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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 01-05-2017, 1:30 AM
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Default Portable Battery Pack / Solar Gen

My first attempt at a DIY portable power pack / small solar gen... I've seen these things around for ages but never got around to trying to make my own till now.

I wanted to keep it simple and small... I don't need large amp hour capacity for my uses.

Use: Portable power for tent camping and emergency use. Accessory charging, air mattress, lighting, and ham radio stuff.

Single 12v 17ah SLA from a decommissioned APC unit + 30 Cal Ammo Can


Genasun MPPT Solar Charge Controller


Velcro (under battery) and weather stripping to tension and hold everything in the can.


1-1/8" Harbor Freight hole-saw next to one that actually works...


Pre-fabricated the wiring harness before final assembly.


Holes drilled and color keyed Anderson Powerpole connections for 12v Accessory Load (red/black) and White/Black for the solar panel.


Cram it all in...


Finished product... Power, Solar, and USB

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Old 01-05-2017, 1:31 AM
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Rest of the kit... Solar and portable communications bag.


Whats in the kit:
60 Watt Folsing Solar Panel
Yaesu VX-7R
Kenwood TM-V71a (Dual Band with Crossband Repeater Capability)
Power Analyzer
NiHM & Lithium Battery charging
...and other various accessories based around the Anderson Powerpole connectors.


Its versatile...


Spare panel... lot more efficient than the folding model.

Power Analyzer Meter
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  #3  
Old 01-05-2017, 8:28 AM
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Nice job! Any idea what all the parts cost if they had to be sourced as opposed to pulled from the garage pile?

And I can relate to the Harbor freight reference!
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Old 01-05-2017, 8:37 AM
Taidaisher Taidaisher is offline
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Very cool! +1!
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  #5  
Old 01-05-2017, 8:53 AM
vmonkey vmonkey is offline
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Nice job! Thanks for posting. I think it is a great idea using the Anderson power pole connections for connecting to solar. I assume the other port could be used to expand to another battery?

Maybe add an on/off switch and a voltage display?
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepergeo View Post
Nice job! Any idea what all the parts cost if they had to be sourced as opposed to pulled from the garage pile?

And I can relate to the Harbor freight reference!
That Harbor Freight hole-saw was the definition of "you get what you pay for"... terrible.

The most expensive single component was the solar charge controller...
https://genasun.com/products-store/m...for-lead-acid/

I wanted a good quality and efficient MPPT controller to play with and learn on...and after much research I decided on that Genasun. You can just as well use a budget PWM $10-20 to keep costs down.

One interesting thing about these guys is they also make controllers for Lithium battery chemistry too... I would like to do something like this again but with a LiFePO4 cells.

The battery can be had for about $30-50 new.

30cal Ammo Can $10
Battery $35
Solar Charge Controller $100
Anderson Panel Mount $20
USB Panel Mount $5

Wire, fuse holder, and crimp heads I had. Plus all the plug and play accessories I just accumulated over time.

The only other major expense was the Solar panel... I really like the Renogy brand... really nice panel.
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-...ords=renogy+50

For my portable I tried this... bit overpriced, but the convenience of it has already paid off. Its also not as efficient as the hard side Renogy but it works well.

https://www.amazon.com/ALLPOWERS-Tec...0+watt+folding

The 50 watt Renogy delivers its full advertised 50 watts... sometimes more than its stamped rating.

The 60 watt folding panel is close to 35-40 watts depending on temperature and positioning...
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmonkey View Post
Nice job! Thanks for posting. I think it is a great idea using the Anderson power pole connections for connecting to solar. I assume the other port could be used to expand to another battery?

Maybe add an on/off switch and a voltage display?
Those Anderson Powerpole connectors are awesome... I literally use them on everything. Its a good investment.

The solar (white/black) connection is for a solar panel only, up to 140 watts.

Yes, you could use the other "accessory port" (red/black) to expand to another battery pack in parallel. That connection is 10 AWG direct connection to that battery. I also made a 12 AWG (Y Cable) if I need to attach more than 1 thing.

I intentionally opted not to put a external on/off switch and voltage display... even though I have plenty of them.

