Exceed your expectations with this DIY Solar project and get a step closer to off-grid living.
The video you’re about to watch is an all-in-one that everybody can understand and install, as well as a budget friendly solar set-up.
DIY solar has changed a lot, the cost and simplicity of what you are getting vs just 1 year ago is getting so much better.
Whether you just want to move some of your devices from the main power outlets or to help power your RV on your property in the mountains, this would be a good start.
I would recommend writing down the setting values (Don’t worry, it will make sense by the end of the video) in the manual so that you don’t waste time looking for it. It’s irritating having to go back into the menu and tapping to get down the item you want to change.
For your convenience, the transcription of the video along with the list of materials needed are just below it.
Enjoy the video!
48V System Parts List:
Budget 48V LiFePO4 Battery:
24V System Parts List:
24V Budget Model LiFePO4:
24V Pro Model LiFePO4:
Today we’re going to build a very beginner-friendly and budget-friendly solar power system. This is the best bang for your buck, and anybody can build it. It barely requires any tools to build it.
You only need a couple of screwdrivers and a 10-millimeter socket. To mount it, you need an impact gun or a screwdriver. You can build this entire system in less than an hour. And it’s built with high-quality parts with good warranties. This is the best combination that you can find if you are a beginner.
The battery is a server rack lithium iron phosphate. This can last 10 to 20 years, it has its own overcurrent protection device, and the battery has 5 kilowatt-hours of power, which means you can run a 11000 watt load for 5 hours. The battery also has its own shunt, so you don’t need to buy that either, and it has its own state of charge indicator. The battery is extremely cheap. It’s almost the same cost as building your own battery. And I don’t think it gets any easier than this!
We have two battery cables that are two gauges that you could pick up at any automotive store, and you just connect the battery to the all-in-one system. The positive is red, and the negative is black.
Now, this is an off-grid version grow watt all-in-one system; this has an inverter, a solar charge controller, an AC charger, and all sorts of other features. And all you need to do is connect it to the battery with two terminals inside. So just feed the battery cables up to the terminals and then tighten them down with a 10-millimeter wrench. The two wires on the right side are the solar panel wires. So we have a positive and a negative.
The hardest part of designing the system is ensuring that the solar panel array voltage is not too high to burn this out. So you cannot exceed 145 volts DC. So go here: Solar Calculator to calculate it yourself with your own solar panels.
Also, keep in mind that this is a single series string, which means that all of the solar panels are in series. If you have panels in parallel, you’re going to have to add a combiner box, and that will increase the complexity of your system.
Each parallel string will have its own circuit breaker or fuse, but if you want the most simple system possible, have one series string, and then you only have two wires coming in there’s less potential for problems in the future and on the roof of the trailer we have 800 watts, and it only produces 85 volts. So I can safely connect it. If this was 160 volt, I would either have to remove a panel or rewire it, so I have a different voltage.
And all you need is a small screwdriver to connect the positive and the negative solar panel wire. When you’re building this, you want to connect the inverter to the battery first and then connect the solar panel second. Then last, attach the loads at the ac output.
You have two terminal blocks. The one on top is the ac input. If you plan to use the ac charger if you want to use solar only, you can ignore this.
The terminal block on the bottom is for the loads or the ac output. This terminal block has three terminals on the far left. We have a ground or green conductor. In the middle, we have the live the line or the hot, and that’s black. And then, on the far right, we have a neutral or white conductor. This is probably the hardest part of this whole system because you’re going to have to strip this extension cord and then use a small screwdriver to connect it to those terminals.
The 12 gauge heavy-duty extension cord can output 3000 watts but keep in mind that the extension cord can only handle 2000 watts. So if you want to use the entire output capacity of this inverter, you’re going to have to either wire up your own outlets on the side or a small sub-panel. But if you’re a beginner and you’re not using over 2000 watts just connect an extension cord and you’ll be good to go!
Also, this system can handle 1900 watts of solar panel power which is pretty good considering its price. If you think about the cost of a 3,000-watt inverter is a solar charge controller that can handle that much power, you’d be spending a lot more money.
This all-in-one system costs $770, and the battery is $1,500, and then you’ll need $20 battery cables that you can pick up at an automotive store. Two gauge cables, or you can make your own if you know how to do it. Then you need to add the cost of the solar panels, which can vary depending on the size of your array.
I know that some people are going only to add 400 watts, and some people are going to add 1600 watts. So it really depends on your use case. But solar panels are cheap, so add another $500 or so, and you would be able to fill this thing up pretty nicely! So the total cost is about $2800 with everything.
You could easily power an air conditioner, a refrigerator, pretty much any load in a house that you’d have to use for a backup situation. You can build it in less than an hour. Previously, if you used one battery of any kind, you had to add your own circuit breaker. But this one comes with it, and it’s appropriate for the chemistry of the battery, its internal resistance and its profile, and the voltage that’s being used.
Next, let’s talk about compatibility. So you can buy these all-in-one systems and batteries in 24 or 48 volts. This one in the video is 24 volts but typically I prefer the 48-volt models. If you’re using this in a van or an RV, the 24-volt model is fine, especially if you have a step-up converter and you’re charging it from your alternator. But if you’re using it as a backup for a home, then you should use 48 volts because the two cables will be smaller, and the efficiency will be higher. But typically, they are about 91-92 percent efficient, but the standby consumption is high. So you should ensure that your solar panel array is larger than 600 watts if you plan to run these 24 hours a day.
Also, if you want, there’s a communication board on these grow watts, and it can communicate with this battery so that you can see the state of charge of your battery on the screen. I don’t think it’s worth it to do the communication and modify the cycling bandwidth because we’re using it for solar.
On the cycle life count of this battery, it should last 10 to 20 years no matter what. I’m pretty sure that calendar aging will kill these before we do cycling with solar.
Now the hardest part of this system is changing the settings, here is the link to my website (Scroll down to the section “All-In-One Solar Power Box Recommended Settings”) where you can see some example settings. You can also use the default AGM settings, which will work fine with the lithium iron phosphate battery.
If you want to change the charge profile, go under option number five and put it on the user, then under option number 19, you can set the absorption to whatever you wish. And then, if you go down, you can change the float voltage and then press down again, and under option 21, you can do the cutoff voltage. This is the low voltage disconnect voltage, so this is when the inverter turns off so that the battery is not put into safety mode.
For a 24 volt battery, I keep it at 24 volts. Then for a 48-volt battery, I set this to 48 volts because lithium iron phosphate is slightly higher than a lead-acid battery for the cutoff voltage.
You can just press escape, and it should start charging the moment you connect solar. There’s nothing else you really need to set up here. That’s pretty much it.