Theory/Installation Guide:

How to Design and Build a Solar Battery Charger
The goal of these lessons is to clearly explain how to size and build a solar battery charging system. Most PV systems are grid connected, but here we focus on small, stand-alone arrays that charge a battery using either a Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) or a conventional (PWM) charge controller. It is the ideal way to learn about solar power and batteries. We include handy information about pricing, component suggestions and links to high price/quality vendors. If you follow all the lessons in this course, you will be able to build your own array for about $7-8 per Watt and use it to charge your mobile phone, iPods and run other electrical devices. As long as you’re familiar with some basic terms like Volt (V), Amps (A) and Watts (W), this should be a piece of cake!
Garrett Solar

Garrett working on a 135 W solar battery charger. Follow these lessons and build one yourself!

The course is split up in three sub-sections. If you’ve already bought your panels and equipment, you can skip lessons 1 and 2. If you start from scratch, start off with ‘Sizing your array’, where you’ll learn about how many Watts of panels you need in order to fulfill your electrical demands!

Lesson 1: Sizing your array
Lesson 2: Buy your equipment
Lesson 3: Build your system (+safety instructions!)

Example Array
Throughout these lessons, we will be showing videos and pictures of our own 135 Watt array. This will help guide you through the process. We will include a full list of costs for these items, as well as URLs to websites where we bought the components.

Example Array

The example PV solar battery charger. The best way to learn about solar and batteries!

Example Array Specs:
  • 3 x 45 Watt solar panels
  • Morningstar Sunsaver Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT)
  • 12 V sealed Lead-acid battery
  • 12 V cigarette lighter
  • 12 V load (little light or an old computer fan)

> Lesson 1: Sizing your array

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