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http://www.instructables.

com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Food Living Outside PIay TechnoIogy Workshop
S.P.R.E.E. (SoIar PhotovoItaic RenewabIe EIectron EncapsuIator), a Compact,
DurabIe, and PortabIe SoIar Energy Generator
by charIitron on July 30, 2008
TabIe of Contents
S.P.R.E.E. (Solar Photovoltaic Renewable Electron Encapsulator), a Compact, Durable, and Portable Solar Energy Generator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Ìntro: S.P.R.E.E. (Solar Photovoltaic Renewable Electron Encapsulator), a Compact, Durable, and Portable Solar Energy Generator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
File Downloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Step 1: Gather Components for S.P.R.E.E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Step 2: Construct a Box For S.P.R.E.E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Step 3: Wire S.P.R.E.E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Step 4: Energize S.P.R.E.E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Step 5: Utilize S.P.R.E.E. then Rejoice in Clean Renewable Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Intro: S.P.R.E.E. (SoIar PhotovoItaic RenewabIe EIectron EncapsuIator), a Compact, DurabIe, and PortabIe SoIar
Energy Generator
For under $160 you can construct a S.P.R.E.E. to harness cIean carbon-free soIar eIectricity to power your portabIe eIectronic devices.
Project: S.P.R.E.E. (Solar Photovoltaic Renewable Electron Encapsulator), is an experiment in alternative energy and solar generated electricty.The impetus for
construction was the desire to have my cellular phone and other small electronics run entirely from free* renewable solar energy.
The goal was to spend the least amount of money possible to design, construct, and maintain a portable, weather-proof, small-scale solar powered battery charger to re-
charge any small electronics. Since Ì live in Southern California, with plenty of sun, the plan is to leave it charging on my balcony during the day, then charge my cellular
phone at night. Note: Do not place on a balcony rail like Ì did, that was just for the picture.
My design was inspired from a do-it-yourself section Ì saw in Popular Science . The DÌY section in Popular Science was a good start, but it lacked complete directions. Ì
did like how article listed how much and where to purchase components.
After reading that article, Ì searched other corners of the internet and developed my own design. Ì then researched the project, and gathered the parts for about $160,
including taxes and shipping costs. Ì have friends that own an auto shop, RPM Brakes who let me use their multimeter, soldering iron, and they had plenty of extra
connectors around.
Ì have added several optional modifications in Step 5.
Image Notes
1. Strong hinge created with speaker wire and screws. Holds the PV panel
securely in place and allows placement at any angle.
2. Multi-Angle Height Selector (M.A.H.S.)
3. Never place on a unstable surface, like Ì did here.
Image Notes
1. LED Photovoltaic Activity Ìndicator (LEDPAÌ)
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
FiIe DownIoads
Spree.m4v (11 MB)
[NOTE: When saving, if you see .tmp as the file ext, rename it to 'Spree.m4v']
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Step 1: Gather Components for S.P.R.E.E.
The components are very basic, involving a photovoltaic panel, a rechargeable battery, a charge controller, and the sun. You should not spend more that $160, unless
money is no object to you. Not the case for me.
5-watt, 12-volt photovoltaic panel, $36, eBay, Solar Cynergy: PV-SC005J17
1/4" mono plug (2), $1, allelectronics.com, SPH
DC solar charge controller, $28, allelectronics.com, SCN-2
12-volt 12-AH rechargeable battery, $40, allelectronics.com, GC-1214
10-feet of 18-gauge wire, $3, allelectronics.com, WRB-18
cigarette lighter "Y" adapter, $4, allelectronics.com, CLP-Y
200-watt power inverter, $17, walmart.com, 001088173
plastic box with split folding lids, $5, target medium bin
wood/hardware for mounting, $4, lowe's, 1x3x4, screws
This leaves about $22 for random parts, upgrades, accessories, shipping fees and taxes.
Necessary tooIs: Power driII and creativity.
Step 2: Construct a Box For S.P.R.E.E.
Ì selected a plastic bin with a split opening lid worth $5 at Target. Ì picked it because it was cheap, durable, easy to modify, and relatively weather-proof. Drill plenty of
holes in it to provide airflow. Ì also drilled holes to add bungee cords to hold the battery secure. And, Ì drilled a hole for the mono jack to go into the box, leaving the
cigarette socket outside of the box.
