have problems with it down the road. You can also easily modify the plans to build a permanent style off grid solar power setup for a cabin or camper.

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My Favorite Strippers… Wire Strippers That Is

I have used a lot of wire strippers. When I first saw this type of wire stripper, I was skeptical, because every type of auto-stripper I had used before would work sort of, but seemed like they were more hassle than they were worth. They would either only work well with a small window of wire sizes, or they would need constant adjusting between wire sizess.

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Converting a Ford Power Stroke 7.3L Diesel Engine to Vegetable Oil

Most diesel engines are capable of running on a wide variety of fuels. Several years ago I converted my 2002 Ford F250 with a 7.3L Powerstroke diesel to run on waste vegetable oil. The design was a collaboration of my own ideas combined with those of Jason Crawford’s. Since that time, Jason Crawford has continued to innovate his design, which was later to become the Vegistroke™ available from Biofuel Technologies.  This is an overview of my original conversion for those that are considering building their own conversion, or just curious how they work.

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Earthminded RainStation Rain Barrel

The Rain Barrel collects rain water from the roof and its drainage system. The water it collects is not potable, and should not be used for drinking or cooking without filtration & disinfection.

Besides the ability of providing a source of emergency reserve water, the rain barrel provides a great source of water to use to water your lawn and garden.  Any way to reduce your dependency on the utilities is a great thing. The rain barrel is one such way to reduce that dependency and save money on your water bill as well. Continue reading Earthminded RainStation Rain Barrel