A Small, Portable PV System for Camping, Emergencies, ...

This is a very nice, small PV system  from Kevin that he uses for camping, but could be used for a variety of small electrical needs.

Portable PV for Camping

This is also a good system to learn something about how PV works without spending and lot of money, and have something useful to boot.

Thanks very much to Kevin for sending this in! 


Portable PV for Camping

I put together this little solar battery charger. We do a lot of dry camping but I still wanted a little light and someplace to charge my cell phone.  Just the right size for camping, and easy on the budget.

Solar battery system Solar panel

It also has a 1200 watt inverter for occasional use. The plan is to add another solar panel or just one larger one and also get a better Battery.

I've got two meters, one to show the battery Charge and one to show the power coming in from the panel. The picture of the top of the battery shows about 15 volts coming in from the panel on a cloudy day. (the battery meter isn't hooked up yet)


I use a Sunsaver-10 Charger controller.

I have a fuse block that has room for up to 6 circuits.

Battery box cover Battery

The battery is just a deep cycle battery from Walmart and I have an automotive battery  mount holding it in place. I also have 8 holes drilled into the box for ventilation.

The panel is a 50 watt 2.98 amp panel.

I have two power outlets (only one is hooked up right now) that will work with my cell phone charger. I also wired up two 15 watt 18" fluorescent fixtures that I hooked up to a regular car charger type plug in. I use just one or both lights. It works better than a flashlight when going to bed in the tent, and saves on disposable or rechargeable batteries.

Nothing fancy, kind of fun to put together and had fun with the kids explaining how it all goes together and what makes it work. Thought I'd share.


Schematic diagram for the system from Kevin...

One thought I had on this is that for regular flooded lead acid batteries it might be a good idea to add a separator between the battery and the area with the wiring and the charge controller.  The idea being to prevent any gases given off by the battery from corroding the circuitry over time.



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Gary October 31, 2011