Charging devices during a power outage with my solar rig

in STEMGeeks7 months ago

At the time of this recording video tropical storm Zeta passed through the area, knocking down trees and power lines around where I live. Though luckily I had the ability to produce power without needing the grid.

I have a simple solar setup consisting of a single solar panel, a car battery and a water pump. This system normally allows me to drain a condensation barrel I have that is fed by our air conditioners. Though during our power outage I found other uses for this setup.

Having a headlamp during power outages is extremely useful. Mine are rechargeable via USB and use LED lights. Though over 30 plus hours when our power was out I found myself needing to charge them. During the day when they were not as needed I placed them outside and set up a power inverter to charge them. This device will convert the 12V DC that the solar setup outputs and converts it to 120V AC which then I can charge household devices with.

Knowing I may need this setup one day, I already had a connector wired up on the battery to make for easy connection of my power inverter. And a nice feature of this device was it has built in USB charging ports. So no need to connect a separate power brick to make charging possible.

To set this device up I open up my battery box where the connector is located and hook up the inverter. I then use a bucket to hold it in place, and then connect my USB headlamps to the inverter. It took a few hours to charge but in the end it did just that! And it took a load off my shoulders not worrying about lacking light at night.

If I did not have such a setup I would have to rely on battery banks, or charging in my car. Though the later would be a pain in the ass by having to run the car just to charge a little device. So I am glad I had such a setup to make my life a little easier.

Trying to charge larger devices did not work so well, my electric toothbrush ran out of juice during this outage and I hooked it up to charge, but seems it uses alot more power to charge than what my setup could supply. It kept throwing the inverter into safe mode, so I had to give up on trying to charge that device. But two LED headlamps charged with no issue and I was happy with that outcome.

Glad I had solar during this outage, many had to buy generators just to get by, and yeah I could not run my refrigerators with my little solar setup unlike those with generators. Maybe in the future I will upgrade my setup to a 48V battery array and add more panels so if this happens again I will be able to charge larger appliances. As I quickly found my limits of my little solar setup trying to charge a simple electric toothbrush. I think I also had a universal battery recharger going too so maybe those two things were just too much for my little setup but really not sure which one pushed it over the edge.

During the outage that lasted a few days, I charged my headlamps twice and my single panel seemed to be capable of keeping the battery topped off as we had mostly sunny days after the storm passed through the area.

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Yo what. Thats amazing!
I mean, you can survive without an electric toothbrush for a while :P

haha! yeah had to go the manual route during that outage and rely on good ol hand power.

Aw the good ol' hand power! Thank god we haven't forgotten that yet! :D

Ayy! I use a very similar rig and that exact same converter for my portable retro gaming station that I take with me when camping. Because I'm that kind of loser 😅

Oh cool! Its a good inverter, nah that sounds fun. I have considered building myself something similar. Saw someone build one into a briefcase.

mine is in a big pelican case with a monitor attached in the lid. Works really well, but is a bit thicker than it could be and takes up more room than necessary... The briefcase is definitely the way to go

Oh a pelican case, fancy! Hah yeah sounds like its over built. But I guess where you live its a good idea to over build things.

Whats "camping" like where you live? Finding an iceberg to set up on and do ice fishing? lol

Great example of a simple emergency solar setup.
Worth getting another panel or two.

Thanks, yeah it really helped us out in a time of need.

I think I will expand it, after seeing another friends setup @makinstuff I think I have some goals to reach in adding more capacity.