My problem with the cheap voltage displays is that they are not very good across the range... and if I am going to actually monitor voltage, I have other tools that I can use, and prefer to use.

Andersons make it easy... I added them to my meter leads, and I have one of those in-line meters that work very well. Just plug-and-play.




Even if I need fusing... just add it in line... I didn't want it internal because of parallel equalization current and now I can use it as a jump start pack for my ATV using short 10 AWG leads.


As for the on/off, I wanted it pickup bed throw around durable and robust. I didn't want anything sticking out. But to kill power to the solar charge controller and USB ports so it doesn't go dead in storage I simply added a Anderson under the hood as a disconnect.

Just disconnect this one before storage.

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Old 01-05-2017, 1:13 PM
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Very nice, do you have a reference to a wiring schematic?
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  #9  
Old 01-05-2017, 1:32 PM
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Very nice, do you have a reference to a wiring schematic?
No I didn't make one... I did this project freehand but the design is very simple.

Its a pretty well documented project if you search around. Lots of examples to consider.
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Old 01-05-2017, 2:02 PM
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Sounds good, I have done a few projects in the past. I have lots of extra parts laying around.
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Old 01-05-2017, 3:27 PM
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Here is a solar controller that works fine for $16.99

https://www.amazon.com/YueYueZou-20a...Acid+Batteries
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Old 01-05-2017, 3:31 PM
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Excellent work! Thanks for sharing! I did a solar array for the house (12.96KW) and my camper came with a solar array on top, but I've not gotten around to anything portable or semi-portable. May have to do one now!
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Old 01-05-2017, 7:08 PM
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Nice project and thanks for the cost info. Im thinking I may build one for remote Amature Radio power.
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Old 01-05-2017, 9:28 PM
twinfin twinfin is offline
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Very cool!
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Old 01-08-2017, 5:33 PM
Sideline Shooter Sideline Shooter is offline
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Does that battery have a size/group number? Nice to know a larger battery will fit the ammo can with a little room for wires and a charge controller.

sideline shooter
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  #16  
Old 05-22-2017, 3:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideline Shooter View Post
Does that battery have a size/group number? Nice to know a larger battery will fit the ammo can with a little room for wires and a charge controller.

sideline shooter
Its a pretty standard size... used for those APC battery backups for PC/Servers.

If you search for "APC 17ah" or "APC 18ah" you will find options like this on Amazon and Ebay.

https://www.amazon.com/ExpertPower-E...s=17ah+battery
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:07 PM
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This has really inspired me to attempt this project myself and add to it. For instance adding a collapsible low wind turbine and simple Arduino solar tracking turret. Ideally fitting into no more than three .30 cal ammo cans. Unfortunately this'll have to happen after my currently slotted projects(Slug/turkey gun, Vermi/Aquaponics, and modular hunting/bushcraft kit). Guess that just means more time to research.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:43 PM
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Nice job on this and thank you for the DIY write up. I should take the time to write up a similar system I buiot about 7 or 8 years ago. We have a shed with emergency supplies and I wanted a battery in there always ready to go. I selected the largest Trojan AGM deep cycle I could get since this wasn't intended to be portable. At the time a 60 Watt panel was a good price point and I selected a quality MPP charge controller. I knew from our RV trailer experience that deep cycle batteries need to be cycled and not just kept fully charged up so what to do? The solution we came up with was to put a clock timer/photocell circuit together and run our LED low voltage landscape lights. So every night when it gets dark the system runs the lights for a set time and then the solar panel recharges by day. I should put a voltage sensor in to prevent from discharging the battery after many days without sunshine, but I have been just shutting it off manually when I notice those conditions. I literally threw this circuit together in a weekend, it works great and I have changed nothing since starting it up. The battery must be nearing the end of its life but every day I come home and the lights are on. A good battery, and a good solar system, and a little controls logic is like magic in my book!
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  #19  
Old 01-17-2018, 5:21 PM
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Any updates on the kit?

I have a Sun Force 60W kit but not very portable. I have the Goal Zero Nomad kit but only suitable for charging small batteries.

I need to make one like yours.
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