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I recently saw a show on the DIY channel where they powered a small shed using a solar system. For some reason that idea had never entered my mind. I need power in my shed for a few lights, a compressor, and some tools and a radio. Can this be done without costing a small fortune? Other than charging batteries, I have no solar experience. I would like to find a complete package but I can easily build it from assorted parts if necessary.

Ken in Glassboro, NJ :)
 

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Powering the lights and radio would be easy enough, the compressor is going to take a lot of electricity. What is your budget for this project? I know Harbor Freight sells mostly cheap junk, but they have had a 'solar light kit' for a few years now, basically two small panels and a charge controller.
 

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greg273 said:
Powering the lights and radio would be easy enough, the compressor is going to take a lot of electricity. What is your budget for this project? I know Harbor Freight sells mostly cheap junk, but they have had a 'solar light kit' for a few years now, basically two small panels and a charge controller.
I was planning to run power from the house which would have required quite a bit or wiring and probably an upgrade to the house panel as well. The compressor needs a 15 amp, 120volt circuit. I have a light in their now but could easily change that. For the power tools and etc. I figure one to two more circuits depending conditons. The project I saw said they did the shed with a solar light and a 1750 watt inverter for about $800.

Ken in Glassboro, NJ :)
 

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Master Of My Domain
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i guesstimated once that i would need a minimum of 4 to 6 small batteries, a 3000 watt inverter and i could run 15-20 amp stuff for about an hour before TOTALLY depleting the batteries. if you pull that much on a smaller inverter, you will fry it quickly. i think you should oversize the inverter by about 50%. also, you really don't want to drain the batteries completely all the time...i guess, so a bigger battery bank may be needed. (forget the amp hours on the batteries i guesstimated with...small deep cycle like you would get at wally world).
 

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As soon as you said compressor there was a quantam leap in the price. (assuming that your not talking about one of those rinky-dink -tiny compressors)

From what you typed, it would be cheaper for you to bite the bullet and get large enough wire to handle a compressor "out there".

wallyfarts does not handle the right kind of "deep cycle" batterys. What you would get there would have a short life cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So if I delete the compressor, the load would then be chargers for 18v tools, the lights, and the radio. I guess that would be much more manageable. Can I reasonable expect to do that for under $1000.00?

Ken in Glassboro NJ :)
 

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morrowsmowers said:
So if I delete the compressor, the load would then be chargers for 18v tools, the lights, and the radio. I guess that would be much more manageable. Can I reasonable expect to do that for under $1000.00?

Ken in Glassboro NJ :)
That sounds possible. One thing to consider would be a DC to DC convertor instead of an invertor for the 18v. No since in going to AC just to convert it back. DC radios are easy to find.

Added:

Look into small cabin kits or RV kits to get you started

http://www.solarkits.com/product3.htm

$602
Now add $200 in batteries
$100 for invertor or DC to DC convertor
$100 for DC lights and wiring
 

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Be aware that if you have a low end ($$$) *inverter* that some power tool battery chargers will not tolerate the output of those cheapie *inverters* . . . . . . . . . .meaning that they will smoke (burnout).


By all means put something solar "out there".
Just don't expect to be able to handle a big load with a very small dollar system.

Once you find out how well it works (solar) . . . . .you will be hooked . . . . . . . . . . . .
 

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Jim-mi said:
Be aware that if you have a low end ($$$) *inverter* that some power tool battery chargers will not tolerate the output of those cheapie *inverters* . . . . . . . . . .meaning that they will smoke (burnout).


By all means put something solar "out there".
Just don't expect to be able to handle a big load with a very small dollar system.

Once you find out how well it works (solar) . . . . .you will be hooked . . . . . . . . . . . .
Part of the reason I suggest DC to DC convertor instead. Come to think of it my Ryobi 18V tools have a car charger that would work.

Yes, a system like this would be just enough to hook him. Within a year he'll be dreaming of how to power everything he has with solar.
 

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Master Of My Domain
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you could put that compressor somewhere else and run an air line to the shed.
 

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There was an article in Mother Earth News about this this spring. I can't remember what issue, but that would definitely be worth checking out!
 
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