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DIY Electrical System vs. Portable Solar Generator – Which One Is Best For…

DIY Electrical System vs. Portable Solar Generator – Which One Is Best For…

    DIY Electrical System vs. Portable Solar Generator – Which One Is Best For You?

    Portable solar generators have become a huge and very competitive industry in the last few years. It wasn’t that long ago the only way to get an electrical system built in your camper was to spend days and weeks learning about watts, amps, ohms or hire someone who knows to build it for you. With lithium batteries getting cheaper all the time and more people needing to charge devices and run appliances on the go, this category of products have exploded in popularity.

    DOMETIC’s Portable Lithium Battery (PLB40) and MAXOAK’s Portable Power Station (AC50)

    These new developments now begs some new questions. Are they ready to be used as your van’s primary electrical system? Does it cost more to buy an all-in-one system instead of building it from parts? What are the upsides and downsides of each solution? This post is not going to talk about any of the devices and appliances like lights, fans and fridges that draw power. Rather it is going to FOCUS primarily on the underlying infrastructure needed to support that system. ‘Solar Generator’, ‘Power Station’, ‘Portable Battery’ and ‘Battery Bank’ are terms used interchangeably in this article as many manufacturers have used them to refer to the same category of products. OK, let’s go down to it.

    DIY Electrical System with Solar

    Building a simple and reliable electrical system is the cheapest way to get your van off-grid ready. Before we select what parts to use and see how much they cost, we need to first decide on the objective of building this system. In order to make a fair comparison to all-in-one portable solar generators, we want to make sure we are building them with similar capabilities. In this case, we are going to use these parameters for selecting our components.

    12V 100Ah AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery (Click image for latest prices)

    12V 50Ah Lithium LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery

    Samlex PST-300-12 PST Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter (Click image for latest prices)

    HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel (Click image for latest prices)

    Victron’s SmartSolar MPPT charge controller with networking capabilities (Click image for latest prices)

    NOCO Genius 10-Amp Battery Charge (Click image for latest prices)

    Cost For A Basic DIY Electrical System

    These are the main components of our system. Using the price of the lowest cost component you are looking at spending about 430 (As of Oct. 2020). This is not including all of the other miscellaneous items you will need such as copper wires, ring terminals, mounting brackets, switch panels, DC outlets, fuses, breakers, etc. We can safely assume that you will spend at least another 150 in those parts combined. That brings your total to 580.

    Another thing to consider is that you will need to learn how to properly and safely install these components yourself. That means learning everything you can about wiring, electrical components, safety protocols, etc. If you are not comfortable with doing the work yourself, you should definitely consider hiring a licensed electrician that knows how to work in RV systems to help you. That can be at least another 200 or more depending on the level of help you need. There have been many instances where faulty installation of electrical components have led to shorts that can cause fires and even deaths. This is a serious and important matter not to be taken lightly.

    This means we are now looking at anywhere between 580 or 780 to install a simple but high quality electrical system with solar in your camper van. If you decide to use higher end and more capacity to this basic system, you can expect to add another 1200 with most of it going towards a bigger lithium battery.

    Total Estimated Cost for a Basic DIY Electrical System with Solar Panels

    High End: 1980

    (With 100Ah LiFePO4 Battery, 2 x 100 Watt Panel and some professional help)

    Portable Solar Generators

    Portable solar generators is a generic name for these all-in-one battery-powered systems that you can use to run electrical appliances. Generally speaking, they are lithium-ion based having both DC and AC outputs. They can also be recharged in a variety of ways. From a wall AC outlet, through your car’s 12-volt lighter socket, or using solar panels. We are going to talk about a range of these portable power stations based on your budget and power requirements. They will vary in power storage capacity, output capacity and charging speed capacity. We will start with what I would consider the minimum needed to run a small camper.

    For Beginners or Weekend Warriors (500Wh)

    This is a level for someone who just needs to be able to keep the lights on and will not be running anything too power hungry like a laptop computer. Lights, phones, cameras and small compressor refrigerators are going to be fine with this system. It is what I would consider the bare minimum if you are wanting to use it as a primary power source.

    Power Station 500Wh Solar Generator (Click image for latest prices)

    This is a MAXOAK 500Wh Power Station. It has all of the features mentioned above plus a couple of extra ones like wireless phone charging and a 45-watt USB-C PD port for charging laptops that are compatible with that technology.

    This is probably about as small of a system as you would want to consider as a primary system to be used in your van. With 500Wh of power, it can run some lights, power a small compressor fridge and charge your devices for a day or 2. Here are some important specs:

    • Capacity: 500Wh of Lithium-Ion
    • Life Expectancy: 500 cycles life before reducing to 80% capacity
    • AC Power: 300-watt pure sine wave power inverter for AC power
    • Recharging: 90-watt AC charger to recharge in 6-7 hours from wall outlet
    • Solar Compatibility: MPPT charge controller to allow solar panel (not included) input up to 120 watts

    Here are 2 other popular portable power banks in this capacity and price range (400-700):

    Goal Zero Yeti 500x (Click image for latest prices)

    Jackery Explorer 500 (Click image for latest prices)

    For Extended Trips and Long Duration Travelers (1,000-1,500Wh)

    These models are going to give you at least double the capacity as the previous category. You are still not going to be running anything like an induction stove top, hair dryers or electric pressure cookers but you will be able to stay out much longer and charge up faster with these bigger but more expensive options.

    Jackery Explorer 1000 (Click image for latest prices)

    Honestly I don’t know why these companies have decided ‘safety orange’ was the color they all should use for their products. Perhaps they expect people to use these on the side of roads during a breakdown? Anyways, this one is from a company who has been very popular and likely because they have been pushing very hard with marketing via social influencers. If you follow any of the popular van life YouTubers you certainly would have seen these. That is probably why they cost about 20% more than a comparable MaxOak product.

    This one has double the capacity than the MaxOak AC500. It is going to give you more capabilities in every way. than double the inverter power, double the charging speed and double the price. This is probably a more appropriately sized portable power bank to be used as an all-in-one system. Here are some important specs to know about the Jackery Explorer 1000:

    • Capacity: 1000Wh of Lithium-Ion
    • Life Expectancy: 500 cycles life before reducing to 80% capacity
    • AC Power: 1000-watt pure sine wave power inverter for AC power
    • Recharging: 200-watt AC charger to recharge in 6-7 hours from wall outlet
    • Solar Compatibility: MPPT charge controller to allow solar panel (not included) input up to 200 watts

    Here are 2 other popular portable power banks in this capacity and price range (900-2000):

    Bluetti AC100 (Click image for latest prices)

    Goal Zero Yeti 1500x (Click image for latest prices)

    Portable Solar Panels

    With these all-in-one solutions they generally have the option to be used with their portable solar panels. Each company will have their own brand of panels but for the most part, they are all the same. Solar panels are more or less commodities today and as long as you choose a high quality manufacturer, you will have a product that should last many years. You will find that portable panels are generally going to cost you more than fixed mounted panels. For the same reason that these all-in-one power bank solutions will cost more than a DIY electrical system. They are portable. They are ready to go out of the box. They don’t require any installation which can mean less labor cost on your end if you are not someone who is ready to get your hands dirty or have the know-how to do the install.

    In the portable solar panel world, there are a couple different types. There are the traditional metal framed rigid panels and fold up into a suitcase shape. And then there are thin fabric-backed panels. Generally speaking, the thinner panels will cost a little bit more due to its convenience. The rigid panels are bigger but will be more durable and cheaper.

    Rigid Solar Panel Suitcase (100-200 for 100-120 watts)

    For a littler or a dollar a watt, the rigid suitcase panels are the best bang for the buck. You can go even cheaper if you build your own with standalone panels, hinges and handles from the hardware store and a little ingenuity.

    120-watt folding solar suitcase (Click image for latest prices)

    Soft-Backed Folding Solar Panels (150-300 for 100-120 watts)

    These types of panels are very convenient and can be stored in less than an inch of space behind a cabinet or even under a mattress. But the convenience does come at a cost and potentially a little less durability.

    120W Portable Solar Panel Foldable (Click image for latest prices)

    Cost For Your Complete Portable System

    In order to have a complete portable electrical system with solar panels, you can expect to pay anywhere from 600 to well over 2000 depending on the parts you choose from above. It is definitely not cheap by any means but for someone who doesn’t know how to, or wants to build a complete system from electrical components, it is a very good option. With a 200-watt portable solar suitcase (350 as of Oct. 2020) paired with a Goal Zero Yeti 1500x (2,000 as of Oct. 2020), you can have an electrical system with lithium batteries comparable in capabilities to many custom-built vans.

    Even if you started with a basic system using a 400 (As of Oct. 2020) MaxOak AC500 and a rigid 120-watt solar suitcase (140 as of Oct. 2020), you will get off to a great start with a fairly capable lithium system. Even if you decide to upgrade later to an integrated custom electrical system, having a portable power bank is still really beneficial in many circumstances. Imagine being able to grab your power bank to take to a park and spend an afternoon working at a picnic table in the shade. That is something you can not do with an integrated electrical system.

    Total Estimated Cost for a Solar Power Generator with Solar Panels

    High End: 2,350


    As you can see that there isn’t really that big of a difference between going with a high quality DIY electrical solution versus buying a ready to go solar portable generator. It comes down to how you plan on using these systems. If you are unsure of which one is best for you, let me pose some questions for you to answer to further help you understand which category you might fall under

    • Are you currently or plan to be full time traveling in your RV?
    • Do you prefer to charge your battery up daily if possible?
    • Are you installing custom wiring for lights, appliances and switches around your camper?
    • Do you foresee yourself needing more battery capacity in the future?
    • Do you have the proper electrical skills or are willing to pay someone who does?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to go with the DIY route. It will allow much more room for future expansion and customization. And if you said no to all of these, the standalone solar generator might be for you. Keep in mind that even though manufacturers say lithium batteries can be drained completely down to 0%, they will last far longer if you keep them above 50% a majority of the time. Depending on the actual chemistry of the cells, you can get anywhere from 500 full cycles (Lithium-Ion cells) to upwards of 5,000 full cycles (Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFePO4 cells) before any noticeable degradation. Even if you decided to go with a portable power station, you might still consider having panels mounted on the roof to keep your lithium cells working for many years to come.

