Solar Generator (DIY Goal Zero Yeti)

Red90

Well-known member
You don't need a fancy generator. Any old cheap thing will do. A couple hundred for a used one, then a few hundred more for the electrical to wire it in properly. A manual transfer switch and a small sub panel. Running a house fridge from a solar system will be an expensive solar system. You need a lot of batteries and big inverter and then a lot of panels, if you need to recharge during the outage. You need to understand the loads and sizing.
 

FlyersFan76

Well-known member
You don't need a fancy generator. Any old cheap thing will do. A couple hundred for a used one, then a few hundred more for the electrical to wire it in properly. A manual transfer switch and a small sub panel. Running a house fridge from a solar system will be an expensive solar system. You need a lot of batteries and big inverter and then a lot of panels, if you need to recharge during the outage. You need to understand the loads and sizing.

I was just more or less thinking of uses for this cool project.
 

Red90

Well-known member
Yes, and I'm trying to explain that it is not suitable for what you are proposing. You would need a system many times larger with an expensive inverter added on. You are probably needing to budget $3000 for a system to do what you want.

Going the generator route is $600 with a new generator and the switching panels if you install it yourself. You can then run the fridge, furnace and all the lights.
 

FlyersFan76

Well-known member
Yes, and I'm trying to explain that it is not suitable for what you are proposing. You would need a system many times larger with an expensive inverter added on. You are probably needing to budget $3000 for a system to do what you want.

Going the generator route is $600 with a new generator and the switching panels if you install it yourself. You can then run the fridge, furnace and all the lights.

https://youtu.be/9dlOwHo_pqA
 

The Dro

Well-known member
Here is a portable solar generating system I built last year. It was built to power an ARB 12v refrigerator and as a power station for base camping trips. In a nut shell it's a Goal Zero Yeti 1250 for less than a third of the cost.

Here is the breakdown. I purchased these three dustproof containers at Home Depot ($98 OTD special) I only used the bottom wheeled box which by itself was $60.



Next up was selecting the battery. I wanted something sealed so I went with a 70ah AMG battery from Auto Zone. I considered Optima but from my research the new ones lack quality and were WAY more expensive. The charge controller is a Morningstar 10amp model from Amazon ($56).



I went with Blue Sea for the fuse panel, master switch, 12v outlets and the USB outlet. Amazon had them but they were about 10% cheaper from a marine shop on EBay.









Here is the almost completed interior. I still need to cut some stiff foam to hold the battery in place.



The RENOGY 100 Watt 12v solar panel was purchased from Amazon for $150. I also bought with it a 25 foot cord and cut it in half so I could have a positive and negative 12" section with the correct connectors for the panel. On the box side I went with an easier to connect/disconnect plug type.





All the wiring is 10 gauge except for the wiring to the USB. Goal Zero wanted about $1600 for their unit plus a few hundred for the solar panel. I'm in it for less than $500 and am very happy with the final results. The rolling box weighs about 50 pounds and the panel weighs just a few pounds. I still need to make some folding legs for the panel and sew up a neoprene sleeve to store it in.

The experiment starts this morning and this should be a good test. Today's forecasted high...... 113F (45C) with an evening low of 85F (29C)



This turns out to be a great week to test things out. Record heat (114F) yesterday and hotter (115F) today. Here is the data thus far.
Battery started the test at 13.0v at 10:00a yesterday and the fridge set and pre-cooled to 32F.
07:00a this morning the battery was at 12.4v and the evening low was 82F
08:30a I lower the t-stat to 30F.

115F on the patio, the fridge is 27F degrees and the battery is 100% topped off. I'm calling this a successful project.
To the Top... HD has these again on sale for $98. Just got mine. :)
 
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