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My "mad scientist" idea...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lisebarb, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

    Hello again.
    Here's a question for those of you who know something about solar panels.

    I have a marine battery and inverter that's come in handy to keep a radio going during a couple of black outs. I was thinking that I might be able to use these to supply electricity to my small coop. My idea is to keep the battery and inverter in some sort of weather-resistant container - perhaps a ventilated plastic tote - and hook the battery up to a solar panel that would keep it charged.

    I have an electric charger for the battery of course but the idea is not to use any "on the grid power". I don't know anything about solar panels so I'm asking if anyone knows it there are small solar panels that can be used to keep a marine battery charged?
    Thanks, Barbara.
  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    I would need information on the inverter such as a make, model, and

    It is possible? Yes.

    The main issue may be the inverter uses more power just by being on
    than the solar panel can provide.

    The solar panel is most likey a 15 watt panel.

    Do you want it on a timer or just to switch it on and off yourself?
  3. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

    Went on out to the shed to get the info - brrr, it's getting cold out there.

    The inverter is a Xantrex 1000. Output power maximum 1000W/8.7A continuous.
    The battery is a Nautilus deep cycle. Marine crank 650A. Reserve capacity/ amp hour = 130 min/ 75 Ah.

    Yes, I would like to put it on a timer for a light and possibly down the road a heat lamp.
    Does any of this info help?
    Thanks, Barbara.

  4. francisfarms

    francisfarms In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2008
    I am planning on doing the same thing. I do not like the idea of running extension cord out to the coop. I am planning on getting a deep cycle battery and I already have an inverter. I need to get a battery charger though just in case. I live in WA state there is not ever much sunshine here. I can imagine that it would take almost 4 days for the battery to run down on a 250 watt lamp. I would get a battery case for your also.
  5. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

  6. sillybirds

    sillybirds Songster 9 Years

    Aug 5, 2008
    lisebarb, what you have in mine is certainly doable. You say you have the battery and the inverter already. You will also need a solar panel and a charge controller. The charge controller protects the battery from overcharging and discharging. As you may know, the inverter converts the DC (direct current) from the solar panel/battery to AC (alternating current), AC being the type of electricity we have in homes and consequently the type of electricity most household items run off of. There are appliances made to run off of DC (lights, etc.), so you don't necessarily have to use an inverter. There is some power loss associated with the conversion from DC to AC.

    Solar panels and charge controllers are widely available. (For example: http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category2_6970_6228 )

    Hope this helps.
  7. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

    Thanks for the response!
    I think I saw small solar panels at the Canadian Tire store this past summer so I'm going to go look at what they have. I think the panels I saw were specifically for recharging batteries so maybe they don't need a charge controller.
    Thanks again, Barbara:)
  8. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    If your using it just for light the you can leave out the inverter an use 12 volt lights. They make really good house type incandescent an florescent bulbs for motor homes. Just add up the wattage your using an make sure the solar cell at least that wattage. (assuming your lights are on 12 hours a day) Not sure where ya would get a 12v timer?
  9. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    In the automotive industry I've seen solar battery chargers that plug into a cig lighter, and they do make 12v light bulbs that fit regular screw in type sockets, might be an Idea if you are only going to use it for lighting.
  10. Dustoff79

    Dustoff79 Songster

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Antonio, Texas
    Yes, there are solar panels to charge your battery. I use one on my gates. Check out the local farm supply stores or look around for solar powered gate openers, you should be able to find on the web. Likely you will only need a 30watt or less, it depends on discharge (usage) and charging need. There are lots of great websites to provide you info on small solar panels and usages. I think you have a great Idea and hope you get up an running soon. We would love to know the results and what your set-up looks like.

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