    As someone with a DIY custom electrical system, I still find these portable power stations quite useful as an alternative power source. We have been using one for more than a year and I am constantly finding great new uses for them in our many years of life on the road.

    I hope this is helpful to you in your process of building your off-grid capable camper van. This post is not designed to be a one-stop shop for all of the knowledge you will need to make your final decision but should help point you in the right direction.

    Portable Solar Power Station 1000W LiFePO4 Solar Generator UPS for camping

    Thank you very much for using the portable power station LiFePO4 solar generator made by Evlithium, You can use it to power your electrical appliances or consumer electronics in case of power outage or when you need electricity for traveling. This power station supports DC output, USB output, and AC output to power your laptop, electrical appliances, lighting, etc.

    Product diagram of LiFePO4 powerstation

    Using your lifepo4 battery power station

    Power on/off

    After you press the power switch button, the indicator of AC output status lights up in green, indicating that the AC output port is turned on and is ready to power your device; while a red indication of AC status means the AC output port is in an abnormal condition, and please do not use the portable power station.

    Please turn off the power switch without delay after the use of this portable power station.

    a. Charging with AC charger

    To charge this product, connect one end of the AC charger to this power station, and the other end to a household AC outlet. When the product is fully charged, the AC charger lights up in green, and please unplug the AC charger in time.

    b. Charging via solar panels

    Connect the output of the solar panel to the charging input of the portable power station to charge the power station.

    c. Charging via 12V car socket for cigarette lighter

    Connect an end of the car charger to this product, and the other end to the socket for cigarette lighter on your car to charge the portable power station. A green light on the car charger indicates that the power station is fully charged and please unplug the car charger in time.

    Notice: In order to avoid the accidental electricity loss of your car battery, please keep the car engine running while charging.

    a. How to power AC electrical appliances

    Connect the plug of the power cable from your electrical appliance to the AC output port of this power station and then turn on the power switch to allow this AC outlet station to power your appliance.

    b. How to power devices via USB

    Connect the equipped USB cable of your devices to the USB port of this power station, turn on the power switch, and this station will power your consumer electronic devices through USB.

    c. How to power DC 12V appliances

    Connect your device to the DC 12V port on the power station and then turn on the power switch to power your device. The DC 12V power supply of this product is plug-and-play.

    d. How to charge a car battery in an emergency

    Connect your car battery to the DC 12V port on this power station and turn on the power switch to power your car battery. The DC 12V power supply of this product is plug-and-play.

    Technical Specification of the Portable Power Station

    Lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) Battery

    Charging via main electricity

    Over charge protection, over discharge protection, temperature protection, overload protection


    a) It is strictly forbidden to immerse this product in water. Once it enters the water or the water enters the battery, isolate it immediately and ask a professional to handle it;

    b) It is strictly forbidden to charge, discharge, or leave this product at a high temperature of more than 40. Keep it away from fire, heaters, corrosive materials, etc. Otherwise it may cause the product to overheat, catch fire or malfunction, shorten its life, or even cause danger;

    c) It is strictly forbidden to charge this product below 0C;

    d) It is strictly forbidden to strike, throw, step on, drop, disassemble, or impact on this product;

    e) It is strictly forbidden to connect this product with others in series or parallel;

    f) It is strictly forbidden to use it within strong static electricity and a strong magnetic field. Otherwise, the protection circuit of this product may be damaged;

    g) Do not short-circuit this product. Please avoid storing this product with coins, jewelry, keys, and other metal objects;

    h) Do not heat this product or place it into fire, water, or other liquids, and avoid direct sunlight;

    i) The ambient humidity in which the product can be used is RH85%. When the ambient humidity is greater than 85%, pay attention to waterproofing and avoid condensation on the product surface.

    j) Do not collide with or make unauthorized disassembly to this product;

    k) It is strictly forbidden to overload this product;

    l) Avoid children touching this product;

    m) It is strictly forbidden to perform unauthorized mechanical processing on the circuit board, which may damage the internal circuit and cause functional failure;

    n) Please charge with a suitable charger specially for lithium-ion battery pack;

    o) It is strictly forbidden to over-charge or over-discharge this product;

    p) After using this product, please charge it within 12 hours. If this product has not been charged for more than 12 hours after use, please test its voltage before charging. If the voltage is less than 8V, do not charge it but instead keep it apart in isolation, and consult a professional;

    q) When spontaneous ignition happens to this product accidentally, use a dry powder fire extinguisher or sand to extinguish the fire;

    r) This product shall be charged and discharged at least once a month. The method is to fully charge the battery with a charger, discharge it until the battery trigger protection, and then fully charge it again;

    s) If the product emits a peculiar smell, heats up, discolor, deform, or if any abnormality occurs during use, storage, and charging, please immediately stop charging or using, and remove it under safe conditions to an isolated place;

    t) The product dimension does not include the sizes of positions for outgoing lines, various connectors, handles, wheels, heat vents, and other components;

    What makes BLUETTI’s solar generators last longer? – LiFePO4 battery cells

    SPONSORED NEWS – It all started with the EB150 and EB240 solar generators, Bluetti’s first products launched back in 2019.

    Approximately one year later, they released their flagship model the AC200 on Indiegogo (which was powered by NCA cells), as a crowdfunding campaign.

    This project pulled in nearly 7 million dollars in two months.

    Since then, Bluetti has been at the forefront of technological innovation and has equipped all its new products with LFP technology over both NCM, NCA lithium-ion battery chemistry.

    You may be asking yourself why they did this. Well, in this article, we aim to explain their reasoning as best we can.

    What Are LiFePO4 Batteries?

    LFP or LiFePO4 stands for Lithium Iron Phosphate and was invented back in 1996.

    For all the science geeks out there, its anode material is LiaC6, and the cathode material is LibFePO4, with the carrier being Li.

    LFP batteries provide some of the best electrochemical performance with added lower resistance on the market.

    This is made possible by the nano-scale phosphate cathode material found in the battery.

    This allows for the following benefits:

    • Long life cycle
    • Thermal stability
    • Higher current rating
    • An extra layer of safety

    How Do LiFePO4 Batteries Work?

    An LFP battery is essentially made up of the following components:

    • Positive electrode (cathode)
    • Negative electrode (anode)
    • Electrolyte
    • Separator
    • Lithium metal oxide (LiFePO4)
    • Graphite
    • Lithium salt
    • Polymer membrane Charging

    When a LiFePO4 battery is being charged, lithium ions are released from the cathode and move to the anode. They do this via the electrolyte.

    When a power load is applied to the battery, the opposite reaction takes place. Lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode.

    This movement of the lithium ions creates an electron flow between these two electrodes, which generates an electric charge.

    LiFePO4 Batteries vs. NCM Lithium-Ion Batteries

    For this section, we thought it best to create a comparison table of Bluetti, Jackery, and Ecoflow.

    Bluetti uses LiFePO4, Jackery lithium-ion, and Ecoflow NCM.

    (For the reader’s information, Bluetti could not find a comparable capacity size for the Jackery, so Bluetti included their largest capacity generator, which is 1,534 Wh.)

    Next, we want to figure out the LCOS or Levelized Cost Of Storage in USD/Wh.

    When it comes to energy storage, one cannot simply rely on the actual buying price of the solar generator (up-front cost).

    We also need to take into account the total energy in watt-hours that the solar generator can store and release (the charge/discharge cycle) during its lifetime.

    The formula to work out the LCOS is the following:

    LCOS = Upfront Cost / (total kWh capacity x (DoD %) x cycle life)

    Let’s work out the LCOS for each solar generator manufacturer and their respective product models.

    Bluetti 2 kWh x 0.9 x 3500 = 6300

    1,799 / 6300 = 0,285 per kWh

    Jackery 1.5 kWh x 0.8 x 500 = 600

    1,599 / 600 = 2.67 per kWh

    Ecoflow 2 kWh x 0.8 x 800 = 1280

    1,899 / 1280 = 1.48 per kWh

    As we can see when working out the LCOS, Bluetti is by far the much cheaper option over the long run, and this is because the LiFePO4 technology lasts much longer than both lithium-ion and NCM.

    Do keep in mind that the above LCOS includes other components such as the charge controller and inverter, as these two components are included in the upfront purchasing price.

    Why LiFePO4 Batteries Are The Perfect Fit For Solar Generators

    To highlight this section, we thought it best to highlight all the advantages LFP batteries have and why they are best suited for solar generators.

    Lightweight LiFePO4 batteries are known to be lightweight in comparison to other battery technologies. This is particularly important when their application is found inside a solar generator. The less heavy a generator, the more mobile it is. For example, Bluetti’s new AC200 MAX weighs only 61.9lbs (28.1kg).

    While this may sound like a lot at first glance, you have to remember just how much energy storage capacity this machine has got. For all that energy density, 61 pounds is next to nothing.

    Long Life-Span Perhaps one of the greatest perks of the LFP battery is its ability to charge and discharge thousands of times. In Bluetti’s case, their latest solar generators can discharge over 3500 times.

    This is a significant decision-making factor for consumers looking to invest in high-quality products that will last them many years to come. LiFePO4 technology allows this.

    High Efficiency Unlike lead-acid batteries, LFP batteries are incredibly efficient. You can use up to 90% of their capacity, meaning you can get the most out of your solar generator for as little space used as possible.

    Generally, LiFePO4 batteries can be discharged beyond 90% of their capacity.

