DIY Solar installations

When doing solar PV installations, it is best to buy from a reputable brand and supplier, as cheap is dodgy, and not worth it.


Luckily no damage was caused. Good to have spares available.


I’ve been having excellent luck running a Halfords-brand briefcase solar panel into a motorbike battery and then using that with a nightcell to power some lights in our new field stables until we can work out how we want to power it properly.

I also had to replace the provided cabling, because the polythene in the plug just gave out, split, and let the join between the power clip and cable just spill out.

Considering I’ve had to remake the same (unrelated) DIN plug repeatedly over the last few months because they’re all giving out too, I’m suspicious that there is some gigantic vat of way, way below standard polythene being sold cheap in China right now to all the component factories.

Yay, good to see you back here :slight_smile:

Heh, the comment of the substandard vat of plyethylene reminds me of the faulty capacitor electrolytic formula that got copied all over the place and caused a lot of wobbly motherboards.

It is nice to do DIY stuff, especially on solar. As we’re in South Africa, we’re blessed with sunny weather, and I’ve found we can get away with havening slightly larger batteries than usual, which helps a lot in inclement weather.

At the moment we have two PV systems, one is our original 3kVa inverter, which drives our laptops, kitchen utensils and other stuff (like cellphone chargers and the such) and then we have a larger 5kVa inverter, which drives the fridge and the freezer.

During the summer month, we can leave the 5kVa system on 24x7, but we will have to see what happens during the winter when the Cape get its rain and with a shorter daylight period. If we’ll have to use a timer to switch the fridge+freezer off at night, we’ll do so, but for now we’ll have to wait and see.

No more reliance on utility-provided electricity’s a big wad of dosh saved as well.


Thanks @Ook it’s great to be back!

You really are blessed for weather, here in Cumberland when it’s not raining, it’s raining harder. A few houses have supplemental solar but up here it’s hard to squeeze more than 2kW from an entire rooftop installation.

My hubby is looking into radiovoltage, using a high-gain antenna with an amplifier to generate a current between the radio potential and the earth. The current fluctuates but should provide enough power for lighting indefinitely.

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That sounds interesting. 12v lightning?

Current crop of 12v LED strips just blows my mind.

From the maths we should pull about 48V, but with the fluctuation we’re going to stick with tungsten lamps instead of ruin multiple transformers for anything else.

The weird thing is that over in the Vintage Mac community there’s a lot of tracking of capacitors. The earliest models actually beat some of the circa 2000 models due to quality as I understand correctly.

Heh yeah I’m up to my neck in vintage Mac stuff, and you’re right. A Mac Plus from ’86 will still chug away happily but my Classic II from 1992 needs three hours of surgery before I even attempt to plug it in again!

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I’m packing and ‘discovered’ an SE I forgot about. I’m thinking about getting it recapped and the HD replaced by one of the Adapters that convert to an SD card so it’s at least quasi-usable.