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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Amazon does a great job of email marketing, as they send me emails on my amazon search history.

As some of you may know, I am working on a solar powered chicken coop idea. To start my search I sent to amazon and did some searches for solar panels.

This is the amazon email I received today:

Sunforce 50022 5-Watt Solar Battery Trickle Charger - $49.95
Sunforce 7 Amp Charge Controller - $17.00
Goal Zero 19006 Guide 10 Adventure Kit with 4 Goal Zero AA Batteries - $91.77
Goal Zero 19010 Guide 10 Plus Black/Silver Small Adventure Kit - $119.95
Sunforce AC/DC Power Converter - $17.41
Sunforce 50033 15-Watt Solar Charging Kit - $77.04
Sunforce 50013 1-Watt Motorcycle and Powersports Solar Battery Charger - $24.95

I was wondering what brand name solar panels and charge controllers most people are using?

It would be nice to be able to charge a 12 volt battery, then use an inverter to charge other devices, such as AA batteries and cell phones.
 

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I hope some people reply to your post, I am interested in the information too.
 

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I know nothing about solar power and whats worse is i dont even know hwo to read how much watts would be enough to do whateve i would want it for.

The only thing i do know is the "Goal Zero" stuff suppose to be good as i have read mountain climbers in the alps like places use the stuff for its reliability. but the stuff i saw from them was like $300 and up.
 

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we checked with a company and a Mechinal engineer. Looks like to get off the grid will be about $5000.00 to solar power our house. has anyone done any priceing on cost to convert or partial convert a house?
 

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Firefighter 129
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I buy the one from Harbor freight. I love them. Hooked up batteries and inverter and now I have free power for my greenhouse and cold room. I can probably help with some questions of how many watts will run what. I own a few of them now. I don't buy them unless they have free shipping or they are on sale. I don't have a harbor freight in my town.
 

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Firefighter 129
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The last few years there were government rebates on converting your whole house to solar. I haven't checked lately to see if they are still giving these rebates. It made turning a 2,000 sq ft. house cost go from 6k to about 1,800. That is a good turn around on investment if you have the money to do it up front then wait on the rebates and tax credits. I wont do grid tie. I'm not going to hassle with the power companies. When I produce more than I use I will let the neighbors tie into my panels.
 

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You looking at me!
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I have a Brunton and I'm still learning how to use it but heres my video on charging an ipod as an example.


I'm not sure if this is what youre looking for?
 

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I told you so!
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I live off grid I like the kyrocera panels 135 w I have795 watts of solar at this point will add 2 more 135 watt panels this summer, a 2412 trace inverter with a 100 amp charger a500 watt BZ mppt charge controller and a trimetric meter so I can keep track of the power in and out. This runs my cabin in the mountains, lights tvs power tools battery chargers for the vehicles, kitchen power tools. If anyone has any questions I will try to answer, I have pic of my solar on my wasniper page under my BOL. JT
 

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I bought the small walet size solar charger from harbor freight to charge my cell phone works great for $53.00 as fast as wall charger.
 

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Idaho Prepper
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Easy way to convert watts to amps:

Watts = Volts x Amps or

Amps = Watts / Volts


1 Amp would be like a tiny trickle charger... So in the first equation.

Watts = 12V x 1 Amp........ 12 Watts gives you 1 Amp

Or say you have an RV fridge you want the panels to power during the day with no Battery drain: say the fridge draws 7 amps....

use equation 1 again.

Watts = 12 volts x 7 Amps..... Watts = 84
You need 84 Watts to run the fridge.


The trickstuff that I normally just estimate is that you always have loss. take the fridge example above: If between the wires, the charge controller and the batteries you might lose 30% due to loss, leaving only 70% to actually power things. So I rough figure that.

70% in decimal form is .7

In the fridge example above: 84 Watts / 70% charge reaching the batteries.

84 / 0.7 =120 Watts. (I pulled this numbers outa thin air, just lucky they came out even)

So basically that is saying that in order of 84 Watts of power to reach your batteries to power a refridgerator, you need 120 Watts of solar panels.

There is actually alot more to it, but this will get you in the right ballpark and is good enough way to figure for most small systems.
 

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I live off grid I like the kyrocera panels 135 w I have795 watts of solar at this point will add 2 more 135 watt panels this summer, a 2412 trace inverter with a 100 amp charger a500 watt BZ mppt charge controller and a trimetric meter so I can keep track of the power in and out. This runs my cabin in the mountains, lights tvs power tools battery chargers for the vehicles, kitchen power tools. If anyone has any questions I will try to answer, I have pic of my solar on my wasniper page under my BOL. JT
How much did all this cost? Do you have deep cycle batteries, too?
 

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After reading so much about the coming "Dollar per watt" solar panel with possible 500 watt. panels, I thought i would risk waiting a bit for the panels to become available. I already am collecting the batteries.

As far as the chicken house power issue Kev is working on, I Bought a small 25 watt solar battery charger and hooked it to a small regulator and battery that a friend gave me and hooked it directly to my chicken house light that runs a 12 volt light bulb. I Can't remember what i paid exactly, but it was under $80.00 for the panel and light only.
I run the water can heater off of the house current for now till i can come up with a bigger panel to handle both light and water can. The solar panel is the same model as a electric fence charger panel, just for your referance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just saw you want to run a hot wire as well, that's going to be a lot for that small system, we installed a solar electric fence system for our pigs last year, you could also use electric netting to keep the chickens in and dogs out
The hotwire is going to have its own system separate from the lights and fans.

Tractor supply sells a self contained solar / hotwire system, and that is the one I am looking at getting.
 

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The 40 watt unit will be plenty for your plans.
I use a set of Sharp ND130T1J Solar Module 130 Watt 12 Volt panels on my mountain home in central Utah. There is no power available there and these keep my batteries up full year round. Good quality panels and prewired for use. Wasniper's set up sound similar to mine.
It's not difficult to do, just plan it out completely first.
 

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How much did all this cost? Do you have deep cycle batteries, too?
The kyrocera 135 watt panels were $325 ea+ shipping I just bought a trace 2412 inverter ebay NOS $600 the BZ charge controller was $250 the tri metric meter was $180, the batteries are 2 volt batteries they weigh about 220 lbs each 6 for about 2000 amp hours they cost me $450 (very good deal) some of the panels I traded into and my original trace 1512 inverters,so to answer your question about $5500 including wire mounts fuses, I started with a small system just put in big wires and added to the system over a year or two. The batteries were a God send ,the next set I get will be off the pallet jacks that are used by delivery companies. Hope this helps any more ? I would be glad to answer. JT
 
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