    No active maintenance LFP batteries require pretty much no maintenance. This means you do not need to do anything to extend its lifespan. You can simply charge and discharge as you see fit.

    Safety LiFePO4 batteries are indeed safer than NCM batteries. In fact, they are the safest lithium-ion battery on the market.

    These batteries are encased in an airtight aluminum case, specifically designed to withstand temperature, pressure variations, punctures, and impacts.

    Extreme temperatures Bluetti’s solar generators are able to operate in a wide range of temperatures, which means they can be used for a variety of applications.

    Temperature is not something to overlook when it comes to battery performance, and it can have a profound effect on any battery. However, LiFePO4 stands the best chance in extreme temperature variants.

    Final Thoughts

    If you are looking for the safest solar generator with the greatest chance at providing you with long-term energy storage, then all Bluetti solar generators equipped with the latest LFP technology is your best bet.

    Models such as the new AC200 MAX and the AC300 modular power system are capable of providing you with incredible amounts of energy storage.

    For example, the AC300 has the ability to max out at 240V, 6,000W, and a total of 24,576Wh when combined with our Fusion Box Pro. This allows you to connect two units of the AC300 in series and connect up to 8×B300’s (four for each AC300).

    Updated 2022: How To Build A DIY Solar Generator (3,000 Watt) – Part 1

    In this series I will show you how to save money by building your own DIY Solar Generator, with all the same features as the commercial made units. The finished result will be a high quality solar generator with more serviceability and customization options to your own needs than the ready made units.

    Note: The original design of this DIY solar generator used a 2,000 watt inverter. We have upgraded it to the new 3,000 watt model in the latest version along with LifePo4 battery, and other improvements. Before you build the solar generator following our how to plans, be sure to watch the updates video below for the recent changes!


    Solar Generators (also called Solar Powered Generators) are extremely useful tools. I started looking into some of the largest portable solar generator units on the market because the idea of a completely silent generator that can run large power loads while never needing gasoline is a really cool concept. Whether you want to run a portable table saw, or go tailgating / camping where the noise of a standard generator would be irritating, these solar generators are really handy.

    I soon realized I could build my own — getting to pick the components that best match my needs, and even better save approximately half the cost vs buying a manufactured solar generator. This post will show you step-by-step how to build your own weatherproof indoor/ outdoor diy solar generator!

    Solar Generator Build – Quick Links

    After seeing what was available, I found myself wanting to design my own DIY solar generator for many reasons. For one it will be a lot cheaper. Second, I can add several features I wanted to add that are not in to the manufactured units. Finally, because it will be an enjoyable project!

    By building your own, you will learn all about small off-grid solar setups, and also be able to fix the individual components if you ever have problems with it down the road. You can also easily modify the plans to build a permanent style off grid solar power setup for a cabin or camper.

    For comparison, here is a popular manufactured unit. It is nice looking package, and if you don’t care about cost it might be a good option for you, especially if you are not really the maker type.

    pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

    The above unit is priced on the higher end for what you can find on Amazon – but it is a power monster!

    The solar generator I am going to show you how to build will cost half the price, include a 2,000 watt / 4,000 watt peak AC inverter, a 100W solar panel, a high quality true deep cycle AGM battery. I also will add extras, such as integrated LED flood lamps, a high current port for attaching jumper cables, and some others.

    Main Components for our Solar Generator

    I selected the components listed below based on the quality of reviews, as well as price and features suitable for this project.

    Rugged Pelican Case 1620

    pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

    I selected this Pelican 1620 case for our portable solar generator because it is waterproof / weatherproof, has rugged several sturdy handles as well as rolling wheels. My unit will be quite heavy once complete, so I needed something that can take a lot of abuse!

    Here is a picture of mine:

    Kreiger 3000W / 6000W Peak AC Inverter

    pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

    The Kreiger 4,000 watt power inverter should be able to run nearly anything that you could normally power off an standard 15 Amp wall outlet. It also comes with a mountable remote power switch that we will be mounting into the side of our case, as well as heavy 0 Gauge battery cables and main fuse.

    When this post was first created, we used the 2,000 watt unit which is no longer available. The 3,000 and 4,000 watt units install and wire up the same way, although the unit in the videos and photos is the older 2,000 watt version (as shown in my photo below).

    Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel Charger Kit

    pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

    This kit includes a very high quality Renogy 100 watt monocrystalline solar panel as well as a 30A solar charger that is matched well for our needs. The kit also includes a set of MC4 solar cables for easy install. Here is what mine looks like:

    EcoWorthy 100AH LifePO4 Battery

    pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

    This battery has a built in Battery Management System (BMS), which means it will control the max charging current, prevent overcharge, or over discharge to increase the life of the battery. One other important feature is that the battery can be mounted and used in any orientation, which is important considering our solar generator may get stood upright or laid in different directions during normal use. Here is a picture of mine:

    Main Components for the DIY Solar Generator

    Below is a list of components used in this post and their current Amazon prices.

    Click on ANY image below to see more details on Amazon

    Top Pelican 1620 Case Buy Now
    Krieger 2000 Watts Power Inverter 12V to 110V, Modified Sine Wave Car Inverter, Dual 110 Volt AC Outlets, DC to AC Converter with Installation Kit Included. ETL Approved Under UL STD 458 Buy Now
    Top Renogy Solar Starter Kit Buy Now
    ECO-WORTHY 12V 100AH LiFePO4 3000 Cycle Lithium Iron Phosphate fast charging Battery with BMS, Rechargeable battery for RV, Camping, Marine, Backup power, Solar Home Off-Grid System Buy Now
    Top Schumacher Battery Maintainer Buy Now
    Top NOCO GCP1 15 Amp AC Port Plug Buy Now
    Top Nilight Flood LED Work Light Buy Now
    Top zowaysoon Digital Voltmeter Buy Now

    Product and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

    pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

    Additional Components Supplies

    Click on ANY image below to see buying options on Amazon

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    I just put this same Renogy system in at my cabin in Talkeetna Alaska. I was impressed with the quality and simplicity of the system…1 year later it is still ticking along. So nice to have led lights and phone chargers in a remote location.

    I watched the video and surprisingly, I was able to follow along with everything you were saying I’m fixing to build one of these myself.

    Thanks for the tutorial, I plan to build a solar system using your specifications. I was just curious as to what load your current specifications can handle. I’m planing to build a unit that supports a household of Fridges, A/C units, lighting, TV’s.

    I love the idea and the detailed plans you provided. Thanks so much. I’m going to give this a shot myself.

    Andrew Seltz

    This is a fantastic tutorial presentation. I’ve been considering building a solar generator/battery backup solution for my home (we get many storm related power outages each year.) You have done a very good job planning out the components of your generator and assembling them into a finished kit that looks as good as any I’ve seen advertised for sale.

    I’m planning to tweak the idea and use two panels (hinged together) and 2 batteries in the case which will require either a bigger case or some changes in the included components. I also want to put mine to use running low voltage exterior lighting when not needed for emergency power, so I get double duty from it throughout the year.

    Thanks for the thorough explanation of how to get the project done!

    Hi Mark, excited about this build! We live near Hilton head and after the recent hurricane we started to think about alternative energy during an evening on the patio when the power was out!

    I have a question about your chosen battery. you’re building a large powered unit which I like and main Concern would be to power the refrigerator.

    How did you choose your battery? Why one and not two? I saw on Amazon that the optima battery has 55AH, is this enough to power things for a good length of time (say 2-3 days incase any day is cloudy and for extra).

    I am still learning about electricity, so please bear with my questions.

    Can’t wait for video 3, thank you! Stephan

    Hi Mark, I have thoroughly enjoyed your video tutorials on the solar generator and have been engrossed with buying and locating certain parts. I am curious. A nuclear plant is required to replace rather large batteries every five years even though they have a life-span of 15-20 years. Seem like I could easily recondition a battery or two for my uses. However, they are honkin’ big batteries and I thought I would ask your input. The batteries are GNB Flooded Classic NXT-33 They weight about 400 pounds I believe. BUT they have an amp/hour of 2264. Plugging in the item reveals all.

    If you would like to leave a testimonial, please click here. Thank you!

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    Helllo joy. Just wondering if the system can be recharged by heat from wood stove also with a thermal electric generation unit in case there is no sun to charge solar panel?

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    Is it possible that the writer of this doesn’t know the difference between watts (power) and watt hours (capacity)? The battery linked here has a 660 watt hour capacity, and it’s lead acid, which means you can really only use about 40% of that, which leaves you with about 260 watt hours. That’s a fair amount, but it’s a far cry from the high capacity lithium battery based battery packs he’s comparing them to. Also, why use such an old school solar panel? 12 volt solar panels are pretty low power, as is that charge controller. You lose a ton of power using a PWM charge controller. And a 3000 watt inverter is waaaaay over spec’d for that battery. Pulling 3000 watts from a little 12 volt battery would be 250 amps… You’d need some giant cables to deliver that, on the off chance that crappy inverter is anywhere close to honest about it’s specs (and there’s no chance it is). Also, using a modified sine wave inverter isn’t good for your electronics. Sorry but I don’t think the person who designed this should be giving advice about this stuff. Or trashing other people’s products in Amazon reviews as he did here for example: I’m a huge DIY guy, but I’m sorry to say that anyone buying that Yeti generator would have an infinitely better power bank than this.

    I’ve been reviewing this design for some time now and am interested in your Комментарии и мнения владельцев. What is your background and why should I believe you vs Mark? I’m always looking for a better way to build something so I’d be interested in your suggestions. Mark has been pretty upfront with all his design and having other options is good if there are better options. I would like to ask Mark some questions also, but not sure how to do that. Thanks.

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    I want to adapt this for a Lithium Ion battery. Can I, and how? I see a list that names some extra items for battery care, but any immediate suggestions are appreciated.

