Solar power in and outside the shack

Just kidding!

It has always been a dream to power everything in my shack with sunlight. Unfortenately solar panels and batteries are too expensive at the moment and you would only do such a thing when no other power source is available, like in the new shack from fellow blogger VK2TPM Peter. A good inspirator is VK5SW Rob, he has his solar powered station in the Australian bushbush. But for the average hobby radioamateur his equipment is too expensive I think, look at the size of the batteries! Those are very expensive for shure. In a previous post I wrote I bought a cheap 1,8W solar panel. It’s not sufficient to charge the 7Ah battery actually, it’s just topping it when you’re not using it. If I would have my antenna tuner connected all the time the battery will be below the 12,4V that it needs as minimum supply within 2 hours or so. I measured the current that the tuner takes when just connected and it’s 430mA. That would be P=U*I > 12,4*0,43=5,3W you see that I need a panel that is much larger. As I want to supply the W5OLF TX as well with solar in the future I even need some more power and a bigger battery. I found a nice package including regulator at this german shop, it’s reasonable priced and delivers 30W at a sunny day. Together with a 45Ah car battery I think that will do. They also got all kind of other handy things to connect to your solar installation. Like a fluorescent lamps – potential transformer, a idea for the new shack, imagine free solar powered light in your shack. I like that idea. Unfortenately if you look at the costs of all these nice gadgets you better switch on your light from the mains, till now it will save you money. I think to power my future shack with sunlight the solarpanels need to be a lot cheaper. 

Bas, PE4BAS, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Groningen, Netherlands. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Solar power in and outside the shack”

  • Steve KC6YFR:

    Hi,
    A friend and his wife had the cash in an account earning almost nothing.She suggested they check into solar. They had a forty thousand system installed. With the rebates they saved forty per cent. Last year’s power bill was two hundred and two dollars! He’d also had really tightened up the house and added more insulation. Their roof needed replacing as well. They used concrete tile with an air gap under them and the roof.
    Not bad for the central valley!
    Steve

  • Bas PE4BAS:

    Hi Steve, absolutely great when you have the money and do nothing with it. But how many years will it last? And has it been a good investment then? Well it is a good investment if they believe they will save the worlds environment….
    Anyway the electricity in the Netherlands is relativily cheap compared to earthgas that is used to warm houses here. So it will take years to equal your investment if you install a solar system here. I think in other countries it could be that it is well worth the investment it all depends on local electricity prices. 73, Bas

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