Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Solar Power

Last year, before the heart attack and stroke, I was experimenting with PV panel, a solar battery tender, a 12V battery, and a Harbor Freight inverter in the telescope garage.  I was successfully recharging the power supply for the telescope mounts.  Then all my time was spent trying to get my life back.  I decided to go see if all the parts could be used to run a 14W LED bulb.  If so, I would put a light fixture on one of the rafters, run some Romex to the power inverter and a light switch, and at least have light in there.  The bad news is that the battery with the misleading name MaxLife is 17 months old and will not take a charge, even from a battery charger hooked up through my 100 foot extension cord to the house.  Also, the solar battery tender no longer seems to work.  Even with power from the solar panel, output is 0V, and the status LED on the tender is utterly dead; it also will not do anything to the backup Jaguar's battery, which is just fine.  I think I will get a fresh battery and charge controller and try again.  Solar power barely make economic sense, because of the capital required, but for a structure that has no power lines to it, this makes sense.  The cost of excavating a trench for power and installing a circuit breaker panel makes this sort of DIY solar make sense, especially because I have the PV panel and the inverter already.


  1. Cabela's sells a nice little solar powered battery tender (actually they have a few versions). I use one to keep the battery on my riding lawn mower up.

  2. You might want to keep it all DC if the distances are short, since that's what the LEDs are fed in the end.