    Hello, Thank you for all your great work on this blog! I build websites, and you really worked hard to get this up. You are teaching us to be free. Thank you! Questions: 1) What type of batteries are you using: Lead Acid? Nicad? Lithium Ion? 2) Regarding the inverter inside the Pelican Case, is there enough air inside the case to allow the fans to keep the inverter cooled off? Thanks for you encouragement. Best to you

    This looks like a great project and very interesting build which will provide a lot of hands-on education about how a solar generator will work. However…as I add the of all the parts it is within 50 of the BLUETTI Power Station highlighted…certainly not 50% of the cost as specified…am I missing something?

    I see that the outlet is 120V AC, we use DC 220V here. How would i build one with DC 220V? I have never put together anything like this, I wanna do this project so i can build for my family members too. pls what do i need to modify to get DC 220V outlet?

    Mark, Great job on this. I just finished this in time for the winter storm of the century here in Texas. Basically used it to keep my internet up, charge devices, brew coffee, etc. I’ll be adding more batteries and panels. I did have one question and one comment. First, have you thought about adding a battery monitor? If so, have you narrowed down choices? Lots to choose from out there. Second, I wanted to let you know that I had to rewire the harnesses to make them work with the switches. Maybe they sent me the wrong harnesses?? Just wanted to see if you had to do the same.

    Not so much a comment but a question. I have watched the videos several times and I am so impressed with the professionalism of your build. My question is: is there somewhere else I can get a list of all the needed components. I can’t get my browser to allow the components images to show. I know the parts are referenced to Amazon and I assume the have changed, but I can’t see the chart well enough imbedded in the video to make an order for parts. Thanks for any help you can give.

    Hi Fred! Sorry for the trouble. It seems some ad-blockers block the amazon links. You can find a link to the major components in the video description on YouTube ( ) but I don’t have the full parts list there. It has been difficult keeping the parts list up to date as some of the items have changed somewhat since the video was created.

    I’m curious about potential power draw on the system when the inverter is off from the remote switch but the main switch is still on. Does it still use some power? How much? How fast would it drain the batteries? Is it advisable (or even practical) to put a remote switch (mounted through the case) on the positive line between battery and the inverter? If so, this would also allow the use of cheaper inverters without a remote system. What do you think?

    I have a gas powered portable generator and the THD is 23%. I’m thinking of building your 4000 watt unit. What is the THD on a 4000 watt unit.

    Mark, I am very glad to have found your website. My wife and I have been living the ‘grid’ life for decades, and have recently purchased a beautiful remote piece of land in the NC mountains. Your system looks perfect. My question is- we will have a 220v well pump that will need to run occasionally. Will this system provide the power and amps we need? I look forward to your reply, Chris (and Jeanna)

    I am on the verge of purchasing all the parts for the solar generator. I have a question on the Krieger 4000W inverter, it is only 1.8″ longer than the 3000W. So from what I can see it will fit physically, but would there be any advantage or issue from the power and or electrical side?

    Hi, love the design and I’m about to start building one as an emergency backup for hurricane season here in South Mississippi. Any chance you have a printable wiring diagram so I’m not running back and forth to a computer as I’m working on this? Thanks in advance Matt

    With fire season approaching in northern California, I’ve been thinking about solar panels but the cost isn’t in my budget right now, I was thinking that a generator would be a good substitute in the meantime. Do you think this would work for power-outages, do you have any suggestions to get the most effective/lasting generator? Power outages can sometimes last up to a week, I just want to make sure I can get the most out of it. Thanks for sharing, either way, I will be using this tutorial.

    Thanks for sharing! I haven’t seen many DIY solar generators that I have had enough information. I’m excited to try this.

    Was watching a YouTube review of a Bluetti solar power station or so it’s called. It ran a refrigerator but not a power saw. Is this because of the type of motor in the saw? It was rated at 2400wh/1000W. It is expensive too, 1900 plus cost of solar panels. I would believe building your own allows customization and easier replacement and repairs. Would your system equally not run a power saw? Just wondering. Thank you for all the information you have provided.

    Hello. Getting ready to purchase and build. But, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a 3000 w inverter vs a 4000 w inverter? Many thanks,

    We were in power outage, so I kept question short. Just wanting to know about finding ideal array to inverter size with this system. I want to have back up power for a 9cu ft (750w) frig/freezer, a 6 qt Instant Pot or electric burner,, and some phones/laptops that don’t all need to be powered at once. The 4000w inverter is not much more in price than the 3000w, but will it actually be more inefficient? In other words, an example of more isn’t better? My 16yr old daughter is building this for an independent school project and she thinks we need the bigger one for initial power up, but I’m hesitant for other reasons. Any feedback helps. Thanks

    Hi Elizabeth – I haven’t done a side by side load test between the two units, or checked the idle power loss between the two. I wish I had because that would have helped answer your question! I would assume the larger unit either has larger or more switching transistors, which may potentially use slightly more power, but in turn handle larger startup surges like you said. I don’t think you would have any trouble with those items with either unit. I have an 8 quart Instapot and its electrical sticker in the back says it should use no more than 1200 watts. Resistive loads (the electric heater Instapot) do not have a huge startup spike like inductive loads do (mostly motors). I haven’t had any problems with the compressor motors from fridge / freezers, but have had mixed results with power tools such as portable air compressors etc. Hope this helps!

    The battery holds are no longer available. Do you suggest a different brand and if not, what specifications should I look for when getting a different one.

    I will see if I can find some alternates to link. Thanks for letting me know! Generally you just need to see what group size the battery you are using is, then find a battery mount that lists that group size.

    If i build everything exactly by your specs but use a lithium ion battery, what else would i have to change? The charge controller? I imagine could still daisy chain them as in your expansion and charge with solar etc? Your designs are brilliant btw.

    Charging the battery discharges hydrogen gas. I added a boat transom drain as an air vent to my build so I don’t beed to open the case. T-H Marine DP-1-DP Self-Retaining Boat Transom Drain Plug – Black

    I scrolled this whole thing looking for someone talking about a need to vent the battery. My understanding is that even an AGM battery can discharge hydrogen gas if overcharged. The charge controller or battery maintainer should avoid this, but what if either of those devices were to fail? A sealed pelican case full of hydrogen gas sounds very scary. Anyone have advice on this. Thanks

    I wasn’t trying to power the house, but the other way around, trying to power the battery of the generator from the wall outlet.

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    Oh ok, then that should have just powered the battery tender / maintainer. It shouldn’t add any draw to the battery, but instead slowly recharge it. Once it is topped off the battery tender will keep the battery at a happy voltage for long term storage.

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    I was able to find what was draining the battery. I had inverted the cable connection at the 2 port power socket on the zowaysoon PJH-RS-0377 Car Digital Voltmeter. Once I made the change, there was no power drain. Did anybody noticed power loss on the battery when you plug the generator to the wall in your house as if you were supplying electricity to your house?

    Glad you found the issue Luciano! I am not sure if I understand your second question, but it sounds like you may be trying to backfeed the house electrical system with the AC output from the inverter. That can be dangerous if you are not careful or do not have a true transfer switch. It can damage equipment when power comes back on. It can also be dangerous to lineman should they forget to shunt the lines when working on them. It is better to power your necessary equipment with extension cords unless you are certain you understand how to mitigate the dangers of back feeding your house incorrectly.

    Thanks! I’ll be waiting for the new video. I ended up using the expanded battery to kinda jump start the one in the generator after hooking up the solar panels. And it seems to be working. As for the power drain, I will have to completely disconnect the battery, not just the negative cable, which I did before. I ordered a battery meter, which should help me in the future. By the way, I’m not having power drainage issue when not in use with the expanded battery. Thanks a million.

    Hi Larry, Sounds cool! Would love to see some pics when you finish the build. Yes, I have some more stickers. Anyone that wants some send me an email at [email protected] with a mailing address of where to send em!

    Hi Luciano, I just saw your messages and the photos. It is a bit hard to tell in the photos where some of the wires from the solar controller are connected, but it seems correct as best I can tell. Having a detailed video for checking all connections is a good idea! I may try to add that at some point. Craig’s suggestion of turning the inverter switch off is good, especially for long term storage, but usually not necessary if the unit is getting some sunlight each day. All batteries will self-discharge some, but without any load this usually takes several weeks. Yours sounds like their is a constant draw on the battery somewhere, or the solar charger is not working right. If the batteries get drained too low, they can be damaged and may not hold a full charge / will have a shorter life. Until you get the problem figured out I would completely disconnect the battery when not testing to avoid damaging the battery. Just disconnecting the negative cables from the battery is sufficient to fully disconnect it. Another option would be to plug in the battery tender, but first make sure it has enough charge to keep up with whatever is draining it down. Do you happen to have a volt or multi-meter? It can help troubleshoot this sort of stuff. I would start by checking for voltage on the solar panel leads while they are in full sunlight. Then re-connect the panel wires to the box and check for voltage at the solar panel input terminal screws on the controller (the screws you use to tighten the connection are fine to use as test points). If there is voltage there greater than 12v, then check to see the voltage on the charge controllers battery terminals match the actual battery voltage. If those all look good, see if the lights on the charge controller indicate it is charging. It should be if all the above checks out. Hope that helps!

    Try testing the solar controller without the modification to make sure it’s not a hardware problem instead of a wiring issue. Also, switching the inverter off, which I mentioned in my previous comment, should help the problem you’re having with the battery becoming quickly depleted.

    Do you turn the inverter switch off when not using the inverter? Leaving it on will draw some current. If that doesn’t solve it, then consider uploading pictures of your connections. There are sites on the internet for “free image hosting.” You can google it, and then link to them.

    I’m having trouble with the battery. It gets depleted very quick. I got a 2nd optima battery and it is started to be depleted. I tried recharging by using the solar panel and later in the night from the wall outlet. I have looked at the schematic on the videos, but I don’t see that I did the connection incorrect. By the way, I did the modification, however the solar charge controller does not light up. Is there a blown up video or picture to redo the connections? Thanks!

