My First Foray Into Solar
I have a storage shed about 50 feet from the house where I store lawn and garden stuff and my lawn tractor. I recently had to change the battery in the mower. I'm sure it died over the Winter due to lack of use. This presented me with the excuse to play around with solar, something I've been wanting to do. I needed a way to keep the battery charged without running power from the house. I chose a 50 watt panel from Renogy and a small solar charger, also from Renogy. I was able to acquire a Dish Network mount when I moved from Georgia and figured it would be perfect as a solar panel mount. The only negative is the fact that the smallest angle from horizontal I could achieve with this mount was about 25 degrees. 25 degrees is coincidentally the optimum year round angle for solar at my latitude so it's not a big deal. Those of you who live north of central Florida will have no problem.
The mount was made from the square aluminum tube from an old TV antenna
Choose aluminum to attach to the solar panel frame since aluminum doesn't play well with a lot of other materials.
Square tube stiffeners.
The square tubing was a bit flimsy so I made something out of one of the TV antenna elements so the tubing wouldn't get crushed. The steel screws and nuts from my junk hardware collection appeared to be Black Oxide hardware so it remains to be seen what kind of reaction will happen between them and the aluminum. If some corrosion starts to appear, I'll have to actually buy some stainless steel bolts and nuts.
Dual Solar Charge Controllers
Initially I had one charge controller for the mower battery (the one on the left), but decided to add a second one for testing other types of batteries. The loop of orange cable coming from the top connects the solar panel to DIN Rail connecting blocks. It's no problem to connect more than one controller to the same panel, they just share the power.
3S 18650 battery pack
I built this 3S Lithium Ion battery pack from an old laptop battery pack. Three of the 18650 batteries were good so they made up a nice 12 volt (more or less) battery pack. The 3S BMS is some cheap Chinese crap from Amazon all wrapped up with Kapton tape. The solar controller charges the pack and the BMS protects and balances the individual batteries.