My mobile solar photovoltaics system, plus added charging system for battery packs
I like to camp, and I like to have all the comforts of home when camping, including lights and other electrical devices. I built this system to go in a 1964 Dodge van I am currently restoring, but use it when camping out more than 3 days already.
Here is the van, with the 3 55 watt Arco Solar panels on top, for a total possible output of 165 watts, or +/- 10 amps. I need to clean them...
Next up is a milk crate with six 17 amp hour Gell Cell batteries, for a total amp-hour rating of 102 AH capacity. I have two more that are not in there at the moment, bringing me up to 136AH, but I can't lift the box with all in there...
Next, I have a wooden panel that sits on top of the batteries, and has distribution bars for the battery hookups, a charge controller, and a fuse panel with 10 circuits. I use Circuit breakers, instead of fuses though. 1 is installed. The mess is just the extra slack in the power feed wire from the panels, plus the power out to the boost converter.
So that's all been settled and running for a while. The new addition is a new Boost Converter. This boost converter lets me convert my nominal 12volt DC power into a higher voltage, up to 120 volts DC with about a 5% current loss. I purchased it so I can charge my 54 volt LiFePO battery pack for my E-bike, when off grid. Currently I am charging my car's battery with it, so I bumped the voltage from 12.5 to 13.8 as a test. I also adjusted it to run at a max of 6 amps.
And last piece, this is Watt/amp meter, installed inline. this is from the E-bike world. I really like it! It gives you volts, amps, watts, and AH readings.
Coming out of the watt meter is 20 feet of 12 gauge wire, going to my Toyota Camry, which has a dead battery. it was at 10.36 volts, and in 2 hours I brought it up to 12.4 volts. Going to let it run a bit longer.
I need to make a project box for the boost converter, and mount it with the rest of the panel. I also feed 2 DC-AC inverters with this system. A 1200 watt unit for power tools, and a 200 watt unit for little things. What I built here is modularity and mobility. It isn't pretty, but it is very solid.
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