    Hi Mark – Great videos and instruction. Thanks for putting this all together. In the list of parts, it appears that the second part, in between the Pelican case and the Inverter is no longer available, since it is just an Amazon advertisement. Can you please tell me what that part is and if there is a replacement part available? Thanks, Jeff

    Thanks for letting me know Jeff. It was the link for the solar panel charge controller kit. It looks like they have updated that with a new version. I updated the link so that is should be working again.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge?

    I think I might have an issue with my system. I will connect my solar panels and by mid day my battery is at 13v, but by sunset it is depleted to 12.2-12.5v, and there’s no load while it’s charging. Any ideas?

    Hi Patrick, it could just be a sign that your battery is wearing out. This happens over time naturally, or be draining the battery further than you should. Deep cycle battery manufactures usually recommend draining a battery no more than 80% to preserve the life of the battery. A new 12v battery should read around 12.7v when fully charged (with no load or charging voltage applied). As the battery wears out, this top voltage will slowly decrease.

    First and foremost, thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into this post and keeping it current. This build will suit my needs perfectly (just need to get the math figured out). You mention that the system as you’ve designed it will support 400 watts of solar input. The part you call out for the solar panels includes a charge controller with a 100 watt panel. A couple of questions for you (possibly answered already and I apologize if so) 1. Did you design and do you use this system with a single 100 watt panel providing and maintaining charge? 2. Do you have any recommendations on sites for calculating actual capacity requirement? What I’ve been able to find on a general search so far points to the math for the load but doesn’t really (if at all) address how to calculate for a solar maintained battery system. I’m pretty certain that what I want/need to set up will be minimal draw but I’ve not been able to find good info on a solar maintained battery system to support it. I’ve found the math for how much a battery of X amp capacity will support over time but I’ve not been able (bad search parameters?) what is needed of the solar panels to maintain the batteries against X load.

    Hi Vestal, Thanks! I currently have two 100 watts feeding my system, but it was designed to allow you to use up to four of them. See the later post on how to expand the system for more details on that. Most of the info you find assumes that there is a battery bank as well, as most systems do have one, but the calculations are to determine how much load you can sustain on a continuous basis. You can exceed that load and the batteries will draw down. This is fine for short durations as long as they are infrequent enough that the solar panels can recover the battery charge over time.

    I have not experimented yet with the higher wattage panels. They may make more sense than utilizing 4 of the 100W panels. I went that route because I could use just 1 or 2 of them and keep it more flexible / portable when I wanted. The charge controller ratings will be your limit of total panel voltage and current. So long as you stay within that, you could use any combination of panels that fits your needs best.

    I did not see a part number or dimensions for the new L-bracket that you use to mount the red battery cable connect to the case. Did you make them or where they store-bought?

    To Mark: Currently have a solar system of 27 panels. How can I use the existing system to run your solar generator?

    Hi Grant, There are a couple ways you could go about that. You could get a charge controller that is compatible with the voltage / current that your current solar array is producing and patch into it that way. Another option would be to jumper to the other system’s battery bank, so that its batteries would charge the solar generators battery. Is the goal to have a portable option you can take out in the field after it is charged up? I would assume the larger system already has an AC Inverter.

    For the inverter, is there a reason that you went with the modified sine wave type instead of the pure sine wave type? I know it is cheaper, smaller and lighter. But it seems like the pure sine wave would offer you more options for using it.

    Is there a reason we don’t use higher watt panels? I would think 1 or 2 300 watt panels would be easier than 4 100 watt panels? Thanks in advance for your response.

    Hi Mark, great job on the design of this unit and the videos. Please e-mail the schematic diagram if available. Thanks!

    I have only one solar panel right now. For the time being, I would like to try and power the electronics in just one room. If I have the panel connected 24/7 and run a clock, cell phone, and TV with the generator ( mainly in the evening). Is that the proper way to use this generator? Or is it mainly for just when the power goes out.

    Your pictures and explanations…plus the pictures of actual items needed were most helpful. Good job. Much thanks.

    I got the generator done and it seems to be working. I only have one solar panel right now. I had that out in the sun and plug in a portable AC to the generator. It was working for about 45 minutes and then the inverter started to beep. I turned off the AC and opened the case. The solar light was blinking green and the battery light was solid red. What does that mean? I looked at the manual, but it was confusing.

    I’m trying to build one now and I’m having some issues. First when I connect the negative cables to the battery I get a spark. What do I need to do to stop that.

    Hi!! Does anybody know if the 3000 watts portable solar generator with an extra battery would cover all of the power needs for a regular house for one day? Thanks!

    Very unlikely. It all depends on the number of watts your appliances use. Here is a response I gave to someone else to help get you started. It’s really a mathematical question: Here are some thoughts on estimating how many batteries you need and the calculations. Here’s what I would do. First, add up your watts for all the appliances. Let’s suppose 600 watts at 120 volts as an example. Watts = amps X volts 600 = ? x 12 (volt battery) Amps = watts / volts 50 = 600/12 So, a 12 volt 50 amp hour battery would run your appliances for one hour. But, you really should drain batteries only about 20% if you want your rechargeable marine type batteries to last any number of years. Your one battery would not last too long. So, let’s say you decide to buy 128 amp hour batteries, which is fairly common. So, you can drain 26 amps from each battery safely. Suppose you buy 10. That gives you 260 amps that you can safely drain and recharge. Suppose you want to run your 600 watt appliances for 5 hours. You need 3000 watts total. 260 amps X 12 volts gives you 3120 total watts, which can give you 5 hours to run continually 600 watts. Those 10 batteries could run your appliances totaling 3000 watts total for 5 hours without over draining your batteries. Also, you will likely not be running everything continually. But, the above you be sufficient to get you started with your own calculations.

    Don’t plan on running your central air/heat (non-gas), clothes dryer/washer. Window/portable air conditioner will drain it real fast. Plan on using just frig/freezer, fans, lights (preferably LED/CFL), limited TV/radio. Calculate your solar panels and batteries to store enough power for at least one day (preferably two days) while still powering what you need during the day. You don’t want to have no power just because of a rainy or cloudy day.

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    I live in an area where the weather can cause multiple days without power. Would I be able to use this generator to backfeed power into my house (yes, of course with the proper disconnects and other safety precautions)? I want to be able to power a refrigerator, lights and fans for night time.

    Would you be able to run a 5,000 btu ac unit with the 2,000 or 3,000 inverter. And if yes for how long

    Hi Mark, I have a pond that has a continuous pump running my water fall. It is 1000W, 120VAC, 3/4 HP. What about the Charging the battery. Do we need to add a controller to charge the battery pack so that it run at night? Do you sell your system? Email me.

    Hi Mark, Just a heads up. I’m building a similar case and wasn’t sure about putting the Krieger remote switch on the outside of the case. I emailed them and they said it’s not weather resistant so I’m going to forego installing it on my build. Figured I would share.

    So you only using a 100 watt panel can this build use more panels and were would the max wattage for input be? Also can more than one battery be used or it that outside the scope for this type of project? Thanks for the website.

    Thanks for sharing how to build a 2000 watt solar generator I must say that Solar generators are an up-and-coming portable energy technology.

    Hi Mark, The 3000 watt inverter was no longer available when I purchased the parts so I bought the 4000 watt inverter. The inverter shuts off when I try to use it with a 1500 watt saw. I’ve tried to get help from the seller of the inverter but I suspect the information they have provided isn’t correct. They seem to think I need at minimum a 1/0 gauge wire and implied I need to change the battery cables. Isn’t it just the wire from the inverter to the battery that would need to be this size? If so, the 1/0 wires that came with the inverter would suffice, right? Or do I really need to change the battery cables to the fuse box, bus bar and jumper cable quick connect? They also said I need two batteries to run the 1500 watt saw on a 4000 watt inverter. Does this sound right? Thank you, Macy

    Hi Matt, The 3000 watt model wasn’t available anymore so I bought the 4000 watt unit. It’s supposed to be rated at 8000 peak watts. As I power up the saw the voltage on the inverter’s read-out drops and the inverter cuts the power to the system at about 1900 watts. The 1500 watt saw doesn’t even get up to speed before it cuts out the power. After looking at the manual a little closer, I see the outlet is supposed to have 8/2 wire. I went out and bought some 8/2 wire but there is no way this wire will fit either the inverter or the GFI receptacle. The wire appears to be stranded so I must have grabbed the wrong type. I was using 10/2 and thought that would be ok but I don’t know for sure. I suspect the inverter is bad but I am not knowledgeable enough to second guess the customer service person. The generator worked perfectly the first time I used it. I can’t help but wonder if trickle charging the battery wrecked the inverter. Any advice is welcome. Thank you. Macy

    Can anyone please tell me where the parts list is on this site for the 3000 watt design so I can order from Amazon. Thanks and Appreciate this!!

    Hi Gordon, the parts list is below the photo of the battery. Each item is linked to Amazon. You might want to keep two Windows open to maneuver between the list and Amazon. I don’t think the 3000 Watt inverter is available anymore. I ended up with the 4000 watt and am having some trouble with it. Macy

    Hi Mark, I built your box just as you described in your videos. I am not sharp on electricity so I am hoping you can help. I used the box two weeks ago with no trouble. Because I drained the battery a little bit, I plugged it in to trickle charge. I used it again this past weekend but had some trouble with it cutting the power. I noticed the light on the remote flashing. I didn’t find anything in the inverter manual but saw something online that this indicates the inverter was in protection mode. I doubt it was the too warm because it was 39 degrees outside. Heat wave in MN! The inverter felt cold to the touch. Admittedly, there were two of us running saws at the same time. Is it possible this was the problem? I realized I was probably drawing too much power and backed off to just one saw. This was still too much. I double checked the connections and didn’t see anything loose. Is it possible something happened to the inverter while trickle charging? Does the inverter switch inside the box have to be turned off while trickle charging the battery? Thank you for putting together such good directions in your videos. Macy

    Hi Mark, I am a fan of your site and I have decided to go ahead and build a solar generator for camping, but the components list w with links to amazon seem to be gone. Let me know if you can get that back or send me a simple list of part numbers so I can take it from there. Hope you are well. You have a great resource here. Regards, Eric

    Hi Eric, thanks for the interest. The amazon links for the various parts still appear for me. They are using affiliate links, so some Ad blockers will prevent them from showing, so that might be why they are not showing up for you.

    electrical, system, portable, solar, generator, which

    No responses from Mark since January of 2018. I hope he’s well and too busy making millions to reply.

