How To Build A Solar Generator (3,000 Watt) – Part 1

Note: The original design of this solar generator used a 2,000 watt inverter. We have upgraded it to the new 3,000 watt model in the latest version along with several other improvements. Before you build the solar generator following our plans, be sure to watch the new intro and updates video below for the changes!

Introduction

I started looking into some of the largest 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 be irritating, we will show you step-by-step how to build a weatherproof indoor/ outdoor solar generator!

Part 1 of our DIY video series on how to build a large solar generator. In this step we will be demonstrating the load ...

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 many reasons. For one it will be a lot cheaper. Second, I can add several features I wanted to add that are not in to the manufactured units. Finally, because it will be an enjoyable 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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Bringing Home a CASE 360 Trencher Backhoe

A while back I picked up a new piece of machinery to help with many of our projects. It is not what I was originally looking for. I had been looking for a backhoe attachment for my Kubota tractor. The Kubota B20 was designed to be a TLB (Tractor / Loader / Backhoe) and has a frame integrated quick attach system designed for the matching BT650 backhoe unit. This is more solid and preferable to 3 point mounted units. The added weight due to this frame design makes them surprisingly capable and the backhoe units for them rarely come up for sale.

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Loading Tractor Tires Quick & Easy

Loading your tractor tires with windshield washer fluid is an easy upgrade giving more traction, better hill stability, and additional weight / ballast. This is also helps with using a front end loader. I decided to use  windshield washer fluid since it is inexpensive, easy to obtain, will not freeze, and will not corrode the wheels like calcium and some of the other wheel ballast options.

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Repaired Kubota B20 Steering Box and Front Axle Leak

I have posted an update to the Kubota B20 restoration thread in the forum. This update includes details on the broken steering column and the front axle oil leak, both of which I discovered during the first run / engine break in. More photos and details in the forum post!

https://www.modernsurvivalists.com/discussion/topic/restoring-an-old-kubota-b20-compact-utility-tractor-and-putting-it-back-to-work/page/2/#post-7249

Next up is finishing up the wiring and then finally painting the hood & front loader.

Solar Generator – Final Version and Final Design Updates

The finished large solar generator featured in our DIY How To Build a Solar Generator series. If you are getting ready to follow our video tutorial and build your own solar generator, make sure you watch this video first so you know about the design updates!

In the video below we go over the solar generator features, solar panel kit specs, and our DIY battery bank expansion units. In addition, we show how to upgrade / improve several aspects of the original design including a higher power AC power inverter (3,000 watt continuous, 6,000 watt peak), fully waterproof external switches, mounting improvements, and a better way to store accessories inside the solar generator main case.

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Adding Solar Power to a Camper or RV

We purchased an ’86 Travel Villa 29′ fifth wheel camper as an inexpensive means to travel out west with our dogs. The camper is an older model, but it has served us well. After building the solar generator, I have found that I  always want to bring it with us when we travel as we typically boon-dock without hookups.

I have decided I would like to add a dedicated solar power system to the camper. This way the camper will always be ready to go, and the dedicated solar panels will also keep the camper’s existing deep-cycle battery topped off when not in use.

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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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