Second Experiment with Solar Panels

I like to keep myself busy with projects during my weekends. I also like to use junk that might be useful. This post is about my second experiment with solar panels, but this time I used it with lighting.

Why I decided to work on this project. 

I recently installed a home shade n my front yard so that I can park my car in a cool shady place. Away from the sun. However, this shade blocked the sun rays, and even during the night, it was dark. So i decided to install 4 lights to light up the area under the shade that I installed.

I had two solar panels laying around, each with 100 watts. I decided to connect the panels in series to generate 24v. I decided to go this route because I did my calculations and found out that I would need much less Amr/Hour per battery than a 12V system. With 24v system, a load 60 watts that needs to run for 8 hours would require 46 AH. But for a 12v system with the same requirement would require almost the double ~94. Source

How is the system wired?

I placed the panels just above the shade, so that I gets exposed to the sun most of the day. Then I salvaged two used car batteries that I had laying around being unused for few years. Surprisingly working fine. As long as they are being pushed half of their capacity, they would be fine. I keep the timer and the rest of parts inside a solar box. A sturdy box that is made of plastic. It is able to withstand heat, and would protect the system component from dust or rain.

All is lift was to connect panels to the charge controller, and then the controller to the batteries. The batteries to the timer and the timer to the lights. Light were connected in parallel to avoid interrupting the circuit in case one of the lights got burned.



How did it go?

Very well. The system worked great for 3 weeks before one of the batteries went bad. It might got over drained. But I was satisfied with what I learned from this project. The fact that I used junk batteries to build this system was cool.

What’s next?

There few videos on YouTube on how to fix dry car batteries. I already looked at them and understood what I need to do in order for me to revive the batteries. I will do that next and update this post with a photo of working lights.

Until then,  farewell.

Panasonic ES7112 Battery Replacement

It is much easier to go out and buy a replacement for anything that breaks down in your house. Especially the small electronics such as shavers.

For me, I have the tendency to tinker with things before I decide to replace them.

This happens to my 6 years old Panasonic shaver. The battery would not hold a charge for more than 10 minutes. I do have to charge it every time I need to use it which is inconvenient.

So I decided to open it up and replace the batteries myself. I started by removing the bottom screws. Fast forward, I managed to remove the shells that cover the inside parts. img_9111-1img_9110-1


The batteries that I found were small AA and thus the battery compartment. I had few Energizer rechargeable batteries laying around but they wouldn’t fit inside the battery compartment. So I decided to use AAA batteries that I bought for Ikea. They hold 1000 mili Amps. Much less than the batteries that are inside the shaver, but they will do.

Since I am going to use a smaller batteries, I had to use wires and solder them. Since the batteries  were small, so  I also needed to use double sided tape to stick them inside the battery compartment.

In the end, I reassembled it and it works great and holds the charge for much longer the 6 years old batteries. Also saved myself a trip to the electric store and 50$!


Experimenting With Solar Panels and plants

Whenever I take a vacation, I try to get the most out of my time off. I undertake projects that I think will benefit me in the long run. One of these projects is having a small garden with automatic irrigation system.

I am always looking for ways to be self sufficient. One of these ways in to eat off of my own garden. I started by planting tomatos, potatos, garlic and water Mellon. I wasn’t planning to water it myself everyday, so I thought of an automatic watering system that would require the minimum intervention. A system that uses solar panel for energy, and water tank that lasts a week.

It is worth mentioning that I have an aquarium at home and do a regular water change each week. I don’t like to throw it down the drain. I use it to water my plants. I learned that fish water is very rich in minerals and good for plants. This way, I hit two birds with one rock.

In addition to this, I decided to have this garden at the roof of my house. This way, I can make sure that the plants gets lots of sun.

For this system, I bought the following items:

  1. A 50 Watt solar panel
  2. 12 AH sealed battery
  3. Timer
  4. hoses
  5. and wires
  6. 12v submersible water pump able to push 500L/H
  7. 10 pots from Ikea.
  8. Solar Battery box
  9. charge controller
  10. connectors

Its worth mentoring that Ikea pots has a special feature that lets you monitor how much water your pot has left. With this system, you have an orange plastic stick that sticks out of the bottom of the pot if it is still has water. 31iuviwmc4l

I started by lining up pots in u shape. Then, I took a hose and passes it through the pots. Each pot has an orange piece of plastic sticking out. I made a home on all of them with a drill. Then used Tie wraps to tie the hose to the orange plastic pieces.  img_0754

I kept one pot as a water reservoir. Next, I connected the solar panel with with weatherproof wire. This wire goes from the panel to the solar battery box. Inside the box, i connected the wire to a charge controller. It is important to connect the solar panel to a charge controller, and not connect it directly to the battery. This is done as a safety measure and to prevent the battery from getting damaged. The reason for this is because A 12v solar panel does not produce constant voltage of 12v. It does produce more than that. Mine produces 17v when the sun hits it directly.

So the panel is connected to the charge controller, the controller is connected to the battery. the battery is connected to the timer. Last, the pump is connected to the timer. img_1658

Next, I configured the timer to run everyday for one minute at 7:25 AM.

It is also important to note that the hose goes from the water pump and passes to each of the pots. I made a knot at the end  of the hose. I then punctured the hose above each pot. When the pump is on, the water is pushed through the hose and then stops at the knot that I made at the end of the hose. This makes the water escapes from the holes on the hose that I cut above each pot. img_9094

That’s it really. I will see how it goes from now on. I plan to have more pots when time permits.