    Thanks Al. Life has been really busy and I had to step away for a while. I am hoping to get back into making some more posts / videos very shortly. Sadly, no millions! : )

    Has anyone explored the idea of what it would take to make this a plug and go unit. I know the idea is that of obtaining power via solar, but let me describe my purpose and interest. Our HS marching Band uses a gasoline powered generator to power our sound system and keyboards for practice and performance. I hate hauling gasoline, storing it inside the building, and the the sound generated by the engine. I’m thinking a 2000 watt sine wave inverter with a 4000 watt surge capacity attached to a couple of 100 amp AGM batteries and adding a few USB outlets as well as a GFCI to power up the sound system. I need 4-6 hours of service and the ability to recharge over night. I think this is a great outline and guide, and I’m just trying to get some ideas on how to modify to fit my needs.

    I have created the same exact solar box that you described. You can go on offer up and look at my box I have for sale or you can go to my page and look at all the pictures. My page is under Justin Raphael. Send me a friend request I’ll look for it under rusty.

    Hi Rusty, No modifications needed. The build I have above does include a way to charge the batteries directly from the wall. The parts list includes a 1.5A charger /battery maintainer. I added it as a wall to allow storage of the unit while keeping the batteries topped off. You could use a larger version of that charger if you needed faster recharge times, and the solar panels / solar charger are not needed if you do not intend to charge your batteries that way. Thanks for your interest!

    Hello Mark, Great videos and information. I noticed that renogy doesn’t offer the controller with the lead connection anymore. I’m going to be using lithium ion batteries. Do you foresee it being a problem hooking the inverter directly to the batteries since there won’t be a low voltage disconnect? Do you recommend another charge controller?

    I’ve been gathering the parts to build the 3000w set up. There’s only a handful of things i need to collect. Great walkthrough, and very informative. Considering how late i came across this, i know there’s no more stickers left, lol. I’m looking forward to the finished product. Will work great for fishing trips.

    I have a 3000watt pure sine wave inverter I was going to use but it is too big to fit in my solar generator box that I make for my customers. I’ll sell it to you for 200. It cost me 400. If you want to buy it I’ll send you a pay pal email and I’ll ships to you. All I need is your email and address.

    I’m looking at running a small shop in the Philippines which is currently running on the local “regular brown-out” electricity. The shop has two fridge/freezers, aircon from a box in the wall, three leds in the ceiling, flat screen TV, coffee machine, toasty machine, water cooler, and I regularly charge several iPhones and Bluetooth speakers. How do I even start to work out how much juice I’m going to need?! Most of it doesn’t have a manual. And has anyone experience of putting it between the mains electricity? I also imagine it will need a voltage stabiliser. What we do have though is plenty of sunlight.

    Here are some thoughts on estimating how many batteries you need and the calculations. Here’s what I would do. First, add up your watts for all the appliances. Let’s suppose 600 watts at 120 volts as an example. Watts = amps X volts 600 = ? x 12 (volt battery) Amps = watts / volts 50 = 600/12 So, a 12 volt 50 amp hour battery would run your appliances for one hour. But, you really should drain batteries only about 20% if you want your rechargeable marine type batteries to last any number of years. Your one battery would not last too long. So, let’s say you decide to buy 128 amp hour batteries, which is fairly common. So, you can drain 26 amps from each battery safely. Suppose you buy 10. That gives you 260 amps that you can safely drain and recharge. Suppose you want to run your 600 watt appliances for 5 hours. You need 3000 watts total. 260 amps X 12 volts gives you 3120 total watts, which can give you 5 hours to run continually 600 watts. Those 10 batteries could run your appliances totaling 3000 watts total for 5 hours without over draining your batteries. Also, you will likely not be running everything continually. But, the above you be sufficient to get you started with your own calculations.

    Oh yea. I forgot. I also added a meter that tells you everything. how many watts is being used and produced / battery meter / voltage / amps / currents basically everything.

    I have made your box mark but I put a lot of new twists on it to accommodate every person and there need. 1. I made it without the battery so people can add there own battery acid/gel/ or lithium. Which ever they like. Plus it keeps the weight down. 2. Add a pure sine wave inverter. 3. Add a second solar input to add 300watts of solar to charge batteries quicker. 4. Added a weatherproof battery connector. So the whole box is weatherproof. 5. Added a top panel so you don’t have to look at the inside with all the wires. 6. Made it easy to replace any part that might go bad over time. 7. Added 2 fans to circulate air flow. If anyone needs one custom built Let me know. I custom make them any way you want. Just email me at [email protected]. I will send you pictures of the finished product with every option I offer.

    OK, for the 1620 Inside dimensions are: 22L, 17W, and 10.75H (with the lid open) You should not feel obliged to use the same locations or even the same components. I had to do it again, I would use a pure sine wave inverter, for example which probably would not fit in my 1620 unless I bought maybe a 1000 watt inverter. The height of 11.02 in your pelican case, if that is also including the height of the lid, could be a problem. Hope this helps!

    I was able to buy several surplus Pelicans a while ago that are decently bigger than the 1620. This will allow me to add a 1000W pure sine wane inverter as well as replace the floating charger with a ‘Smart’ charger. This will allow me to charge at a faster rate at night if needed. Will be able to watch the large screen TV/DVD while out roughing it in the woods. I would suggest doing searches on letgo/offerup/Ebay for used/surplus cases. I got mine for 80 each.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge?

    AWESOME SITE. Was wondering 1 thing. I have a Pelican 1615 case. Will this work? Its brand new and ID like to get buy with not having to order the 1620 if I can swing it. Thanks

    Hi Mark, Excellent work you have done. I have been looking it over prior to building one. A couple of Комментарии и мнения владельцев/questions I have. 1) Is the KR3000 supposed to output pure sine wave? The manual says it is modified sine wave. I know this will not adversely affect corded power tools but not sure about ‘delicate’ electronics or chargers for cordless devices. 2) Using the direct 12 high current connector for jump starting cars might present a problem They are rated at 175A. The starter motor current chart (link below) shows MANY cases where the current required could be higher (sometimes much higher) that the rating of the connector. If the draw is for very short duration and not much higher than the ration there shouldn’t be a problem, but otherwise could definitely be an issue. Are there higher rated connectors? 3) Also with the high current connector. If a battery expansion box is used (VMAX-125) and the load put upon the invertor is maxed out (6000W) or close to it the connectors between the two boxes could be forced to handle at least 250 amps load (possibly more if the primary battery is smaller than the VMAX-125). 4) I would put one of those marine super heavy battery switches in the expansion box due to the fact that as soon as you make connection you could have a major spark if one of the other is very low/dead. 5) I have seen some golf carts with flush-mounted metal boxes for the charging cable were the connector is recessed. I think this might be better because the connector would be mounted more securely and also would not be sticking out.

    It’s a great idea, but a bit not realistic. The title “3000 watt” in the title is misleading, as the solar panel gives out only 100 watts max. Let’s say your battery is completely charged and it can hold like 150 amp-hours. If you don’t want to destroy the battery, you should not drain it more than 50% of the total charge, which means you can only use about 75 amp-hours of charge. If you use 3000 watts of power at 12v you will be using 3000/12 = 250 amps, which means you can only use it for 0.3 hours, or like 17 minutes. I am not even sure it’s possible to pull that many amps at once. You should really base the system size not on the inverter capabilities, but on the realistic available power.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge?

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge?

    Strongly considering building this, with one adjustment: I have two 10w LED spotlights, but they’re not flush mount, so I plan to move the solar charge controller next to the battery tender and mount a fishing rod holder and second trailer harness in the area of the top handle, to accept a pole with the lights mounted on top. (Basically building Pelican’s “remote area light” with all of your added functionality.) Awesome work! Really enjoy the combination of your write up and videos, as well as Amazon links for all the major components. Thank you!

    The easiest way is to follow Mark’s step-by-step videos which is better than plans. They’re all on YouTube or you can follow the links on this site to the next video. You actually see him in the process of building the solar generator, and the tools he used to accomplish the different tasks. That, plus all the links to buy the components puts this within the ability of nearly everyone to be able to build. This was my first time working on a solar generator project.

    Hi Thanks for posting such a wonderful tutorial. I too am planning to build my own portable solar system. I was wondering, why go with a modified sine wave invertor, rather than a pure sine wave? With a pure sine wave, I know its cost a little more, but you will be able to run sensitive electronics devices. Thanks Al

    Hello Mark. Very nice project and great instructions! I have a quick question: When looking up this battery on Amazon, the description also shows the option for a red top and yellow top. Their recommendation seems to be to use the blue top only for starting. And it seems, based on their description, that the yellow top would be more suitable for this application, but I have no clue. Could you please shed some light on the rationale behind your choice of battery. Much appreciated!