Be creative. Hollow out an old TV or CRT monitor and use that as your box. Or you can make it out of bamboo flooring scraps like they did in Popular Science .
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Step 3: Wire S.P.R.E.E.
The wiring is very simple and intuitive. Basically, the photovoltaic panel and the battery are connected to the charge controller.
The charge controller has a 12 volt output. This output is in the form of a 1/4 inch mono jack. The first step involves cutting off the cigarette lighter plug from the Y-adapter
and soldering the mono plug to the cigarette lighter socket. (Since it was a Y adapter, and there was 2 sockets, Ì made 2 mono-plug-to cigarette-socket "connectors", one
as a backup) Make sure to test your connections.
Connect the photovoltaic panel to the charge controller. Ìnsert the 1/4 inch mono jack into the 12 volt output of the charge controller. Check your connections again.
Ì drilled a hole in the plastic box top, and then attached 2 wooden boards to the top of the box. Ì then attached the photovoltaic panel to 1/2 inch square wooden dowels. Ì
then created a hinge using speaker wire and screws, which holds the photovolatic panel secure yet allows tilt from 90 to 180 degrees. Then Ì drilled another hole and
inserted the mono jack and left the 12 volt cigarette lighter outside of the housing, but made a holster for it by using a zip-tie.
More about modifications in step 5.
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Step 4: Energize S.P.R.E.E.
After all connections have been made ,double check them and test them with a multimeter before connecting to the battery.
Connect the red wire to the positive (+) terminal of the battery, then connect the black wire to the negative (-) terminal of the battery.
Note: The photovoltaic panel will charge the battery even when the charge controller is OFF. The charge controller has to be in the ON position to power 12-volt cigarette
lighter socket.
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Step 5: UtiIize S.P.R.E.E. then Rejoice in CIean RenewabIe Energy
PIace S.P.R.E.E. in the sunshine to charge the battery.
Adjust the photovoltaic panel at an angle roughly equal to your latitude for optimum electron encapsulation. Check out U.S. Gazetteer to find your latitude and check your
angle with a protractor.
At night, bring it inside, and plug your 12 volt electronics into the cigarette lighter socket to charge. OR, get an DC to AC inverter. Ìt will use some of the electricity to
convert the energy, but you will be able to charge AC electronics. Although, it would be more efficient to use DC electronics with this small scale system.
Smile and know that you are using only clean carbon free energy when you talk on your cell phone, take photos with your digital camera, or play PSP.
I have added severaI inexpensive modifications my S.P.R.E.E.
1. M.A.H.S. (Multi-Angle Height Selector): Ì sawed up the remaining wood that used mount the photovoltaic panel into 4 different lengths. Then Ì drilled a hole through
each one and attached them all with twine. Ì also sawed a groove into them which makes the support more secure. Now, Ì can fan them out and select the right one,
depending on where the sun is.
2. L.E.D.P.A.Ì. (LED Photovoltaic Activity Ìndicator): Ì purchased a green LED (with housing) from Radio Shack for $2. Ì drilled a hole in the top lid and wired the LED in
parallet circut with the photovoltaic panel. Now, depending on how much or how little light the photovoltaic panel is receiving, the LED will respond by either glowing bright
or becoming dim.
Be creative and be safe, don't zap yourself.
Image Notes
1. Strong hinge created with speaker wire and screws. Holds the PV panel
securely in place and allows placement at any angle.
2. Multi-Angle Height Selector (M.A.H.S.)
Image Notes
1. LED Photovoltaic Activity Ìndicator (LEDPAÌ)
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
3. Never place on a unstable surface, like Ì did here.
Comments
50 comments Add Comment view aII 124 comments
rookie1 says: May 22, 2009. 12:02 PM REPLY
Good job! How big would things have to be to run a shop of house on this? Or maybe just a heater or fan/air conditioner for a shop?
MacOSJoey says: Jul 5, 2012. 5:39 AM REPLY
Heating with electricity is the most wasteful way to heat. Every KwH of electricity you pump in gets you the same amount of heat out, so it's 100%
efficient. HOWEVER, it's described as cutting butter with a chainsaw: you're using a high grade of energy for such a low grade job. Look into a solar air
heater, which instead of using electricity to power a heater, sucks in air inside a big box on the roof outside which the sun heats. The warm air then goes
back inside. Ìt is much more efficient and actually makes sense.
