Friday, 18 January 2008

DIY Solar Electricity

At present I am remaking my workshop and naturally want it to be 100% carbon neutral. While it is still in the process of sorting out I decided to start on the lighting as the nights were getting shorter, and I needed to see what I was doing, I fitted up the solar lighting shown here. It was, to say the least, very easy indeed. I used a 12 volt battery trickle charging solar panel from Maplins, this was on offer at £9.99 and a £30 inverter (a gismo that changes 12 volts DC to 230 volts AC) from Ebay. Initially I used one second hand 12 volt battery and connected the panel to the battery, the battery to the inverter and the inverter to two flourescent tubes. It was as simple as that. I now have six S/H batteries fitted up although the single battery ran the tubes for several hours. If you do this please don't forget that 1. A 12 volt car battery is not a toy and that if a spanner or suchlike shorts out the terminals it will soon turn red hot and 2. The power output from the inverter could be fatal if not treated with respect, so please, do as I have done and connect up an RCD, a Residual Current Device. This is an item that detects the power balance between the positive and neutral 230 volt circuit and switches the circuit off when it detects an imbalance. For future use I will no doubt need a larger panel as I intend to use the workshop to its full capacity, but I will keep the current drain for the equipment that I use down to a minimum, i.e. rechargeable drill etc. The present set up will run lap-tops, faxes, printers etc, but will not run a tube type colour monitor, although a LCD type is no problem. One photo shows the lights working and the other the items I have mentioned.

1 comment:

esther said...

wow, great job! you're really handy, I wish I could do stuff like that!