    Mark, I noticed in the pictures that you did not include ventilation in the case, how do keep the inverter from overheating? Also the solar charge controller has a temperature sensor and the heat from the inverter in an unvented box could affect the charging operation. I build military target ranges and laid my panels flat to prevent ricochets from striking the panels and I started losing batteries life. Turns out by laying them flat in 90 degree temperature the sensor did not have enough air flow to operate properly. Another thing is that even though the battery is a sealed lead acid it vents around the negative post, in a sealed box there is nowhere for the gasses to go. One of the things I noticed in these Комментарии и мнения владельцев was someone stating they were not familiar with electricity, my advice when you start building one of these is to have someone who is familiar check your work BEFORE connecting the battery. Another was someone wanting to power refrigerators, AC’s, TV’s and such. Keep in mind that using a 50-55 AH battery you can power a CPAP machine for 8-9 hours before having to recharge. With a 100 watt panel it takes about 6-10 hours of bright sun to fully recharge. Sorry, didn’t mean to write a book

    Rick, I have a CPAP machine that uses 13 amps (12V), so that would give me only 4 hours. I’m obviously going to have to include a separate battery and additional panel in my system.

    Hi Mark! I’m almost done the build. I’m into Part 4, wiring and have wired the battery, bus bar, quick connect, and put the fuse box in. I was wondering if you have any Survivalist stickers left. Would really like to put one on the case! By the way, thank you for the research. postting all the materials, the videos and the links to Amazon. You really made this so easy!

    This is such great info and using it to piece together my project now. Thank you What portable solar panels do you recommend? I’m looking for something that may fold up in a briefcase or something flexible for the underside of a tonneau cover to be flipped up. Thoughts?

    Hi Mark, Let me first in congratulating you on an amazing DIY project. You videos are amazing and the finished product is worthy of admiration. I would like to get your advice on the following; How many solar panels and batteries would I need to run an average size refrigerator 24 a day and keep operating everyday? Is there any other change that I would need to do to the system? I would like to make only my refrigerator completely off grid. Your help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks Javier Espinosa

    Dear Sir, I would like to contact you privately. Can I have your email address? You can reach me on [email protected]

    I liked your build had kept the YouTube link to your videos for when I go back to my country I get to build it. 1 thing is let’s say I don’t want a portable solar generator and want want to add more batteries can you make a video on that. Trying to power a normal refrigerator, fan, lights in a home for when power goes out.

    Hey I finsihed the build, and it all seems to working fine except for the voltage meter reader on the outside. Doesnt come on. The USB is working though. Curious where I should start on troubleshooting this. I never worked any kind of wiring before until this so I’m kinda stuck like chuck not wanting to mess something else up.

    Check your wireling setup. You could have them switched of a bad meter. Could be a bad connection or connector

    Hi Mark, I have one question. Do I need DCDC charger to charge from car battery to Generator. The charger you put in is for AC outlet so when battery get full it will disconnect it. Thanks Aslam Molani

    Thanks Mark. Yes it make sense. I think it will be fine if I plug one side in the cig. port at the back of my suv and second one in the cig.port on the generator or i have to add additional cig.port which connect directly to the generator battery. (it’s when I am not using solar panel while driving) Thanks again for you help. Aslam Molani

    Great! Shouldn’t be any need to add a second cigarette port to the generator. The one that is on their will work. Just make sure to turn on the power switch for it, and it is wired through the fuse block and then directly to the battery.

    Hi Mark, Just now I have finish watching your last video of how to make solar generator. I am very impress the way you explain it. i have watch so many videos to learn to make it but no one explain it like the way you did. now I have full confidence that i can make it. I am really thankful to you for making these detail videos. I have one question. Can I charge this battery unit with my car cigarette charger while traveling and long driving. If not then can you please explain how can I charge with 12v cigarette charger. I will really appreciate that. Again thanks a lot for these videos. Great job. Aslam Molani

    Thanks Aslam! I am glad it has been helpful. Yes, you can definitely use the 12v cigarette port as a way to charge the solar generator. They make double ended 12v cigarette / accessory connectors for this kind of purpose. Here is one that looks like it would be good: The solar generator unit can also recharge the car battery in the same way, or greatly extend the cars battery life when being used while the vehicle is not running. The water / electricity analogy is a good way to explain how this works. When the solar generator is connected to the car battery, which ever side’s battery has the highest pressure (voltage) will push water (current) through the wires into the other battery, until eventually the pressure (voltage) is equal / balanced on both sides. Once the voltage on both sides is balanced, all current flow will stop and they can remain connected indefinitely. If either side experiences a load and begins to drop voltage, the other side will begin charging again until once again the voltage on both sides is balanced. Hope this makes sense!

    Hi Mark, I am building my generator and my switches to the flood light work great. However, my digital voltage reader is not coming on even though my sub and my cigarette lighter work. What is causing this problem?

    Hi Hans, It sounds like you may have a defective volt guage if your wiring is correct. Since you have power at the USB and 12v aux outlet, we know your switch is working and that you have power to that point. Double check that your crimps are tight, and that the and – wires are not reversed on the back of the volt gauge. If all checks out there, I would suspect it is defective. If you happen to have an DMM / voltage meter, I would also double check for voltage at the guage terminals as well to be sure.

    I’ve been searching for hours on this topic and finally found your post. totosite, I have read your post and I am very impressed. We prefer your opinion and will visit this site frequently to refer to your opinion. When would you like to visit my site?

    I am currently in the wiring process of this project. Unless I missed it somewhere, I didnt see or hear what you did with the wires coming from the battery charger… I am not electronicly minded so I am having to start and stop your video over and over again during this process. It’s a little tighter with the 3000 watt but everything fit. For those like me building one that doesnt have the heavy duty crimpers, I took my cables to a local car and audio and the kid just soldered them in. Any suggestions on the charger wires would be appreciated Mark. Thank you again for the great video.

    Hi Matt, The wires from the charger lead to one of the tabs on the fuse block and the negative bus bar. This ultimately connects it to the battery, but ensures that is is fused. I wired both the AC battery tender / charger and the Solar Charge Controller in the same way. This is in the Part 4 video, starting at about 12:20. Having a local car audio installer help with the large crimps was a good idea. I am surprised they didn’t mechanically crimp the wires first before soldering though, as this would provide a better electrical connection, as well as reduce chance of wires pulling out. You can also use a vise to partially crimp these, and or use a metal punch and hammer to smash a divot into the side of the crimp to help clamp the wires inside. Good luck with the rest of the build!

    Hello. Just wondering if this unit can be charged with a thermal electric unit for a wood stove also ?

    Man I’m really glad I built mine. Shortly after we had this major fire in Fallbrook ca. Took mine with me when I had to bug out! Keep charged with hotel power in case I need it when I got back to the house. Plus I was ready for brown out with my portable light. One thing I found out was, to read the charge % the solar quick connect cord needed to be connected, but no the panel. Thank for the build.

    Hi Rick, I would love to see them. There isn’t a way to upload photos in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев here, but if you go to the forum section, you should be able to create a post and upload photos there.

    https://wwwcom/don.francis.58/posts/10215436482771840. Finished mine with some twists of my own. Salvage make plug end for panel quick connect/disconnect.

    I’m currently putting the pieces together for my first dyi solar generator. Of all the videos I’ve watched your’s are definitely some of the most helpful, thanks for putting these out there. One question, my inverter states that you should never mount it near the battery as a spark could ignite the off gas. I am using sealed batteries but now I’m worried:). It looks like a lot of people do it this way, so I’m wondering if the risk is very minimal? Thoughts? Thanks.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge? It can support AC 110V/220V pure sine wave output and solar input. It can support DC QC3.0 and type-c PD. It can power up various electronic and electrical devices. It is rechargeable,versatile,noiseless,portable for home outage/outdoor/emergency.

    For Chris Dresser I’m assembling the components to build this system in Vieques. I found no components readily available in Puerto Rico. Comment here and I can let you know my process for acquisition. Amazon will deliver some. Maybe I can get you contact info through the administrator

    I already sent a few less rugged but lithium solar generators to PR. The only issue I found was getting batteries shipped. Shoot me an email if you want dettails.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge? It can support AC 110V/220V pure sine wave output and solar input. It can support DC QC3.0 and type-c PD. It can power up various electronic and electrical devices. It is rechargeable,versatile,noiseless,portable for home outage/outdoor/emergency.

    Hello Mark, Great videos, I just wanted to know why not use Lithium Ion batteries? They’re lighter, more reliable, and requires less time to charge compared to lead acid batteries.

    While I think everyone can use the type of batteries they prefer, I still go with lead acid batteries for now, since they have a longer track record, lower initial cost, are widely available, easier to recycle, and less specific about their operating conditions. It just comes down to individual preferences for a given application.

    Any interest in lifepo4 batteries portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge? It can support AC 110V/220V pure sine wave output and solar input. It can support DC QC3.0 and type-c PD. It can power up various electronic and electrical devices. It is rechargeable,versatile,noiseless,portable for home outage/outdoor/emergency.

    Mark, Great videos! I’m considering building one for emergency backup power. Ice storms are a threat here but I don’t like the idea of relying on a generator and gasoline. I have a new furnace and am concerned about the quality of power. Any thoughts on running furnaces and HE gas fired water heaters. Is a pure sine wave inverted required? Simple substitution but pricey. The inverter link to Amazon is pulling up a smaller unit.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge? It can support AC 110V/220V pure sine wave output and solar input. It can support DC QC3.0 and type-c PD. It can power up various electronic and electrical devices. It is rechargeable,versatile,noiseless,portable for home outage/outdoor/emergency.

    Hi my name is Juan I Built your solar generator tu use in Puerto Rico and It’s work fantastic thanks I would like to ask too you too show me how to install 2 panels to the System

    To Juan Martinez, I lived for over 8 years in PR, and am getting ready to go back soon. I am interested in bringing a bunch of these (as many as I can) to Borinken and Vieques, and I’ve been in discussions with some friends with a solar power company about building a solar generator along the lines of these ones, with parts that are readily available on the island now. Would you have any insight into what the availability is in PR for the components needed to build this design. I am wondering if I will need to bring a container load of components, or if I could just find the parts there? What do you think? Do you know anything about the current availability of these parts needed on the island? Will Amazon even deliver to PR? At any rate, good luck to you and your family.