KaIjakaaIeppi says: Aug 13, 2011. 3:35 AM REPLY
One of these would be good for several fans, assuming under 100W per fan:
http://www.altestore.com/store/Solar-Panels/Suntech-STP280-24Vd-280W-24V-Solar-Panel/p9009/
This without running the fan during nights. Ìf you need excess energy to be released during the night, then the panel obviously needs to be putting out
more wattage (plus a proper battery bank).
But for a AC you would need several more. Ìf an ac-unit is around 1500W (approx, here close to the polar circle we do not have need for AC :), then the
panels need to put out more than 1500W, especially if you intend to run the AC after the sun has set (or is too low for effective production of electricity).
and then you need a decent set of batteries (CCC) to storage the energy, and a charge controller (CCC) to cope with the currents.
1500W in those panels above is over 3000USD. And 1,5kWh costs here 15 eurocents. The electricity coming out from the wall outlet is still so cheap
there is relly no way to produce it cheply yourself... Altohought Ì'm still looking for some panels myself, to make a waterheater, but then Ì need to
scavenge the panels from somewhere cheap :).
UQONYX says: Sep 5, 2011. 5:34 PM REPLY
to make a simple sun tracker, you can take an old clock and go to a clock store or somewhere and ask to switch the gears to metal, then attach the panelto
the hour hand/ pivot so that it turns a little as the hours move
HeygaIicious says: Aug 4, 2011. 2:11 AM REPLY
You may or may not be interested but "Spraoi" is Gaelic for Fun, and is pronounced the same as spree!
hemanath says: Jun 15, 2011. 3:34 AM REPLY
Ì want to know how silicon solar cells are manufactured
OIe baIIy says: Jun 13, 2011. 4:36 AM REPLY
Hey Charlitron, Ì live in a country where we can't just transfer funds and so Ì'm doomed to not be able to become a Pro Member!
Have you or any of the other members ever looked at the 'Henry Moray' website or the Tesla site? This is about FREE electricity using 'cosmic energy'! You
Pro members on this site are jut the people to give this thing a proper try and tell us all if it really works! Tesla and Moray were pioneers in the energy field!
Please have a look and give me yr comments!
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
soIarIover says: Jun 10, 2009. 4:19 PM REPLY
Can Ì use a 4-watt, 12-volt solar panel and a 300-watt power inverter and keep everything else the same? Will it still work?
Andruha1123 says: Jun 11, 2009. 1:00 AM REPLY
yes it will
vcampos2000 says: Aug 10, 2008. 8:57 AM REPLY
Ì am new to this: How do you know which wire is positive and which is neutral? Ì know the mono jack terminals are marked but Ì don't see any markings on
the cigarette adaptor.
Astinsan says: Jan 30, 2011. 12:55 PM REPLY
Get a multi meter. Connect the leads and touch a test lead to one side of the circut and one to the other. Ìf its a digital guage it will show a plus or minus
on one side of the reading. Ìf it is a - it means you connected the meter backwards and the multimeters test lead + (or red) is on negative voltage in a DC
curcit.
Cig adaptors are standard. The center nub of the mail and female cig plug is positive. This should be on all systems. pinouts.ru is a good place to get this
kind of information.
charIitron says: Aug 11, 2008. 8:42 PM REPLY
Ì was also new to this a few months ago. For the mono jack, the tip is the + and the sleeve is the -.
For the cigarette adapter, there is also a similar 'tip' (which looks like a little button on the end of the cigarette adapter), and a similar "sleeve" (which are
the side metal contacts of the cigarette lighter). Before Ì snipped the cable, Ì stripped the cable right next to the cigarette adapter and traced the wires
and marked the tip (+) with tape. Then it was easy soldering, which Ì was self taught with the help of some youtube guy
eytschayim says: Sep 6, 2009. 7:20 AM REPLY
Hi there, about the soldering. Ì see that you just took one wire and soldered it to the part of the plug for the signal wire in a music cable, and one wire
to the part of the plug that is for the ground wire in a music cable. does it matter which is which for the cigarette socket. How did you know which wire
to solder to which part of the plug? thanks! Ì'm building mine right now!
