Home Made Solar Motion Floodlights and Gadget Charger

Using found materials whenever possible, I have cobbled together various bits to make a solar powered gadget charging station with two motion detecting floodlights. It’s a very unimportant project, but it keeps me from playing in the middle of the street.

The metal box was originally a sonar fish finder left behind on our property, I stripped out the original electronics and harvested wire, fasteners, and brackets to use in my project.

The black plastic box with circuit board is a 5 volt power supply for charging gadgets. 12V power is available at the car style socket shown with cover closed.

This meter is inserted between the charge controller and the battery. It measures only the power being used to charge the battery, the load connects to a different point on the charge controller.

in its original configuration there was a 5 watt panel feeding this device and it was a gadget charging station only, after adding two 10 watt LED floodlights that was not going to be enough, so a larger panel was installed.

The panel is a polycrystalline Renogy 50 watter, it seems well made. The battery is a 12V AGM sealed lead acid 9Ah model.

The load presented to the panel by our charge controller, battery, and the electronics is less than what this panel can produce. This is clear because the input voltage rises well above the output to the battery and load, indicating that the charger is limiting the power applied to the battery, as designed. It seems a larger battery could easily be supported because even at 11AM we are leaving watt hours on the table (literally in this case) because the battery is apparently happy.

Changes still to come include a third voltmeter to show panel output.

If one is harvesting solar energy but does not use it all, is that wasteful?