Home iPad Charging Station in Life Edited ApartmentBy Jeff Crystal
What do you do when you really want solar power, but you live in a 350 square foot apartment in NYC with no roof access? That is what our friends at Life Edited asked us to work on.
Sunlight was limited, but we did find a window ledge that gets a few hours of sun a day. That should be enough to run a couple of LED lights plus take a cell phone and iPad off the grid.
We decided to use two of our V39 USB batteries as the power reservoir. These will be charged from 4 of our 3.4W 6V solar panels. They will run end to end along the window ledge. We chose charcoal so they would blend in:
The idea is to mount the panels on a plastic backing and attach the backing to the ledge. We are still working on that part, we wanted to get the wiring in first before the builders closed up the walls.
The panels connect in parallel using our 4 panel circuit box (6V setting is parallel).
We spliced into the power out cable and ran a connecting wire through an existing hole in the wall (used for the cable TV). Then we salvaged a couple of 5.5×2.1mm plugs and spliced them on to make the connection to the two V39 batteries. And that is our basic solar charger
The builders are going to make a niche in the closet for these batteries just above a set of draws where the phone and iPad can sit to charge.
To power the lights we will connect to the USB output of the batteries. So we hacked a couple of USB plugs on to 18 gauge wires which we then ran through the ceiling to the locations we had chosen for the lights (the maximum power from the USB port will be 2amps at 5V so 18 gauge should be overkill).
We tied knots in one of our “shoulder wires” (with a 3.5×1.1mm female plug on the end) then passed it through the threaded rod, filled the rod with silicone to hold the wire in place, and then put a cap on the rod to be sure the plug could not push through. We found a bracket at the lighting store which we used to secure the whole thing to the ceiling.
Next for the lights. Actually they were talking “solar chandelier”. That will have to be the subject for another post since we haven’t made bit that up yet.