Off the Grid

Satchmo

5 year old buck +
Just set up a solar panel system on my backwoods shack this fall. Started with a single, but quickly went to a 3 panel kit. (Moved the single to the outhouse) Sure is nice to turn the key and hit the switch instead of charging & transporting batteries back and forth. Pretty simple system cause I'm only running LED lights and two computer fans for propane heat circulation. I'm going to add some exterior lighting this weekend if my bare fingers will still work. How many others here use solar power at deer camp?
 

West Branch

5 year old buck +
We are currently hauling batteries back and forth for our shack. Could you share details of the cost and installation of your solar panel system? We are definitely interested in something like that!
 

Satchmo

5 year old buck +
Because of my fairly small draw (around 25 amps/day), I went with the 18 watt Coleman 3-panel kit from Menards for around $300 bucks. These are Amorphous solar panels that will charge even when it is cloudy outside. I coupled it with 2 deep cycle batteries to give me a little more reserve power. The only change I made to it was building my own permanent frame for the panels. I thought the light metal frame it came with was a little light duty for long term usage.
 

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
We are currently hauling batteries back and forth for our shack. Could you share details of the cost and installation of your solar panel system? We are definitely interested in something like that!

I might be missing something but wouldn't a generator work. I have a Honda 2000 and yeah they cost around $1000 but man they are the ticket. Yamaha or Honda (quite and they sip gas)?
 

Satchmo

5 year old buck +
bwoods, you are correct, they are the bees knees for certain things. I also have a Honda 2000, but don't want to have to haul it up just to run a few lights in the bunk house for a two day planting trip. I mainly use that for doing my construction projects and will be using it in the future when we build a cooking/dining/lounging shack and have that wired for 110 & 12 volt. Hopefully will have the best of both worlds then.
 

West Branch

5 year old buck +
I might be missing something but wouldn't a generator work. I have a Honda 2000 and yeah they cost around $1000 but man they are the ticket. Yamaha or Honda (quite and they sip gas)?

We only have a few lights. Heat is propane and/or wood, and propane stove for cooking. The shack is 1/2 a mile behind my parents house so we are able to leave a battery there without any problem. My dad even delivers it to the shack when he knows we are coming :)
 

bigmike

5 year old buck +
I bought a couple 12V LED Edison base bulbs and use a deep cycle marine battery. I would like to invest in a solar charger for the battery also.
 

Satchmo

5 year old buck +
Well, I just returned from our 10 day excursion to deer camp, and am happy to report that the inaugural season with the solar set-up went very well. The only factor not taken in to account during my research, is the fact that in November in MN, you CAN have a week straight of heavy cloud cover and snow flurries. This essentially cut the solar output below 50% for 7 days. Other than having to fire up the generator on Thursday to charge the batteries up until the sun came out on Friday, it was a rousing success. Just need to wire in some LED yard lights now.
 
N

non-pro-archer

Guest
Well, I just returned from our 10 day excursion to deer camp, and am happy to report that the inaugural season with the solar set-up went very well. The only factor not taken in to account during my research, is the fact that in November in MN, you CAN have a week straight of heavy cloud cover and snow flurries. This essentially cut the solar output below 50% for 7 days. Other than having to fire up the generator on Thursday to charge the batteries up until the sun came out on Friday, it was a rousing success. Just need to wire in some LED yard lights now.
Good to hear that it worked for you. We're the batteries completely dead on Thursday or would there been enough juice for the night?
 

Satchmo

5 year old buck +
Not completely dead. Just noticed a change in pitch of the computer fans we use for circulation when we turned on all the lights in the morning to get ready for hunting. One battery is several years old as well, so it may not have the reserve capacity it should.
 
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