    Any interest in portable power station with AC/DC/cigar lighter/all USB types output supporting solar panel charge?

    I need a solar generator for our home so my mom’s oxygen will run in a power shortage. Would you make one of these and sell it? If so, how much?

    I have one I made the exact same way and it includes 1 – 100watt solar panel. That should run your moms machine. I can sell You that one. I can send you pictures. Let me know. Justin. 941-320-9386 I live in Florida.

    Hey Pat. I can also custom make yours to the way you want it. This is what I do because I am a disabled vet with nothing to do so I make these boxes to sell. I have not made a website yet but I will customize the box however you want. Let me know. My email is [email protected]

    I’m sorry to keep bothering you. Is it possible to link two or more of these together? I have been reading the other Комментарии и мнения владельцев and know already that for my application I’ll need a pure sine wave inverter, but I’m not sure how to link the gennies to each other. Thanks

    Thanks for all the great questions / Комментарии и мнения владельцев guys. Sorry I was out of town for a couple weeks and was backed up on the day job as well. I am doing my best to keep up with the questions / emails I get but I am definitely backlogged. I will answer as many as I can, but I don’t know all the answers either! Feel free to chime in and help others if you know an answer to a question. It is my hope to make this site / forum community based in the future. I would love to have great useful content from lots of perspectives and backgrounds!

    Hi I’m new to this but setting up off grid and was looking for a way to have quiet power without an entire field of panels. I love this idea and an going to do it. One question – how would i hook a wind turbine in the mix? I know your product is portable but I’ll have mine stationary\fixed. Here in Maine, wind is a must in the winter. Thank you for your fabulous instruction and saving one old vet a ton of !

    Sure! Just set up your wind turbine to charge the battery as you would with a dedicated wind system. Both the solar and wind turbine will contribute to recharging the batterys. You might even be able to wire the wind turbine into the same charge controller, but I am not sure on that one. It will depend on how much voltage / current the wind turbine can produce.

    Hi Mark, Great tutorial! Looks like Amazon no longer offers that inverter. Your link brings up a Krieger 1500. You can’t get it from the Krieger site either ( I found it on another site about 410 shipping. Is that in the correct price range? Thanks,

    I have an Electric golf cart with 4 12-volt batteries already. Can I utilize those batteries to running household items – as well as recharge it via the solar panel? Thx

    You can definitely use the batteries as long as you have them wired in parallel for a 12v system. The components I used are all geared for a 12v system, not 24v, 48v, etc. you may also need to keep them upright and in a ventilated enclosure depending on the battery construction / chemistry.

    Hi Mark, thanks for all of the time and effort you put into this. I am going to build one of these but had a few 25ft 4ga jumper cables laying around that I was thinking of using as the power cable from the panels to the generator (I believe you are using a 25ft 12ga wire). I know that 4ga is overkill for this application, but do you see any reason that a jumper cable couldn’t be used for this (ie. insulation, resistance, etc.)? Also, I have some surplus lithium battery packs laying around from a previous project (wired in 12v packs totaling ~120ah/1.4kwh @ ~18lbs) that I was thinking of using in lieu of lead acid. If wouldn’t mind, do you mind shooting me an email?

    Hi, This is a fantastic video. I like that you published a video showing it’s capabilities powering some tools. What kind of results have you had powering other things? Fridge, fans, etc. Thanks

    Hi, This is a fantastic video. I like that you published a video showing it’s capabilities powering some tools. What kind of results have you had peering other things? Fridge, fans, etc. Thanks

    Hi Mark, I really need you help. Could you send me a phone number or email address to contact you. Please just send it to my email address so I can get some information from you. I hope this finds you in the best of health and spirits, Chic

    I was wondering how you were providing ventilation for the unit. Does it get hot after the inverter has been running for a while?

    Haven’t had any issues with heat / ventilation yet. Most of the high current / power uses I needed are intermittent so the unit doesn’t get too hot. The inverter will shut down if it overheats before any damage occurs, but this has never happened to me so far. If it ever does, I plan to just open the case and let it breathe!

    This is the charger I have decided to use. 3A maintainer charge, 15A fast charge. It is definitely bigger but I have the space since I am using a bigger case. Mounting will be more complex but shouldn’t be too hard.

    Iv gotten mine pretty wrapped up. Still Waiting on my VMAX 135ah battery to Come in but everything looking ok on tests so far. I was able to fit the krieger 3000 watt as well as a Reliable 2500 watt pure sine as a back up in my pelican 1650 case. It’s not wired but can be in a matter of minutes. In event of any EMP type event I want a back up. Il likely keep an extra charge controller inside as well. I was very meticulous with wire management and used auto wire conduit for management and organization. One other major difference for my case is a 1/2″ piece of plywood I mounted with construction adhesive to act as a base for hardware mounting. I just didn’t want fasteners showing on the outside for waterproofing and aesthetics. Shoot me an email or send me yours and il send some pics.

    Hi Mark, Love your video. Followed it but made some modifications. Question, I have 2k watt pure sign wave inverter per manufacturer, suggests it must be grounded. I read somewhere it doesn’t have to be because it’s under 5 kilowatts will be used indoors(garage) while portable 100watt panels will be in the backyard. The argument is how can it be called portable if it’s grounded. Your thoughts?

    Hello Mark, great project and presentation. I am in the process of replicating it with some modifications (2 100W panels, MPPT charge controller, 2 Optima BlueTop batteries) I was wondering if it would make sense for efficiency purposes to configure it as 24V (panels, charge controller, batteries) and then step it down to 12V with a transformer like this Any thoughts on this? Thank you much, Martin

    Hi Martin, That is an interesting question. I am not certain but I would think that stepping 24v down to 12v to power a 12v inverter would be less efficient (due to the conversion loss through the 24v-12v converter) than using the same two batteries in parallel (so they are running at 12v) would be to power the same 12v inverter. Now with that said, I have heard 24v AC inverters have an efficiency edge over the 12v ones. Although they are less common, would always need 24v, and you would have to find one that fits for your application. Let me know what you end up using and how it works out!

    Hello Mark! I have a pretty urgent question of you if you don’t mind! I am building one of these this week (absolutely incredible tutorial by the way!). Anyway for an event I’m helping out with this weekend, I need to have 2kW consistent power over the course of 9 hours. I know its a lot and I’m struggling to find a way to make it work. At this point I have ordered, piece for piece, your recommended items with only a few changes. Essentially my question is, how many batteries (same model as yours), do I need to put in parallel and how many panels should I have to reach this requirement. Is it even possible? Your quickest response would be greatly greatly appreciated. Thank you, Jonah

    Hi Jonah, I just saw your question. That’s a tough one to answer as there are a lot of variables. When you say 2kw consistent over 9 hours, do you mean they will be actually using 2kw of load the entire time? If so, that’s going to take a pretty big system. The batteries will be draining down pretty quick with that size of a load. It would take 20 of these 100w panels to produce 2kw in full direct sunlight. That is the lot of power!

    Hi Mark. Thank you for posting an awesome tutorial for making these generators. I’m very excited about doing this project. which will be quite a new experience for me, but feel absolutely positive by your videos that I can do this. Lol I do have a question on batteries. I noticed that some of the high end made generators have the Lithium Iron batteries used. I know that they are less in weight and get more charges. but is there anything else I should know? If they are good to use. can you recommend one that holds a lot of power. This is all very new to me so I’d appreciate any wisdom and advice. Thnx… Tommie

    Hi Tommy, I am confident you can build it too! Yes, Lithium Ion batteries are much lighter and that is why most cordless power tools have switched over to them. They discharge at a much steadier voltage as well, but need additional electronics to monitor and protect them from overcharge and discharge. They are also more expensive, but another issue to check into before jumping over to them, is most solar charge controllers do not work well with them. I have not fully researched this side of things, because I wanted to keep the budget for the build within reach for more people.

    Mark, I attempted to send you and email yesterday, July 30 after inhaling your 6 videos. WOW! I am in AWE of your creativity, style and neatness. Do you respond to emails?

    Hi Joseph, no not currently, but I do go over every single connection in the wiring video. I may add a full schematic later but haven’t yet.

    Nice work Mark, I watched the video and surprisingly, I was able to follow along with everything you were saying I’m fixing to build one of these myself. There’s only one thing that I am thinking about changing and I’d like to get your feedback if possible. I am thinking about upgrading the non-solar charger from the listed 1.5A charger to a 7.2A charger shown here: Stephen Harris from says: “Harris Tip #4 Under NO circumstances would I go lower than a 6 amp battery charger. DO NOT buy 1 or 2 amp ‘trickle chargers’ EVER. They are not intelligent and they usually end up destroying a battery PLUS they NEVER have the ability to bring a discharged battery back up” The NOCO Genius G7200 12V/24V 7.2A UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger is a bit pricier, heavier and not as mount friendly, but I think it might provide a good option for AC charging. As someone who has actually built this thing, and thus has more experience with it than I do, do you forsee any problems coming from this substitution. Thanks again!

    Hi Chris, glad you liked the videos! The alternate AC charger you selected looks like a good product, and should work fine also. It is pricier, like you pointed out, but if you plan to recharge your batteries by plugging into existing AC a lot, it will recharge faster due to the higher output current. I am going to have to disagree with the guy you quoted stating that any 1 or 2 amp charger will destroy the battery. The product I used in the video is absolutely designed to be able to be connected all the time, and will not overcharge the battery. It is indeed automatic and will “float” the battery once it is fully charged. It currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 623 reviews, so I cannot believe it destroys batteries. But the one you link is also good, and if a faster recharge rate is what you are looking for, give it a try! Good luck with the build!

    Having a hard time seeing all of the info on how to build one. Due you have any other way to see the info

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