vcampos2000 says: Aug 13, 2008. 2:45 PM REPLY
What did you do with the Amp meter? Ì saw it in th photo but not in the finished project.
charIitron says: Aug 13, 2008. 6:38 PM REPLY
Ì bought the 15-amp DC panel meter ($12), but then returned it to save costs. Ì decided it was not necessary and not a vital component to the
system.
tech3312 says: Aug 27, 2008. 9:02 PM REPLY
Try investing like a volt meter but in this case since you have a charge controller it's unnecessary. Ì would carry one in case if there's any
problems with it
Ì'm planning a large scale for backup
Astinsan says: Jan 30, 2011. 12:57 PM REPLY
Volt meters can be purchased at hardware stores for under 15$ Ì found one at Home depot for 9.99. Everyone who works with power
should have this basic tool. Ìt can tell you if you really turned off the power to a wall socket.
NobIenutria says: Dec 4, 2010. 6:00 PM REPLY
Don't you need around 14.8 volts to charge a 12 volt battery? Usually the voltage of the panels are higher than the voltage of the battery. Ì looked at the
specs for the charge controller. Ìt says it works with an open panel voltage of 21 to 24 volts. Your panel is 12 volts.
instructabIes3 says: Nov 23, 2010. 1:16 AM
Ìf Ì used this along with a car battery or motorcycle battery then Ì have free power for all of my gadgets.
This plus a small cheap $5 inverter (with usb output) nets me FREE clean power.
http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/4/Auto/SolarPortablePower/SolarEnergy/PRD~0111894P/1W%252BPowersports%252BSolar%252BCharger.jsp?locale=en#BVQAWidgetÌD
Ì would not need a solar charge controller with this unit either.
Can someone please confirm my thoughts here.
thanks!
SieIock says: Jul 23, 2010. 11:11 PM REPLY
Ì am a little confused with the mono plug, is there advantage to that over using the load terminals on the controller?
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
sagebrushjoe says: Mar 17, 2010. 10:01 AM REPLY
Ì built this last year with all the recommended components but like a previous post my battery does not seem to be charging. Ì have my solar panel in a
southeast facing window so it gets a lot of morning sun but still no luck. do Ì need more sun?
nepheron says: Apr 12, 2010. 7:46 PM REPLY
Test it with a multimeter. Maybe you have a short.
nepheron says: Apr 12, 2010. 2:45 PM REPLY
Here's mine:
Ìt's 5v .46 amps ( USB charger)
surfacescan says: Apr 18, 2009. 12:36 PM REPLY
How many mobile phones could Ì charge at once with this device? Ì am looking for a mobile charger that could be used as a business in rural africa where
some people walk 14km to charge their mobile phones! Would this be a good project for people to start small businesses? What modifications would need to
be made?
surfacescan says: Apr 18, 2009. 12:56 PM REPLY
would a couple of these 3-way splitters do the trick?
http://www.modernoutpost.com/gear/details/wn_3way_socket.php
bmnot says: Mar 21, 2010. 11:26 AM REPLY
Very indepth instructions.
However, Ì have one question
How does the dc panel meter connect to the setup?
broken_to_fix says: Mar 2, 2010. 4:15 PM REPLY
hmmmmmm i dont know were to get any of that lol
JamesRPatrick says: Jan 31, 2010. 1:56 PM REPLY
Would this panel work?
cgi.ebay.com/5-WATT-5W-SOLAR-PANEL-12-VOLT-UL-SOLAR_W0QQitemZ280458726774QQcmdZViewÌtemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0
JamesRPatrick says: Jan 31, 2010. 11:29 AM REPLY
Does this type of battery need to be kept upright? Ì would have to turn the case sideways to make it portable.
pIanetpIosion says: Dec 8, 2009. 9:23 AM REPLY
what if Ì have a 12VDC to 115VAC POWER ÌNVERTER? 350W Continuous. Ì found one and would rather not buy a 200W inverter if necessary
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
knektek says: Nov 23, 2009. 1:26 PM REPLY
Excellent project! couldnt of you just used a 12vregulator to make sure you dont burn out the output
jugome says: Oct 16, 2009. 9:14 AM REPLY
sunami says: Sep 27, 2009. 3:21 PM REPLY
how can i make this into a science fair project
jensene6 says: Aug 27, 2009. 10:42 PM REPLY
Will this setup charge the battery if it is totally dead? Ì built this and it worked fine for a couple days but now the battery is reading low about 10.5 volts and
even when Ì leave it in the sun all day it doesn't seem to change anything.
