The Soul Shack's Solar Setup

in #homesteading4 years ago

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This post goes into detail about my shack's solar set up and how I provide my basic electricity needs. The solar assembly actually started out as design project I did in college back in 2013. The project's aim was to build a self sustained work station or a powered travelling desk. I'm sharing the process of conducting research and executing a prototype based on that design brief here with you.

Sun Station : A Design Project

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I took my finished prototype to various places to test whether my product fulfilled the design brief I based it on. It took a lot of effort to haul the prototype around, but it served its purpose at a basic level.

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I had 3 months to finish this project and the entire cost including the panel totalled around ₹ 25,000, around 130 SBD at today's prices. The panel itself was the most expensive component costing ₹ 7000 for a 75 W panel. Today, 100 W panels sell for ₹ 4000 online. The final prototype worked, but was hastily constructed due to the project's time limit. The product was too bulky to be a travelling desk and was not very ergonomic or practical. We only transported the panel, frame and circuit box to the land to use in the shack, which is what you can see in the shack's solar garden.

Some components like the battery and PV charge controller were replaced, but all the other other components are exactly as described in my project summary. The entire setup was lying unused all this time and while I was working on the land, my Dad put it all together and fixed all the components that needed replacement while he was in the city.

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The circuit box and battery aren't arranged as neatly as in the original prototype and are simply placed on the floor and wrapped with plastic to protect them from stray rain. The inverter is functional, but I've acquired a DC charger for my laptop so the step up isn't warranted. I run all my appliances on DC current and thus also save the battery from the load of AC current. All the connections work and I power my laptop, phone, Wi-Fi dongle, bluetooth speakers and headphones through this system.


My lights run on separate solar systems that are self contained. I have 3 W solar fairy lights that are their own unit, two bright LED bulbs that come with their own 10 W solar panel connected to a controller and battery and a solar bulb with the entire system housed in the bulb's body. This bulb is pretty convenient because I can bring it into my tent for a bit of nighttime reading without worrying about wires and connections while also keeping light loving insects out.

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These systems fulfill all my basic electric needs in perpetuity without having to be dependent on an external source. There are a few insects that are attracted by the light but it's not as bad as I thought and is quite manageable.
As we're located in a beautiful temperature range, we don't need electricity for heating and can run everything important off this system. I did have to give up an electric kettle and heating pad, but we have firewood for that and the system works really well to provide all my other electrical needs.

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Great ! if you want to open source it, you may propose it to http://www.sensorica.co/

Nice to see a solar power based initiative. I'll check out the website you linked me to.

Love to see this kind of documentation on solar energy. Excellent post. I can only see of grid solar setups growing exponentially in the future.

Thanks man. Yeah, I think everyone needs to learn some facet of living off the land and solar is a great way to be sustainable that isn't overly complicated. Panels are getting cheaper and soon it'll be accessible to a wide range of people rather than just people with money.

Sweet setup, looks very professional.

Thank you. The formatting is just extra fluff everyone at design school had to do. At the core the setup is pretty basic, but more importantly it works and allows me to keep steeming even from a remote shack.

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So cool!!! I wish I had seen it earlier so I could vote on it @soulturtle. Awesome prototype and I 'm happy you used it in ypur shack. ( it did look a biy heavy to lug around!)

Why did you have to change the charge controller?

We just made our move off frid! Well moved our stuff, spending a few days there, working one more week in the city and than heading back to the woods...full time! We need a solar system for sure.

Thanks for your post

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