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Solar powered LED lights for chicken coop? - Page 3

post #21 of 27

An inverter wastes a lot of energy, plus it's not needed.

I have no mains power in the barn, and necessity being "the mother of invention", here's my setup:


12V 7W solar panel, charge controller, 12V deep cycle battery (I'm using a car jumper box), digital programmable 12v timer/switch ($7.99 on Ebay), 12V LED light (I'm using 2W, might upgrade to 3-5W).

I also have the pop door on a programmable timer run 3 way double-pole, double-throw switch that runs a car window motor to turn a pulley with a cable on it.  Switch at the top to shut it off when it opens, switch at the bottom to shut it off when it closes. 

Much more efficient than changing 12V DC to 110V AC, which means you can use a smaller panel and battery.

post #22 of 27

haha! That's so funny! We have those bright orange extension cords running from our house all the way up the hill to the barns and from the barns to the chicken coop for power :) Once the grass starts growing we never see the cords except for right at the buildings, the trouble is remebering where they are so you don't cut them on accident with the mower!

post #23 of 27

I have the orange extension cords for the stock tank heater I use to keep the water bucket liquid.  Hook it up in December, take it down in April.  No worries about cutting it with the mower.  :)

post #24 of 27
Im not sure where you live or if this is abnormal, but my chickens layed all winter on their own. Some nights we had to run an extention cord and a red heat lamp, but most of the season we didnt have any lighting. Might be worth a wait and see.
post #25 of 27

I didn't see this in the thread yet, but consider stocking up on after Christmas light sales next time.  I got 3 sets of solar holiday lights for $10 each on clearance and they are bright enough that 2 sets made my porch easy to walk around and lit up the adjoining rooms with windows to the porch well enough you could walk without running into things.  They stay on past midnight this time of year, easily past 10 pm I'd say in the depths of winter.  I think they'd make spectacular barn/coop lights so you can do your chores after sunset in the winter and to extend laying into winter.


One benefit of the solar lights is that they dim as they draw down.  I think it'd be less harsh on the chickens if their artificial light supplement dimed before going out so they aren't just tossed into total dark.

post #26 of 27
Originally Posted by elkfriend View Post

Hello Folks,


I think I figured it out, it works awesome and does not break the bank. Here is how you do it:


1) Find a 12v battery, deep cycle (like an old RV battery or a boat battery)

2) Get a cheap 12 v inverter, these are the ones that plug into your cigarette lighter in the car, they put 120v out. I found one for 8$

3) Get a light fixture for regular bulbs 2$

4) Get a 120v LED bulb. I use a 2w LED ceiling fan bulb, it was 12$ and puts out the equivalent of 40w

5) Get a cheap timer 4$

6) Get a solar panel, can be a small one anywhere from 20$-100$



Solar panel charges car battery.

car battery feeds 12v to inverter.

timer sits on inverter plug and controls the early morning light.

inverter feeds 120v to Light bulb.


It has been very reliable for me and because the bulb only consumes 2w and is only on from 4 am - 9 am or so, the power consumption is very small and the solar panel can easily replenish the power.


The most expensive piece is the battery and the solar panel. but for the whole installation you can get away with well under 100$.

Don't understand why do you run lights from 4am to 9am?  Doesn't it get bright around 6 am anyway and why not have the lights run let's say from 9-10 pm till 4-5 am?


As far as your lighting setup goes, although it works you actually don't need 110v inverter, you're just wasting energy up converting, your inverter might be only 60% efficient.  You just need LEDs that run in the 12v range or buy some 3.7v led's and connect them in series to create 12v.  I have flashlights with LEDs that run off a single battery that are blinding bright, 1 LED would be actually enough to lit up the whole coop.  


But you can actually go a lot cheaper route and just buy a prepackaged "garden" lights, they even have these 13 dollar light on amazon that have 2 modes, one is bright when it detects motion and 2nd mode is dim and they have a sensor where they light automatically turns on and off from dusk to dawn.

post #27 of 27

I have upgraded my solar to a 35AH sealed deep cycle battery and a 15W solar panel for summer, and 3 X 15W panels for winter (more LED lighting used, less sunlight available).  I could probably get away with using 2 panels, but I have 4 anyway, so....


Still need to get some more/brighter LEDs for inside the coop.

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