He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

Solar Setup Picture

So, as promised, here's the details....

Firstly, here's a list of the components I used:

1) Inverter (300 Watts) - £30
2) Leisure Battery (85 Amp) - £30
3) Solar Controller (12 Volts, Up to 12 Amps) - £15
4) Switch - £2
5) Two core cabling - £5
6) Three-core cabling - £5
7) Double plug socket - £10
8) Cable clips - £1

A total of about £100, plus your solar panel. The Kyocera ones seem to do really well (if you want a recommendation).

The box at the top right of the photo is the controller. It ensures that the solar panel doesn't over-charge and cook the battery. It'll also cut the voltage off if the appliances running from it make the voltage drop too low. It's all there to protect the battery. The box to the left of it is merely a digital test-meter. I used it to get a more accurate reading on how the panel was charging and is something of an optional extra. It cost me all of a fiver and has proved quite useful.

The switch is there as an isolation measure. If I go on holiday that's my way of switching the entire system off.

The battery is a cheap leisure battery and you can get them from anywhere. You could spend more on one with a higher capacity, but it works for my situation.

Finally, at the bottom left, there's the inverter, which converts the 12 volts from the battery to 240 volts as useable power. The maximum load is 300 watts, although I have no intention of testing that. I have a plug in the inverter, with a properly wired up extension that goes into my front-room, wired into the back of a funny-coloured double plug socket - so I can't confuse it (or any visitors) with the normal mains supply. It stops me from overloading it. The system is totally separate from the normal mains power. I need to make sure you're aware of that, otherwise you might fry yourself trying to wire it into the consumer unit in your house. (And we probably don't want that).

The two-core wire is for the 12 volt side of things (the panel to the battery), the three-core wire is for the 240 volt side of things. And yes, it's earthed.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the blue box is, it's merely something to stand it all on. High tech stuff, this. The solar panel (naturally) is outside and the white cable in the middle right is connected to that.

The system works like a treat, as low-tech as it is. As I sit here and type, my house is being lit by solar power - and once I fully understand the capabilities of the system, I may well be running the computer from it too. (It's 55 watts).

Feel free to drop me a note and ask questions - but I'm no expert and accept no responsibility if your house burns down. Happy
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