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Old 07-16-2017, 06:06 PM
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Default Mosquito Free Shack Solar

Decide to add some additions to the wife's skeeter free shack. I purchased a Harbor Freight 45WSolar panel kit, yes better kits are out there but with enough coupons and sales I was able to get it for $99. The ceiling fan did not come with it nor the battery. I purchased it online. The ceiling fan is a 12 volt fan with remote and reversible.

The battery was a trolling battery the largest I could find that would fit in the repurposed tool box that was bought many years ago by the wife for me shipped to Nairobi Kenya at the time and since then came back to the states,shipped to Italy and then back to the states in our household goods. I have since upgraded but just could not part with it. Almost did toss it a couple years ago but did not and as I was walking by it after I bought this kit an idea popped in my head that a battery should just fit in the bottom of it with shelves for storage and the charge controller.

The battery is a group 29C size and 845CA and 114AH. The fan works well although I wish it would spin a little faster on high. The CFL lamps that came with it worked but I replaced them with 12V led and doubled my light output. We seldom use them at night as they do attract bugs but useful if you need to find something or to help clean up. I put my windsock around one of the lights for some ambient lighting as needed.

I did have to adapt the mounting a little bit as this is designed to sit on the ground and not mounted on anything. I used conduit brackets to hold it at the top and for the bottom I used pipe flanges screwed to a board to hold the bottom pvc pipe bracket that I had to cut to fit the angle I wanted. No scientific method for the angle I looked at the sun and moved the panel to where it looked close enough for Seabee work measured the bottom pvc pipe cut it and put it in place.

The first day after I finished the panel was in the shade (evening time) and was producing 14.5V. I did not have a battery hooked up to it at the time

We also left the fan going over night one day but the next morning the battery still had over 12V in it. Overall pleased with it for just messing around with it.

The green fan on top of the battery box is one we used previous that was also 12V (used D size batteries or plug into cigarette lighter, we used one of the 12V jump starters as a power source and it worked well also.

Yes it would have been cheaper just to run a cord from the house and put in a 120V ceiling can and lights in it but where is the fun in that?
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:10 PM
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Additional photos of the shack
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:17 AM
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Looks great! Nice project..

That Harbor Freight kit has been the launch pad for many over the years. I enjoy following folks getting their feet wet..

Two things to note..

Does the box the battery is setting in have any venting? If not, just leave one of the doors cracked open a little to let it breath..

Keep an eye on the voltage. I've never owned one of those kits but have read the controller can have issues and may need replaced..

If you want to get real fancy, I can fix you up with a Bluetooth amp/receiver that can be connected to any set of speakers. Operates at 5 volts D.C. from a bank battery or a 12v to 5v adaptor. (USB Connector) If the boss wants some music out there, let me know..
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Last edited by 12vman; 07-17-2017 at 09:20 AM. Reason: To Add..
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:18 PM
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That box has plenty of natural ventilation. It does not seal tight when everything is closed down. It also has an extra hole in the back side where the plastic tore instead of being drilled through so the conduit connector did not fit so it required a new hole.

Will keep an eye on the controller. Thanks for the heads up.

We have the wifes I-pod that connects to a speaker that works for us now. Usually we do not have any music playing as we are relaxing reading or just listen to the world go by.

I was surprised at how it was working as there were negative reviews on the product. Maybe I lucked out and just got good panels.

All told it prob ended up costing about $400 dollars by the time I bought the battery, fan and the few hardware items I needed. My neighbors sells golf cart batteries but I did not see the need to invest in those yet until I saw how effective this will be. Its a start to ease the wife into the process. She is happy with it.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:34 AM
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The negative reviews on that kit is usually because of higher expectations than the kit can achieve. 45 watts isn't a lot and most folks don't have the panels installed in a prime location (sometimes shady) with proper tilt/angle towards the sun. (Your latitude +15 degrees is a good angle for summer and directly towards the sun at noon with no shade or shadows for at least 6 hrs.)

No need for a larger battery than you have. Even in the best scenario, you might collect 16/18 aHr. in a day. Less on cloudy days. The average amount you collect is the parameter you must work in to avoid discharging the battery too far..

Fun little project. I have a small system that powers my screen porch. 48 watt panel with a C-12 controller and a large marine deep cycle battery, about the same size as the one you are using. Provides lighting and music. I also have a 400 watt inverter connected that I use to power a soldering iron and a hot glue gun to build projects during the summer. The charge controller has a day/night sensor that controls an LED light that comes on at night and provides a sense to open/close my solar powered chicken coop door. Works like a charm..
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Last edited by 12vman; 07-18-2017 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:45 PM
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Still not real happy with the speed of our ceiling fan but it does move air. but those O2cool 12v fans I am still using do move more air. The magnets on the bottom of them are handy to connect it to the metal plates that I built the hut with. I just plug them into the cig lighter plug on the charge controller.

1 years later
Still happy with it. Panels have not decreased in power and the battery is still holding up.

Wife wants me to build a bird feeder Ferris wheel out of a old bicycle wheel. She wants to see the squirrels go for a ride when they get on it to eat.
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Last edited by Bones; 09-01-2018 at 11:00 PM.
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