patdoherty says: Jul 25, 2009. 8:51 PM REPLY
very cool but it is inefficient since your stepping up the power to 120 ac then stepping it down to whatever your cell phone is it would be better to plug a car
phone charger in
giffhorn says: Jul 8, 2009. 11:31 AM REPLY
Excellent site- Ì just finished making my own type of box and decided to use your controller box as well (SCN2). However Ì hooked mine up to a 200W
inverter and already blew the fuse once (in the controller). Ìs the inverter too big for that inverter?
usaeagIe09 says: Jul 3, 2009. 12:23 PM REPLY
could there be a possible way to slim the box because i am making a solar ps2 to play ratchet deadlocked on my 1hour 30 min bus rid home from school.
panstar1 says: Aug 11, 2008. 3:52 AM
(removed by author or community request)
evanwehrer says: Jan 7, 2009. 10:34 AM REPLY
Sealed lead-acid?
ReCreate says: Jun 29, 2009. 4:34 PM REPLY
You can screw the sealed part, they are mostly very poorly sealed, you can open them and refill them, Though the opening process is a little harder,
Aka being a sealed lead acid battery ;)
mbainrot says: May 7, 2009. 5:02 PM REPLY
Sealed lead acid or SLA are a type of lead acid battery in which the battery is sealed. The difference is that most SLA batteries are usually of the gel
type or absorbant glass mat type. Contrary to their name they're actually not perfectly sealed, they have a valve so that should over charging occur,
the battery wont explode spewing battery acid napalm everywhere. The major functional difference between wet cell lead acid (car battery) and
sealed lead acid is the fact that due to their design, the SLA's can't cope with high discharging/high charging currents, and are more difficult to
recover from sulfication (due to the lack of ability to pour chemicals into the battery to attempt to recover) The other major difference is nearly all SLA
batteries are maintenance free, you just have to keep 'em charged up as to avoid the dreaded sulfication
ReCreate says: Jun 29, 2009. 4:32 PM REPLY
Long title short - Solar battery Charger/Power source...Then again it is still long XD That looks pretty neat, How much current does the solar panel output?
HisDivineShadow says: Jun 22, 2009. 9:12 AM REPLY
oooooooooh!!!!! There is so much that can be done with that! Ì Would have a bigger box with USB and satandard power outlests with storage for extension
cabels etc. !!!!
maxreif says: Jun 8, 2009. 5:23 AM REPLY
cool cam
sycomiko says: May 24, 2009. 9:41 AM REPLY
Hello, i am going to try building this project, but am wanting to put a usb hub or something to charge usb devices as well, could i use a computer power
supply or would it just be easier to make a regulated 5v power line and splice a usb hub off of it?
http://www.instructables.com/id/SPREE-Solar-Photovoltaic-Renewable-Electron-/
Derin says: May 31, 2009. 2:26 AM REPLY
5v reg is a better idea since you directly convert the voltage.Ìf you don't need AC you can even skip the inverter.
stevenrterry says: Mar 12, 2009. 9:27 PM REPLY
Can a car battery be used in this project?
EIectricMan1 says: Mar 28, 2009. 8:36 PM REPLY
Yes. But make sure you have a solar panel capable of charging it safely.
seanmccambridge says: May 7, 2009. 10:13 PM REPLY
Sure seems like a deep-cycle battery would do a lot better than a car battery. Ì'm no electrician, but Ì think they're made for slow release whereas car
batteries are made more for huge bursts of power like turning your engine to start.
mbainrot says: May 7, 2009. 5:04 PM REPLY
Cool thing with this is its a 12 volt system, so allot of the 12volt automotive ATX supplies (e.g. Jaycar's 205w XC-4876) can use this You could effectively
remove your computers carbon foot print by just changing the power supply. One thing to note is that most 12v DC-DC supplies won't exceed 250watts so if
you run a high end video card, you may have issues attempting to use one of these (they need to make 48 volt DC-DC systems :) )
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