It took a bit too long to setup our first home solar charging station, so we made a number of changes in version 2. This one took us less than ten minutes and is a much cleaner implementation. Like the first version, we have a solar panel mounted outside so we’re getting direct solar power for many hours in a day and we have a conveniently located battery for consistent charging.

Equipment Needed:
2 or 3.4 Watt Solar Panel (we used a 3.4 Watt)
“A” Clamp
Silicone Tubing with 3/16″ inner diameter
Wire #20 – Approximately 5′ wire with male and female 3.5×1.1mm connections – essentially an extension cable
3.5×1.1mm Female to Mini USB Adapter
V11 USB Battery

Attach the Panel to the “A” Clamp
There were two holes on the A Clamp at just the right spacing, but you could likely drill a hole in a clamp to get the spacing right. I simply screwed the panel onto the clamp.

Connect and Waterproof the Panel to the Extension Cable
This was what was hard about the first project. In this case, we used an inch of silicone tubing and covered both ends of the connection. Super simple and hopefully functional. We’ve had this outside for two weeks and no leakage yet. We’ll see how it ages over time.

Mount the Panel Outside
The A Clamp clips to about anything. Try to orient the panel to the South and in minimal shading. In the summer, I’ll change the orientation of the panel so it points more upwards. But in the winter, the sun is pretty shallow so this angle works.

Connect to the Battery inside the House
The most important part of this implementation is that the battery is in a convenient spot. If the battery isn’t convenient, you won’t use the power built up there. Get another extension if you need to. As the closeup shows, I was able to completely close the window with a good seal (and I may need to wash the window sill!)

4 Responses to Home Solar Charging Station 2.0

  1. Loewen says:

    I’m a newbie with solar charging, does this need any diode for overcharging the battery?
    Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      Our battery has overcharge protection plus a blocking diode to prevent power from flowing from the battery into the solar panels. Good luck, Jeff

  2. Sam says:

    I like the concept, but I find it interesting that from V1 to V2 a smaller battery was used. limiting what can be charged. Is there some reason for this?

    • admin says:

      Hi Sam,

      In Version 2, we were interested mostly in making the connections waterproof and simple. With the basic concept, you can mix and match batteries as you see fit. Personally, I do find a bigger battery reservoir to be useful as it keeps us charging from the panels when there are several cloudy days. The risk with a smaller battery is that there may not always be a charge and you can quickly get out of the habit of charging from the station. /jeff

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